Just got into North Berwick (pronounced Bear-ick). Walked about ¾ mile from the train station to my bus stop, and now I’m having a bite to eat before I head to my hotel. Lunching at The Ship Inn – medley of mushrooms in creamy garlic, white wine, and tarragon sauce on a crouton. Mmmm… And I’ve got a chocolate brulee with coconut ice cream coming for dessert. A little more adventurous today. :)
Walking through the town of North Berwick, I kept stopping every few feet, letting out a gasp and gaping at some new, beautiful sight. This place is so gorgeous, I thought I’d never make it to my lunch. North Berwick is right on the coast with lots of craggy bluffs and sweeping views of the sea. Just what I was hoping for. I even saw a crumbling castle overlooking the water on the way from Newcastle into Edinburgh!
The people here are so warm and friendly. I got a little lost on my way to the bus stop, and one kind gent asked if I needed help and told me how to find it.
In half an hour, I’ll be on the bus into Dunbar, 40 minutes outside North Berwick. Isn’t it funny – my Grandma & Grandpa Schwenning were from a little town in the mountains of Pennsylvania called Dunbar?
Can’t believe I’m really here! Just checked into my room at the Bayswell Park Hotel. At first I thought it was a little creepy – lots of poorly-lit corridors, going up to my room. It looks to be a very old place. And then I put my key in the lock and opened the door. My window looks right out onto the sea! I can hear seagulls as I write this, the waves crashing against the rocks. It’s a pretty small room, just what I need.
Before I go off exploring, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of the scenery we passed on the journey from London to Edinburgh. Loved the names of the towns we passed, but my favorite was Longniddry. And it looks just as its name promises. Narrow, winding roads and quaint, well-worn buildings that have looked on many years.
I’m dying to get out and about, so I’ll leave you for now with a peek through my train window!
DUNBAR, SCOTLAND (Midnight)
The end of a long, happy day. I took a walk from the hotel into Dunbar town center, along the coast. Discovered that John Muir was from Dunbar! His birthplace is now a museum. Didn’t know who he was at first, but I knew I recognized his name. He was a naturalist, inventor, and writer – a pioneer of nature conservation. It was due, in large part, to his efforts that the Yosemite and Grand Canyon National parks were created, and President Theodore Roosevelt worked with him to develop further conservation programs.
Took a lot of pictures in town of these little alleyways they call “closes.” Really cool, like miniature peeks into people’s lives. I’m curious about what it’s like to live here. How different are these people’s lives from mine? I’m sure a lot is the same. They all have to get up and go to work, do laundry, shop for groceries. But what’s different? Do they take all this beauty around them for granted, after living among it for so long? I guess we all take the beautiful things for granted after a while. God promises us a new earth – not Heaven at all – but a new earth at the end of times. So maybe this is supposed to be our heaven after all. And He will bless us with wider eyes to see it, bigger hearts to care for it.
GUEST WRITER'S BIO
Vicki Speegle is an award-winning screenwriter whose feature script LOVED ONES was in development at Amazon Studios and was a finalist for best screenplay. Her screenplay DEAREST was a finalist for the 2011 Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and her television pilot THE WAKES OF WILBUR POE recently placed in the finals of Slamdance.
Vicki grew up the daughter of a gay single mom turned pastor in Akron, Ohio, where she helped take care of her two younger brothers, an experience that provided fodder for a number of short stories and scripts. Her infatuation with storytelling began at the age of five when she sent a love letter to Donny Osmond, and since then she has worked an eclectic mix of jobs to support her writing habit, including 4 years in the U.S. Navy tracking nuclear submarines on a tiny island called Adak, Alaska, assistant to a very eccentric New York City artist, and a brief bout as the world’s worst waitress. Vicki studied music performance and education at Akron University before making the move to New York University, where she earned her BFA in Film & Television Production. During her studies at NYU she interned as assistant to the editor for Ken Burns’ production of THE WEST. She wrote, directed, and produced several shorts, including her thesis film OLDER, which went on to screen at the Tribeca Underground Film Festival and won 2nd place in the Pioneer Theatre Short Film Slam in New York City.
After graduating from NYU, Vicki joined Rigas Entertainment as assistant to the Director of Development, helping in the development of feature films with directors Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) and Maggie Greenwald (SongCatcher). In 2005 Vicki began shooting a documentary about her mother’s struggle to reconcile her faith as a pastor with her advancing Alzheimer’s. The project is currently in post-production and has garnered the support of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). In 2007 Vicki’s screenplay LOVED ONES placed in the top 5 of the Bluecat Screenplay Competition and won Screenplay Live at the Rochester Film Festival. Her works have placed in several other competitions, including Women in Film, Chesterfield, and American Zoetrope. Vicki’s credits include a teen comedy for Applause Films and radio scripts for Wynton Marsalis, Director of Jazz At Lincoln Center.
Vicki lives and works as a writer, filmmaker, and web producer in New Jersey. She is still waiting for Donny’s response.