Sunday, August 2, 2009

Trip to Edinburgh: Days 1 & 2

On Thursday, July 23, we left Oxford by train, heading first to Birmingham (an hour away) and then to Edinburgh (another 5 hours). We were going “home” to where we’d lived during the school year ’05-’06. Steve and I were excited to spend time in a city we love, as well as catch up with old friends. We also looked forward to re-acquainting our kids with places and people that used to be important to them.

The trip there was fairly uneventful. Ethan was thrilled to be on a train! This was his first long-distance train ride. We had a 3 hour layover in Birmingham, during which we explored the city a little bit on foot, and got caught in a rainstorm. The kids liked chasing pigeons in a grassy square we found.

The 5-hour ride to Edinburgh was trying on our nerves. By the end, the kids were stir-crazy and tired (we didn’t arrive ‘til after 9 PM) But we survived! At least the train was almost empty by the time we were in Scotland, so the kids’ noise wasn’t bothering loads of people. Naomi and Josiah spent the last 20 minutes of the journey picking up rubbish from throughout our car, and filling a bag with it. At last, a useful way to expend their energy!

For our first two nights, we stayed with good friends, Kate and Hugo Allan. Their daughter Rebecca is Josiah’s age and was one of Naomi and Josiah’s best friends. They also have a 2 year old foster son. It was a delight to see the kids play together, as if three years hadn’t gone by since they last saw each other. Rebecca and Naomi even had a “sleepover” together on Friday night in Rebecca’s room.

On Friday, we took the kids to see our old cottage. We didn’t see the inside, but took pictures of the outside. Two big changes had occurred in the last three years: 1) the car park that used to be completely empty (and available for tricycle riding) behind our house was now full of cars; 2) the huge derelict building that used to be such an eyesore from our kitchen window is gone, and in its place is a huge Sainsbury’s (grocery store).

We made the walk down our road to nearby Saughton Park, where I used to take the kids to a Winter Garden on cold days and the playground on

warm days. We enjoyed the goldfish in the greenhouse, the beautiful rose garden, and the huge sandpit in the playground.

From there we crossed the street to our old library. Balgreen Library had seemed so small to me when I first arrived from the Chicago suburbs. It’s only one room and has no bathroom. It is much bigger than our current local library in Marston, Oxford, though! We checked e-mail, read to the kids, colored

unicorn and dragon coloring sheets, and waited out a brief rainstorm.

We began the 40 minute walk back to Kate and Hugo’s, passing the McDonald’s we ate at every now and then, and discovering that a brand new Aldi grocery store was in our neighbourhood. It would have been only a 5 minute walk from our old house – a bit farther than the Sainsbury’s across the street, but not much!

At home we enjoyed the Allan family. Kate served the kids their own supper, we bathed them all, and then Hugo made a special meal for us adults. It was very nice to catch up in person with good friends!

1 comment:

ErinOrtlund said...

Your old house! Brings back memories. I remember having spaghetti and apple crisp with you there, and playing Settlers of Cataan. :)

A Sainsburys right there and an Aldi down the road? That would have been convenient!