Ooh. This is weird. I’m writing today’s post from my dad’s dinner table in Edinburgh. Can I still be nakedly confessional?
So, a new chapter for apoplectic.me, coming to you from Scotland. Ecosse. Scotia. Caledonia. The Old Country. And, more specifically, Edinburgh. The Athens of the North. Edina. Embra. Auld Reekie. [That’s enough Amis — Ed.] And, as of day 4 without getting beaten up, things are going OK. We’re throwing ourselves into things, and I think we’ll settle in quite quickly as a result. In a way, though, it’s different to moving to New York, where things are split into manageable boroughs, and if you learn the subway, you’ve kind of learned the city. Of course, Edinburgh’s smaller. About a sixteenth of the population, depending on how you count, at just under half a million, and about one third of the size, depending on how you count, at 100 square miles. So, yes— this city, which seemed so densely populated to tiny, bobble-heided Ricky, seems quite spacious now.
So, once again, Stroke Bloke is in a reflective mood. The reverse migration has started pretty smoothly. Looking back, the first long-haul flight after Strokefest 2012, when we headed to LA for the Gallifrey convention, was awful. It took most of the long weekend to recover. Just in time for the return flight. Our AerLingus transatlantic flight wasn’t much longer, and was a bit more comfortable, notwithstanding the fidgeting, self-absorbed girl on my left. (Why is it always the left side?) So that was good.
Well, I say “smoothly”. Our possessions continue their long, messianic trip across the Atlantic. Messianic, that is, in that they’ve decided to walk the whole way, and will arrive in yet another two weeks, about a month after the “estimated” arrival date. And poor Seamus and Geronimo, our cats, just spent the weekend in London. The one upside of that is that we had to take a taxi out to Cargo Village, at the back of Edinburgh Airport, and were driven by our first incomprehensible Scot. Talking about the Miami Dolphins, natch. Though it might have been The Rangers. Or nuclear fusion. Ah huvnae a scoobie, likes.
Talking of accents, my dad was telling me that he used to remorselessly rib his English neighbour in Mosstodloch. (Yes, Mosstodloch exists. It’s outside Fochabers, outside Buckie, outside Elgin, outside Aberdeen, and it will appear in the blog once every hundred years.) This went on until he let slip that he was half-English on his mother’s side himself. Les gave him a right mouthful. Then the remorseless ribbing resumed regardless. I’ll be hearing many such little tidbits in the coming months, I suspect. A particularly germane one being that my paternal grandmother (an Englishwoman) worked at the American embassy in Glasgow after the First World War. If you believe in fate, that’s another one to add to Beth’s first (Scottish) boyfriend, first husband (Robert Burns), and her birthday on Burns’ Night.
Among the differences between Edinburgh and NYC, apart from accents and lower population density, are the nicer supermarkets. Even the discount supermarkets, like Lidl, knock your average New York supermarket into a cocked hat. Certainly in terms of cleanliness, organization and aisle space. And the cars all look different.
An [arguably] interesting rule of thumb of which Beth recently reminded me, is that for each one-hour time zone one flies through, I takes a day to recover from jet-lag. So, that should be five days for us. We’re doing pretty well so far. We tried to push all the way through the first day, finishing off by watching the 143 minutes of Skyfall. The first time we saw that, almost immediately following release, I rather enjoyed it. It is overlong, but it’s well acted (Ralph Fiennes is particularly good), has a memorable villain, a big, brassy theme, and is enjoyably retro in that modern way that’s meant to appeal to the fanboys and girls — see Star Trek, The Death of the Doctor, etc. You may have read (see the link above) that the main fly in the ointment was seeing Glencoe. The bleak, desolate, historic beauty of it was as startling as I remembered, and I realized that I’d almost died without seeing it again. It was overwhelming.
Same thing. It’s good to be back.