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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A letter to Peggy herself!

Hi Peggy (of Peggy Ann’s page)

The tunnel!?!? – she said in a mysterious voice.   Well!  It would have been quite an adventure but with hips and knees and even shoulders not behaving themselves I thought it might just be one risk too far!  How I'd love to be able to say I've walked through the railway tunnel, but I reckon it will be one of these things that I will never get to do!  If I ever get a new hip and knee then we'll see!  That will no doubt be way in the future though!

To be honest I'm not sure how long the tunnel is – probably about a mile, maybe a little more - or less?picture075  It’s actually less!  I looked at it on the map and it’s only about half a mile!!!    The cyclists that I met didn’t think it much fun, and Julia told me later it was pretty bumpy and hard to walk at times!   I’ve been a short way into the tunnel’s other end, by the viaduct, and it’s not long before it’s very dark indeed!  We don’t realise in the night dark that in fact it’s not as dark as we think!  The tunnel is definitely VERY black dark!  Even torches aren’t too great a help.  I think you really need those lights powered by big batteries.  Trouble is, the batteries are heavy!

I once went on a drive in New Zealand to see Milford Sound on South Island’s west coast.  One of my Aussie cousins was travelling with me, and we had planned to do the overnight stay on the Milford Wanderer, a boat that did the trip out into the fjord, let you have fun in a canoe for a while, and took you nose-in to one of the spectacular waterfalls where one of the crew collects water from it in a glass and lets a few folk taste it.  At night you stay on board, returning in the morning to the quayside.  I’m digressing somewhat but it’s all connected!  When it got dark, and after we had eaten supper, some of us went back up on deck.  The generators had been turned off so we were only armed with torches.  Well, it seemed dark then, but as our eyes got used to the dark we began to see a myriad stars overhead, and make out the silhouettes of the high jaggy mountain peaks all around.  It was a sight to remember, especially when we realised the Southern Cross was perfectly positioned between two peaks! 

Well what that is leading up to me saying is that when we were on our way to Milford, we had to drive through a mountain tunnel.  I was driving and before we were too far in at all, we could hear a terrific rumbling, and huge lights appeared up ahead!  Jan was screaming at me – “Put the lights on! Put the lights on!”  - and I was screaming back - “They ARE on!”  Well I have to say the headlights were totally ineffectual.  We could see and hear this thing coming towards us but couldn’t make out how much room we had to let it pass!  I squeezed the car as far as I could against the tunnel wall – with Jan shrieking, “You’re too close!”  Well, the huge truck eventually lumbered past us safely and headed off out into the daylight again, leaving us breathing huge sighs of relief that we hadn’t been squashed to bits!  I’ve no idea even yet how much of the road it took up !

We carried on once our eyes attuned to the darkness and the car’s meagre headlights – and boy was it dark!  The headlights were ok once the truck had gone by but still not that great.  You still couldn’t see both sides of the tunnel!  Now that’s what I think the railway tunnel would have been like but at least there would be no trucks or cars coming through!  Take a look at this video.  It’s about a coach trip, but we did the journey by car.

Since this is still holidays in Scotland -  we have 1st and 2nd, but with the 1st falling on the Sunday, the two days holiday are Monday and Tuesday - I can’t wait for things to get back to normal, though it has given me an excuse (as if I needed one) to play with my laptop, or read all day.  I’ve started reading a Barbara Erskine novel I haven’t read before  - Child of the Phoenix.  I don’t think I’ve read it before but it’s one of her early ones  - 1992 – so I don’t know how I would miss it!

Set in the 13th century, it follows the story of Eleyne a royal princess whose roots go back to Wales. and whose destiny lies in Scotland.  “Child of the Phoenix is a compelling tale of love, courage, tragedy and hope;  a haunting ghost story about the power of the dead to influence the living;  a glorious panorama of the violent, turbulent thirteenth century!”  Well, that’s what it says on the back cover!

I love Barbara Erskine’s books, though a few of her more recent ones have been mighty scary – not the sort of book to read in bed before you fall asleep!

So, I think I’ll get back to the book for a little while before I head for bed.  At least the wind has died down now, so I won’t constantly be distracted, wondering if the trees outside are likely to get blown down.  They’re the strongest winds we’ve had for a while!   My friend Linda and her partner are down in the southwest of Scotland just now and they lost their power and couldn’t get out because of fallen trees!   Apparently the trees were moved pretty swiftly, but the power only came back on this evening!

Thanks so much for your comment on the blog!  I wish more people would write comments.  It’s good to know what they are thinking about it.

All for now then. I look forward to reading more about what you are reading throughout 2012.

Happy New Year!


Katrina said...

I didn't realise you were having some knee/hip problems. If we meet up in Edinburgh will you manage to hirple to a tea-room? I had thought we could maybe take a look at a gallery - but maybe not. It's still windy here.

Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post said...

Evee, thanks for the letter just to little old me! The pictures you posted did make it look very rocky and wet to walk in. If I ever get to come to Scotland maybe you'll have had surgery and you and I can walk that tunnel and we will bring Katrina too! We have a 3,118 ft. tunnel that is part of our Chesapeake and Ohio Canal system that was used for commence before railroads etc. The canal runs thru it with a tow path alongside that the mules walked on to pull the boats along. My hubby and son have been in it but not me yet. You have inspired me and I think I will get my son to take me this summer. I will do a post about the tunnel soon. We have many tunnels on our road ways but they are well lit. How scary they would be if not! The New Zealand trip sounds wonderful! It is fun really to be 'scared' when we know it is really safe:)

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

If we walk that tunnel Peggy, we'll do it on a day when it has been dry for ages.

Interesting about your canal tunnels. There are quite a few canals in England and only a small number in Scotland. I know that in some of the tunnels in England the men had to lie down on the decks and walk their feet along the walls of the tunnels to keep the boats from hitting the walls.