Friday, March 28, 2008

Misadventures in Edinburgh

Safely back in Old Blighty (Leeds) for what it’s worth. Living with the housemate from hell is doing my head in (I am not exaggerating, quite the reverse you wouldn’t believe how off the wall he is… does anyone?).

Anyway, greatly grateful to Gwen and her housemates for giving me a wonderfully therapeutic break. So, very low in energy, I set off a bit too late. Got to Wetherby about 4 if I remember rightly. There were no severe weather warnings so thought I should try and chance it at hitch hiking. Besides, my current account is running on empty alas….

Not quite sure when and what I txted Gwen. Basically that I was hitch hiking after all. Got a reply

“Ok you crazy crazy man.”

Which about sums it up.

There are road works at Wetherby. Where the Leeds Road joins the Great South Road. Couldn’t find a convenient place to try and hitch hike onto the Great South Road going north found myself at the junction for the local road from Wetherby onto the Great South. Decided to chance it stuck my thumb out and within 5 mins someone stopped. Got a lift to Scotch Corner, turns out it was a chap who worked in social housing but lived Catterick way, he’d married a local when he was in the Army.

Stuck my thumb out, after a lack of success wandered up to the service station to spend a penny and get a caffeine fix. Got offered a lift to Washington Services. Chap heading Sunderland way, ex artic driver, now working distributing cans of coke, donated me a couple of cans and a couple of bottles of doctor pepper! Said he wondered why people did not club together and go to cash and carries especially people with families. Interesting idea.

Now increasingly the Great South seems to be the worse of both worlds. Parts of it are under motorway regulations so you can’t hitch hike it, and Washington is a very slow service sation. You would never think that this was the main road into Edinburgh. Or into The Toon.

So, would have continued but since number of vehicles leaving was less than 2 an hour, tried to relax. Dared not try and sleep alfresco, was getting cold and even with a pretty warm luminous jacket, daren’t risk it. The bridge over the motorway had cameras so thought if I rested there I would be hassled by security. So at foot of stairs tried to get 40 winks. Then got woken up by a chap asking did I have any ciggies. Turned out it was Pete, seemed harmless enough. Spent the night chatting to him. Said he was a computer hack with some lucrative work with a big university somewhere. Hi Pete if you are reading this! Cheers for the beans on toast!

So, following morning having got no sleep continued. After hours with no luck changed my sign to next services. Eventually got a lift to Seaton Delaval. Had previously got a good lift to Dalkieth in time for last bus into Edinburgh. But I just didn’t have the energy. Perhaps it is theoretically possible to hitch hike up the Great South Road. But like out eating a sumo wrestler, difficult in practice.

Anyway seems Seaton D is the Delaval mentioned in classic English folk song “The Blackleg Miner”

“Oh, Delaval is a terrible place.
They rub wet clay in the blackleg's face,
And around the heaps they run a foot race,
To catch the blackleg miner!”

Here’s an upbeat version

Got a bus into Gotham Town and then a coach to Edinburgh. On the way saw this

this is an adventure honestly…

Interesting stone built building it would seem with classical symmetry.

So finally met Gwen at Edinburgh Coach Station.

Good to be in time for the meeting on Monday of the Edinburgh Community Building group (based on the work of M Scott Peck). Nice to meet veterens from Crowbar 2 Heather and Orlando. Here is a pic taken on the way to Michael and Heather’s place.

glorious sunset in morningside

Later in the week met up with Michael and Heather which was nice. Hello Michael, Heather and Orlando if you are reading this.

Here is a view of the Gothick Spacerocket. More later.

Who’s that Wally?

And Edinburgh Castle from Gwen’s flat.

think that’s Arthur’s seat behind the castle

Think this pic was taken in the Rose.

half the world is Irish and the other half is jealous…

On Sunday went to Meeting for Worship at Edinburgh Central Friends Meeting House.

Good to have a home.

Here is the Meeting House after Meeting.

It was quite a good meeting.

And the staircase

amish type artwork quilt or something

Think my first visit to Edinburgh Central Friends Meeting House was as catering co-ordinator at Young Friends General Meeting. Here’s the kitchen from a safe distance…

you won’t get me back in there lol

Here is the Meeting House from the outside, they got the builders in.

found the way in though

Here’s the neighbours, the Wee Frees

a splendid firm!

Went to their evening service last time I was at YFGM. It was an experience….

has a fascinating history, cheers!

Here’s a daft mutt

well mutts have their uses I suppose…

Now, Greyfriars moggie would have moved to the next suitable supply of catfood….

Here is the Martyrs Memorial

well done the Martyrs!

Greyfriars is where they signed the National Covenant. Wikid!

Scottish history is fun…

Here is Saint Marks, a very baroque looking Unitarian Chapel

Splendid firm!

And here is the Gothick Spacerocket again! Or another one…

so Walter leaves the planet?

Here is the Planetary Headquarters of the Free Church of Scotland (the wee frees).

Who said nothing in Scotland was free? LOL

Bought a postcard from their bookshop showing the famous painting of their first assembly during the stirring heady days of the Great Disruption.

We Demit You, Oh Yeah!

Likesay shows the historic signing of the Act of Separation and Deed of Demission.

Edinburgh is full of timelords, here is a tardis

I’m a timelord

so, Tuesday and I start hitch hiking back. Thought I would try the A68. A lift once said that there are 3 roads into Scotland, the Great South, the A68 and the M6 and whatever it becomes north of Carlisle.

Got a bus to Dalkieth. Stuck my thumb out at the first roundabout our of town. Hadn’t the energy, the will, I don’t know. Took another bus back to Edinburgh. Enquired as to the next coach to Leeds. Turns out it set off 21:30 hhrs arriving Leeds 06:30 hhrs change in Gunchester. So I reasoned that was still an adventure. A minor difference from hitch hiking being the tariff of 38 UKP…..

So with some time left to enjoy Edinburgh I headed up and down the Royal Mile. Here is the Scottish Parliament.

perhaps we can have a few in England?

And here is Lilibet’s cottage…

God Bless ‘er!

A glimpse through the gate…

Nice pad

And made it back to Leeds to catch up on some sleep. Surprised I managed to get some sleep on the coach…. Suppose this was a sort of sleeper coach but unlike the sleeper train u don’t get a bed….

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tripping in Hippyhome

Got to Hipperholme Grammar School in Hipperholme, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Took me 3 busses thankfully covered by a county rider ticket.

Here is the front of the Grammar School built in a sort of vernacular classicism. Not only was it built symmetrically, first rule of classicism, but two wings were later added in a symmetrical fashion. Wikid!

Grammar boy!

Here is a close up of the central bit with the clock (sorry am in a rush not going to consult the rare glossary of architectural terms).


Forget what the central monument says.

Alan our tutor at the Quoin stones. A very classical feature.

pronounced coins

Think this monument is in latin saying wish the committee had just got on with it.

a committee is a group of individuals who believing nothing can be done resolve to take no action..

Alan continues to give us the lowdown. He served the school as a history master and currently as a governor. Splendid Chap

I was a Governor once..

A monument to all the boys and masters of the school who bought the farm during the First Unpleasantness. Seems the headmaster was in the Territorial Army and encouraged masters and old boys to enlist. He bought it at Ypres.

what a waste

Close up of the mortar containing ash.

all these details to get my head round

Later rebuilding using recycled stone and modern lintels.

Recycling! the possibilities are endless!

A well spotted feature. Well done Richard!

think this is a vernacular or hallmark of an architectural firm

More classical symmetry, the porch either not original or not planned according to a painting so originally the symmetry was spot on

rather more gothic porch

And here we are back at school. Not that Alan looks like a history master….

or indeed rather historical

Alan shows us how building surveying is done.

fold out ruler is quite handy

And we crack on. It’s not rocket science…

can’t stand using non metric measurements though

are you reading this?

no didn’t think so


Smoking is bad for your health. Don’t do it kidz!

what is mahruhana? Never heard of it

Many thanks to all at Hipperholme Grammar School not only for making this field trip possible but also for wonderful hospitality.. The coffee was great!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Joy of YouTube (part three in a very occasional series honest!)

Very keen to take a break from blogging while everyone reads my last post. It will of course be a star post for anyone to come back to, I am sure it is not the last thing I have to say on the subject of sex, relationships, love and monogamous assumptions. However, I wonder if YouTube has been down, or if some of my problems accessing it have been down to which computer being used, and the ones I posted on my blog seemed ok….


Fancy some Toast!

I remember seeing Paul Young and the Streetband on Top of The Pops, oh how I laughed! And oh how I am showing my age….. Thought at the time it was by “The Jam” of course, later thought it was by Ian Dury and The Blockheads. But no, it was by Paul Young, somewhat related and the Streeband.

Speaking of Ian Dury, how about Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll!

Evidently, Stiff Records went on the road, blatently promoting the label rather than the artists concerned. The evening would end with everyone up on stage singing Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll. Evidently wasn’t much of a success, so they did it again, Stiff Records that is. Undaunted they tried the losing formula another time. Or so it was said on TV so it must be true.

Remember Jilted John?

“I was so upset I cried! all the way to the chip shop!” nuff said. Classic song.

Another classic not of an age but belonging to the ages Gnarls Barkley Crazy. Unfortunately embedding disabled at request. C’est la vie.

And I first saw this one on a repeat of The Two Ronnies. WALK IN LOVE by MANHATTAN TRANSFER


I was flicking through the Guinness Book of Records and discovered that Emperor Bokassa was not only an Emperor but also a Field Marshal. What an achievement!

Here he is at his coronation. Very modestly he crowned himself. Not very expertly it would seem from this video, almost a botched job.

I read somewhere that the Crown Prince was in naval uniform, scaled down for a 2 year old of course. Odd really for a land locked “Empire”. Perhaps he hoped that the French would pay for his Navy as well as his Coronation. He would then of course be able to reach the rank of Admiral of the Fleet of the Imperial Central African Navy and Air Chief Marshal of the Imperial Central African Air Force. This would perhaps all be funny were he not a nasty dictator responsible for the massacre of schoolchildren.

The French of course decided it was cost effective to topple him in a bloodless coup and restore the previous President.

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