March 22, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FELIX

I know we’re a couple of days early… but we’ll be thinking of you from Pakistan on the 24th! We wish you lots of cake, lots of presents and lots of love!

filles at 4:09 pm

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by Popular Demand

I sense that age related failing eyesights are the root of the trouble….

So here you have the white background back. Enjoy it. It won’t last. I will redesign, maybe not with black but something has to be done…. when we return!

filles at 9:53 am

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March 17, 2006

Waiting for the Adrenalin

Nothing new today.

Just running around like a chook with no head having realized we actually only have about 3 weeks left here in Glasgow after we get back from Pakistan… I’ve been hanging about, stopping for coffee, reading magazines, going to the cinema like I have all the time in the world! I guess this is when the adrenalin kicks in and I start getting things sorted and done.

Maybe tomorrow….

filles at 6:17 pm

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March 16, 2006

Biblocafe: Glasgow

We stumbled upon a new cafe on Woodlands Rd last weekend (262 Woodlands Rd). In fact it’s more than just a cafe, it’s a 2nd hand bookshop & cafe, serving great coffee with a huge range of well kept, good priced books, lots of light and wonderfully comfortable seating upstairs. The owner is not only funny with a huge range of entertaining stories, but she knows when you want to chat and when you want to catch up on your reading – she keeps all the daily rags along with her collection of well priced books.

I just thought I should plug it here since I’ve spent the last few days there, re-establishing my caffeine addiction. Support local.

filles at 3:35 pm

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Invitation proof

Side A:

Side B:

What do you think?

filles at 12:50 am

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March 15, 2006

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

It might be an option. I’m going to start a TEFL course this weekend. Hopefully learn a little english grammar, which may in turn help me with my french grammar, and could possibly come in handy during the next three years while we live in a city that is signifcantly more expensive than Glasgow…

It’s in Edinburgh this weekend. I’ll miss the hillwalk, but I’m sure I’ll survive. After all, there’s always next month…

filles at 3:10 pm

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March 14, 2006

Want to come to Pakistan?

Our trip to Pakistan has been planned. You might remember but the wedding we were going to go to in March has been postponed till December. We couldn’t get a refund on our airfares, nor on any of the ‘shalwar kameezes’ we had already purchased, so the choice was to lose close to £1000 – right it off as a bad mistake or to go anyway. We’ve chosen to go anyway.

I’ve spent the last week on the internet conversing with as many travel companies in Pakistan that I could find, trying to work out where to go, how to stay safe, what to visit and what not to worry about. It’s finally sorted. At least as far as we understand. We’ve given a deposit to local company in order that he arranges our domestic flight bookings, our hotels and a vehicle with a driver and guide. All that is left for us to do is pray that he delivers on what we’ve agreed on and that we don’t find ourselves face to face with a political martyr intent on destruction.

The trip itself is very exciting. If Pakistan is half as beautiful as I’ve been led to believe over the past week – this will be the trip of a lifetime! Want a taste?

We arrive in Karachi, and we leave as soon as possible on a flight to Rawalapindi. We travel up the KKH as far north as possible given the weather and the fact we will be up amongst the clouds and glaciers to Sost which is close to the Chinese border (elevation 2700m). We spend a few days visiting Hunza and doing some hikes amongst the mountains (this is home to the K2, the worlds 2nd largest mountain) and onto glaciers before heading back down the magnificent Karakorum Highway before turning off to take the Shangla Pass to Swat. Swat is reportedly the birthplace of Tantric Buddhism and of all Pakistans northern valleys, has the reputation of being the most beautiful. We spend some time here visiting the bazaars famous for embroidered shawls, rugs and precious stones before heading back to city life in Peshawar. Now Peshawar is one of the cities in Pakistan that is known as a ‘frontier town’ conjuring up images of romance, intrigue and danger against the backdrop of pungent odours of dates and kebabs. I’m not sure how realistic that is in this day and age, but it’s here you start out if you want to make the journey along the infamous Khyber Pass towards Afghanistan, the pass that links Central Asia and the subcontinent. It’s an entire journey, starting with the collection of a permit (if it’s open to foreign nationals whilst we’re there) and an armed escort from the Khyber Political Agent that must travel with you through the Tribal areas that are not ruled under regular Pakistan law. In all honesty, I imagine it’s the closest I’ll get to Afghanistan for quite sometime….

At the end of all that, we fly back to Karachi to spend our last evening out on the Arabian sea crabbing. Hopefully we catch some or at least someone does because we’re tempted with a big BBQ of fresh crabs before we leave the following day bound for the cold and windy UK.

What do you think? Tempting? You’re more than welcome to join us – only hurry up and decide, we’re leaving soon!

filles at 6:51 pm

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March 13, 2006

It’s still winter…

We had a little snow yesterday. In fact, a lot of snow for Glasgow… In fact more snow than we’ve ever seen in Glasgow…. And there’s more on the way!

filles at 9:15 am

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March 9, 2006

Working down the list

I’m working down a list today. I had forgotten how practical it is to list all your chores, and cross them off one by one as they get done. Some stuff I’ve been avoiding doing for weeks now has been ‘done & dusted’ in just one morning thanks to this new method. Miracle.

Another was to write something down about the Triptych Festival that’s going to be happening here in Scotland 26th – 30th April. It’s one of those music festivals that Michelle loves so much. Obscure, or relatively so, musicians and bands performing throughout Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – for the last 3 years she’s missed it, we’ve always had plans out of town, but this year she’s going to insist on being here and going.

Last week we were invited to the Launch Party of the program(!). It was being held at the Old Fruitmarket which is a very old market building that has been redeveloped and turned into a venue only last year – and I’m curious enough to agree to coming to the launch in exchange for seeing the interior. That, and the fact we were served free beer all night!

So there you have it. I have to admit all the marketing stuff and the line-up is pretty cool. If you’re in the area…..

filles at 10:56 am

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March 7, 2006

I’ll have to play ‘catch-up’

Sorry about the wait. It’s been a bit hectic around here, if it doesn’t rain it pours!

We’re back on for Pakistan, since we’ve invested more money than we can afford already and Gulf Air will not even consider refunding in whole or part – or even changing our tickets, we have to use them or lose them. Our insurance will not cover us unless the doctor of the father of the bride completes 5 pages of confirmations and affirmations that he did or didn’t do this etc which he can’t because, well just because… (I won’t go into it here). So there we are. Surely there’s a lesson in here for us, and I can promise you we’ve learnt it. Sadly. Nevermind our trip will go ahead the best way possible. I’ve been busy annoying travel companies in Pakistan to get a new itinerary drawn up for the two of us to explore up north. We’re down to two choices: either heading up the KKH towards China to see the amazing mountainous scenery and doing a few light treks or else taking the road from Peshawar and hopefully venturing out onto the Khyber Pass (don’t worry mum, we’ll only go if it’s relatively stable politically…) visiting a little north into the Swat Valley then heading down to the cultural capital of Lahore. Both trips have plus and negative points and I’m working on my decision matrix right now! If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to comment.

The saga in Montreal continues. Flat available, no tenant. Had some promising news yesterday, potential tenants came forward looking for 3 years, almost too good to be true.

No heat or hot water. Again. I can’t even begin to talk about it, it just gets me so angry. Such a shame we’ll be leaving Glasgow after a fabulous 3 years with bad memories of an otherwise fantastic apartment. Third time in 3 months…..

I know it all sounds bad, but there has been some good over the last week or so. We had a fantastic sushi dinner last Thursday night here with 4 friends, Joanne and I became master sushi chefs for an evening and it all worked perfectly (thanks to Milene for her sushi rice and amazing Tarte Tatin recipes!). Race night on Friday night in aid of raising money for Thales participants in the London/Paris bike ride. It was hilarious, I’ll write more later, suffice to say we lost everything but had a ball doing it – and I’ve even managed to become a regular at the gym again and the yoga teacher can remember my name! So it’s not all bad….

I’m off to my french lesson this morning…. hopefully she’ll go easy on me this week!

filles at 10:47 am

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March 1, 2006

Sad news from Karachi

We’ve just been advised that the wedding we were going to in Pakistan has had to be postponed. The father of the bride is in critical condition in hospital in Karachi and with the wedding only 3 weeks away, it was decided that a postponement would be the best course to take given the circumstances. As sad as it is to not be able to go to Pakistan this month for a week of wedding celebrations, we know it’s the only decision that could have been taken. We wish the family all the very best for a speedy recovery, and hopefully we’ll still be able to play a role when the wedding is rescheduled later in the year…..

We’ve got all the gear, the right books, our malaria pills and a visa so we certainly won’t be giving up on the idea of going to Pakistan provided we’re still invited.

In fact, if we can’t claim the flight cancellation on our insurance – we may very well end up going anyway!

filles at 6:43 pm

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Twin cities: Leeds/Bradford

We had a safe trip down to Leeds/Bradford. No hiccups. Lovely weekend, caught up with Michelle & Barry, checked out their new maison, watched Scotland beat England in the rugby, cheered a lot, were treated to great homemade pizza, watched Pulp Fiction, wished them all the best with the nipper, promised to visit from Paris once the nipper arrives… Sunday we made a quick trip to the National Photography Museum in Bradford. Nothing extraordinary. A couple of photo exhibitions which were interesting and the history of photography in the basement, sponsored by Kodak. Four and a half hours drive home. Sleep. You?

filles at 9:54 am

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