Posted: Oct 10, 2003 2:03:10 AM
Before I set out on this trip I told everyone who would listen that I knew that somewhere, somehow, I would run into someone I knew from home. Unintentionally, that is; completely by accident. To be truthful, I didn't believe it would actually come to pass.
For the last week and a bit I have been exploring the Old Country, the Scepter'd Isle, that Jewel of the North Sea. France. No, wait, that's not the word I'm looking for. Britain, that's it. So far Britain has been a bastion of serendipity, where fortuitous happenings abound.
It started before I even arrived; because of the mess with flights (see previous reports), I turned up at the airport in Rome late for my re-arranged departure time (went to the wrong terminal). I've already explained how they all told me to run to the departure gate, but I didn't mention that because I arrived so late they had run out of seats in Economy, and bumped me up to Business Class. Mmm, serendipity and free magazines.
I'm glad about the magazines, actually, because if that tenuous chain of circumstances hadn't come about I probably would never have discovered that Edward Said has died. George Plimpton too. Grim.
Anyway, Edinburgh was great fun, arrived at midnight with no accommodation booked (just as in Ankara and Valletta), had a couple of days of frenetic site-seeing. The Stone of Destiny, Faberge eggs, climbing Arthur's Seat, eating haggis.
I skipped to York and did more of the same, but tackier. Did the York Dungeon (frightened a few of the other patrons completely accidentally, which amused the employees no end), an evening ghost walk (the guide was very surprised that I had heard of Barghests), an afternoon walk around the city walls, ate Yorkshire pudding, and then checked out the enormous Yorkminster.
And ran right into my old Shakespeare lecturer, Dr. John Ross, on holiday from New Zealand. Flabbergasted, flabbergasted. The chances of this happening have to be very slim, but I was of course delighted at the sheer serendipity of such a meeting. It was nice to see a friendly face, too.
It wasn't the last friendly face; from York I have met up with Ian and we have spent the last few days hanging around Shropshire and surrounds. Talking about books mostly, which is incredibly fun, although we did drop into Stratford-upon-Avon to see a proper Royal Shakespeare Company production, and tomorrow we will explore Shrewsbury.
I have been on the road for fifty days now. Everything is going well, I think. Everything is going well.
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