Spoiled for choice!

More and more and more things to see and do! I think the only way to keep up-to-date with reporting everything is to do these lists on my blog. Once I start work, I’m sure I won’t have as much time to explore…so onward! Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Edinburgh International Science Festival – As Sean has been spending his days and evenings working at the festival, I’ve popped along to a couple of events. A is for Arsenic was a talk on the different poisons used in the novels of Agatha Christie! Kathryn Harkup, who has written a book of the same title, took us through the literary uses and the science behind four different poisons – arsenic, strychnine, cyanide, and phosphorus. Her book discusses fourteen different poisons, so this was just a taster (PUNS! PUNS FOR ALL!) and I can’t wait to read more…I also attended The Mathematics of Why I Don’t Have a Boyfriend, which was a talk by Dr Trina Dinnis. This was hilarious – a very entertaining presentation that treated the acquiring of a boyfriend like a science experiment and maths problem, using case studies from romantic fiction and involving crazy complicated graphs and equations that ordinarily would give me a panic attack. She invented and explained ‘The Darcy Standard’…essential viewing for any Austen fan!

Scottish Poetry Library – Oh, my heart. I can’t express how lovely this quiet little jewel of a library is. I have been in just to sit in the comfy chairs and read the collected works of Carol Ann Duffy (not the entire thing, obviously. That would take days), and I’ve put in an application to do some volunteer work, which involves helping out at their events and weekends. The staff are friendly, the collection is immense, the building is quiet. Bliss.

Edinburgh book sculptures – an anonymous artist has deposited a group of beautiful, intricate, delicate, gorgeous sculptures around the city, all made from the pages of books. The sculptures have all been ‘found’ in various cultural institutions, and most (but not all) are on public display. It has been a joy running around the city to view them! The artist has apparently said they are finished with the project, but they have been appearing at odd times since 2011, so anything is possible…

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Iona – No, not the island sadly. But I will go one day! This is a film, about a character named Iona, set on the island she was named after. We went to the Edinburgh Filmhouse to see it (and I will definitely be back there, though it’s not quite as affordable as my beloved Astor), and I really enjoyed it. Everything was beautiful – the score, the cinematography, the scenery (shot on location), and Ruth Negga as the protagonist. The ending made me want to throw something – I thought it was out of place and not fitting with the rest of the film – and I felt like too much was left unsaid, but I still enjoyed it immensely. It’s quite bleak – don’t watch it if you’re after something ‘feel-good’.

Lauriston Castle – I would never have visited this place, or even heard of it, if it was not for my wonderful mates back home, Cara and Alfie. As part of their list of missions for me to complete, they sent me off to the Edinburgh-Kyoto Friendship Garden, located in the grounds of beautiful Lauriston Castle. This is a place I am definitely going back to – the daily tour was cancelled, so I need to go back anyway – and it was an utterly stunning and unexpected pleasure. This was even more precious than your normal ‘castle-and-grounds’ combination I’m so fond of. It was relatively small, meaning one day when I eventually win the lottery, I could live somewhere like this (I can dream), and I felt as though I had stepped back in time. The day was a bit grey, and there was barely anyone else around. In addition to the Friendship Garden, there was a beautiful pond, a croquet lawn with fantastic views of the Firth of Forth, and the prettiest toilet block I ever did see (it looked like a little cottage). The castle wasn’t even open, but I spent a long time wandering the grounds and had my picnic (a Subway sandwich, two chocolate biscuits and a nectarine) while reading a 1996 copy of The Paris Review that I picked up at The Abbey Bookshop in Paris. The Friendship Garden has the normal Japanese features, such as water, stones, and cherry blossom, and was utterly still and quiet. Perfection. Even the friggen bus ride there and back was pretty.

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Torquay and Weymouth

I had scrambled eggs made with clotted cream for breakfast today and they were super delicious. Then we packed up and headed off! We drove from Cornwall to Torquay, the extraordinary seaside town where Agatha Christie was from. We drove around the town for ages trying to get our bearings and find a park, but when we finally did, we walked out onto the sunny harbour, right next to the information centre! We didn’t have very long to spend, so we decided on a couple of things to do and had a cup of tea to recharge. Then we headed off to the Torquay Museum, where they have the Agatha Christie gallery. The gallery was only small, but really informative and interesting. I can’t get over how prolific she was, and I’ve got a list of all her works that I’m going to work through over the next few years. Marnie bought me a lovely copy of A Pocketful of Rye from the gift shop, so I’ll have to get started on that soon.

After the museum, we walked back to the harbour, looking at a few shops and eventually locating a bust of the author that I had to take a selfie with. Then it was lunchtime, a true English seaside lunch of fish and chips, and clotted cream ice cream. Sitting in the sun in front of the harbour after the last few days of fog and mist was bliss! Then it was back in the car, and onto Weymouth, another lovely seaside town. Our accommodation is pretty cramped, and up about a million tiny staircases, which is not easy with the amount of luggage we have. There is also a lack of parking, but we’ve managed so far, and the view from our room makes up for it. We are right on the beach, with the seagulls and the sand and the sun. We walked along the Esplanade to the Wetherspoons for dinner, and now we’re back in our tiny room. I’m trying to organise my luggage for tomorrow. I’m going to London for a night, but I won’t be taking my computer, so there won’t be a blog for a couple of days. Until then! xx

Torquay

 

Selfie with Agatha. She’s taller.

 

English seaside

 

Our accommodation

 

Our front garden