The Life and Times of Peter Green Archive: 21 July - 3 August 2008
We finally make it to Ailsa Craig
Druid Peter's bad hair day at Stonehenge
Wow , we leave for the holiday in 3 days- will be nice to escape for a few weeks....the thing is I always come back feeling like I need to have a holiday- I have to learn to pace myself while I'm away not squashing everything in.... I'm sure the word 'relax' is not in my genes!
Had a nice visit today from one Wally Wilkinson- yes an original Enz member popping up to Kalorama and he was on time... even if his GPS sent him into the mountain- we received one of those 'I think I'm lost' calls. Not sure why the GPS goes trippy up here, I kind of like that it does in some ways.
Wally was great, we had a nice afternoon, loads of laughs and
stories- he's a good bloke and excited about our 'make Mental Notes Gold' efforts.
I call British Airlines in the afternoon and they are such pains in the bums with their silly policies.... it's simple really I just want to sit next to my boyfriend- how hard can that be? They are working on it. The cost of my air ticket alone should mean we are both sitting next to the pilot.
It's Fran and Trudi's birthday today so give them a call, can't believe another year has flown by.
My last day seeing Dr Chiro before I leave, think I get an extra few acupuncture needles in.... all helps- feel great. I have a chat to Thomas the chook boy about looking after the girls, show him where all the food and straw is located. He's great they are in safe hands.
Do all those last minute things, my bags are finally packed. I get a taxi down to Canterbury road to pick up our hire car to go to the airport in. The Avis people are really cool and look after us.
Banshee knows something is up, she walks around the house meowing....... she is going to hate her time away from Ailsa Craig I can tell.
Up early, I can't sleep. Do the drive and we drop Banshee off at the Pet Hotel, it's such a long drive. Banshee has a room with a view- even a cat balcony. The girl looking after her is great, there are cats everywhere and it's nice and clean. Banshee hisses at Mark , like she'll never forgive him, I have some big crocodile tears in my eyes, will miss this little carpet bag- she's a great cat. The cat hotel people assure me like I'm some deranged parent.
We catch flight QF440 to Sydney. Qantas have upgraded us to business
as it's part of the holiday/flights. We catch the shuttle to Hotel Ibis and no one else tips the drive so I give him a few bucks, the poor old bloke. It's weird as nearly all the other people are American and not a single one tips the guy- hell he saved you all
taxi fares. The hotel room is airport smallish but all fine. The
bathroom is circular, it's like hopping out of some space age lift...
so Mark films me doing the infamous 'third floor ladies underwear'
line. Not much sleep.
Sydney- Beijing China.
Well last night Mark somehow punched me in the eye in his sleep
(ouch) no real bruising but it woke me up. It's a wet day in Sydney as we board QF 191. We are at the freaky flyer lounge having a coffee and cake... the airport is undersiege with World Youth Day
kids- some are great some are totally tragic religious freaks, but all contributed to the catholic churches coffers from buying those back packs and merch. The scary ones are the American religious rapper girls- if there is a God he will surely have a run away bus flatten them.
Today was a long one, arrive China late and we are a week before the Olympic games. The worlds biggest airport is empty... ok not really- it's full of Olympic volunteers but no tourists so they are descend upon us! Yieks.... I put on my best 'creature of the night face'
and show my fangs- they leave us alone. We are met by our driver- who somehow gets lost not once but twice in the airport, then outside and finally can't find the car , tempers are running high. No tip.... or here is your tip 'find a new job'. If you can't look after 6 people how in Mao's name are you going to look after 100,000 when the games are on.
We are at the Yan Xiang Hotel, love the name hate the hotel. It's
seen better days, I love rustic but in the end this is pretty bad.
What did we have for dinner, I truly can't remember, we are running on empty. The Chinese family of 20 living next door keep Igor Senior awake all night. He wants blood.
Beijing to London town.
I get up early and walk around Beijing. They have little old ladies out with switch brooms sweeping little bits of the street. It all feels forced and fake, there must be a seedy underbelly. I spot it, someone used the big shrub on the main street as a toilet last night- urgh. The police are everywhere and those robotic non smiling guards that I sneak many photos of (as one does). Mark arm wrestles the girl in reception who is avoiding giving back our $100 key deposit- she obviously doesn't know Mark (He wins). Next, reception falls apart before our eyes, the printing machine dies, paper flies in the air, the staff drop things, once more there are only two of us- this circus goes on for 30 minutes- imagine when 500 people are trying to check in. China will not be able to deal with the Olympics. The smog outside is 10 times worse then Los Angeles- it's all a bit depressing and I'm not even going into human rights or Tibet. Who was that masked man that discretely dropped FREE TIBET small scrolls everywhere this morning. Who me , never does that sound like me. I did steal the Beijing hotel toothbrushes in their funky old style boxes. FREE TIBET YOU BASTARDS I shout as we jump in the taxi.
A taxi takes us to the airport- he was a nice guy and kept calling me Joe. But he didn't drive very fast so we called him Slow. He didn't get the joke, but laughed a few times for a tip. We take to the air on BA 038 and wave Chine goodbye and there is the great wall- a mere
73 kms away. I drop the final lot of Free Tibert scrolls out of the plane onto the tourists on the Great Wall, maybe they will Free Tibet?
It's an 11 hour flight and we avoid taking some StillNox, well I think we did, part of the pills freaky stuff is that you seem to forget that you took it. Anyway it's nice to be in England. Customs is easy and only a few people in the sheep corral going through immigration. We catch the Heathrow Express and after a line change end up at Victoria. We go to our regular hotel but it's not our hotel. It's been bought out. The Holiday Inn is now around the corner and is an 'expres's. So in the heat we are wheeling our bags and to our horror the hotel is now one 20th the size. It's closer to a B&B.
The room is the size of one of Ailsa Craigs closets, and it has a broken down fan. The room needs a good clean and major repair- for what we paid it truly is a piece of shit. Victoria is a great place to stay, the station being a hub for the tube but travellers beware.
If you think Holiday Inn is ALWAYS clean and safe think again, the Holiday Inn Express in Victoria is a torrid piece of shit that should been bombed in the blitz- fuck maybe it was.
So we squash into this room, Mark looks like he is about to cry, we are exhausted & the room is like a turkish bathhouse. The staff are so mediocre a man with no arms or legs...hell or even missing a head could do better. You phone reception and no one answers. What's next FLEAS. Ok this sucks time to escape. I truly can't bare seeing my best friend so worn out and having to hate this squat for 4 nights.
'I'm going for a walk' I say to him and he just looks up so sad. It's Marks birthday tomorrow and be fucked if we are spending it here. I wander into our old hotel which is now the Hesperia, and I am scratching, truly flea bites- I stop or they'll think I'm hideous. I speak to the gorgeous Lucia -a stunning woman who just takes control of it all and I swear I'm building a statue of her somewhere, where wood nymphs can praise her name. She takes me to see the suite. It's almost cool, several rooms and luxury. For a fraction more then we paid for Holiday Inn Shit hole. I don't care we'll have it.
I go back to the hotel, tell Mark to trust me and we carry all his stuff and one small bag of mine down to the new digs. Mark is now smiling , I discover a jacuzzi , after the flight this really is luxury. I decide to confront the hotel people tomorrow especially over the flea bites! My best friend is happy that just makes me equally happy.
London- Happy Birthday Mark!
Wake up early and it's a nice room to wake up in, so quiet. We walk
to the river all the way to the Vauxhall Bridge. You know the James
Bond building in the last few movies. It's funny as it has so many
security cameras around it. We walk under the bridge and confronted
with the 'London is full of C**ts' graffiti. I have it in my head of
some pissed off indian man sneaking down and spraying it so all the
London river joggers read it- makes us chuckle. I was tempted to
cross off London on the graffiti and make it "Holiday Inn Express
Victoria is run by...."
I get Mark tickets to see the London production of WICKED. (It's
showing in Melbourne as we speak). The seats are exceptional and the
show is sold out. It's at the Apollo Victoria so a 2 minute walk.
The use of the sets is brilliant, just a great production, sure it is
corny but something about it works. I understand why it's Londons
most popular stage show. I hope the Melbourne show has similar stage
Check out of the crap hotel, which basically meant I picked up my
bag. In the foyer telling the manager(?) that her hotel has fleas
much to the horror of the desperate people checking in. As we are
having this heated discussion Marks mum calls to wish him a happy
birthday. So glad to escape Holiday In Horror Hotel.
Today was a shopping day, mostly books and a few cds. Been hanging
out to get The Raconteurs newie....CONSOLERS OF THE LONELY and it was
worth the wait. Jack White's 'other' band... in many ways I prefer
them to the White Stripes. Stephen Berkman's just excites me as
always so stoked he did the artwork. His website is at: http://www.stephenberkman.com/
'Rich Kid Blues' is very cool and even a bit Bon Jovi (ish)...and
'Carolina Drama' is cool.
Still looking for that damn Suede book, I know I'll find a copy , it
will just jump out at me.
Reading an article on the Zambia Elephant Orphanage ....such a
positive thing. If you type in David Shepherd projects you can
probably locate it on the net.
Out walking and notice that Cornucopia (#12 Upper Tachbrook St
Pimlico) still exists, if you are in a band and looking for some cool
stage clothes shop here, if you just want to look brilliant shop
here.... over the years I've bought so many things from this place,
it's probably seen better days but it did my heart good to see it
still exists. They used to have this great fake fur Keith Richards
coat in the window.
We take the train to Westminster -hop off for the London Eye with all
the other tourists. We just want to do some filming from the eye
carriage. Security hassled Mark wanting to know which media company
he was from because our HD camera is way too professional. Th guy
just didn't get it that we own such a top end HD video camera.... in
the end he apologized and was rather embarassed , meanwhile we are
surrounded by people taking photos and footage with their phones
(2008 lameness). The wheel is kind of cool as far as the view but
it's something you'd only bother with once. Nice to see the Salvador
Dali exhibit next to it. I spent time taking silhouette shots of the
outdoor Dali statues just before the rain set in. Part of the
exhibit heads to Melbourne next month.
We head to the Record Exchange next, it used to be THE coolest place
to find collectibles but it's really boring- nothing, I wonder how
long it will survive, it was really empty too. Sad days.
Wave goodbye to the suite and head off in the car. The Navman has
been switched to UK maps and works fine. Jack White's voice blaring
out of the speakers. Do the drive, about 350kms we bail on
Manchester and stay at Preston. I think Mark has some lingering food
poisoning from China, so I look after him. Poor bugger it's been a
crappy few days. I like preston, the city centre is pretty funky-
some good stores.
Up early and get some pills and food for Marky. At least I got to
wander. I buy a few more cds- White Stripes ICKY THUMP for the car,
Neil Youngs Harvest and Wings Band on the Run anniversary edition.
All super cheap. Marks gift is some Dioralyte to take some edge off
his sickness. Happy that the Wings cd has the lyrics...finally I
know that the song Jet has the line '"Jet was your father as bold as
the sergeant major.........I thought the major was a
suffragette"...for years I was singing something completely different
and knew it was wrong (yieks).
We call into Cardoness castle . it's part of the historic Scotland
society. The rain kept everyone away, just Mark and myself climbing
the stairs. It's situated at Galloway where Scotland meets Ireland ,
it's always been a meeting point of cultures and nations. It's
really a fortified lairds house, and pretty cool. Cardoness is a
full castle where it's neighbour Carsluith is more like a modest
tower house. I know the rain pisses Mark off for filming but I
secretly love it as it adds atmosphere to the crumbling castle.
Swallows dive in and out the ruins. I find a mum feeding her baby
birds on the stairs and try not to disturb them. Cardoness played
some part with the Mary Queen of Scots exile and the conflict with
England in the 1540's, more so for it's location I guess. Time well
spent, glad we called in.
We head off to Girvan to see Ailsa Craig which is now a bird
sanctuary. Staying at the family owned Westcliffe Hotel right
opposite the beach, so depending on the rain we see Ailsa Craig out
in the ocean when we wake up. As you approach Girvan you see it, a
huge odd shape rising out of the sea . My heart skips a beat.
I leave Mark recovering in his room, and headed to the beach in the
misty rain and just stared out at Ailsa Craig. The fog plays tricks
and one minute she is visible the next totally gone like some David
Copperfield disappearing act. A rather nice sunset will always be my
favourite memory of this rocky outcrop from Neptunes grasp.
We go to the town and I head into Woolworths looking for raincoats
for us against this endless downpour. I ask the girl if they stock
any and she says no. As we are leaving she whispers ' but we have a
porn show in the basement'.
That throws me, A PORN SHOW IN THE BASEMENT I repeat rather stunned,
Girvan does have a darker side.... she suddenly kills herself
laughing, ' no no a PONCHO in the basement'! Oh Poncho not Porn
Show, it's that strong accent! She was still wetting herself
laughing when we were out the door....love it!
Shitty sleep, heavy rain which I usually like. I'm very tired not
good to do a long drive but I will. We are close to Ailsa Craig now
and it disappears before our eyes. She is a magical place, a lot like
the house that was named after her. So happy to see it at last even
if we are soaked.
We head off to Loch Ness. We've now done over 1200 kms. Mark is
looking better. We call into Urquhart Castle -which is next to the
Loch. We've visited it a few times over the decades but it has
changed. It's the most obvious and probably the most visited castle
on Loch Ness. But in 2008 you have to enter the grounds via the
tourist shop (ych). The sad part is that it is so fenced in you can
no longer walk down to Loch Ness. Ok some people sneak over the wall
and walk down to the Loch (who us never). It's lost most of it's
feeling, loud tourists with mobile phones ringing-sad days, just
waiting for the Nessie rollercoaster ride to be added next. For first
timers you'll probably still love it.
We are staying at the Loch Ness Hotel, we hadn't booked anywhere so
just called in and got a room. Food was pub dinner but good. I just
slept soundly, pillows were good. Night Marky (Snore). Nice river
view and loads of black faced sheep. It feels good being away from
Inverness - Carlisle.
We are driving through the lovely scottish highlands and it's
bucketing down. The musics on and our car is funky. More castles for
us on the drive and that's the good thing. Yours truly throws a
tantrum in Edinburgh and kick the shit out of my suitcase. All the
payphones are destroyed and we can't find the hotels. So I take it
out on my suitcase- Mark is trying not to laugh at me. The Edinburgh
festival is on which is both great and insane. Love that the Three
Stooges barber shop is right next door to a pole dancing school- only
in Edinburgh!!! A rather manly Nun blows me a kiss at an intersection.
We finally escape and try for accommodation elsewhere. I drive and
drive and drive, and every place is booked out. We get lost trying
to find the Smiling Trout or some silly name.....and finally we see a
small light at a travelodge at Bolton near Manchester. It will do I
am fried. The suitcase tantrum did me in. The accomodation place is
so scary, and it's like a decaying corpse, a bridge crosses the
motorway and the other side of the road is worse, everything is
closed down or rotting. We laugh it off , part of the adventure
right!!!! A little old lady is sitting by herself in the crumbling
food area, she is the only person in the room, says it all-not even
sure if she was real, though I do offer her the other half of my
Every decade or so we visit Brian Jones grave, the Rolling Stone
member is buried at Cheltenham and we always find his grave
instantly. There was a major Jones anniversary a few weeks ago and
his grave is covered in flowers and someone has left a book for
visitors to fill in so we do. It is a nice spot, heaps of trees and
cool headstones, take some gothic shots. The gravestone isn't as
white as it used to be, guess time will do that.
We decide to drive to Stonehenge, all these years and we never have
visited it, so spur of the moment off we go and hopefully
accommodation at Southampton. Mark bought some cool Stones-ish cd
for the car and after a nice lunch we head off. We did visit RISE an
excellent cd/book store in Cheltenham- now this is what CD-Book
stores should be like. It's in the Beechwood shopping centre if ever
you are visiting that part of the country. Brilliant stock and
The Navman gets us to Stonehenge and because we are dressed as Druids
we are allowed in for free. Yes I made that bit up. The first thing
everyone says is 'It's a bit small isn't it'. I'm assuming the 2
women in line in front of me are talking about Stonehenge and that my
fly on my jeans hasn't come undone again!!! Yes Stonehenge does look
small at first but when you do the circle walk you appreciate it's
beauty. It's windy as all hell so I have some nice hairdo in the
photo. Mark gets some cool footage and I buy my Mum a Stonehenge
recycled shopping back- she'll be the coolest shopper at Dapto
The wonderful Sarsen stones are from Marlborough downs and they are
all covered in moss, they just look magical, very spinal tap. Digging
So tomorrow it's to Heathrow for the night and then onto Russia. of
course the rain will continue to follow us, so says the weather man.
Doesn't England have a Summer? *grin* No wonder the English are so
white. But at least your country is wonderful and lush.
So that's it, the next installment will be from Russia with love!