As it was the last day of our trip we decided to get up early so that we had time to explore as much of Edinburgh as we could. The first place we visited was a beautiful building just down the road from us - St Mary’s Cathedral.
From there we just carried on walking in whichever direction we fancied and saw the Telfer Subway full of artwork, Lochrin Basin at Edinburgh Quay with all the canal boats moored up and Bruntsfield Evangelical Church. Then we arrived at a beautiful open garden which had stunning views of Appleton Tower, Salisbury Crags, Arthur’s Seat, Barclay Church, Edinburgh Castle and the Old Royal Infirmary.
Soon after that we found a quaint little café where we sat for brunch. Whilst in there we checked where we were and worked out a route up to Edinburgh Castle. It was stunning! There were lots of steps as it was on a cliff face, but it was worth going up there to see both the castle and the views.
After all of that we didn’t have much time left before our train was due, so we walked back to the hotel to collect our luggage and made our way to Haymarket station.
After a three hour train ride, my dad picked me up to take me home. I was expecting to go in, grab some tea and settle down to upload my photos… instead my aunt was at my house when I got back and she & my mum were making a huge buffet. As more family, friends & neighbours started arriving I realised that they’d organised a surprise party for my leaving! It was lovely and so much fun - the perfect end to the weeks adventures.
We caught a bus up to the zoo as soon as we were ready in the morning and then spent literally all day there! We both adore animals and we saw so many cuties <3 My highlights of the day were;
Seeing a real life panda bear.
Having a penguin literally run over to me - it was genuinely one of the cutest things I have ever witnessed.
And seeing another animal that I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen before - the koala bear.
We saw SO many more beautiful animals; Ibis, Dik-Dik, Visayan Warty Pig, Pudu, Gibbons, Pygmy Hippo, Cassowary, Sun Bear, Dwarf Mongoose, Macaw, Hyrax, Agouti, Wallaby, Banteng, Red River Hog, Snakes, Binturong, Douroucouli, Goeldi’s Monkey, Golden Headed Lion Tamarin, Capuchin & Squirrel Monkeys, Rhino, Malayan Tapir, Bunny Rabbit, Egyptian Vulture, Baboon, Lion & Lioness, Horse, Llama, Anteater, Zebra, Lesser Kudu, Jaguar, Amur Leopard, Rock Hopper, Scottish Wildcat, Fish, Darwin’s Rhea, Saki Monkey & Flamingo.
Plus as the zoo was on a hill, we had a beautiful view from the top.
A 6am start is not really my idea of fun, but it was for a very good cause. It took us four trains and five hours but just after midday, I stepped foot into Scotland for my first time ever. We travelled from Edinburgh Waverley to Haymarket, where we checked in, bathed, got ready and headed into town for a meal. We found a Nando’s and sat in for food & a drink before it was time to head over to the theatre.
We went to see ‘This May Hurt a Bit’ - a show about the NHS which is brilliantly written with moments that stir up debate, moments of great poignancy, moments that are completely surreal and moments that make you laugh! We bought copies of the script and picked up a couple of flyers. It was a most enjoyable evening and the whole cast of eight were brilliant. Starring were - Brian Protheroe, Hywel Morgan, Tristram Wymark, Jane Wymark, Frances Ashman, William Hope, Natalie Klamar and the wonderful, magnificent, reason that I went in the first place - Stephanie Cole. As always her performance was spot on - even in such a brilliant cast, Stephanie still stood out. She just has that quality to her work, that the most elite of our older generation of actors in this country have. Although most of the characters, including Iris, had totally opposing political views to my own, I enjoy healthy debate and it was interesting to listen to the opinions of all the different characters.
"There’s something deeply incoherent about political beliefs based simply on an aspiration to equality with no thought to the cost."
After the show we sat upstairs for about 20/25 minutes before Stephanie headed up. I said how wonderful I thought she was in the show and that I was such a big fan of hers that we’d taken five hours travelling up to see the show, especially to come and watch her. She signed my book and had a photo with us. When I thanked her for her kindness, she said she appreciated us travelling up and she hoped that we’d enjoyed our evening. Very lovely lady, so glad I had the opportunity to watch her work and meet her :)
We got up and met Karen for a little ‘good morning’ at the arena. I took down a t-shirt I’d had made with photos from our touring adventures right from the start. Some of the other girls were down there, so we got talking about our very first meeting and how crazy that actually was! Karen said “God, we go way back don’t we” - I actually can’t believe I’ve been doing this for seven years. And that first night we met them, I never even dreamed that everything would happen the way it actually did. Karen also said that she loved my coat (having also seen it the night before) and asked where it was from.
After running back to the apartment we walked into town and saw Karen & Chris linking arms, walking in front of us, so cute <3 We headed to find the newspapers and then picked up a couple more bits & pieces for lunch. Later in the day, my other friend came to join us and we all went for a meal in the restaurant attached to the side of the Lacemarket (it’s name has totally escaped me). Then we got ready and went to see Dancing On Ice: The Live Tour for our very last time. I took a few photos of the opening and one at the start of Bolero, but apart from that I just wanted to watch and give them my full attention for one last time. It was pretty emotional, but a great ending.
After the show we went to do our final stage door. We got some of the pros & celebs first; Hayley, Alex & Luke, Bonnie, Joe, Beth, Ray, Robin & Andy.
Then it was time for our favourites! I got a photo with Chris and thanked him. Then Jayne came to us - for once I managed to say everything that I actually wanted to without forgetting anything. I thanked her for such a wonderful seven years of touring, for always treating their fans with respect, for always coming over to us, for the photos, autographs, chats, and all the other wonderful memories. I said it had been a privilege to watch her and Chris skate and everything was most appreciated. She said she was glad we’d enjoyed it and thanked us for our support. She asked how long I was going to be living in New Zealand and said to enjoy it :) We took our last tour photo and said our goodbyes. Jo said she’d be crying in the apartment but Jayne said “No, go out and celebrate!”
The last person we saw was Karen. As she came over I said “Can we please get our last photo then Karen” She said “Oh don’t say that, this isn’t goodbye, it’s just goodnight.” I said yeah but Karen I’ll be in New Zealand! She said New Zealand’s on their list, so you never know ;) And she also said to keep in touch. So I do hope to see her at some point in the future, as our seven years have been lovely!
I met my friend in Derby and we took the short train to Nottingham together. As we were walking out of the station we noticed a bright pink coat, worn by a pretty little lady - Jayne Torvill <3 She and Chris were there for a bit of filming, but we left for the ice apartments as we wanted to check our bags in before heading to the Square. It was getting on for midday by the time we arrived, but although we’d missed the first rehearsals, we still had plenty of time to find a place and run through the routine before Jayne and Chris arrived to film. I wore Bolero purple and we basically had to pretend we were all walking through town and then go into the end move of Bolero as Jayne and Chris walked past. As they got into the centre of the group we all dived to the floor. There was lots of laughter - mainly from Jayne and Chris haha - but they did applaud us all and seemed to enjoy doing it. There was a two minute gap in the middle where we managed to run over and say a quick hello to Karen :) A lot of dirt and several bruises later we were finished and went to collect our thank you envelopes. We did also make the paper the next day.
We didn’t go to the show on Tuesday night, so we went to the supermarket to buy goodies; cooked a load of fish fingers and chips and went to relax in the apartment (we’d had a free upgrade to the Penthouse suite, so it was gorgeous!) Around ten o’clock we popped next door to the arena to wait for Jayne, Chris & Karen. We got a photo with each of them and they signed skates for my bears. Chris & Karen had no idea what the miniature skates were, but as soon as Jayne saw it, she said “Aww is this from one of those build-a-bears” I told her they had their own gold medals and everything. We were talking to Jayne & Karen about the events earlier in the day and - as well as having a giggle with Jayne about two old ladies who’d somehow got caught up in the flash mob - she asked if we’d got any injuries. I told her my leg was all bruised and she said “Now you understand what it’s like” haha. We gave them a few gifts we’d bought for them and said we’d see them the following day.
Miss Davenport, Glenda, Nora, Nelly & Pearl hitch a lift after the bus breaks down…
Miss Davenport: You don’t need a ring on your finger to do all that a wife can.
Marina: That’s always been my opinion.
Odd Man Out - Series 1