6 October 2010--It looks to be pretty dismal out at breakfast, and my landlord tells me that the forecast is for rain all
day. By the time I'm done eating, however, the sky has cleared and the sun is shining. The landlord shrugs and says the weather
forecasts hereabouts are unreliable, since they are geared either to Edinburgh and north or Newcastle and south. It seems to be
yet another way in which Berwick is caught between England and Scotland...only my experience is that the weather forecasts in those
places aren't worth a ha'penny, either.
I'm on my way into Edinburgh today, not a great distance, and I have a number of things in mind to see along the way. First is Eyemouth, a fishing town with a dash of seaside resort to it. I have a walk around, trying to decide whether it actually has any charm or not. I'm not moved to take any photos, not one. Draw your own conclusions.
Then the priory in Coldingham. I spend rather more time here than it's worth, trying to soak up something. A monastic community was founded in the 7th century by St Aebbe a couple of miles from here, but this site dates to the 11th century. The remaining church here, all that's left after the Reformation and the usual centuries of border hostilities, is but the choir of the old priory church, and only two walls of it, at that--the other two were rebuilt in the 19th century to make the building usable. Or so it says at the Undiscovered Scotland website--the church is locked up today, so there isn't much I can see for myself. There are traces of the larger church, and a bit of archeology is going on in the side yard, but on the whole the place feels like just another graveyard.
Down the road sits the tiny fishing village of St Abbs, worth a photo or two. The little waterfront café provides a warming bowl of Cullen skink, which is by itself worth the trip.
The wild land of St Abbs Head looks as though it would be worth a walk, but I haven't time for it, nor for the other things I'd had in mind for the day--I need to turn in the rental car in Edinburgh this afternoon. I'm supposed to bring it in with the tank empty, and the drama of the day is trying to get there without fueling. I've been about 500 miles in the little Skoda and haven't put a drop in yet. Just outside town, I realize that I'm pushing it a little too far, and leave the motorway in search of a petrol station. It takes me a while to find one not boarded up. After an embarrassing few minutes trying to decipher the lock on the tank cap, I put in three pounds' worth--maybe two-thirds of a (US) gallon. It's enough. One or two fewer silly detours earlier in the week, and I'd have made it all the way.
Check into my B&B on Ferry Road, take the car to the rental office at Waverley Station (with the gauge flat on E), and set out for dinner. After wandering around a while, I settle on the Kenilworth, a pub on Rose Street. It's okay. I know there are many fine restaurants in Edinburgh, but I'm still looking for a really good pub that I can rely on for a varied and well-prepared menu.
I have a few pints at the Bow Bar--no one I know in--and a nightcap at the Oxford Bar before calling it a night. Scott and Win arrive tomorrow.