August 30, 2004

here, there and back again…

Running about here there and everywhere. Left last Friday for Stonehaven via all the B roads. Took forever, but we were rewarded with beautiful weather and gorgeous views from the Ship Inn on the harbour in Stonehaven. A swim in the outdoor oceanside pool the next morning before heading off down the east coast, stopping at lighthouses, rasberry fields, and little tiny seaside villages on the way to St. Andrews.

Saturday night in St Andrews, us and all the students out in the local pub!

Sunday took us on a tour around St. Andrews, a walk on the Old Course, a trip out to the blue flag awarded beach and a bit of window shopping before heading back to Glasgow following the coast throughout the Kingdom of Fife.

It’s been very busy….

Today I was off to Edinburgh to do a course in colour printing at Stills Gallery. At the start of the day I was dumbfounded at how to print colour prints from negatives…. tonight, I am so much wiser! Mum and Pete came along for the ride and went to some more fringe shows on the last day of the 2004 Fringe Festival. My course continues tomorrow, where I shall be printing the best of the best of my negatives from the last 5 years or so…. at least that’s the plan!

… more news to come before we head off again on Thursday, this time to the West Coast….

filles at 10:16 pm

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August 26, 2004

Glasgow Council Chambers


Beautiful. One tour guide told us “there is more marble in this building than any other in Europe except the Vatican“. Impressive isn’t it?

I’m going to take up the challenge over the next 12 months of trying to get an invite to a “do” held in the formal ballroom.

Thankfully there are more pictures of the interior (and exterior) that you can see here because I forgot the digital camera the day we took the tour!

filles at 1:30 pm

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August 23, 2004

Doon the Watter

I have been meaning to upload some pictures for you to see what we’ve been up to, but what has happened is that I just don’t seem to have enough time to download the pictures, upload them into Photoshop, then into SmugMug – then choose a couple for here, resize and then upload onto the blog – so not only are there no pictures to see, but no blog to read at all!

So here I am, you’ll just have to use your imagination instead. I’ll try and load some pictures later this week.

Last Friday we took the Waverley, an old paddle steamer, ‘doon the watter’. We had just the most beautiful day imaginable. The weather was very co-operative. 10am and we were on the boat popping our first cork from a bottle of champagne! 6pm and we were rolling off the boat back in Glasgow slightly tipsy….

In between we spent a lovely time chatting to many local glaswegians, young and old, all with stories to tell and bottles of whisky snug in their bags. We passed by Kilcreggan, Dunoon and on to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute for lunch. Michelle danced to the resident band on the boat to much shouting and hollering (some positive, some not so positive!), we did tea and Bakewell tarts for afternoon tea. It really was something special.

If you want to read a bit more about the nostalgia of travelling down the River Clyde on the Waverley, here is an interesting link that gives you a story – and some pictures… more than I can do at the moment….

I’ll catch up soon!

filles at 10:39 pm

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August 19, 2004

Photos

Edinburgh Fringe & Tattoo

filles at 11:35 am

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August 18, 2004

Athens

For those of you who don’t know, my parents are here for a holiday… I never knew they were such avid Olympics watchers??? Thankfully it’s mostly swimming right now, and because the Aussies and the Yanks are putting on such a good show, at least we are getting some fairly good coverage. You never really realize how biased your country is in coverage until you watch an Olympics away from home. I would imagine if we were in Canada right now, we wouldn’t be seeing too much swimming at all….

filles at 7:39 pm

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August 17, 2004

Candles & everything


Thanks to all of you who sent us birthday wishes yesterday. We had a lovely day, although I’d guess that mine was better – considering Michelle had to go to work….

We had a great dinner with balloons, noisy blowy things, ginger cake and candles all washed down with a bottle of California red I won last year (I was aiming for 1st prize which was a trip to Napa Valley, but I won 2nd prize which was a bottle of red – although at £95 a bottle, we would never have bought it ourselves, and it was very very good!)

Another year to look forward to now!

filles at 6:26 pm

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August 15, 2004

Fringe

I don’t know what we did to deserve it, but we rolled into Edinburgh around 1pm on Friday just as the sun was breaking through the clouds. And from then on, the weather was just beautiful. For those of you who were praying for some sunshine for us, well done! You did good! It was glorious.

The weekend was wonderful. We saw a few shows, some great, some so-so. Of the fringy events my personal favorite was Jimeoin. Hilarious as usual. The crowd was mostly Paddys and Aussies, but still, he was great!

But really, the weekend was dominated by two things. One good. The other bad. First the good: Definitely the highlight of the trip was the Tattoo on Saturday night. Absolutely brilliant! Now I have to take back my off-the-cuff comment about men in skirts, blowing pipes (see Friday) because in all honesty, it was truly amazing. I’ve never actually watched the Tattoo on TV. I’ve known that it is on telly, in every country, every year in fact, but I’ve never actually sat down to watch it… why would I? Military bands, big crowds, on telly? no, not really my kind of show. But being there was great! I’d go again in a heartbeat. The atmosphere was electric, the backdrop of Edinburgh castle is beautiful, and the precision, and the piping is just fabulous. Not to mention, the odd drunk trying to get up to the top of the stands, the silver hair brigade giggling amongst themselves, and the compere wishing happy silver wedding anniversary to Edith and Frank who are sitting in the North Stand C – truly memorable!

The bad was the service. In restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, hotels – the service was shite. Really really memorably terrible. Forgetful staff, incredibly long wait times, moody staff, dirty cutlery, no cutlery, you name it, it was messed up. Just one example was lunch on Friday… how hard is 4 x bangers & mash and 4 x pints of Tenants Velvet?? Well, we got 4 pints and 1 bangers and mash. 1.5 hours later the other 3 plates arrived. They forgot! No ‘sorry’, no free pints while we were waiting…. just our lunches, 1.5 hours late. This continued throughout the weekend, we had missing meals, wrong meals delivered, moody staff banging about the table, disgusting meals, rip offs on the change….. it just went on and on. In the end, our last lunch in Edinburgh – after they delivered the coffee, but not the sandwiches, we’d had enough. We asked for our money back, and we left – bound for service friendly Glasgow.

Who knows what that was all about, maybe just too many tourists – and the Edinburgh locals had just about had enough, I don’t know, but I would sincerely hope that our experience was not normal, because I might not want to give them too many more chances to get it right.

In the end, it was a lot of fun, and we’re already planning next years fringe – where we want to stay, which weekend – you know how it is…

filles at 11:05 pm

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August 13, 2004

Squash was fun…

Hard, but fun. Can’t move today, but fun. Couldn’t breathe after about 10 minutes, but still fun! I discovered I’m a bit rusty at it, but again, it’s fun!

Edinburgh today for the International Fringe Festival. We have tickets to see Jimoin tonight, and then the Military Tatoo tomorrow night. The rest is free to wander into whatever show appears to be good as we progress. Considering the forecast, I will expect that they will mostly be indoor shows this weekend which could mean a few pints which could possibly even assist!

Even if it rains for the whole weekend, please, please, please pray for a break between 10.30pm and midnight tomorrow night, I can’t think of anything worse than sitting outside in stands, watching a bunch of men in skirts blowing into pipes in the pissing rain…. Imagine!

filles at 8:44 am

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August 12, 2004

Rain, rain, go away…

It stopped for about 2 hours yesterday afternoon… but back on again today. So much rain. We’ve even got a leaky roof because of it. I’m off to play a game of squash at midday today, first time for about 25 years – should be very interesting. Lets see if I can even manage to walk home after it….

Not much other news really. Because of the weather we haven’t really been doing very much. Just hanging about, swimming, spa’ing, sauna’ing, indoor activities mostly. A few pints yesterday afternoon at the Variety Bar on Sauchiehall St was a welcome break – but that’s it really. Tomorrow we’re off to the Fringe for the weekend. Cross your fingers that the weather fines up for us there – or it could be a very miserable fringe….

filles at 10:14 am

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August 10, 2004

a smashin’ weekend

I’ve been warning my mum for months about the weather in Glasgow… the day she arrives it pisses down with rain all morning, but then at 10.45am just as the plane touches down the sun comes out and stays out for 2.5 days! Not just sunny, but REALLY sunny, with heat and everything! Absolutely beautiful. Of course you can’t tell her that it just Murphy’s law and really it generally rains, like, everyday! Well, you can, but do you think she’ll believe you when its 25 in the shade???

We spent Saturday doing our bog standard, take all our visitors, pub crawl and walk along the River Kelvin ending up on Byers Rd. We ate lunch at the ‘Cafe Andaluz’ – tapas and a nice bottle of wine. A few groceries, stroll home, then some book reading was done… a very hectic day.

Sunday we took a drive out to the coast. A criss cross journey taking all the B roads out to Troon, then up the west coast of Scotland for fish and chips on the beach in Largs. Again sunshine city. The temperature on the coast topped 30 degrees C – almost unheard of here…

We were headed to the beachside, outdoor heated, salt water swimming pool in Gourock. Nothing nicer than sitting by a pool, reading the Sunday papers, quaffing ice cream in the sunshine. It was lovely. A perfect day for my mums birthday.

For dinner we all dressed up and took a stroll through Kelvingrove Park to one of the finest Indian Restaurants in Glasgow, ‘Mother India’. Good food, good wine (you can BYO) and great company – then just as we were finishing our coffee, the rain started. And it rained. And rained. And rained. We had a golf umbrella with us, which should have managed to keep at least 2 of us dry, but nope, it was the kind of rain that doesn’t fall down from the sky. It’s there, all around you, wind, rain, and more rain…. We took a taxi the few blocks home, got drenched running to the front door, laughing and giggling like kids. It was a great end to a fantastic day. The first birthday I’ve spent with my mum for about 20 years!

The rain continued from Sunday night, all through Monday, and is still coming down today. Now they believe us. It rains in Glasgow. Quite a lot!

Last night Michelle and I went out in the west end to meet with a guy who I used to work with in Montreal. He was the rep from the SIM card supplier when I worked for FIDO. We worked very closely in Montreal, even though he was based in Toronto, negotiating some very detailed contracts – and since I’ve been here we have managed to keep in contact. He has since moved on and is now based in Seattle, and he was headed to Paris for business and decided to fly by here for a fleeting visit to see us. It was great. We met in the Wee Pub in Ashton Lane, headed to Stravaigin for dinner, and then back home for a few drams of single malt and to watch a ‘best of’ episode of Top Gear – a necessary induction for anyone who loves fast cars! It was hilarious.

A fabulous evening, thanks Chris. We are so flattered that you came out of your way to come see us. Hopefully we’ll see you again either here, or over on the west coast at chrissy.

And right now, to the sound of the rain, I’m going to get back into that book I started by the pool on Sunday….

filles at 11:58 am

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August 6, 2004

Business Cards

Hey! someone I know used the link to get free business cards and gave me a discount on my next order! Thank you. Whoever you are…. yeah, who are you?

If you want to know what it’s all about, you can go back to the post here.

filles at 10:12 am

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More guests

My mum and Peter are arriving today – for 6 weeks! We have all sorts of trips planned. I’m off to collect them at the airport now…

filles at 10:00 am

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August 5, 2004

My dad’s birthday

2fabrezan.jpg
The weather guide says it is a balmy 24 degrees today in the south of France. What a lovely day for a birthday! Hope it’s a good one!

filles at 9:46 am

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August 4, 2004

Employment free

Today I had what most people would imagine is a typical day for someone whose life is free from the pesky obligations of work. In fact it was not at all typical of my days, but it is the expected norm, and it seems that it doesn’t matter what I say to the contrary, most people are happy to be believe that it is typical, so here we go, the life of a stay-at-home, no-kids, organise-everything partner!

My day started by taking the car to the garage for the annual MOT. Then I went off to the Laundromat to wash a particularly large picnic blanket that just happens to be covered in Guinness and red wine spots from our BBQ at the weekend. Don’t ask!

Normally our washing is done at home, but our machine is very very tiny. It’s one of those washer/dryer combinations and barely fits one sheet at a time, and which takes approximately 4 hours to wash & dry that same sheet, so when a gigantic sized picnic blanket needs washing the best option is the Laundromat.

What I failed to think about when I set off at 8am this morning was that I was Glasgow. In Glasgow most people don’t even get up by 8am, let alone start their day, open shops, brew coffee or attempt any other normal task. So I found myself wandering about on Great Western Rd, looking for somewhere to take a coffee while I waited for the Laundromat to open. Tough luck!

Once the laundry opened, it took two washes and then a bleaching to get most of the Guinness out (the red wine decided it didn’t want to move). Now it just looks like a speckled stain, from an unknown source… and the overall size of the blanket is now a tad smaller thanks to the high heat, high speed dryer!

Whilst I was waiting, I took the bus into the city centre and bought some preserving jars for my new kitchen project in the afternoon. I passed the garage on the way home, lugging my new smaller blanket and my glass jars and was given the running total so far…. £155. I got home, made myself some lunch – falafel with tabouli and hummus – and pulled out my library book and settled down for a read for an hour or so.

The afternoon bought me some satisfying cleaning of kitchen cupboards. I climbed to the top of the cupboards and cleaned off the caked on dust that accumulates at the top of the shelving units. Go on, have a look at yours – I never even knew that this happened – never ever having the time before to pull out a ladder and check! But it does…. I’d hate to think how thick the dust and grime is on our kitchen cupboards in Montreal, mind you, the amount of time we cooked in Montreal can be counted on one hand, so we have that to be thankful for…

Anyway, I cleaned up there, washed the jars, then went ahead and started filling them with all our grains and pulses that were in opened plastic bags thrown haphazardly in the cupboard. This, as well as re-arranging the spice drawer, the tea shelf and sauces and vinegars, left me with a very clean and tidy kitchen – almost as wholesome as that of Isabelle & Mikes of which I aspire too (their pantry in Seattle was the best looking pantry I’ve ever seen. Jar after jar of dry beans and pulses all lined up – not a processed packet in sight).

A bit of correspondence by email, always a highlight of my day, then I left to pick up the car. Total bill £164.23.

Home again now. I have dry washing to bring in, wet washing to hang out – a soap to watch on TV, a meal to prepare (lentil & carrot burgers with salad) and then I’ll pull out my book again and wait for Michelle to get home….

And there you have it. Isn’t that what you always thought? Actually except for all the chores that I have to do, I aspire to having days like this where I get little projects completed. Mostly I don’t. I still have to plan ahead if I want to take time to go to the studio to do some prints, or go to a movie, or embark on a craft project. It’s amazing how little time we have – or how little focus we have to concentrate on finishing things. My creativity comes in spits and spurts, so I take advantage of it when I can, and everything else just has to wait and get finished at the last minute – just like it was when I was working full time!

Not all that exciting I guess.. but it would have to be the most amazing job offer to make me even consider swapping my carefree life for the rat race again! That, or an overwhelming urge to get a bigger house with swimming pool, a porsche or a new sofa…. whatever comes first!

filles at 6:09 pm

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MOT time

For all you Canadians reading this, did you know that here in the UK you have to have your car tested every year for road worthiness! Its compulsary for all vehicles over 3 years old. Today the little Clio is off to do its second MOT. Last year we failed…. this year, despite having no brake lights, we should probably pass – if we ask to have them fixed BEFORE they start the test. Imagine having to do this every year in Quebec? there would be a lot of cars put off the road I think.

Here the weather is fine, no -40 degrees, so it’s a bit strange to have to go through all this. Michelle’s theory is that because the weather is so mild, because you don’t go through much oil (change every 10,000 miles), if you didn’t have this check most people wouldn’t even bother to go to the garage – therefore minor things like lights or water levels would never get checked. Not to mention, what else would the mechanics do?

For this annual pilgrimage to the service station, we pay £39. So cross your fingers for us….

p.s. if your from the UK humour us, because we failed last year – it’s a big deal this year….

filles at 7:48 am

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