Day 14 of UK Trip
July 18, 2009

The night was permeated by the heavy drops of rain falling not just from the sky but also from the tree.  Note to self: don’t park under a tree when in a motorhome when it is raining.  I was first to wake at 8:30am this morning and as we didn’t want to use the onboard toilet (because we had emptied it and didn’t want to re-do it before returning it), I had to get up and use the facilities outside the motorhome.  This woke up Helen and Chloe and Michael and Stephen followed shortly after.  While Helen was showering (or washing) without soap, we started packing up all our clothes into the suitcases again.

We had breakfast, washed up and then finished our packing.  We only just over an hour to get back into Edinburgh and so we weren’t in a rush.  We left at just after 10am and it didn’t take long to find our way back to the block of flats to drop off the motorhome.  The SPG directed us and we simply didn’t believe it when it said turn right when it showed a left turn but after driving arriving the block again after missing the turn, we got it right the second time and found the correct place.  The owner came down to fairly promptly to check through the motorhome and then went up to call a taxi for us to get us into Edinburgh.

We got to the hotel (Radisson on the Royal Mile) at around 12pm.  It is a hotel we have stayed at during all our previous trips to Edinburgh (this is the 3rd as a family) and it is a really nice hotel and situated in an ideal place.  Up the road is Edinburgh Castle and down the road is Holyrood Palace.  One road down is Princes Street (which is the shopping area).  Even though check-in time was only 2pm they were able to give us one room and Helen promptly had a bath, washed her hair and came out announcing that this is really the way she looks.

We were all quite hungry at this stage so we headed for lunch.  It was still drizzling (as it had done the whole day so far) and so we just headed up the road a little and found a nice pub and had a sandwich (Michael only really) and the rest of us had soup.  We then went back to the hotel to unwind and relax and wait for our invited guests – Chris & Alison Nel – to arrive.  They drove up from their home in Yorkshire and as the weather was really bad, they took longer than they expected.  Chris said that right at the place which announced they were crossing into Scotland, it was raining harder than at any other place along the route – that seems to be Scottish weather.  If you watched any of the British Open golf today, you would have seen what the weather is like.  Windy, overcast and sometimes raining.  At about 7pm it started to clear at the golf and one of the foreign (read US) commentators said “What is it about Scotland, the best weather seems to be between 7pm and 9pm each evening”.  That comment echoes my thinking – we have definitely had the best weather between 7pm and 9pm each evening (except for tonight when it was still raining).

This afternoon we walked down the road to John Knox’s house.  It is just about 200 yards down the road and the last time we were here they were renovating the house so we couldn’t visit it.  John Knox (for those of you who don’t know) was a great Scottish Reformer.  He was said to have died in the house though he didn’t live in it for that long.  The house is now a museum to his life and it was interesting to see some of the original paneling, ceilings and artwork still in place.  They also pay a lot of respect to Knox’s preaching ability.  Apparantely the Catholic’s feared Knox coming to preach in one of ‘their’ villages as his preaching had such a great effect that he empty the Catholic Churches.  They admitted that he was a great orator but more than that, that his preaching was obviously especially blessed due to the effect it had.  There were quite a few comments in this vain in the house.  I thought it was amazing that he never had his head chopped off.  In an age that disagreements were settled in this fashion, it was incredible (if not miraculous) that he survived opposing three Queens (including Mary Queen of Scots and Bloody Mary) who were all staunch Catholic Church supporters.  His arguments with each of them are apparantely renowed.

They also have an amazing collection of old books including Calvin’s Institutes (an original copy), one of the key Erasmus books, Knox’s History of Reformation in Scotland and the first English Bible printed in England.  What amazed me was that it could have been a foreign language.  The English was vastly different from what we understand to be English and so you can see how much the language has developed.  For instance they use ‘f’ instead of ‘s’ which makef for interefting reading.  That if juft one of the thingf that I noticed though.

As it was raining quite hard this evening we simply went to the nearest restuarant up the road which happened to be an Italian place.  It was exceptionally good for the price and the gelato was incredible.  It was really nice catching up with Chris & Alison and discussing issues of common interest (like UK health & safety regulations, family, friends and of course churches and CBD).  They will stay over the weekend and leave on Sunday for their home.  It is great to have friendships that stand the test of time and that when you see friends like this again you simply can pick up where we last left off.

The kids are now watching Star Trek in their room (they are sleeping together in 3 separate beds so no arguments about whether Chloe kicked Michael or Michael kicked Chloe) and Helen and I are watching (or should I say) listening to the First Night at the Proms from the Royal Albert Hall.  Quite nice background music while working (we both have our laptops out – Helen is probably checking Facebook her regular blogs and catching up on everything she has missed during the last week).

I am finishing much earlier tonight than usual as I plan to go to bed earlier.  Hope you all had a good week (especially those of you who were working while we were holidaying!).

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