Hurtling south from Edinburgh

I came back to Edinburgh, picked up the rental car I’d left in the airport car park, and shortly thereafter was having a lovely cup of tea at the Elephant (haunted by J. K. Rowling’s ghost, scribbling away at a table in the back) with Chris, long-time Friend of LRK and member of the Virtual Book Club (hi, Chris!) After a stroll through the city, I embarked on another round of hotel laundry, and then lay awake much of the night listening to the revels of drunken yobs. On a Sunday night? I thought Sundays were dead, certainly in Scotland? But oh no, they were well entertained.

The next day I set off south, meandering through the countryside, locating various sites and Neolithic monuments in odd parts of the countryside with a barely adequate AA map, which mostly shows the directions one needs to head for, and faith does the rest. I have not yet found one of these monuments guarded by a bull or a jealous dog, but one this day gave good evidence of bovine residence (with care, I escaped with clean shoes) and the dog was in the farmyard, barking away.

I listened to Radio 4, the BBC radio channel that does a startling variety of audio entertainments (including, some years ago, an adaptation of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice). Monday those ranged from a very silly radio play in which Charles Dickens confounds a plot against the Bank of England to a hot discussion on divine versus human kingship in the Hebrew Bible. Makes hurtling down the motorway at great speeds most entertaining.

And now is the time for a confession of secrets: I have a shameful fondness for large and anonymous hotels, especially in this country where a kettle, tea bags, and small pots of milk are found even in the sparsest accommodations. I like their sterility, their sameness, the polished faces of the receptionists. I like the delicious options: wander down to the dining room with a book and listen to strangers, or order room service and think of ordering a movie? Not that I do, mostly, unless I have a daughter along to share the film with, but I enjoy the possibility of a Will Smith or Angelina Jolie movie as I dine.

In this case I went downstairs and had a meal in the lounge bar, the same food as the restaurant but in comfortable chairs and no tablecloths.

And being a hotel all on its own off the ring road, there were no drunken yobs outside my window at night.

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  1. annie on June 23, 2008 at 1:01 am

    Laurie I’m not sure where to post this (apologies).
    I’ve been away, when I came back and caught up with your blog, I saw mention of Michelle Spring. She was one of my favourite authors and I wondered where she had gone. Google doesn’t come up with a working website for her, so if you are able to pass on my good wishes and say that I am really looking forward to that “killer” novel, I’d be grateful.
    I’m so glad you have (mostly) enjoyed this sceptred isle and its outposts.

  2. admin on June 23, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I’ve passed your message on to Michelle, I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear from you. Also I’ve suggested to her that every writer has to have a web site. Really.

  3. annie on June 23, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you.

  4. Meg Gardiner on June 23, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I’m in one of those anonymous hotels at the moment, and you’ve inspired me to go downstairs to the restaurant and watch New York walk by from behind the book I’m reading. Thanks!

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