Sunday, 15 May 2016

Ennui and guano!

Sunday 15th May

                            Once again with Lady Watson  being entertained by her favourite man I decided that since the weather was unusually bright and warm for a Scottish spring day I decided to explore some of my favourite county, East Lothian.I ventured on to the well trodden path leading to firstly Tantallon Castle and then to North Berwick itself.
                                Tantallon castle was the one time home of the Douglas family.It consists of one major defensive wall with the other sides defended by the cliffs saving on the need for building strong defensive walls.Obviously when it was originally built nobody had seen the Guns of Navarone.It was laid siege to by James IV and his son James V before after putting the finger up to Oliver Cromwell getting a severe nose-bleed at the hands of his artillery in return.
                                 Nowadays the only people who run riot are children and this place is perfect for them giving them plenty open spaces to exhaust themselves or throw up in the process.Today was no exception as there were families in abundance running about and exploring all the nooks and crannies of this homage to Scottish hostility towards themselves.
The ramparts are accessible and when climbed give a great view from west to east,which today gave a great view of six tankers waiting to make their way up the River Forth.The only thing I could think of was that they were waiting on the price of oil to rise but I'm no speculator.
                                  Outside the walls is a doocot(dovecot).To quote Oor Wullie "On yonder hill their stood a Dookit,Its no there noo cause somebody tookit!"And that's without any Hobgoblin!
Winged rats.
                                    All in all on a good day it's a great place for tiring kids out with excellent views out to the Bass rock with all the thousands of gannets going about their everyday business and covering the rock with birds**t.Also easily visible today were the lighthouse and also the ruins of a prison from which four Jacobite escaped and held it for a few months before the authorities recaptured it from them.Obviously the authorities originally thought that if they wanted it they could have it.
S**thawks by the thousand.
Further out from the Bass Rock is the May Isle which in my youthful mischievous days whilst working in the Marine Hotel I would convince tourists (especially Americans) that it was Norway.
The battle of May Island occurred on Jan 31st 1918 and was one of the only battles not to involve enemy action.
Too the east of the castle is Saint Baldred's boat which is a rocky outcrop near the Seacliff beach.Waiting patiently in the water were some surfers obviously waiting for the ultimate wave.
I hope these tankers are well anchored.
                                     After leaving the castle I headed a few miles to North Berwick with the intention of visiting the local museum as I haven't been there since the eighties and if my memory served me right it contained some perfect exhibits for a fossil like me.Trying to find a parking space near the museum was nigh on impossible as the world and their granny had decided to visit North Berwick.
Bit different from the last time I was here.
             I finally found a space and headed for the museum only to find it had been given a facelift since the last time I was here(well it was thirty years ago).The exhibits seem to be confined to a couple of open plan rooms which I found seemed to be a bit off putting,more like a nursery classroom.
North Berwick railway station in better days.
Soap box time,I know it should be classed as a classroom for modern society but I think it takes away from the periods the exhibits and pictures portray.Off soap box now.
                                   I headed back along the High Street picking up some reading material from the local charity shops before heading for home and getting stuck in to my mountain of unpainted lead.And Michael Ball was still on the radio.That's the one bad thing about Skyplus.
                                     See you when I see you.


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