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Fictionwise (reprints of some of Derryl's fiction)
~ Friday, September 05, 2003
Fotolog is still wreaking havoc, but somehow one my Scotland pix finally found its way up there. Check the site for more B&Ws for the next little while before I switch over to shots from the digital camera.
In between trip notes, a brief limerick, written for me by my friend Guy Gavriel Kay on the occasion of a party for the mistress of his website, Bright Weavings:
An audacious Murphy named Derryl
Attended the Hugos dressed in a barrel!
When fans queried his attire
He said, eyes flashing fire,
If Sawyer wins, this IS my apperyl!
There were many of these going around that night, as Guy seemed to have one for almost eveybody in attendance. This was, of course, in conjunction with Worldcon in Toronto.
Scotland, Day Two
It turns out that in the UK (and, for all I know, in all of Europe), customer service takes on a different meaning with car rental companies. Turns out I was spending £7/day for insurance with a £500 deductible which didn't include the sort of roadside assistance I might find in Canada or the US. In other words, I had to pay to replace the flat tire from the night before, Like as Like. £50, which is around $110. So the day didn't start off all that well.
However, we got downtown and poked around, braving the enormous crowds all there for the Festival, which includes the Fringe and the Tattoo and everything else. I think I recall reading somewhere that the population more than doubles during this time, and I think every single one of them heads on down to the Royal Mile. Crowds or not, it was quite something, seeing so much history being treated so well, still alive and worth having around.
Then it was on to the National Library of Scotland, where I found several volumes by or about John Napier that were well worth scoping, including two from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Much meat for the novel.
After a late lunch, we took a tour of the city in an open-roofed double-decker bus, and then went underground to see Mary King's Close, a group of streets and rooms that were once in the open but covered up in the 19th century by the construction of council chambers. It was a fine tour, although we were accompanied by a couple of young and drunk Scots, and they never said a word about shutting plague victims into the Close in 1645; I had to read that online while finding a good link for this entry.
That night we had drinks with Charlie Stross, Stephen Baxter, who was in town for the Book portion of the Festival. And then we staggered home (not from drink, but from exhaustion, pausing for a bite to eat from a trailer being run by two French guys and to watch the fireworks as the Tattoo ended for the evening.
~ Thursday, September 04, 2003
Scotland, Day One
We started with one of the worst flights of my life, on Air Transat, a charter with seating designed for a trip to the abattoir and a reputation for gliding over the Atlantic. No matter the saving, Jo and I are agreed that we won't do that again.
Arrival in Glasgow was a bit before 8am, local time. After clearing customs, we caught a shuttle over to Thrifty to pick up our rental car, a little Ford Fiesta, severely underpowered even with a 5 speed manual transmission, and it was hell to put it into Reverse. But I managed the left hand side of the roads okay, and we managed to fight through rush hour and construction to make it to Edinburgh, where for quite some time we drove around lost and in a daze (did I mention that we couldn't sleep on the seven hour flight?).
Finally we found our first B&B, the Joppa Turrets Guest House. They of course weren't ready for us, so we wandered up the street and had a bite to eat, then headed back and had a three hour nap. After the admittedly too-short snooze, we drove off to St. Andrews, not quite two hours away, to have a short visit with Jane Yolen. However, the car got a flat while we were in town, so after walking over to her house and enjoying a short visit and tour (a beautiful house and garden!), I left with her husband to change the tire. This was a task that I could have accomplished on my own, but I was so tired that it didn't even occur to me to look for a spare and a jack.
Tire changed, we headed back in the dark. The road signs were frightening, and so were the roundabouts, but somehow we managed to find our way back and fell into bed, having been awake 35 out of the previous 38 hours.
Bob teaches idiots about the differences between its and it's.
While you're waiting, check out this great article about Canada.
~ Wednesday, September 03, 2003
I'm back, I'm exhausted, and I'm swamped with mail of all types, to say nothing of back to school for all and soccer playoffs about to start. I'll post soon on Scotland and on Torcon, and pictures will start going up later today, I hope. A note will be left here when it happens.