So, these were some little bits from our great time in Edinburgh. We also: tried to keep a straight face while a woman thought she felt a ghost in the underground city (“there’s cold on my face…”), wandered breezily into the Scottish Parliament viewing gallery, discovered the totally awesome Museum of Childhood, poked around in the medicine cabinet of a Georgian house and – and I really wouldn’t joke about such obvious mental instability – ended up having conversations like this:
“Pronoun verb pronoun!”
“Pronoun verb pronoun, qualifier!”
Now, one thing you should know about going on holiday with Lucy is that she’s an absolute Adam Smith fiend. It’s forever Theory of Moral Sentiments this, Wealth of Nations that… obviously I did eventually drag her off to an art gallery occasionally, but it was a tough fight. To keep her pacificed I will therefore also include the following photo, although for reasons of political impartiality it will naturally be appropriately balanced:
(And now I’m struck with an irrational fear that someone will take the above seriously… look, to prove I was joking, here’s me with the Batman to Adam Smith’s Robin to show that it was all me really. Ah, Hume. Now there’s a man who wouldn’t have felt cold on his face.)
Now, I’m pretty unapologetic about enjoying holidays, so I won’t bother to go through that tiresome ‘moan unconvincingly about your holiday’ ritual designed to make other people feel good about their non-holiday. Also, it was only Dartmoor, so you’re unlikely to feel uber jealous that you haven’t marvelled over such sights as England’s tallest waterfall. (I have. Fact.) Nevertheless, it was lots of fun There was even an outdoor pool which – in Britain! – somehow managed to stay warm…
With non-existent mobile reception where we were staying I was able to devote ample chunks of time to reading Brideshead Revisited and Book Club’s The Bird Room. As a family we also watched plenty of films: Fight Club (excellent), Cars (sorely needs a public transport sequel), Black Hawk Down (like watching someone else play a computer game), The Black Dahlia (eh?) and Downfall (also excellent). (I have to admit to walking out of the first volume of Kill Bill after about half an hour, bored and feeling like I’d been watching a PowerPoint made for a film studies class.)
There isn’t really much else to say, other than the full album will be on Facebook… soon
The rains cometh! Yes, as a most-welcome shower finally relieves us of a prolonged bout of horrid humidity, I feel a happy boost which prompts me to get on with blogging about our trip to Liverpool. Some photos:
Going through the album and choosing which photos to display actually brought up the curious thing about Liverpool: try as I might, I couldn’t find anything which really screamed where it was taken. I actually asked someone there what they would put on a postcard to identify the city – akin to Parliament or the London Eye, or the Bullring for Birmingham – and he couldn’t really think of anything aside from the docks. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of impressive buildings, so maybe it’s just my fault for not recognising them as quintessentially Liverpudlian. The giant outdoorsy and slightly creepy shopping centre Liverpool One certainly didn’t qualify. Anyway, we did have a great time and packed in art galleries, museums, a bus tour and the cinema alongside (of course) plenty of eating and drinking – thanks to mum for organising it all!
Last night I ended up staring at the beautiful night sky above Queen’s Park (no lighting – hooray!) with Joshua, Niamh and Matthew. Matthew seems to bring out the theatrics in me – we’d already ended up encircling each other in the pub shouting things like “but what is a fact?” far louder than the management of The Corrib would have ideally wished for. A lovely evening!
I hope no-one is now disappointed that there was no further mention of the promised dhododendrons…
Hmm… how to add value when Abbi has already faithfully blogged the holiday and my photos are adorning Facebook? Why, turn to technology of course
Yes, I had a totally fantastic time and can only hope to blog a few memorable moments. Like the train which failed to get up the hill, the cold-induced delirium of night-time swimming, drinking games with the gorgeously feminine voices which followed, giant scary sea creatures at the aquarium, the wonders of Wordplay, the views of the sea and everyone’s amazing company. Onward to next year!
Particularly in light of the numerous ‘Leeds?!’ reactions I had to my holiday plans, let me start off by saying how impressed I was by the city. Admittedly, yeah, we stayed confined to the centre, but that was still enough to really rate what they’ve done with the streets. I’ve said for ages that cities can be made so much nicer by aggressively stripping out the cars, but it only takes two minutes strolling down wide, clean, beautifully pedestrianised streets of Leeds to know how true this really is. True, it is a little shopping focused, but not entirely, and it nevertheless very clearly illustrates the pressing need for change elsewhere. There’s no chance of such progress in London under Boris, of course, but once he’s been dispensed with we should start looking very seriously at which parts of central London can be rid entirely of private vehicles whilst maintaining decent public transport networks.
Anyway! On Thursday night Lucy and I were delighted to meet up with a certain Andrew Kings and eat out to Pizza Express, who very thoughtfully gave us plenty of time to chat before bringing us any food. (Some kind of conspiracy?) We did end up with free dough balls, though, which is almost as good as free cheese. And it was so lovely to see Andy again after about 0.69 x 10^2 years! (HH – you are so on the list for next time.) Feast your eyes:
Friday was our turbo-tourist day, during which we ended up at the most fascinating exhibition on social order, ‘Rank’, at the Leeds Art Gallery. Aside from being genuinely interesting, it also felt pleasingly like a very pleasant form of exam revision; in any case, I’m sure I’ll be able to drop it in to my next DoS meeting. In the evening we culminated this rather cultural day with a performance of The Tempest at The Grand. I haven’t read the play, and Shakespeare can sometimes be rather difficult to follow in these cases, but as it turned out it was both easily accessible and very entertaining. The RSC were giving it all a rather clever African and colonialist theme, which I thought worked very well, raising questions about your sympathies without being too heavy-handed about it all.
(There is a story about the above photo, by the way. Although we laugh about accent stuff most of the time, when buying these ice-creams I have to admit that I couldn’t quite follow every single word the guy said. That’s how we ended up with ice-creams with everything on: when in doubt, just say ‘yes’ and hope it turns out well.)
And then on Saturday we headed back home, after seeing The Young Victoria in the morning, a film which I will spare much comment aside from the fact that I was perhaps the only person in the world disappointed that we never reached the repeal of the Corn Laws. And thus concludes our Easter holiday in Yorkshire… aside from one, very important thing. Books! Obviously, us geeks try and fill gaps with reading, so I finished off Book Club’s 100 Years of Solitude before moving on to Valis and Animal Farm. The last one, I feel, has probably lost most of its power given that I felt I knew exactly what was about to happen at most points… the effects of history, I suppose. But it was Valis with which I really struggled – for most of the week – and I’m certain that this was not quite the best Philip K. Dick novel for me. (William Blake gave me enough trouble: I just don’t do mystic.) So, suggestions please: what’s his best work?
Up next: return of the dinner party…