Leaving Edinburgh seemed like a very gradual process. When I left Wellington although I knew I was going for ages, I only had 4 weeks in which to pack up most of my stuff and pack, but as I was moving out of my flat before actually leaving Edinburgh it seemed like I had ages to get rid of stuff, send things home, and then finally have another 5 weeks to hone down what I was actually taking with me. Of course huge thanks need to go to all the people who put me up (you know who you are!), and the amazingly awesome Sid who not only forced me to accompany her to every stately home with tearooms (all but one!) reachable by public transport from Edinburgh, but was the voice of reason in helping me debag a lot of things I really didn’t need to bring with me.

Going back to where I left off last time, the book festival was pretty good. Alexander McCall Smith was as fantastic as ever, and I really didn’t regret going to see him a second time. David Levithan and Cat Clarke were my (unexpected) favourites though. I was there early and had an interesting conversation with the people sitting behind me about feeling too old to be at these kind of events (which I know is ridiculous!). That’s probably what I love most about events for teens/kids though, I always feel like there’s less pretense, people are there because they enjoyed the book (it’s entirely possible that I feel less awkward talking to people at those events though and so am more likely to do so though!) and are happy to talk about it.

Here’s the traditional picture, I think Cat got a bit of a shock when I asked them to say six though!

Cat Clarke, David Levithan, and Giraffe

I haven’t read anything by Cat Clarke, but am planning on doing so after hearing her read a bit of one of her books.

Michael Morpurgo was a delight to see. I’m SO glad I bought a ticket (not that there was ever a chance I wouldn’t), even if I ended up with a seat in the second row thanks to my tiny, tiny bladder. He was really nice when I met him in the signing queue too 🙂

Michael Morpurgo, Giraffe, and I

John Boyne was also really interesting!

John Boyne and Giraffe

After the book festival ended, I finally used up my last groupon voucher to go out on a ferry tour on the Forth of Firth with a stopoff on Inchcolm Island, which was great. It was a pretty windy day, but the Abbey on the island was gorgeous, and it was sunny enough to not be freezing cold! We also got to go out to where they’re building the new Forth Road bridge which was interesting, and they even answered two of my questions about how they build bridges over large bodies of water!

Inchcolm Island

After that there was just lots of saying goodbye to people. I only properly cried once, but that was mostly because we had also been playing Settlers of Catan and someone (who will remain nameless) stole the port I wanted, and had absolutely nothing to do with me being sad! It did feel really weird saying bye to people, partly because I know I’ll probably see most of them again before I actually go home, but also because it made me realise that when I do go home it’s going to be goodbye for a while. When I left Wellington I knew I would only really be gone for 2 or so years, and it felt different.

I’m currently in the Scottish Borders, and have been having a great time (I’ll write about that separately probably next week), but have been thinking about whether or not I should try and do a similar thing as I’m doing here in Iceland when I’m there in January. Two of the three reasons I want to go to Iceland are for snow and hopefully to see the Northern Lights, and my reckoning is that the longer I’m there for the higher the odds, but I’m not sure if it would be completely sane to stay in Iceland in basically complete darkness! I’m also not sure about how easy it will be to get around places via public transport. Someone has said that it’s Iceland and that they’re presumably used to the sort of weather I’m expecting so it won’t be too difficult! Anyway, feel free to chip in on the comments (I can’t seem to start a poll for some reason) if you have something to say :). At the moment I’m on the yes side of looking into it because it would definitely be an adventure!

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