liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
[livejournal.com profile] darcydodo, whom I hadn't seen in far far too long, had a work reason to come to Scotland. International conferences are definitely one of the major perks of academia. So anyway, I went up to Edinburgh to meet her, and we travelled back to Cambridge together, and it was brilliant.

Train from Crewe to Edinburgh is almost too easy, and it's through really beautiful bits of the Lake District and southern Scotland. I really should just make random weekend trips to Edinburgh more often, at least off-season, cos accommodation in Edinburgh is scary expensive in summer. Anyway I managed to get a spare room in the university halls where the conference was being held, which is still expensive considering that it's student accommodation and not a proper hotel, but vaguely affordable, and also meant I was staying on the same site as [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo.

Walking southwards from the station just felt so very nostalgic, the views out over the castle and Calton hill and out towards the firth, then the mix of tourist-trap shops and eateries covering the whole gamut of fanciness and studenty shops and various little corner shops and pound shops as you get up beyond the Royal Mile. The good pie shop I'd forgotten about sold me a macaroni cheese pie, as Proustian as you could wish. And then I'm right up by Holyrood Park right at the foot of Arthur's Seat, just round the corner from where I stayed with [personal profile] lethargic_man the first time I crossed north of the border in 1998.

So I checked in to my room and decided to head into town to look for tea. And I turned a corner and saw [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo with her colleague. I knew she was busy Saturday afternoon and hadn't planned to meet up until the following morning, but suddenly she was running up to me and giving me a big hug and smiling her smile that makes the whole world brighter. The colleague was so impressed at how excited we were to see eachother that she suggested we could hang out for a couple of hours until dinner. So [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo suggested we could try climbing Arthur's Seat; I wasn't sure we'd have time to go up and back in time for her dinner appointment, but we set off anyway, and in fact we were at the peak in not much over half an hour. I think that's partly cos I'd forgotten the scale of the hill, and partly because I'm rather fitter than I was last time I did that climb. And we talked about everything and looked out over the estuary to the sea (it was cloudy and misty so we couldn't see the whole Kingdom of Fife like you sometimes can, but still.) And we were even back in time for a cup of tea before [personal profile] darcydodo had to go back to professional networking.

By this point I was starving, having subsisted all day on that one pie with a decent hill walk in the middle. So I headed back along the main road looking for the first place I could find that had plausible-looking food and wasn't full of loud football fans. This turned out to be a little Malaysian restaurant which fed me a perfectly decent aubergine dish, though definitely not the most exciting thing I've eaten in Edinburgh. (It seems my beloved Ann Purna has closed, or rather turned into a cookery school I might quite like to check out at some point, but not on a Saturday night when I'm starving.) Once I was fed I considered going out for a drink or maybe even some nightlife, but opted for going back to my digs and going flop. In fact I managed to chat to [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel for a little while before retiring, which was really nice. I like living in a world where you can have international conversations from a hotel room.

Then we enjoyed our planned perfectly studenty morning, heading over to [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo's room in the next block and drinking tea while perching in a corner of what is really, really a one-person room. [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo found a pleasant brunch place called Hellers Kitchen. Their veggie breakfast was pretty good, including veggie haggis in place of the black pudding they served to carnivores. And then we spent about 5 hours on the train, admiring the beautiful views of the Northumbria coast and talking and talking and talking. [personal profile] jack met us at Cambridge station and we went home for tasty stirfry and more talking.

Monday [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo and I walked into town, admired the Chronophage, walked along the river to Grantchester, ate a cream tea in the Orchard, and walked through Grantchester via Byron's Pool to Trumpington and once we were there we just carried on the last couple of miles to Shelford, though that bit is along a main road and not a very interesting walk. Mum sent us out to pick fruit, and then fed us a really really tasty dinner, [personal profile] jack and Dad joining us after work. And we had loud, opinionated, hugely overlapping conversations / debates until [personal profile] jack could barely drag us away in time to get home for midnight.

Tuesday was more walking, we walked to the river and then upriver to Fen Ditton for lunch in the Plough, which as ever had amazingly good food and amazingly slow service, so we only just got back in time to grab a taxi to the station. In London we met up with a bunch of friends from college, including [personal profile] pseudomonas as well as some people I hadn't seen for years, in The Betjeman Arms, a hidden gem of a gastro pub actually in St Pancras station. Making it easy for me to return home to Stoke.

Wow, spending extended time with [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo is so very, very good for me. We caught up properly on eachother's lives and gossipped about all our mutual friends and debated religion and politics and hugged and it was just amazingly wonderful.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-03 03:01 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
Oh, that all sounds utterly lovely. I was very glad to chat with you and so glad the rest of your weekend went so well.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-05 02:04 pm (UTC)
ephemera: celtic knotwork style sitting fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] ephemera
Hurray for good visits!

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