Weeks 3 & 4 - Rain, Rain and more Bl**dy Rain.

Weeks 3

Monday 27th July 2015
Moving day, we aren’t going very far, just 89 miles up the road to West Mains CL, a little south of Edinburgh where we will stay for our visit to the Edinburgh Fringe. It was quite strange as we left West Brightenflatt CL we turned right and R&F turned left. Mr Tom Tom and Mr Garmin obviously had different ideas as how to get to the next site. As it turned out they were both right as we were both directed to the A74M. Normally when we are off to a new site I Google street view the entrance so that, firstly, we know there is room to access the site as we have been to several where the access road is too narrow to allow us to turn into the site and, secondly, we can recognise it as we approach and go in the right gate. On this occasion I had not quite got round to it but we had the post code and it was on the main A702 road into Edinburgh so what could possibly go wrong. Approaching where the sat-nav said was the turning into the farm, we saw dustbins at the end of a narrow farm track and although no Caravan Club sign was in evidence we turned left and went a half mile up the track before deciding we were in the wrong place. So now we had to get not one but two 12 m (40 foot plus) rigs turned round and out again. We had failed to take into account that a navigator will take you to the centre of a post code which generally covers around six dwellings/businesses, in town this is generally a small area in a single street but in a rural environment can cover a very large area. We were told by a couple of builders in a van (almost) patiently waiting for us both to turn round that where we wanted was the next farm entrance around 300 metres further up the road. 

So far the trip is going so well - not.

This week, although Rosemary and Sue have spent many hours rummaging through the Fringe Festival programme, sorting a programme for our stay and getting tickets, the main bulk of the week has been spent trying, and failing, to fend off illness. Frank has had a serious chest infection that needed a visit to the doctor. Sue has spent three days without leaving the van and one of those without leaving her bed fighting an horrendous cold. Rosemary is also fighting a cold which at the middle of the week looked as if she was winning but now at the end of the week she definitely looks as if she is loosing.

I have irritated all three to distraction by remaining stubbornly healthy.

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We had just one trip out this week, to the Falkirk Wheel. Sue and I have been several times but for Rosemary and Frank it was a first and both were impressed although Frank was not impressed enough to join us for a trip to the top and back. What was (almost) new to us were the nearby Kelpies, 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. I say almost because they are adjacent the M9 and we did pass that way during their building.

We had the sad news this week that Sue’s last aunt on her fathers side had died. We don’t yet know when the funeral is but we do plan to attend.

Week 4

Sunday 2nd August - Wednesday 5th August 2015
While Rosemary and Frank were fighting their illness Sue and I did a foray into Edinburgh to try out the Park and Ride and to visit one of the Edfringe Ticket Offices. On our last visit to the Fringe in 2013 we stayed on the Caravan Club’s Edinburgh site, a good site but from where it was such a pain to get into the city centre that we finished up resorting to taxis. From the site we are in now it’s an easy twenty minute drive to the Park and Ride and a half hour bus ride straight into the heart of Fringe land.

One of the pains of this lifestyle is that the normal tasks of life i.e. laundry, still have to be carried out. Although I say “normal tasks” people in this part of Scotland do not seem to use laundrettes. There are one or two around the university in Edinburgh city centre but unless you can get the washing there without using your car they are a no no. We finished up travelling a long way to find one, and we will have to visit again before we move.

Thursday 6th August 2015
Our first day at The Fringe. We got off to a great start with a one man show “... and this is my friend Mr Laurel” from Jeffery Holland, it was superb and such a contrast to the other stuff (Spike - Hi De Hi, James Twelvetrees - You Rang M’Lord) that we have seen this actor in. That was followed by three more events some like that from Jeffery Holland were superb others well…….perhaps not so good. On the bus back to the Park & Ride we went on a mystery tour when the bus driver had a senior moment and took a wrong turn necessitating a considerable detour before managing to get back on his route without missing any stops. Presumably he had forgotten what number bus he was on.

Friday 7th August 2015
Another day another play, well several actually and like yesterday some good and some not so good and finishing with a burlesque show which was very entertaining.


Saturday 8th August 2015
Up at break of sparrow f**t this morning, off to Edinburgh airport where we got a plane to Stansted so we can attend a surprise birthday party for Bro-in -Law Peter. I have often sworn never to fly Ryanair again and this time I mean it. When they started loosing market share MD O’Leary said “. . . . we will no longer unnecessarily p**s off paying customers  . . .” he lied. I was number 81 to board the plane and all customers from number 80 had to put their bags in the hold. We travelled with half empty overhead lockers and had to wait over 30 minutes to get our bag back. Well O’Leary I am well, truly and, totally unnecessarily, p****d off. Thank goodness we are going back Easyjet.

It was a great party and good to catch up with everyone. Big sister Pam managed, with support, to climb 21 steps up to and 21 steps down from the party venue. Since her stroke over Christmas 2013 she has progressed slowly but steadily.

Week 4

Monday 10th August 2015
We were due to return on Sunday but we stayed in Essex for Margie's funeral. We would have attended anyway but it was made easier by already being in Essex.

Sadly our flight time did not allow us to go back to “the house” after the funeral as we would have wished but we were at the funeral itself and that was important to us.

After rushing to Stansted airport and getting there with a reasonable time allowance to get through the dreaded security we were surprised that the boarding gate was not listed. When the gate number was finally listed we toddled down there only to find the plane had been grounded by a fault and another was being flown in from Luton. To be fair the lady on the departure gate did come out and tell us what was going on but looked so terrified I asked her what the problem was and she said that many passengers were very rude and abusive when told of a flight delay - weird, after all she is not to blame. Despite the delay the pilot managed to pull quite a bit of time back and we were just 45 minutes behind schedule.

Tuesday 11th August 2015
Our last day at the Edfringe today, we saw four items sadly, unlike on previous days there was more bad than good still you cant win them all.

Wednesday 12th August 2015
No Fringe events today to allow us to recover from the recent rushing about days and to prepare for moving on tomorrow.

Thursday 13th August 2015
We have enjoyed our EdFringe immensely and would have liked to stay longer but we can hear the call of the north so today we start on that section of our stay. We have moved north to Blairgowrie, not that far just 75 miles, we intend to use this as a stepping off place with the next stop Inverness and the one after John O’Groats. Although we did not get (very) wet while at the Fringe today is the first day with sunshine and no rain since we arrived in Carlisle. Hopefully a taste of things to come.

Friday 14th August 2015
We had hoped that we had turned the corner weather wise but the campsite owner tells us that the forecast for today, tomorrow and the foreseeable future is for rain,rain and even more rain, just what we wanted - not!!

The main industry in this area is fruit farming, mainly of the “soft” variety - strawberries, raspberries, black and redcurrant etc, Sue had found a leaflet detailing farm fruit stalls so she and I went for a drive to get some. We returned with enough soft fruits to feed an army.

Saturday 15th August 2015
It is still raining. We have all just about had enough of it. R & F have cheered themselves up by booking a ferry to Spain, which will get them home to Portugal around a month earlier than planned and we have all agreed another plan, one where we do go not go right to the north, but to the Western Highlands before giving up and going south.

Last update - Thursday 3rd December 2015.                                  © S W Ghost 2015