Monday, August 26, 2019

Promenade In Prestonpans

Astute readers of this blog will recall that the plan for our 2019 European campaign was to finish up in Edinburgh, renting an apartment and enjoying almost two weeks of the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe. This necessitated finding a place to store Le Duc for the fall and winter and also getting our little traveling home packed up and ready to store. Having made the storage arrangements weeks before, we decided to spend a couple days cleaning and packing at a campground outside Edinburgh. But first we stopped, within striking distance of all, at Prestonpans, on the coast, east of the Festival City, for a final relaxing night in the camper. Prestonpans--so-called for the salt panning that started there in the 12th century--has a free seaside car-park open to motor-homes and a long coastal walk that we followed after dinner.
On the walk; the white thing in the center is the camper car-park

Thus, right

It's not a swimming beach, actually

Interestingly, as you can see, it's more of a low-tide trail


John Muir was born not far from here, and the Scots are rightfully proud; there's
a John Muir National Park not far away; we'll be in Yosemite in mid-August

Other interesting murals

Historically significant pubs, too

See below

The Scottish diaspora went pretty much everywhere, not
least, British Columbia, from whence this tribute to
Prestonpan's 1000 year anniversary came


No window on the world

Welcome splash of color

Back on the main street, things begin to get weird: not only does this appear to
be a funeral home in a container, but

It is associated with this supermarket

And, another block or two down, there's another...food market and funeral home

"Fred! I think we've got an eater!" https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x35g9ib



































































































































Not a little history here at Prestonpans


Anyhow, after two days sorting, packing, repairing, cleaning, Le Duc is parked at its
new temporary home, in storage, and we are checking into our Edinburgh apartment


Berwick Upon Tweed And Halidon Hill

After Alnwick, July 29th, we decided to forego old friend Lindisfarne and headed straight for Berwick Upon Tweed, in hopes of finding someone to do an oil and filter change, something that needed doing before putting Le Duc in storage the next week. A Mr. Clough (rhymes with "tough"; no relation to the poet) from Ramparts MOT was willing to do it for us the next day. Our search for a place to over-night took us to the top of Halidon Hill, a famous battle site of yore (July 19, 1333). The English and Scots were not getting along well in those years, and Berwick in particular changed hands quite often. See illustrations.
From the carpark at the top of Halidon Hill, overlooking Berwick; and much else;
with excellent interpretive signage

Berwick and the river Tweed

Some miles away, Lindisfarne and Bamburgh castles

Lindisfarne

Bamburgh

Looking toward Scotland; or possibly England

Here begins an account of the Battle of Halidon, starting with the usual single
combat, won by the English

Click to enlarge if you want the details; the gist is that they were all pretty nasty
people in those times; the English won in part because of their occupying the
high ground, but mainly because of the superiority of the English long bow; it was
to happen again and again; ask the French about Agincourt



















































































































































Anyway, we were there

Just not then...

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Alnwick Castle

Just remember that the "l" and the "w" are silent and you'll be okay. I think it must be French. Anyhow, I had resisted going into Alnwick back in 2013--I'm not fond of these proprietary castles with their many side-bar undertakings--but this time Vicki insisted. And this time we found a camping site at the Alnwick Rugby Football Club, very similar to the one back in Kenilworth, except Alnwick caters to campers specifically, also footballers, and we were very definitely not alone. The pub at Alnwick RFC was somewhat larger and more festive than the one at Kenilworth, with longer hours and wider selection. FWIW. (Come to think of it I have yet to see a rugby football club site without a pub; there must be some connection). Anyhow, we were in town to see the castle, home of the Dukes of Northumberland since way back when, and Hotspur (Henry Percy), and Harry Potter, and other things.
But first, walking from the football club to the castle, you come upon something else
of note




















Barter Books, occupying the old Alnwick train station; pretty famous UK bookstore



True to its heritage, the train runs during opening hours

Don't laugh: this is where the last "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster was found,
and from which a billion pound industry has sprouted; rumor is they're working
on a new one: "Keep Calm and Make Britain Great Again" 

Backside of Alnwick Castle


















Which you get to see if you backtrack from this ancient town gate, evidently
not designed for RVs





















Among other interesting landmarks






































Anyhow, here we are back at Alnwick Castle























The ticket-taker cracked up when I asked her where we could buy the mouse-ears

Archery practice, I think


So we did the grand tour of the main hall--impressive in many
ways, including some museum quality art--but, alas, thankfully,
no pix were allowed, so we have nothing to show here...except
that we then went on one of the movie tours...Alnwick figured
in a couple of the Potter movies, and that, frankly, is why
most people are here

Broomstick riding, training and practice; what would Freud say?



The figures are 14th century, like the castle

In my next life I want to be one of these; OK, some would say I have already
fulfilled this wish, despite the lack of appropriate costume

Hotspur, Henry Percy, member of the Northumberland clan, great soldier of his
age, from Scotland to France to Ireland, until he went again his king, Henry IV;
things went quickly downhill from there (read your Shakespeare); as a traitorous-
type personne, he doesn't get many monuments

Hagrid's house (seriously)

Alnwick Garden; maybe next time