Rest day in Edinburgh
Whatever you think about the Royal Family, it’s always worth paying £13.50 for a peek behind the scenes. I’ve not troubled them over the years except for two occasions, both graduations. In 1978, the Queen Mother gave me her special smile when I was one of thousands of graduates presented to her in the Albert Hall. Then, a few years later, I was back, and this time it was Princess Anne in the chair. God only knows what sort of a life they lead but at least they had the Royal Yacht Britannia at their disposal.
But the cost of an admiral, 20 officers and 220 crew was too much, even for Tony Blair. She was decommissioned in 1997 just after the UK returned Hong Kong to China.
So there I was at Ocean Terminal, Leith at 10am for my tour of the bridge, the State Apartments and banquet hall, the Royal sun deck and the crew quarters; even the garage for the Rolls Royce. Lots of photos and memorabilia everywhere. Princess Di looking rather dated but a youthful Princess Anne surprisingly catching the eye.
After that I retreated into the Royal Botanic Gardens, admission free and nowhere to get a cup of tea. All very strange.
Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. The centre was busy but not with tourists and much of the festival is online, this year. I could stay another day but I still have a long way to go and winter is coming, as they say.