Summer 2009 – Week 6 ending 12th August

17 Aug

Three days out and all of them sunny. We even got a bit of colour. Painful nippy colour.

First stop Loudoun Castle. Scotland’s Theme Park. Not M&Ds (tho they claim to be) no, definitely Loudoun Castle. It has it all, the ruin, Greig piped throughout the long walk to the first ride, no flying stinging beasties. It’s a theme park all right.

And best of all it’s a recycled theme park. I love that most of the rides have clearly been loved and played on at other establishments over the years and are seeing out their retirement at Loudoun. It’s got that quaint “doesn’t quite fit” air about it. There are only two “lands” so far, a Pirate one and a Farm one. At the farm one there’s a huge space-age chair swing. Doesn’t quite fit, IYKWIM. There are some new rides, but they’ve started off with a load of second hand ones and I think it’s just fab. And so do the kids. Any we can gather up and drag along. And never get photos of them all together…

And it’s always sunny. I have no idea why we waited until the second last week of the holiday. Well I do but it involves waiting for someone who pulled out at the last minute… making me growl. A lot. We got over it and had a very un-lame day.

This is one great bunch of young peeps (and Clairebear who didn’t fancy this ride). Admittedly I am related to 4 of them and biased but even so I’d take this lot anywhere. No worries.

See? They even wave for photos. They humour me.

A week later Paul is still traumatised at discovering cars are not driven using 4 buttons and a joystick.

I do look forward to him reaching 140cm. The time since Andrew reached rollercoaster height has kinda overlapped with short-arse discovering rides so we’re back on the kiddie ones again for at least another 40cm. Bum.

Even me…

Next on the agenda was Arbroath Seafest. Except we thought it was called Fishfest… which obviously became a day out to see Arbroath’s Fishface. As it does. I expected a lot more “fish”, Arbroath being famed far and wide for its smoked herring. It was a bit like Perth’s agricultural show, with boats instead of tractors. And it was at the seaside.

We had to actually leave the Seafest to find any fish… all we found inside was curries (£20 for 7 yeah we bought them) and burgers… very fishy. Not.

We did find the famous smokies, although someone had an eye on them already. This smokery (is that a word?) was most cool and in the back garden of a house at the side of the harbour…

My first taste. Most delish. Bit bony. Someone could have warned me. Sooner.

And they don’t half leave your hands stinking.

We raced the clouds to Lunan Bay. We were second. This did not keep the children out of the North Sea.


4 and a bit…


They still maintain it was not cold. I believe that was down to the complete lack of any feeling whatsoever as their blood rushed to their internal organs and their nerve endings froze. Or something like that.

And finally, Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Years ago my sister and I, along with a friend of hers, took our 5 children aged 5 and under to see a puppet show at the Fringe. We took the train, we had a picnic, we saw Kenspeckle Puppets perform Greyfriar’s Bobby then took them along to Greyfriar’s Cemetery to see the statue and actual resting place. They thoroughly enjoyed their day and behaved wonderfully. This year it took the combined efforts of 2 adults and 2 teenagers to control one 4 year old fiend who we were determined was not going to be permitted to ruin the day completely. I can say unreservedly, however, that should Paul wish to return to the Fringe he can do so when he is old enough to buy his own tickets and get his own arse there.

We had tickets for 2 shows, one suitable for Paul, Ice Cream Man and the Jelly Incident, and one suitable for us all, Potted Potter (all 7 Harry Potter books in 70 minutes) with enough time in between to roam and enjoy the street performers.

The problem with buying tickets in advance is that you have to go that day… no matter what.

So under threat of flooding and unable to see the rail bridge from the road bridge we arrived in Edinburgh, thankful for the good choons lifting our spirits… honest. I was laughing anyway.

After a quick run up the Royal Mile, collecting leaflets and promising ourselves we’d be back, we arrived at the Pleasance Dome for our first show…

Paul didn’t want to go. We made him. The very talented Brothers Dim performed. Paul laughed a lot. We asked him at the end if he’d enjoyed it. He said he hated it. His pants caught fire. And thus the tone was set for the rest of the day.

Next we headed for the Grassmarket and Kathryn’s first visit to Armstrongs. Where she drooled a lot and we were asked to leave lest we damage the goods. Not really. But I will have to take her back. Without Paul (sensing a theme yet?).

It’s a veritable vintage goldmine Armstrongs.

Do I need words?


I managed to drag myself out before we got lost amongst the antique wedding dresses and black velvet cloaks.

Down to the bottom of The Mound where people gather to perform and spectate…

Then to Scotland’s only Hard Rock Cafe for a pre-booked lunch.

We’ve been to Hard Rocks in Toronto (both of them), Atlanta, Orlando, London, Paris and Edinburgh. And I won’t be back. It was the one restaurant Andrew could eat anything from the kids menu. Now they have replaced the allergy warning with a totally meaningless “may contain nuts or seeds”. Yeah well he’s not allergic to seeds so what is it? Nuts OR seeds?  Twats.

Paul ate nothing. And refused to sit at the table for most of the time. And swatted at least 4 diners on our way out before I got gold of him and restrained him.

Our walk back up The Mound was more leisurely than our walk down. Well it was uphill.

Only this month will people tolerate a man with his head in a bucket. Let alone pay him.

Students below on left, pretentious oiks fannyin around “performing” the crab and other such advanced gymnastic moves like my kids used to do when they were like FIVE. Students below on right, didn’t get to see them, had to head for Potted Potter, but they look cooler.

Promoters were thick on the ground…

But we made it back up to Pleasance Over The Road in time for the really odd and not very funny, Potted Potter. Actually that’s not fair, if the two drunk blondes at the front hadn’t screamed every time John Helier opened his mouth it might have been far more enjoyable, but I think even he was getting narked after 10 minutes or so. It was supposed to be a kids show so there really was no need for them to sit gagging at the front spoiling it for everyone.

Paul wriggled and writhed and slapped me until he eventually announced he needed the toilet and blessed escape beckoned.

The sun split the stones all day so stuff you weather man and your 70% chance of rain. Thanks muchly for making us lug our coats around all day in the blistering heat. Yeah thanks.

It costs us something in the region of £100 every time we step out the door. The last week of the school holidays will be a quieter affair. And next time we want to “save” for a big holiday the following year I’m going to suggest we pop to Spain for a fortnight cos it’s got to be cheaper than this!


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