Friday, 29 December 2006

Christmas holiday report

“The earliest thing I can remember is getting a smacked bottom for not eating a banana with sugar on it.”

Thus spoke my mother-in-law as she described her first memory from childhood. I have returned to Scotland, having survived another holiday during which Margaret (for that is her name) attempted to feed me to death. Buckets of chocolate. She is diabetic and is apparently trying to turn everyone around her into one as well.
The trip down was all madness, as the flight was cancelled due to fog and we had to take a train at the last minute. £200 later….we arrived in London. Andrew’s brother picked us up and I spent the first part of the car journey glued to the window like some intoxicated dreamer. Big Ben! The Millennium Wheel! I hear bells! Look – a grotesquely beautiful gothic hotel! Oh, glorious London. London is like a lover that is out of my league but who I adore all the same.

Onward to Herne Bay near the coast – just five miles from Canterbuy. I had two afternoons out in Canterbury, where I discovered the delights of Hotel Chocolate (Craig, if you are reading this, DO NOT look this up on Google as you may spoil your birthday present). After purchasing Grandad some exquisite chocolate biscuits (the man is 90 and is terribly fond of sweets), we joined more than 2,000 others and attended the Christmas singsong at Canterbury Cathedral. Not surprisingly, it was the best choir I have ever heard, the high voices of the boys section floating upwards and raining down like cotton droplets of sound.

We also managed a walk along part of the Kent Maritime Heritage Trail out to Reculver, the site of an old Roman fort that became a Saxon church in 669 BCE and later became St. Mary’s Church. The twin towers of St. Mary’s, which were added in the 12th century, looked gorgeously gloomy perched on the cliff edge. When the original Roman site was built, the sea was two kilometres away, but steady erosion eats away at the cliffs, which are up to 30 metres high. After visiting the wee information centre, we learned that about two metres of coastline is scratched away by the sea each year. The church towers are protected by sea defences but rising sea levels is speeding up the erosion process so there is no telling how long they will last. I was thrilled to have seen it, especially with the benefit of the long walk up to the site, the grey sky hanging like ghost curtains over everything.
I managed to take a few photos of strangers as we walked along and I especially liked the illustrations for the “don’t walk too close to the edge” warning signs.

Right about now the torchlight procession will start going up the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, marking the official start of the New Year celebrations. I shall not be there this year. I had grand plans to get a good spot to see the burning of the giant wicker bull, but I have come down with a cold and all my bones ache. So instead I will make some soup and go to bed.
Overall, a decent holiday, but there always seems to be some magic missing. One of the highlights was reading an entire book in a single sitting – Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.
And that’s the news. The photos wouldn't upload the way I wanted them to. Nevermind.

1 comment:

PurestGreen said...

Ha ha! I finally figured out how to fix my comment thingy! I found everyone's comments! It's a miracle! Or, more aptly, it is proof of how little I know about computers. Thanks everyone for your musings on my musings. I think I have it working now.