August 30, 2005

I need some input..

I’ve already eliminated the Gambia, now it’s between:
Mombasa, Kenya – with a 2 day safari thrown in
OR
Maldives – doing absolutely nothing

filles at 11:21 pm

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A sign

Today I was sitting in my local cafe, Offshore on Gibson St and in walked not one, but two celebrities. Ken Stott who I know only from Inspector Rebus, where I was working for a couple of days as background, and Sanjeev Kohli who is now on the screens in Meet the Magoons.

It’s a sign. Only six months ago I never ever saw any “stars”…. I could never recognise them. Now, after 2 years and 4 months I can pick ’em out and openly ignore them just like everyone else!

I just sat back, ordered a second black coffee and continued with my Soduko, oblivious!

filles at 8:54 pm

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August 26, 2005

Some of the best bits

Auchentoshan Whisky Distillery

Only 15 minutes from the centre of Glasgow, open to tourists and curious residents alike since December 2004 and distilling the ‘water of life’ since 1823 this is a must do on the list of anyone spending more than a day in Glasgow. We dropped by yesterday for the 11am tour. I don’t know if it was because of the early hour or the relatively newness of the public tours, but there were only 2 other people on our tour so it was like having a private guide with keys to the cellar. We tasted the water and malted barley before the addition of yeast and after, we sniffed the 80% alcohol that emerges before it’s laid down in casks and then at the end of tour we propped up the bar whilst tasting the 10 year old, the 12 year old and the Three Wood – all different, all good.

So good in fact we bought 2 bottles of the Three Wood; 1 for me, 1 for Alain, along with a set of glasses for Sonia and a Monopoly Set for Michelle…. that is, the Glasgow edition of Monopoly for those of you a little confused.

Probably Michelle’s one and only opportunity to purchase a distillery or the Celtic Football ground whilst we’re here in Scotland…

filles at 2:50 pm

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August 22, 2005

swift conclusions

According to this I should probably be dismissed as “just another hopelessly narcissistic individual with too much time and technology”….

I find it sadly condescending that someone who gets paid to write feels that a blogger who writes because they want to, for a myriad of reasons, should be dismissed as “hopelessly narcissistic”.

And this from a writer who manages to move me with his honest an almost intimate writing on race and cultural differences.

How depressing.

filles at 10:48 am

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August 17, 2005

Thanks

Thank you all for your best wishes.
We had a great day. A few pints, a curry, some good red and a couple of drams with friends. How very Scottish!

We’re off on a road trip. See you soon.

filles at 11:07 am

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August 15, 2005

Catch up…

Sorry, I’m slack I know. No news is good news though, or at least that’s what they say. In our case it’s more likely that we’re just super busy, especially being August, especially since this is the height of the tourist and festival season, and especially since our home is full of French speaking tourists in August!

Shoot went well, Ved Mehta and his daughter. Here for the Edinburgh book festival.

Last few days included: Edinburgh fringe festival – Moon Journey – weird 70’s style, Kate Bush infused play/musical; Big Brother final eviction watched outside at a pub in Edinburgh; great rugby game, Australia vs New Zealand – sadly we lost, but I haven’t given up on the Wallabies yet; great football game Celtic vs Falkirk, happily for Michelle – Celtic won; Henri-Cartier Bresson exhibition at the Dean Gallery; Francis Bacon Portraits at the National Gallery of Modern Art; best ‘Pad Thai’ in a long time at Mad & Dave’s Sunday night and of course the anticipation tonight of Alain & Sonia arriving in time for our ‘fête’ tomorrow…

All good.

filles at 11:11 pm

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August 11, 2005

All gloss

We’ve sent the ‘teenagers’ (as Michelle calls them..) off to the Fringe in Edinburgh today. Armed with their program, a packed lunch and already a mountain of brochures – they’ll have a blast I’m sure. The sun is struggling to show itself here in Glasgow but who knows what it’s like 50 miles to the east. Could be a scorcher. I hope so for their sake.

Me, I’m working this afternoon. A good job. Assisting for a portrait for The Sunday Times Magazine. Somewhere out near Dunfermline, an author and his daughter. I’ll give you some more detail when I’m done.

How exciting!

filles at 10:54 am

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August 10, 2005

Stalactites

Our crisp flavour experiment completed, the rest of our drive to Ingleton went by without too much trouble. Ingleton was the choice only because we kind of favoured the Seed Hill B&B that we had stayed in last year on our way down to Barry & Michelle’s wedding. The breakfast was the biggest, bestest, hangover busting, fried all-the-works breakfasts we’ve had here in the UK. 2 sausages, a pile of well-cooked bacon, fried egg, tomato, mushrooms, baked beans and that artery clogging favourite – fried bread. Breakfast in Ingleton and you need nothing else until BBQ time in Bamford…. except the 3 or 4 pints along the way of course…

Thursday night we had dinner in the local pub and stayed to listen to the pub quiz. I say listen, because there was not a single question that we had any hope of being able to answer… After a huge dinner with the best of British on offer, we sidled out onto the pavement for a little walk in search of another pub with a pool table.

The weekend was great fun. We arrived in Bamford after meandering all day through every picturesque village you ever imagined existed. We came armed with sausages, lamb burgers and enough buns to feed an army – and we set about to wait at the pub for our hosts to return from work.

It was nice to see Barry & Michelle. It has been just over a year in fact since our last visit, and since they’ll be moving to Leeds this weekend, it was to be our last weekend in the Peak District for some time. We did a walk on Saturday up Win Hill and then down and around the dam before stopping at a lovely pub just outside of Bamford. Supposed to be a short leisurely walk, instead it was a reasonably long leisurely walk – but as usual the excellent company far outweighed any small inconvenience of blisters or need for second lungs, or hips, or knees…

Sunday as our last bid to the area we decided to hang about and visit one of the Caverns in Castleton. We queued for close to 2 hours, then marched down 105 stairs below the earth, jumped on a tiny little row boat in the dark and freezing temperature and were led along an old lead mine tunnel towards the cavern. There were 8 stalactites somewhere up in the distance and our guide was awed to tell us they were over 50,000 years old… Me, I couldn’t help sniggering about the fact that there were only ‘8 stalactites – I even counted them myself just to make sure they hadn’t missed one… 8? only 8? I’m used to seeing caves with hundreds if not thousands of the things…. but 8? As I said, the guide was almost reverential about them… I was more impressed with him and his awe than the 8 objects of attention, but anyway….

Our choice of cavern was between Speedwell and the Devils Arse. Because Barry & Michelle had visited the Devils Arse Cavern previously, and didn’t have many positive comments about it, and they hadn’t seen Speedwell – we figured we could discover it together, one last final touristy thing to do in the worlds second busiest National Park.

As we left I heard Michelle say to Barry “I think I preferred the Devils Arse”…

It pretty much sums up our feelings. Doubt we’d do it again, even without a queue to get in.

Our drive home was uneventful. Whereas on our previous trip last July it took us about 7 hours with traffic and extreme heat to get home, we made it back to Glasgow in 4.5 hours which included a ‘gas station and junk food’ stop. I was well impressed.

Maybe we could get to Leeds in under 4 hours next time?

filles at 6:34 pm

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August 9, 2005

A crisp here, and a chip there…

One thing that’s different here compared to Montreal are the chips. Certainly not a life-changing difference, but definitely different, and so much so that for most of our guests a taste testing experiment becomes customary….

We were subjected to one the other day on the drive down to Ingleton. While we stopped at Gretna to fill the car with petrol, our guests jumped out of the car for a stretch and to check out the ‘gas station’. After much hilarity and laughter coming from inside the shop Alex & Stephanie piled back into our tiny Clio their arms overflowing with bags of crisps.

The chosen entrants were:
Lamb & Mint;
Steak & black pepper;
Roast Chicken;
Thai Sweet Chilli;
Cheddar & Onion; and
Oriental Beef.

Lamb & Mint is a favourite of Michelle’s, but the rest of us found them a little hard to stomach. Luckily for us, the bag that tipped over on the floor in the back was one and the same, Lamb & Mint. Never mind. Steak & Black Pepper was a little weird, thankfully more pepperish than steakish. Alex favoured the Thai Sweet Chilli, Stephanie the Roast Chicken and myself, I’m partial to the cheese and onion…. and I think we all just found the idea of Oriental Beef a little off-putting!

The rest of the journey passed in relative silence… no doubt we were all pondering the results of the experiement in detail…

filles at 2:40 pm

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August 2, 2005

I’m still here…

Just busy.
Expecting Stephanie & Alexandre this morning at 0315, but due to the horrific accident in Toronto just now with the Air France flight, they’re understandably delayed…

We’re off to Yorkshire and the Peak District this weekend for some walking, maybe a stop at Hadrians wall on the way home. I’ll let you know how we get along…

filles at 10:44 pm

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