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April’s in Scotland too!

April 25, 2009
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After the splendid weekend of the birthday party, I flew to Edinburgh. I made the New Club my base and saw a lot of old friends there. Sadly, one whom I had meant to see there was in the Royal Infirmary, so I visited him there instead. The Royal used to be in the middle of the city on the edge of the Meadows in my old parish of St Michael and All Saints, but it is now a brand new facility right out on the southern edge of the city in Petty France (so called because the courtiers of Mary Queen of Scots, who was also Queen of France, lived there).

I went with a friend for dinner, bed & breakfast at Sharrow Bay Hotel on Lake Ullswater in the Lake District of Cumbria. This was one of the first country house hotels in the UK and really set the standard for all the rest. It is still an oasis of elegance and fine food, set in the most stunning countryside, which was full of orchards in full blossom, great swathes of gorse on the hillsides and, of course, in Wordsworth country, “a host of golden daffodils”. The fields were all full of sheep with newly-born lambs, hundreds of them. I had forgotten how they all get together in groups and then begin to “gambol”; they can jump straight up in the air, all four legs leaving the ground. Then they dash around in little gangs till the mothers bleat them back for a milk snack.

All this, plus meals in London at the Carlton Club, the Garrick, and the Ivy, means that I am now returning to the USA several pounds heavier than when I left. Oh well, I enjoyed the break from bread and cheese and water! Now back to St Clement’s.

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