5 October 2010--Another gray morning, and I elect to stay in for a few hours to work on photos. Get out about
noon, and feel very clever when the sky clears a short time later.
I should note the pronunciations of some of the places I've been to. Berwick rhymes with Derrick. Alnwick is pronounced Annick, and Denholme, Dennum. The large Borders town of Hawick, which I have not visited, presents some difficulty. It seems to be slightly more than one syllable, but rather less than two; somewhere between Hike and Hoick. Or High-ick and Hoyick. Whatever. I'm not going there because I can't say it. (Hmmm, that's probably not a very good policy in Scotland. I'll never summit Sgurr nan Conbhairean.)
Berwick is a walled city, with the bulk of the fortifications dating to Elizabethan times, although some features are medieval, and modifications continued right up into the 19th century. Somewhere along the way, it strikes me how much like Quebec City it is, at least in certain details. Several of the streetscapes I see might have been transplanted directly from one to the other.
I cross the older low bridge for a different vantage point, and return on the newer high bridge. Sunset sneaks up on me--it'll do that when you get out after noon. Dine at the local Wetherspoon's, as much for the free wi-fi as anything, and then go check out the Pilot Inn. It's a real local, with various characters chatting in the front room, as Mr Sociable buries himself in postcards and journal in the back. I try the Barrels again after that, before calling it a night.
I like Berwick a lot, surprising given that my first impressions, on two brief visits a few years ago, were not very positive. Glad I gave it another shot. At the same time, I feel I've seen what I want to there, and have no real need to return. On the other hand, there are interesting events at the Maltings, the local arts center, and I'd be glad to come back for a concert, if the calendar lined up.