Thursday 3 October 2002--The good folk of Trim assured me that the drive to Dublin airport would take no more than
forty minutes. I was skeptical, not least because I was sure that I would get lost somewhere along the way. So I allowed an hour
and a half. Got lost twice, and the drive took exactly an hour and a half. I'd been told at Shannon to bring the car in empty, and
I figured the amount of gasoline needed spot on--it was empty with a capital M. I was sure the extra miles spent lost were going to
leave me just short of the airport. Rolled into the Europcar lot safely, and when the attendant said he would drop me off at the
terminal, I almost suggested that we take another car. But we made it. No idea whether he made it back.
* * * * * * * * *
Friday 3 October 2014--Minor disaster last night--a bottle of liquid soap emptied itself inside my toiletry kit. I dumped everything into the shower, turned the kit inside out, and rinsed everything off. The only real loss was my beard trimmer, soaked through and rendered useless. I usually pack the dangerous items (like soap and shampoo) and the vulnerable ones (like the beard trimmer) in zip-lock bags, but for some reason didn't think of it this year.
I'm up to see sunrise on the North Sea. Have breakfast in the dining room, and then watch land approaching. We sail in through the breakwaters at the mouth of the River Tyne, which I'd seen from the air just a few days ago. Land in the North Shields docklands, which are not quite so charmless as the ones in the Netherlands. Board a bus that takes us to Newcastle's central station.
I'm headed to Seahouses, and had thought at first that I would go carless for the next few days, since I will mostly be walking up and down the beaches. I could take the X18 there from Newcastle, but it takes three hours. I could take the train to Berwick in forty minutes, and then the X18 back the other way for an hour. In the end, I decided to get a car--the rental period ends up being exactly three weeks, and the extra days aren't much more expensive than the train and bus fare. I have some trouble finding the Hertz garage, which is close by the train station, but not well marked. Once there, I'm given a Fiat 500. Cute little thing, and the agent shows me how to put the top down. "Oh, that'll be useful in Scotland in October," I laugh.
Navigate my way out of Newcastle and hit the A1, where the Fiat proves to be grossly underpowered. I nonetheless arrive in just over an hour, and check into my B&B. I am reunited there with the tweed jacket I left in the closet last year. It's one of several I own that were purchased in a charity shop near my home, for the princely sum of five dollars each. But this one is my favorite.
Dinner is at the Bamburgh Castle Hotel, followed by pints at the Olde Ship. It is, as usual, Geezerpalooza in the bar; as I've noted before, Seahouses seems to draw a good number of retirees to its two caravan parks. And as I've noted before, it seems a very attractive option to me.