Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sat Nav Tyranny

Hmm, I have just remembered why I hate updating my sat nav.  Not only do I have to keep the app open, come what may,  it also takes a hell of a time to download and update. 

This time the download started off  with 27 minutes to go. I looked in on progress regularly.  Then...... ***!!!
The screensaver and sleep mode had kicked in.

  • So - the machine is now set never to go into standby in  any shape or form.
  • "Do not disconnect your device" I am commanded. 
  • At least it did not close down and corrupt the satnav, thank goodness.
  • There are now 37 minutes to go.  Thirty-seven!
  • Where did the extra ten minutes come from and why? Grrrrr...
I'm creeping off, trusting the whole thing does what it should do without continuing intensive care from me.

Thursday, October 06, 2016


It seems to me there are lots of Fringe bits to the Edinburgh Festival, but to keep things relatively tidy, (programmes, books, leaflets always being the exceptions) I see the Fringes divided up into the;
  1. International classical theatre, concerts and The International Book Festival;
  2. Professional Fringe; (worth a look)
  3. Mainstream Fringe (semi professional, can be interesting);
  4. Have-a-go Fringe (a huge range of options, often thought-provoking and clever);
  5. Stand-up Comedy, and
  6. Multinational talents Fringe, (A wide variety, some very beautiful).
Selecting from numbers 2-6  is not straightforward. This, for me, is a great big part of the fun of being at the Edinburgh festival...getting there and invariably taking pot luck. Number 5, is quite likely to be risqué! (I have no respect for 'comics' who operate with gratuitous vulgarity).

The Royal Mile pop up shows stand out on their own; The Royal Mile is always worth visiting.

This year I found myself second in a queue for a show; the Editor of The Children's Guinness Book Of Records, Craig Glenday was first. We had a lovely chat and sat in the same church pew to watch a really good show called The Gin Chronicles.  It's a spoof 1947 radio broadcast. If the show appears anywhere else, go see it.

And here is the Guinness Book of Records man doing his own ''show' at The Book Festival. There were only a few tickets left when I got mine on the day. Craig gave the young audience, (and their adults) guidelines about what records would not get into the books,  such as anything that would upset the people who help animals. It was a gentle humorous  production. We saw a couple of record holders, a bagpiper, and  a cyclist without a bike seat. The seat-less cyclist also tried to break a record at the show.   Children were invited  to play the bagpipes, or, monitor something with stopwatches, or, click devices, or, race to make up a potato head. (There is one on the low table).


The Festival seemed a bit slow to get into a bustling rhythm this year, partly because some of the elements of it were staggered not to clash too much with the Olympic Games. The new digital hub in the Centre of town had no  queues of festival-goers lining up for digital events in the Assembly Rooms, where, in previous years  you would have seen flows of people waiting for shows. It was all very quiet. The pop-up outdoor cafes and bars nearby were not over-subscribed with patrons. Up the hill in the Old Town where a lot of extra events seemed to be sited, it was busy.

What you see here is a newly refurbished banking hall at St Andrews Square, Edinburgh. It is gorgeous. The staff are happy for visitors to wander in and learn about the building's history. In the front garden - a Festival venue - you could sit and eat, or under gazebos, sit and play with outsize light -weight dominoes, or, under another, lounge on large cushions and play  with large cards.

So, in Princes Street, (the main shopping street of the city) I was darting through crowded spaces when I heard the attractive sounds of music.  I back tracked and gave the guy a donation. "Stop!" he called as I was about to dash off again. He raked around in a big bag and handed me a card... except it wasn't. He'd given me a gift of his CD "Because you are so nice", he said.
This is busker Marcello Vacante playing a track from  his CD 'Train For London' .  (His name is on the CD cover)

Does anyone know anything about this type of teapot, (if it is a teapot) seen in a charity shop window?

Oooops - In a back street I  found that The Driving License Authority had been busy (DVLC stamped on the clamp).


Let me introduce you to Audrey.

P1000380-Audrey-b-Wb P1000381-Show-Over-Audrey-Wb

The last remaining vintage mobile cinema from around 1967.  Black and white Pathé News films, (remember those) were shown, a couple were of the 1947 beginnings of the Edinburgh Festival. My friend told me afterwards that she remembered going to the first festival with her mother!!!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.

This was called "The Rook". This must relate to Harry Potter and the fearful chess board game that had to be played in one of the stories.  The author JK Rowling is, after all,  a graduate of the university and more recently was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Edinburgh University.  'Wee horse" does look like a junior  and not too distant relative of the Kelpies that are based in Falkirk, Scotland. However, the Kelpies don't have reins or a feather topknot.


Scenes of Festival relaxation in Princes Street Gardens and Granny's Drying Green below Edinburgh Castle:

P1000391-Princes-Street-Gardens-Wb P1000393-Ed-Castle-+Granny's-Washing-Green-Wb

A musical venue, where guitars  also became percussion instruments for both classical and fusion genres.


Last, but definitely not least:


A view of Edinburgh Castle with an interesting wee look-out tower and a clear view of a lump of Dolerite, a coarse-grained Basalt rock.  The Castle rock is estimated to have formed about 350 million years ago and is the remains of a volcanic pipe.

MacIvor, Iain (1993). Edinburgh Castle. p. 16. ISBN 9780713472950.
McAdam, David (2003). Edinburgh and West Lothian: A Landscape Fashioned by Geology. p. 16. ISBN 9781853973277.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016


The weather forecast was almost, but, not quite as dire as some we have heard before a journey. Nevertheless, if we were going to make the journey we had to travel in daylight.  The forecaster warned that with the temperatures being low, driving conditions could be icy and in addition, there was snow expected on high ground, which would move onto lower ground later on in the day.  It was mid February, daylight hours had increased by four minutes a day since the Winter Solstice, so, that meant we now had a decent chunk of additional daylight time in our favour.
P1000006 A9-North-2-Wb
You Can See The Icy Road Ahead.
Being a Tuesday, we expected to encounter a fair amount of commercial traffic.  Most of the commercial vehicles and some streams of cars were all heading in the opposite direction.  In front here, there was a truck and a tanker.

The road, Scotland's notorious A9 two lane road, is currently governed by average speed cameras. Vehicles of 7.5 tons or more, are restricted to 50 miles per hour.  Overtaking opportunities were limited, unless you thrived on serious risk-taking.  There being no other road north, it meant that domestic and smaller vehicles were forced into slower speeds for much of the time.  You see road signs that tell you 'frustration kills'.

Here we are into the steady upward climb of  'higher ground' as can be seen by the snow-capped hill on the left and the broken white slopes appearing on the right.  Just in case you are wondering, we are on one  of  the sections of dual carriageway on this road.   There are not many.


Still, onward and upwards.....
Climbing Higher
Climbing Higher still

Mucky Windscreen.
Then clarity.......The snowy  marshmallow pillows were lovely
This is my way of climbing peaks, using four wheels.

Mucky Windscreen
The dual carriageway at this point is on two levels.  In the right corner, you can just see a bit of the upper level.
 We caught a heavy bout of 'lower ground weather' as forecast, just after a quick, a very quick lunch stop; me darting in to a road side cafe to buy two coffees to take away.   Here we are driving into 'the weather'. The light and the sky were very threatening  What a difference an hour or two makes to a day.  All that lovely bright light, the gorgeous skies with fluffy clouds, had totally disappeared

A few minutes more and we met the weather totally as forecast, we were well and truly in it, a mix of snow and sleet and  very subdued daylight.

The rest of the journey, the last hundred miles or so, was punctuated by more  heavy wind-driven snow and sleet. But, it was still daylight when we reached journey's end.  We'd done it!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


While out walking we talked about….

Where humans might rest up in a dual purpose horse box;

The anarchy of some computer programme system designs;

About overflowing farm drains;

A courier company that uses more than one livery;

A swollen river in spate and nearly over-topping its banks;

About a utensils pot seen in a charity shop;

Buying a loaf of bread from the local bakery,

As I absent-mindedly walked past it;

Where to find a public toilet;

The cold wintry wind felt like ‘a bed for snow’.

Sunday, January 31, 2016


So far, Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude visited, all, it seems, in quick succession.  Now we expect Henry's imminent arrival.

Gertrude stormed in last Thursday night, (28th January 2106) and raged all of Friday. Late in the day there was a lull in Gertrude's activity and I went out to get some provisions, such as were available. Bridges closed to traffic, meant absolutely no buses, no transport of any kind that would deliver anything and also trains were cancelled.

Passing through the check-out with my few bits of shopping; 'passing the crack' (chat) with cashier, a young lad from the high school :

Him politely: It's getting chilly out there now.

Me: Gertrude  has been raging all day.

Him: - mischievously- what set her off then!

Yesterday, Saturday, we had snow and windy gusts. It felt really cold...it pierced through you.  I was wearing four layers indoors and a long padded coat plus hat outdoors. By nightfall the snow was nowhere to be seen.

Heavy snowfall pitted its sound against the windows during the evening.  Eventually, peaking out from behind the curtains, I saw a settled covering of white.

Today,Sunday, the last day of January, we had snow lie all day.  It was another four layer dressing day. There were some light snow showers, also a period of bright snow reflected sunshine.  We went for a walk  zipped up in wadded coats, our hats on, thermal gloves to keep hands and fingers toastie warm and walking boots for grip.

Now we await the arrival of Storming Henry, chasing in close on the heels of Gertrude.  Oh joy! (Not).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016



Just been rather busy since November last year, though there was a lull for a few days over the Christmas break.  Just as well, because with the dire flood warnings, which sounded like they were near, or, at home, we cut into our break  and dashed back to see if everything was okay chez nous.

The busy business will continue for a bit.  It means I won’t have much time for posting, (though I will take any opportunity that presents itself).  However, I intend that all this busy stuff  will not get in the way of keeping in contact and commenting.

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.  This morning, I heard a very poignant story on the BBC Radio 4 Programme, ‘Midweek,’ about a sock that belonged to a survivor.

January is nearly over; we’re getting an extra hour or so of daylight now.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015




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