November 1st, 2008

Time Out

And so I sat there with my tin of treats and no-one came calling. I guess Muslims just don't do Halloween.

I've been thinking a lot about the Brand/ Ross affair (sorry this is totally Britocentric). Here's my opinions- all 10 of them.

1. What they did was crappy.

2. Bullying, mean-spirited, unfunny, pointless. Talking truth to power is one thing, but Andrew Sachs isn't power- and talking truth to him was completely out of order.

3. Comedy is a dangerous game. I understand how, when you're riffing, you can get on a roll and lose sight of where you're going. That's one reason why Brand's show is pre-recorded- so an editor can take out the bits that don't work/are totally disgusting.

4. I'm sorry Brand went and Ross didn't. Mind you, I don't think it's done Brand any harm. It just adds to his legend.

5. I like Brand. No, let's rephrase that.  I'm slightly in awe of Brand. I think he's an amazing talent. I've never mistaken him for a nice person.

6. His column in this morning's Guardian is headed What a Barmy, hysterical, cosmic week- and it's all about football. Now that's class.

7. I don't like Ross. He's one of those broadcasters I mostly avoid ( Terry Wogan's another). I find him smug.

8. I don't know why the BBC pay him so much money. I think that was always a mistake.

9. Apparently most people under 30 can't see what the fuss is about. I don't fully understand this, but I'm willing to step aside because, after all, they own the future.

10. I don't want to be part of any crusade that's being preached by the Daily Mail.

And now, back to the travelogue.

The East Lothian Coast

We carried on down the coast of East Lothian. We reckoned it would be a good idea to get over the border by nightfall and sleep in England.

We stopped randomly- on a whim.

This is the kirkyard at Aberlady. The Scots went in for these, massive, deeply carved gravestones. I don't have a date for this one, but it'll be 18th century.

And here's the Seton Collegiate Church. The Seton family- who were local warlords- and later Jacobites-  funded a college of priests to pray for their souls. The church still stands. The priests' house is a ruin. There was an awful lot of violence in this area, through the period of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.  The battle of Preston Pans was fought just down the road and the Collegiate Church got done over several times- by English invaders, protestant mobs, Hanoverian soldiers.  For a while it was abandoned and used as a carpenter's shop. Then the Weemys family refurbished it and turned it into a mausoleum. Ailz found the interior made her feel really panicky- like she'd been locked up and was never going to get out alive. I just found it solemn.

We took afternoon tea in St Abbs. There's a fishing village there and a rocky headland that's a designated Nature reserve.

Northumbrian Castles

The Northumbrian coast is castle after castle. Here are two with Shakespearian associations. Dunstanbrugh belonged to John of Gaunt and Warkworth to the Percys.

Dunstanbrugh. That's an ace surfing beach, by the way.

Warkworth. The keep went up in 1400- in the lifetime (just) of the famous Harry Hotspur- and is more residential than defensive.