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Life Blog – Beastie Goes To The Edinburgh Fringe

Click on the photo to see all the Instagram photos that we all took on the weekend.

Peanut went into proud Mum mode when No1 Son told her he had adapted the book The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe for the stage and that it was to be shown at the Edinburgh Fringe. The book is a classic and made Goethe an international literary celebrity – one of the first in truth! A weekend at the Fringe was deemed appropriate and we went for the August Bank Holiday weekend to give us a bit more time to get to Edinburgh and back.  We decided to inflict a bit of art and culture on RVW and Storm and invited them along for the fun. Top man that he is RVW always signs up without checking the small print when we hatch a scheme so the fact that Edinburgh is a looooong way away never fazed him.

We set off on Friday night and stopped over at my Mum’s in Buckley while RVW and Storm took the Friday off and overnighted in Newcastle. We arranged to meet at a car park in Edinburgh at 11.30 and all of us were there before the due time. RVW managed to park not in the car park but in a private car park next door reserved for prospective buyers in a new apartment complex.  We were worried he would be clamped or the car would be locked in the compound but actually what happened is, he ended up with free parking in the centre of Edinburgh! I think “Jammy Devil” was the phrase that came to our minds!

We were booked to see Werther’s Sorrows at 2, so decided to grab a light lunch at the cafe in the theatre before we watched the performance. Duncan’s adaptation rightly earned a 4 star review  and all four of us enjoyed the performance which had been brought  forward from 1774 when it was first published into the modern era. It was very powerful and a great start to our Fringe experience.

Next stop was to move the cars to the hotel and check in. Now some things and some people are clearly just made for each other, fish and chips, sugar and spice, Laurel and Hardy, Beastie and Peanut but trust me Ray and Tom Tom is not one of these classic pairings. First, instead of putting the hotel postcode into Tom Tom, he puts the plan B car park post code in (the one we would use if the first car park – you know the one he never atually found – was full). Secondly, he then forgets he has the hotel postcode so has to ring for it and then he takes another 3 circuits of Edinburgh to finally reach the hotel. Any longer and I would have struggled with a third lager in the hotel bar! All part of the fun and the rich experience of a weekend away with RVW!

The Elf and Fandango had also made the trip to Edinburgh for the finge a few weeks earlier and so they gave us a few tips on what to do and where to eat. Fandango also put us onto an iPhone App for the Fringe and I have to mention this app. It was a brilliantly designed app, showing what was on where and at what time. It also showed the location of the theatres in relation to where you were and it allowed you to book tickets and get them printed out in a whole host of collection points dotted about the Fringe. No queuing and no hassle, quite simply a smashing app that really enhanced our Fringe experience.

We had an early dinner at Prezzos (recommended by The Elf)  after walking into Edinburgh from the hotel and the food and service was excellent in spite of them being very busy during the Fringe. Next stop was  Sammy J and Randy in The Inheritance which was a good counterpoint to the weighty Sorrows of Young Werther with its silly full on humour! We all chatted about this and Duncan’s offering and  in truth we all enjoyed the weighty Werther experience more. I don’t know if this tells you more about us four or more about the two shows we had seen so far.

Finally, after a long day walking round Edinburgh it was time to walk back to the hotel. Walking mode on Google maps on the iPhone would get us back just fine. Buggar, my phone was out of juice – it would be down to RVW to get us back safe…

Let’s just say we all slept like logs when we finally got home and leave it at that shall we? :)

Click on the photo for a black and white slideshow from the weekend.

Sunday began with a full English at the hotel and then a walk into Edinburgh, checking out the castle, the Royal Mile and the street entertainment.  The fire juggler in the picture kept us amused. We lunched at a cafe in a park and had dinner at The Buffalo Grill where we all enjoyed a steak. Sunday night we watched Moving Melvyn Brown who entertained us with Ray Charles and Sammy Davis songs and it worked for us.

All in all a brilliant weekend and the only black mark on it was the 7 and a half hours it took us on Monday to drive home fighting throught the traffic. If you get the chance to go to the Edinburgh Fringe take it. The city buzzes with the fantastic atmosphere and it really gives you a good feel good factor!

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Life Blog – Walking The Malvern Hills

Picture courtesy of The Elf

I had planned this walk in May as a goal to achieve, as part of my recovery from my last operation at the end of March. We have done this walk before but I had obviously been a great deal fitter then and we didn’t find it easy before.

So when I came home Friday I was excited but tense, concerned about my fitness and not at all sure I could complete this walk, but there are all sorts of mind games you play in the fight against the Big C and to me, I had to complete this walk, overcome my demons and claim my hills again. The situation was not helped by a confirmation of my next scan date – September 14th – on the doormat when I arrived home, a reality check and just a little reminder that we haven’t won the battle yet. But the timing of the scan is good as it is just after we return from our next holiday and all being well, our life will carry on buzzing as it has for the last few weeks.

We were expecting seven companions for our walk, my cousin Lorraine, The Elf & Fandango,  Aston & Debs and Huw & Sharon. The Elf, Fandango and Lorraine arrived later on Friday evening to stay over, everyone else we were meeting on the morning of the walk.

We met up at North Hill Quarry car park and finally at about 9.45, as my directions had not proved as helpful as I had hoped, we were all at the meet point! We left two cars there and headed off to the start point at Chase End Hill, which is the southernmost point of the Malvern Hills.

By 10.30 we were on our way, the weather was dry but looked a little threatening and had already rained a little before we got going. Here we are on top of the first peak on the start of the walk, full of enthusiasm for the rest of the walk!

We then dipped steeply down through a steep, slippy and overgrown path where more than one of us ended up on our backsides. We began to think “I hope it’s not all like this” but this end of the hills is the most isolated and very unfrequented even in a good summer, and it has been so wet this year everything has grown and the paths have been taken over.

A consequence of this was that we lost the direct path to the next summit – Raggedstone Hill – and I got a bit frustrated when we ended up skirting this peak as that wasn’t my plan and in that wonderful way I have, it was of course P’s fault.

The problem I have is that having made the Grand Pronouncement ie – Let’s Walk the Hills! I then expect my PA – Peanut – to…

  • Plan the route
  • Know the Start/Finish/Lunch/Toilet stops in her head
  • Learn the route in every detail
  • Bring the map and carry it with her, folded at the correct place at any time I might wish to consult it, should I think she is wrong.
  • Make the picnic
  • Carry the picnic on her back all day in a haversack, providing me with drinks when she thinks I need them.

and of course take the blame for anything that might go wrong. Completely unreasonable of course but while you all know that P is the best I want you to know that, make no mistake I know too, so it will come as no surprise that 3/4 of the way through said walk even after I had been irrationally unkind to her, blaming her for getting us lost at the start of the walk, here she is holding my hand, dragging me up the long stretch to the Worcester Beacon.

Picture courtesy of Aston

She is simply the best.

Finally we reached the halfway point of the walk at the Herefordshire Beacon and we had our picnic on the benches  by the car park at the foot of the Beacon. There is no doubt that had it just been me and P we would have given up, tired and weary. But the encouragement offered by the others in our gang was fantastic and quite simply we could not have done it without them. Along the way I got to talk to everyone and it was really nice to chat with old friends and new as we walked the hills.

We were both really struggling at the Worcestershire Beacon, me with a painful knee and P with all manner of hip and groin issues, but as we dragged ourselves to the top the sun came out to make it a perfect walk with fantastic scenery, good weather and great company.

One last push was needed now and for this  we dipped down from the Beacon and then up again over North Hill, dropping down eventually back to the car park where we started at North Hill Quarry.  We then drove back home, after fetching the two cars from the start of the walk, and had tea and cakes in the garden.

I would like to extend a MASSIVE thanks again to everyone who came. Your encouragment, help and company made it simply a perfect day! last but not least a big Thank You to Murphy, Huw and Sharon’s tireless Jack Russell, whose enthusiasm and evident pleasure at his walk was an inspiration to us all! :)

PS. You can see the approximate route we followed by clicking here!