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Mariam's Amazing Race to Cannes and back to Cambodia: Day 15

This morning I decided to look out the drapes and check my watch when I woke up. It was 5:30am and already getting light. Any further north and I suspect it would be the gloaming, when the darkest part of night remains twilight.

Breakfast was again superb, this time with an added sausage. Chris need to run an errand, so he dropped me off at Sorbie Tower to wander around. It was quiet except for the birds; it smelled of fresh rain and wild garlic (or onions - they both look the same to me). It was cold, as usual, but Chris was so kind as to give me coat for the rest of the trip ((THANKS!)).

I don't know if there is an official difference between castle and tower. As far as I'm concerned, if it is a fortress made of stone, it can loosely be called a castle. But the ruin at Sorbie is called a "tower" and I don't want to be disrespectful. Steve Hanna, whose wife I met before, has the keys to open it up and let people go inside, but as I mentioned yesterday, he was out of town.

There is a big celebration day on May 30, with dancers and bagpipes and food. But, alas, I must return to my new homeland where my current responsibilities await.

When Chris picked me up, we went over to Garlieston, on the coast. I purchased a bit of Clan Hannay tartan, a brooch with the crest and a book of family history full of various pedigrees.

Back at the B&B, it was time to feed the animals. First we went to Biggin (short for Big Red). She's the eldest and favorite of the lot. Then it was onto the other pigs, sheep and lots of chickens. The pigs are a very rare breed being close to wild with a thick, coarse hair.

We had one more stop at Bladnoch Distillery for some purchases to have shipped with personalized gift labels. Chris ran another errand - this time to Wigtown - where he also picked up a couple of tins of Haggis for the friends back home in Phnom Penh who begged me to bring some back.

I couldn't believe that I actually packed everything back into my carry-on with a few straggling items into my duty-free bag. I settled up my bill which included a little extra for the kindness of driving me around the beautiful land of my ancestors and all the way to Stranraer to catch a bus. While there, we stopped at a grocery store called Morrison's where I stocked up on pasties, Jaffa cakes and Cadbury's "mini rolls" Jaffas (like chocolate and orange Ho-Ho's). I also got a package of fresh Scottish crumpets and some "clotted cream," (more about that later).

I had received an email from my friend, William Mickleburgh, whom I originally met in LA, that he and his new wife were indeed able to have me for a visit that night. It included an address, but not being familiar with the area, didn't pay any attention other than to write it down. The bus (formally known as a "coach" here), took about 4 hours with one stop in Glasgow.

I found Glasgow an interesting city. Reminded me a bit of a combination between Cincinnati and St. Louis. Very industrial for the most part, but with old churches and Hilton skyscrapers mixed in with a dash of modern art structures. As other travelers got off the bus and made more room, I took out my corned beef pastie - it hit the spot!

Edinburgh at the city centre had a lot of stone architecture. There was also a hip art culture all around evidenced by event posters on every wall. When I called William, he told me to take a train from the Waverly station to Berwick-upon-Tweed. I found my way there, (it was very close) and had missed the 7pm train by 10 minutes! The next one left at 9pm - I had no choice but to buy a ticket and wait.

At this point, it occurred to me, that had I realized I would need to get a train, I could have taken a train from the Stranraer ferry port. I watched several people walk from the ferry to the train, just across the parking lot from where I got on the bus. It might have cost a bit more, but I would have gotten there faster and straight to the Waverly station. ((Oh well, I'm sure you were just waiting for SOMETHING not to be perfect!))

I had a nice chat with the gents sitting next to me on the train, but I loved looking out the window. The sun dropped slowly behind some clouds hanging suspended from the grey sky above the ocean. The coast was amazing although I can imagine it would be fretful during a storm.

When we stopped at the Berwick-upon-Tweed station, I got my bags and went to the same door where I got on. The gents were telling me to hurry so I was, but the same door wasn't open. I knocked on the window at a man in uniform and shrugged my shoulders as to say "where do I get out of here?" He pointed me back the way I came, past a narrow aisle which I'm sure entertained the commuters to see the funny American running sideways with two bags to get off the train before being stuck en route to the next station. I made it just in time and the platform was already empty. Surely other people got off the train, too - was I that slow?

Outside the station, William was waiting in a car which was much warmer than the icy cold twilight. I started to say what had just happened, and he admitted to having seen the whole thing as it occurred through the glass windows of the train. The whole situation was too funny to be embarrassing, so we both laughed.

It was just getting dark as we arrived at the property (which I will describe tomorrow). We stopped on our way to the house and said hello to Romeo and Chili, the horses. Nina had made a scrumptious dinner of chicken, dressing, broccoli and roasted potatoes. After a bit of catching up, they offered dessert, which made me remember the crumpets and clotted cream.

A ran to my room and brought it back to the kitchen. Clotted cream is a real treat so they were surprised that I had it. After heating up the crumpets a bit, we ate them with clotted cream and home-made black current jam. The only way I can describe the clotted cream is that it is in the middle between whipped cream and whipped butter - but not as if you just mixed the two together. I'm sure it's called "clotted" because that's what it will do to your arteries if you eat too much!

The fire started to wane in the hearth and we all went off to bed to get a good night's sleep before the adventures of the next day. While the featherbed and down comforter warmed quickly, I had to admit missing Chris' hot water bottle!


Mariam Arthur
Kmy Films
+855 (0)12 54 30 74


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