Friday, August 26, 2011

What I did on my hols...

This post started in July and just never got any further and I’m starting to forget what I was writing about so I’m just going to do a very brief round-up whilst I still have some memory. The things that got in the way? Work, books, gardening; nothing exciting or worrying, just life.

So, in July we went on holiday, before the Fringe. I took the train down to Falmouth (a substantial journey) and Ian flew down to Exeter and joined me for the last leg of the train journey.

The holiday started with a visit to Christina Lake and Doug Bell in Falmouth. We’ve been meaning to visit them again for ages but it’s not a place to just drop in, it requires a bit of planning and time to travel. It’s always lovely to see them, such good fannish fans, and we seemed to spend the whole weekend gossiping and planning (and eating ice-cream, and drinking cocktails & nice wine and eating) and occasionally talking about books. They have a lovely house with a view of the harbour if you are high enough up. From the attic where we slept you can see a gorgeous panorama but it’s a ladder and a flight of stairs down to the bathroom, which certainly precludes drinking too much or the temptation to make it the main bedroom. I enjoy spending time with Chris and Doug enormously and then never stay in touch in the interim. I guess it’s because it is the gestalt that is so marvellous. Perhaps we ought to set up conference calls with all four of us from our three different locations calling in.

(Splendidly we also saw them in the first week at the Fringe as they were up visiting Doug’s parents in Penicuik. We met for a lovely and memorable lunch at the Missoni Hotel in Edinburgh, adding Lilian and Julian to the mix. Fab!)

We left, somewhat reluctantly, on Monday morning and headed for Bristol to stay at the Mercure, which is very nice and only quite expensive (Laterooms). We’d looked at cheaper options but Trip Advisor advised against. Most of my lovely (if hazy through time, not drink – really) memories from here revolve around meals. Who would have thought? We met Sue Hobson for dinner in the Glass Boat, a floating restaurant of Welsh Back, in view (and Wifi contact) from our room in the hotel. I can’t remember what we ate (although I remember it was lovely), just that we had a fine time chatting. It’s always good to see Sue.
We also met Clarrie and Tim (the celebrated first Harry Potter) Maguire for the splendid Mexican meal and an evening at their flat complete with a life size Lara Croft (of course). Clarrie, like me, is a Daniel Kitson fan. Ian took agin him when, after winning the Perrier, he forsook stand up for whimsical storytelling the next year. I’m just going to have to go see him on my own.
We did things other than eat. We went to Bath and visited the Roman Baths, and stayed a long time to justify the steep admission price. We went from there to the house of the celebrated astronomers, William and Caroline Herschel. The most interesting thing for me was the house itself, kept as far as possible as it would have been when the Herschels lived there.
We also explored Bristol’s St Nicholas Market, a hundred yards or so away from the hotel but that takes us back again to eating. The Source. Eggy bread. Mmm.
I guess other than the food and the chatting, what stood out in this Bristol visit was the plethora of gorillas. If we had had more time we would have sought them all out and captured them. There was a map with all their locations available. I have a vague impression they were to support Gary the Gorilla at the zoo. Personally I’m not keen on keeping gorillas in zoos but I really like having illustrated gorillas infesting a city, providing simian surprises in unexpected places.

From Bristol we caught a train up to Worcester to stay with Chris Donaldson and Paul Oldroyd. Annoyingly they have gafiated so we don’t get to see them automatically twice a year. Even more annoyingly they have retired and spend much of the year gallivanting around France and Spain with their overbred but delightful dog, Guinevere. I miss them.
Chris cooked all our meals and they were wonderful. If Ian hadn’t picked up a few sausages in Source it would have been a vegetarian couple of days for him, poor soul. Chris is one of the best vegetarian cooks I know, and not even veggie herself. Julian Headlong came over for the day on the Thursday so we left the boys at home and Chris and I took a bus into Worcester to go shopping. Window shopping for the most part. I bought a book and a soap from Lush. And a coffee at Costa.
I really enjoyed this final part of the holiday, again more for the sitting around chatting than for anything we actually did.

Compared to the Fringe this was a very low cost holiday, despite a fair amount of eating out and quite some distance travelled. We managed to find cheap deals on the trains and we only stayed in a hotel for two nights. And so much fun!

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