It took the usual 3 hours to have breakfast, finish getting packed up, and to load up the car so after chatting a short while to the owner we didn’t leave our cottage near Stonehaven until after 11am. Not a very good start really as we had a fairly long drive and I wanted to stop in St. Andrews for lunch. We didn’t arrive there until after 1pm. St Andrews’ town was crazy, next to impossible to find a carpark and people everywhere. After driving around and around we ended up finding a carpark right next to the old golf course – hopefully our car wouldn’t get any further dents from stray golf balls. Funny enough I got talking to a guy who parked behind us about the golf course and he was shocked to discover I didn’t realise the significance of this famous golf course I had the privilege of parking beside. I was at “the St Andrews’ golf course and over there is the bridge that all the world class golfers stand on” etc etc. Okay, silly me, now I remember …

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We found out why the town was so busy pretty fast. You couldn’t miss the festival side shows, rides and untold opportunities to waste your money. All I wanted was to find a place to have a coffee but it seemed every café we went into was full. Eventually we did find one with a table that had just been vacated so I didn’t have to give up on the plan. Actually having a coffee was not all I wanted to do. Rather my number one goal was to find St Mary’s College, School of Divinity, which is part of the University of St Andrews. Fortunately this was easier than I expected as the college is the middle of town. We (Karen and I – maybe not the kids) enjoyed walking around the courtyard and looking at the buildings and decided it would be good enough for me to come back to one day to study theology. It is supposed to be one of the most highly regarded theology colleges in the UK. The University of St Andrews happens to also be where Prince William and Kate studied … so I guess I’d fit right in …

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It must have been closer to 4pm before we left St Andrews – I blame it on Karen and the charity shops – I admit I did buy a large book “17 Equations that Changed the World” – looks riveting! Eventually we drove past Edinburgh and found our way to Haddington arriving just before 6pm. It was nice to get out of the car – our last big trip before returning it.

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Sunday, being our last full day with the rental car, we drove to North Berwick, a small beachside village. Now they had a lovely beach, shame the weather was cloudy otherwise we would have laid around on the sand. Instead we had to settle for … yes you guessed it … a coffee in a café. We found a lovely café full of friendly people. The coffee wasn’t too bad, in fact I had two large coffees and we shared a couple of slices and also a banana cake. The banana cake I ordered after seeing it on our neighbour’s table. That got us talking and before long Amy was sitting at their table telling them about our trip. I joined her and we had a very pleasant chat to the couple about Italy.

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Our last trip with the car was into Edinburgh city. We found the train station and the car park to drop the car off to. I was glad I had called in the morning to get better directions. Nice to say good bye to the car but a little unsettling not knowing how much the repair work will cost. That news will come via email. The main event for the day was to get to the Royal Botanic Garden by 1pm for “A Circus Extravaganza” – a kids show performed as part of the Fringe Festival. That gave us time to walk along part of the Royal Mile down to a small museum called the “People’s Story” – about the life of people in Edinburgh over the past few hundred years. After the circus show we had a coffee at the garden café and then found our way back to the bus station and on to the bus heading back to Haddington. Apart from the shocking price it was a comfortable ride, only I couldn’t read anything as I was too busy talking to a couple of the other passengers. The next day the kids insisted on staying home to do their home schooling; however, we did get a short walk in down to the shops to find a Post Office. The cottage is in a perfect location, only about five minutes’ walk to the centre of town.

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It was sunny again on Wednesday so I borrowed the owner’s bike to survey the town. In the process I found a park for the kids to play in so later in the day while Karen worked on our accounts I took the kids for a walk to the playground via a coffee shop and a bakery.

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The next day I went for a short run and later in the day we all went for a walk down town again.

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I enjoy just wandering around checking out places for coffee and looking at the buildings.

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After school on Friday while Karen continued her massive accounting effort I took the kids to the Museum of Flight to see the Concorde!

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(Week 26: Saturday 11 August – Saturday 18 August 2012)