Monday, May 27, 2019

And It’s Back to Edinburgh We Go...

Monday morning and the job begins.  The job of  traveling from Scotland to England, from England across the Atlantic, across the USA to Seattle and lastly from Seattle to our little island up in the northwest corner (almost off the edge) of the North American Continent.

Here we go.  We travel from Dumfries to Carlisle by Scotrail.  THEN we transfer to a Virgin train.  The first class tickets were only $10 more, so...why not see what that’s all about?  

A menu for our lunch choice. (There are 2, both wraps)

Comfy seats with a little table by the window...all to ourselves....

...and as it turns out....we seem to have the WHOLE car to ourselves?!  Come to think of it, we found what we thought was the train, got those huge suitcases aboard, no train personnel in sight...we found our seats, still no one around...Nan begins to think, with five minutes to departure, we must be on the wrong train?  Help!  But she doesn’t want Steve to get off and look case, well, you know, the train departs!  Without him!

Finally a train person comes along...I ask if we are the only ones in this car?  Yes.  And the next car has only two as well.  And the whole train has 17 passengers.  ???  He says the return trip will be packed.  Maybe.  Anyway, a quiet ride ....for sure.

We arrive in Edinburgh and found our hotel...right across the street from Waverley Station....yes, a Motel One again!
Take a look at this wall decor in back of the check in desk.  Bring the outside, IN.  

We settle right down for a coffee since it’s only 3:00 p.m.

Yep, the sheep theme lives on in the Edinburgh location.

Tonight is our last dinner in Scotland...and we check out the pubs along The Royal Mile.  Just like last year, they are all full to overflowing by 8:00 p.m.  Our last try...and there is room for us at a small restaurant: Angels and Bagpipes. The waitress apologizes and says...would it be alright to have a table all to ourselves in a small room up the stairs?  Perfectly....perfect!   Turns out to be one of the best meals we’ve had the whole trip!

Since our flight to London is not until early evening, we have the whole day to tour around.  And we get to use our rain jackets again!
Off we go to St. Giles Cathedral on The Royal Mile to have breakfast in the basement cafe.  We learned about this great little spot last year and we were anxious to return for a good, reasonably priced meal and...yes, great coffee.

Have to have a photo with the telephone booth.  Soon, a thing of the past.

When we visit the cafe this morning we discover there is a free afternoon concert in the cathedral today!  
We will be back for that!

First we hike across town to the National Museum of Scotland.  Last year we only had an hour here, and there is much to see.
For’s the personal writing kit of Bonnie Prince Charlie!

Then a little never know when you’ll need that wool scarf...might as well be one from Scotland.

It’s a ....tram...from downtown Edinburgh out to the airport.  What else would it be?  Definitely NOT the airport bus that wait across the street from Motel One.  No, the tram, which is 7 blocks’s a tram.  Which is almost like a train.  So.  We’re on it.

It’s British Air from Edinburgh to London - Gatwick.  Overnight at Gatwick....we have a 7:00 a.m. check in for Norwegian Air to Seattle.

Ahhhh, Friday Harbor!  You are just as we left you!

First meal....SALAD.  And greens...lots and lots of greens, a little chicken and no potatoes!

The welcoming committee! turn our upside down bodies, right side up.  We left London this morning at 09:50....and we arrived Seattle at 11:40...same day...ha ha ha.  Laugh if you will...but since it really is more like 24 hours and not two hours...we have some adjusting to do!  

It feels SO good to be HOME!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Come Along to The Ukulele Festival of Scotland 2019

Our memories of this gathering are many and varied.  From the kick off on Friday afternoon at the Castle Jam, to the midnight and candlelight concert in Crichton Church to excellent workshops, jams, coffee with friends, stage presentations, a Saturday night gala concert by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and then the upbeat but...alas, melancholy, grande finale all events on the program are fabulous!  Oh, and the venue!  That is fabulous too.  The grounds surrounding Crichton Church and Easterbrook Hall are green, flowered and lovely.  The only drawback for us is that our hotel is a good 30-40 minute walk from the festival.  So.  We arrive early and we stay...all day...and all evening into the night before calling the taxi service.

Steve says...the right size for espresso!

Glamping jamming tents!  There are two of them all set up for anyone who wants to join in or start their own session.  Can’t pass up crawling in here and doing a little strumming.

Everyone gets a songbook to use...and keep!

This weekend the flowers are in full bloom, the sky is in full blue (except when it’s in full grey and rain) and the vibe is full on FUN!

In case you forgot, you are in Scotland!~

On Saturday and Sunday the church is used for open mic competition and some concert acts.  Incredible acoustics! friendly!  See the dog getting A+ for music appreciation?

Saturday night The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain preformed.  We are so excited to experience this group!  They perform all over the world and have been going strong for many many years.  

On Sunday we attend a master’s class with two members of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.  What an interesting and fun hour!

We can see why this festival is so highly acclaimed.  We agree!  

Just look at these “Help Baskets” that sit by the entry to various buildings....what a great list of “emergency” items...available!

First aid kit...

....a folding cane...

Vitamin C!....

Umbrellas to get you from one building to the next if the sky opens UP...and the rain comes DOWN!

Mike Hind is the lead for the Grand Finale, which features bagpipes, all the teachers and presenters, the entire everyone sings a few Scottish favorites (think 500 in the audience with ukuleles!)....

The beginning song is sung to “Born Free”....

We end up with confetti canons and verses of Auld Lang comes the could be that next year the festival may not happen.  That is a very very sad thought, as truly, this has been a gathering with great spirit...Aloha spirit!  (Love, Welcome, Hello Friend, Good to See You, Happy to Be With You...kind of Spirit)

Yes, purple is the official doubt about it.

We’ll go on the hope that there will be another Ukulele Festival of Scotland AND that someday we will return!

For now....Aloha!