We’re sitting in a dark, slightly dank room in Newcastle tonight, but at 20 pounds for the privilege we’re not complaining. We’re on our way up to Edinburgh for a weekend of fun with some friends from Melbourne. Leigh and Nikki are living in Edinburgh this year (our friends who came down for the beer festival), Joni’s here for a conference, Sarah (of Follow the Open Road) is traveling and there’s Matt, who is English but lived at my place for a couple of years being my butler/gardener/cook and everything else. We’re converging in the north in order to hook up a skype connection or some such with our friends in Melbourne who’ll be gathering for a 10 year reunion.
Cambridge to Edinburgh is a fair drive (about 7 or 8 hours) which is a distance I’ll avoid doing in one hit if humanly possible hence we are staying the night midway.
I feel like I’ve been neglecting the blog this past week, mainly through having nothing to write about. After a review of finances and the realisation that Africa is going to cost rather a lot (which I always knew, but my theory with money is if you don’t look at your bank balance it doesn’t change) and I have spent quite a bit lately. We’ve been holed up at Andrew’s since returning from Iceland which has saved us a bit (thanks Andrew!) while also giving me a place to escape from suffering hayfever. It’s the best weather we’ve had yet but if I go out for even 10 minutes my nose is running, my eyes itch and I’m congested all day. I’ve been taking double doses of antihistamines which makes being indoors bearable but going out… it’s just horrible. Today I bought a nasal spray, which is what I usually use at home.
I’m imaging by now most people who aren’t parents of Luke or myself have stopped reading. Sorry about this. Truly, we’ve done so little in the last week that there really is nothing more to write about than my ill health (and, as I keep reminding Luke, I am nearly 40 and therefore extremely old and entitled to bore others with my physical ailments). Plus right now I can’t get the remote control to work for the tv in our room and I’ve read all the books on my kindle.
Speaking of which, I think my kindle is the best thing I bought for this trip. I’ve read an unholy amount of books this year. Workmates who read this will understand what I mean when I say that I’ve read 3 times as many as last year (we were all supposed to record how many books we read and I read maybe twice as many as anyone else, which made me seem super smart until you looked closely and realised most of them were about vampires or aliens). I just finished Felix de Palma’s ‘Map of Time‘, which unlike my usual fantasy/sci fi material is actually a prize winning novel that is totally mind bending. If you read it I urge you to get at least a quarter of the way in because that’s when it gets really interesting.
I’ve re-read nearly every Terry Pratchett book, most of the Lois McMaster Bujold, The Time Traveller’s Wife, The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling (excellent, if you were wondering), a few autobiographies, histories of Mongolia (gory), Iceland (boring), Rome (interesting), nearly everything by Neil Gaimon, some Asimov and more. What I really want is a big space opera or fantasy series to get into but anyone who suggests Game of Thrones will get a slap. I tried. Too many horrible things happening to too many characters. I can feel your judgement from here. Shut up.
This is turning into the sort of long, rambly, go-nowhere post that I normally write in my regular ’empty the contents of my brain’ blog. I’ll get back to the topic of travel.
Oh yeah, money. So, I’m about halfway through the money I saved and we’re getting close to being halfway through out trip. The maths is working out ok I suppose, especially considering we lashed out pretty fiercely at some points re luxury hotels in Asia. However Asia is cheap and we’re not going back to Asia. On the bright side, most of our airfares are covered, our New York accommodation is paid for and it’ll be mostly hostels in Europe then flinging ourselves onto the mercy of friends and the elements (camping) when we get back to the UK.
We’ve been continuing to organise our finances thusly: Luke has a travel card that we both put equal amounts onto then spend on mutual things. We have 28 Degrees credit cards that we also use for mutual spending then tally up periodically and divide expenses. We use our other cards for spending on ourselves. It seems to be working pretty well, although I wouldn’t mind trying to budget more tightly when we’re in Europe and keep a closer eye on how much we’re spending daily. Less drinking and fancy restaurants might be in order.
However, as a last hurrah and semi farewell to England (even though we’ll be back for at least a few weeks in October) we’ve booked two nights at the extremely elegant Merewood House, which you may recall as the place where I stayed with my mother and would’ve probably moved into if they’d been a bit less observant. I swore I’d return on the flimsy pretence of showing the place to Luke when really all I wanted to do was sink deeply into the leather couches with my kindle and eat canapés til I was sick.
So no photos, a bit of whinging, lots of boring detail you’re not interested in…it could be like this the whole time but thankfully we went to Iceland. Go check out those photos if you haven’t already. I too about 2000 pictures in 9 days. That’s definitely a record for this trip. Go! Look!