Monday, 3 June 2019

23 Great King Street (Edinburgh, Scotland)

On Saturday, June 1, I was out the door of my hotel room a little past 9:00 a.m. I don’t want to miss my 10:30 train leaving from Kings Cross. Though I doubt if it will be much more than 30 minutes to arrive at the station. When I approached the hotel reception desk, from the elevators, with suitcase in tow and room card key in hand, I was asked if I was checking out. This happens about 50% of the time. I guess I wasn’t in the right mood and made a comment that I certainly wasn’t checking in. This just shows I’m due for a rest.

As it turned out I made it to Kings Cross in about 35 minutes. Though the two underground stations I passed through (Shepherd’s Bush and Victoria) did not have full underground step-free access, but thankfully Kings Cross did. Guess I must have needed the exercise. While I was waiting for the train’s platform to be announced I bought a sandwich to enjoy on my four and a half hour journey to Edinburgh.

About an hour into the trip I gained a seat companion who reserved the window seat. I generally reserve an aisle seat since I like to move around a few times while traveling. She had just come from visiting her grandchildren who live near Oxford. We had great conversation before she departed at Newcastle. It really helps to pass the time when you have someone sitting next to you who enjoys a good conversation.

Before long the train was pulling into Eginburgh Waverley and from there I boarded a taxi at the station’s taxi rank. I was met by my host’s parents at the entrance to 23 Great King Street. (My host, her husband and one year old were in Paris.) I had met them before and we chatted for a bit before I entered the building and carried my luggage up two flights of stairs. It was good to return to a flat where it feels like home. This is the third time I’ve stayed here.

Before I got too comfortable I left to find food for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast. I checked the cupboards and refrigerator before leaving to see what I additional items I’ll need to buy. Donna, my host, is good about having a few items waiting for me. I can count on biscuits (cookies), oatcakes with a small jar of jam, milk, fresh fruit, tea and ground coffee.

Tonight I’ll fix fried chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, and green peas. My humble dinner that I have quite often. I’ll buy more groceries tomorrow from a larger store about a half mile from the flat.

I napped, ate dinner, watched a bit of TV then went to bed early. Nice to be in a familiar bed for the next few weeks. The stock pot left with my hosts was waiting for me when I entered the flat.

Sunday afternoon I went to the larger store a bought enough groceries to fill two large shopping bags. Tonight I’ll make Cottage Pie. Though while putting away what I’d bought I discovered that I bought ground pork rather than ground beef. A quick trip to the local smaller market corrected that error but what do I do with a kilo of ground pork?

Though somewhat simple, making Cottage Pie takes a bit of time to prepare and cook. Browning the meat (20 minutes), then cooking the vegetables (20 minutes), adding the remaining ingredients, adding back the browned meat and cooking for another 45 minutes. Then making the mashed potatoes. Then putting the meat mixture in smaller oven dishes, adding the mash to the top and then cooking for another 20 – 30 minutes. I only refer to a recipe to ensure I haven’t forgotten anything.

I’ve figured out how to broadcast programming from my phone to the TV. Most every flat now has some form of “smart” TV. If not, I can use the HDMI cable that attaches the TV to my laptop. Having both BBC and ITV iPlayer options, now I’m in the U.K. gives me an almost unlimited amount of programs to watch.

I’m having a difficult time shaking my cold. I’ve been blowing my nose all day, a slight cough, and feeling tired. It was another early night for me. I’d like visit the gym tomorrow but I might stay in to take care of my cold. And enjoy more of the Cottage Pie.

On Monday I did stay in all day. I had plenty to eat and took several naps throughout the day. Well, this is why I’m staying in Edinburgh. Resting up for continued travel starting in August. I have an outline of places I’d like to visit thought the rest of the year and into 2020, but first I need to think about where to meet up with Ori and Molly. Also, waiting to hear back from Paula to see where we will meet in August. Travel planning is my job now, but having a few days, or even a week, away from it helps me regain my perspective.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel a bit better and finish getting settled in Edinburgh.

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