Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bon Voyage New York, Howdy UK!

Obligatory Abbey Road shot (with Mom's thumb in the way)
It's a rainy day in Puycasquier, France, and I must admit I'm quite glad, because it gives me a chance to abstain from sightseeing and walking-about and to reflect a bit on what's happened so far...

Quite a whirlwind since the record-release show, since I boarded a plane to London two days after.  Got to stay in North Hampstead in London with my parents at the Wallin household.  The first couple of days consisted of heavy sight-seeing -- the Big Bus Tour, London Tower, Jack-the-Ripper walking tour in the pouring rain, Hyde Park, the ferry ride down the Thames, the obligatory fish 'n chips, and Several Old Speckled Hens (my fav).  I even managed to drop the folks off at Buckingham palace while I took a meeting with a London music manager, who gave me some solid advice, and has helped me out with booking a few shows here.

Our hostess, Loretta, was so welcoming and gracious that after two days of aggressive sight-seeing, we all crashed out at her house and nursed our fatigue.

Me asleep in the bus station at Waterloo
after missing the 7am bus (shocking!)

The day of travel northward was about as nightmarish as a day of travel can be.  Missed the 7am bus (of course!!!), only to see my newborn cousin for 10 minutes, rushed to get back to the train station only to miss the train as well!!!  Got lost in Leicester trying to find the bus station, squelched a small panic attack, but finally booked an expensive and LONG train + bus route up to Berwick via NewCastle.  However, made the final destination (13 hours of travel later) to the BEST tasting dinner ever!  Fresh whole seabass, home-made bread, and courgettes (the English version of zucchini) and multiple glasses of red wine.  Aahhhhhh.....

Outside the Old Vicarage B & B, admiring the
free range eggs.

Spent the next four days visiting Berwick-upon-Tweed, where my grandmother grew up, and where her brother (my great-Uncle Bob) and his wife Nancy still live.  This town is on the boarder of England and Scotland and has changed hands somewhere in the realm of 13 times.

This is where my ancestors were from....what?!?!
 Of course there was no internet in the B & B, so I felt completely disconnected from the reality I'm accostomed to, and became more entrenched in the reality my Granny must have been accostomed to.  The village was  breathtakingly seaside and war-ridden, the weather severe, and the people hardy.  Some of the best seafood I've ever had as well. 

From there, took a short train to Edinburgh, where sadly I could only spend one day.  Hiked up the Mound to Edinburgh Castle to get a grand vista of the old and new sides of town.  I'll have to go back -- everyone was incredibly friendly and humorous.

View from my Cousin Stewart's
house in Puycasquier, France.
Another day of flight brought me to my cousin's house, near Toulouse, and here I am!  Have spent the past few days relaxing in the countryside, and visiting small villages, and of course gorging on cheese and local wine. :)  Next week will head back to London for some shows!  (of course I've left out a ton, but too much to write!) 

Until then,