30 Nov 2007

"Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin

Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by Scots around the world on the 30th November..... BUT you would never know it looking at the local news on TV and the newspapers. So much for having a pride in our heritage.

This week the Scottish National Party (SNP) introduces a NEW campaign to entice people to come and visit Scotland. What is it? It is "WELCOME TO SCOTLAND". I think that people will come in their thousands because of this (NOT).

Here is an extract from the Scottish Government web site:

The theme of the campaign was unveiled at Glasgow Airport by External Affairs and Culture Minister Linda Fabiani. It will incorporate a range of local messages celebrating diversity and success across Scotland - with distinct point of entry images at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen airports.

The Minister said:
"This Government is determined to make the most of Scotland's image and reputation both here at home and abroad.
"From St Andrew's Day, these images will welcome people arriving in our country and Scots coming home, giving everyone a taste and glimpse of the very best of Scotland - enticing everyone to see more.
"As one of the first things that people will see upon arriving in Scotland, these images celebrate the historic and modern day successes that have shaped our country.


And in the same week the people of Scotland rejected Donald Trump's planning application to build a £1bn golfing complex in Aberdeenshire because a few do-gooders think that our coastal area will be ruined by his large Golfing development.

Have the same doo-gooders not smelled the air recently around Black Dog? Aberdeen City Council allowed the placing of two rubbish tips in the vunerable sand dunes area just a few miles south of the proposed golfing complex and that has left a large environmental impact far greater that anything the Trump golf complex would contibute to.


Please click on the highlighted texts to link to web sites related to the topic.

29 Nov 2007

"Misty Blue" by Dorothy Moore

This week we took a break away for a few days with a some good friends. We stayed in an hotel near Aviemore and had a relaxing time together.

Here are a few photos taken while we were enjoying a walk in Rothiemurchus Estate .

The estate has many things on offer among the most beautiful Scottish landscape, with walking, cycling, fishing, shooting, pony treks, bird watching and other exciting activities to enjoy.

Loch An Eilein within the ancient Caledonian Forest at Rothiemurchus.

24 Nov 2007

"Here, There & Everywhere" by The Beatles

It's been a month since I last wrote anything here in my Blog.

I have been busy with various activities, the main one being to help gather gifts put together into shoe boxes that are going to be sent to orphaned children in Romania to allow them to enjoy a special time at Christmas. The Christmas "Shoe-box" Parcel Appeal goes out to help children in need in Romania. The New Hope Trust ask for gift boxes and there are many, many school children responing to the appeal by each one making up a box full of sweets, toys, hats, scarves, gloves, soap, toothpaste, and other small gifts, bringing happiness and joy to so many poor children in Romania. This year I drove one of their trucks around our local area and loaded many parcels from schools. I also spent time driving to Glasgow & Edinburgh collecting gifts and clothing. I was proud to drive one of the trucks out to orphanages in Moldova in 2005. This year all the gifts are being transported by container as this works out to be a more cost effective option.

Janis and I also had a weekend away to Fort William and Gairloch with our local Porsche Club group. Everyone had a good time despite the wet weather. Here we are in the car park of the hotel we stayed in at Fort William.

19 Oct 2007

"Autumn Leaves" by Nat King Cole

Autumn has arrived here in Scotland, but what an autumn. It has been an Indian Summer so far with clear blue skies for most of each day. The nights are drawing in and soon the clocks will be changing back to Greenwitch Mean Time that will mean long dark nights ahead.

We were out walking in Haddo Park today and here are some of my photos to enjoy, before leaves fall off the trees and the cold winter days keep us indoors.

10 Oct 2007

"On the Road Again" by Canned Heat

.... CLICK HERE ... to view my Porsche Corsica road trip blog.

9 Oct 2007

"Golden Touch" by Razorlight

We were visiting the RSPB Reserve at Loch of Strathbeg yesterday when a very small bird flew into the glass of a window stunning itself. One of the wardens was able to find the wee bird in the long grass and held it in his hand until it came to its senses. Then it flew off again on its way. It was a female Goldcrest. The warden thinks that it had flown all the way from Scandinavia on its way to a winter feeding ground in the UK. The Loch of Strathbeg is the first bit of land it would encounter on its long journey south.

What surprised us all was how small and beautiful it was and how such a creature can fly so far without rest or food. One of God's true miracles of nature.

31 Aug 2007

"(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth" by Metallica

I saw this in today's paper and thought it worthy of posting it here.

Malaysian pulls train with teeth in world record bid

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian nicknamed "King Tooth'' pulled a seven-coach train using a steel rope clenched in his mouth Thursday, a feat that organizers said was a new world record for the heaviest weight pulled with teeth!

He did it in conjunction with the nation’s 50th Merdeka celebrations.

Link to article from here and here

I cannot believe anyone would want to attempt to do this but well done to him.

16 Aug 2007

"I am a Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel

We visited Craigievar Castle near Alford in Aberdeenshire today. This is one of my favourite Scottish Castles as it is not too grand and was still used as the family home up to about 1980. The castle sits on an eastern slope of the hill from which it derives its name; Craigievar, from the Gaelic, meaning "the Rock of Mar".

It is an excellent example of the original Scottish Baronial architecture, the great seven-storey castle was completed in 1626 by the Aberdonian merchant WilliamForbes, ancestor to the "Forbes-Sempill family" and brother of theBishop of Aberdeen. Forbes purchased the partially completed structure from the impoverished Mortimer family in the year 1610. William Forbes nickname was Danzig Willy, a reference to his shrewd international trading success. The Forbes family resided here for 350 years until 1963, when the property was gifted to the Nation Trust for Scotland.

"Baby your a rich man" by the Beatles

What Will I do With a Million Dollars??

Thanks to the tag, Irene.

What will I do with a million Dollars?
(1) Ensure my children are housed and comfortable.
(2) Invest in local charities.
(3) Travel around the World by means of walking, cycling, motorhome & car.
(4) Treat my close friends to a luxury holiday.


1st - Tag 5 bloggers, list down their blog and link to their blog.
2nd - Let the blogger you want to tag know they have been tagged by commenting on their blog. 3rd - Add your own blog link to the list below.

What They Would Do With Their $1 Million:
1. SYH will spend for Family.
2. Miche will give to the needy.
3. Montessorimum will keepsake
4. Healthfreakmommy will keep, invest, spend and give to the needy.
5. The New Parent would use for education and charity.
6. Mamas Bag of Tricks would open a dinosaur themed restaurant.
7. Lyanne would pamper herself.
8. Irene would invest, build a new home, travel.
9. Milky Bar Kid would ensure his family were comfortably established, help fund local charities and go on a grand World Tour.

LORD CELERY - My favourite Blogger.

Sorry I don't interface with many bloggers. Most other friends are using silly stuff like MySpace & Facebook.

NB: $1,000,000 (US $) is not really a lot these days to most people in the western world (£500,000) although in many parts of the World it would seem like $20,000,000.

Look at what this woman, Angela Kelly, won on the European Lottery this week..... AND she is from my home town of East Kilbride. Perhaps I should see if she has a blog to link here and she can tell us what she is going to do with her winnings.

11 Aug 2007

"Summer Sun" by Texas

We were invited to Calabria, Italy, to visit Ferruccio's Mum & Dad at there home there. We spent the most wonderful week with them with Claire and Ferruccio visiting lovely villages, towns and mountain areas. The weather was very hot and sunny at about 35C but importantly, not humid. Here are some of our photos


26 Jul 2007

"There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner" by Noel Coward

I listen to Sarah Kennedy on Radio 2 every morning as I wake up.

This morning I heard this song being played having been written and sung by Noel Coward. She said that it was probably very apt at the moment with all the flooding around the country and everyone in despair.

Seems very apt with all this bad wet weather!

Extracts from Noel Coward's song written at the begining of WW2 in 1940.

They're out of sorts in Sunderland
And terribly cross in Kent
They're down in Hull
And the isle of Mull
Is seething with discontent
They're nervous in northumberland
And Devon is down the drain
They're filled with wrath on Firth of Forth
And sullen on Salisbury plain
In Dublin they're depressed lads
Maybe because they're Celts
For drake is hurrying West, lads
And so is everyone else
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Misery is here to stay
There are bad times just around the corner
There are dark clouds hurtling through the sky
And it's no good whining
About a silver lining
For we know from experience they won't roll by
With a scowl and a frown we'll keep our peckers down
And prepare for depression and doom and dread
We're going to unpack our troubles from our old kit bag
And wait until we drop down dead
There are bad times just around the corner
And the outlook's absolutely vile
There are home fires smoking from Windermere to Woking
And we're not going to tighten our belt and
Smile Smile Smile
At the sound of shots
We'd just as soon as not
Get a hot water bottle and go to bed
We're going to unpack our troubles from our old kit bag
And wait until we drop down deadI like your story
Land of Hope and Glory
Wait until we drop down dead

"Get Off Of My Cloud" by The Rolling Stones

Another good walk on Tuesday to Mount Keen with John W.

Mount Keen @ 939m is the most easterly Munro in Scotland (A Munro being the name given to hills in Scotland over 914.4 m there being a total of 284). The assent we took was from the end of Glenesk where there is a car park. The initial approach is up Glen Mark for 3.5km to the Queens Well, a granite imperial crown which sits on top of a natural spring bubbling out of the ground and marks the spot where Queen Victoria and her entourage stopped for a picnic on one of their jaunts over the hills from Balmoral in September 1861.

Then we headed on a track up the narrow glen of the Ladder Burn to 670m and then by a path which leads towards the summit, a distance of 9kilometres, 680m ascent.

When we arrived at the top it was covered by cloud and a chilly, high wind was blowing so we sheltered among boulders to have our lunch of oatcakes, cheese, apples and an orange. The cloud lifted a bit to let us take some photos that you see here. John has stitched some photos together to make a few panorama views. - thanks, John

Having a laugh and lunch at the top and it was a "silly hat" kind of day too!

(but it does keep you warm)

22 Jul 2007

"Almost There" by Andy Williams

Click on the photo to see a larger image that you can read.

John and I completed the seaward section of the Speyside Way last week. We walked 10 miles from Fochabers to Buckie. A nice walk in a beautiful Country. See my updated photos - CLICK HERE.

Now we only have to complete the top section from Aviemore to Nethy Bridge and plan to do that in late autumn. There is also a spur from Tomintoul to Ballindalloch that we will plan in the future.

20 Jul 2007

"Song To A Seagull" by Joni Mitchell

I saw this in our local paper this morning and thought that the press may find it good enough to print and sure enough it is in Yahoo news tonight and I am sure it will be in some of the major papers tomorrow.

12:41 - 20 July 2007 -
P & J newspaper
He's becoming the number one tourist attraction in the centre of Aberdeen. Up with the lark from his home near the beach every morning, Sam the Seagull heads down to his local store at the Castlegate to do his shopping. By 7am he's sitting outside the glass doors of RS McColl waiting patiently for the staff to open up. As soon as his way is clear the pesky seagull pops inside, turns first left and tootles across to his favourite breakfast - Doritos. Then he scoops the packet into his beak and hops back outside again without stopping to pay his 50p. Just a few feet outside the shop Sam gets tucked into his crisps.But then the problems start. His lazy mates spot his loot and go in for the attack. Soon they are all gorging Sam's goodies and he's lucky if he gets just one of the delicacies for himself. Shop staff and customers who have seen Sam's shoplifting performance are amazed.Assistant Amanda Parks, 20, from Mastrick said: "It's fantastic to see him. "He was just sitting looking at me outside the glass doors this morning almost pleading with me to open up. "As soon as I did he popped in and snatched the Doritos. Tangy cheese flavour seemed to be his favourite."Then he toddled out again."But that's when the others dived on him. It seems such a shame after he'd done the shopping."Another shop assistant 22-year-old Sriaram Nagarajan said: "We saw him do this once about two weeks ago and thought it was just a one off. "But over the past few days he's become a regular. He always seems to go for the Doritos but maybe that's just because they are on the bottom shelf and they are the easiest for him to get at."

11 Jul 2007

"Sail Away" by David Gray

It was kept secret by the Hudson Bay Company at the time but my Great Uncle was the first person to captain a boat through the Northwest Passage in one season over the top of Canada in 1937.
If you are interested please Click on this LINK to find out more.

5 Jul 2007

"Many Rivers To Cross" by UB40

I knew when I took a look & Photographed this bridge earlier this year that it was something very special and now it seems I am not alone. See article from the Press & Journal inserted below for details. Click here for photos of the Bridge.

Press & Journal; 08:50 - 04 July 2007
One of the north-east's most iconic structures will be designated as an international civil engineering landmark at a ceremony today. Civil engineers from Britain and the United States will gather at the historic Thomas Telford Bridge which spans the River Spey at Craigellachie to mark the occasion. A plaque will be unveiled on the bridge by members of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers in Telford's honour. The ceremony is part of a programme of events being held during the summer to coincide with the 250th anniversary of his birth. Opened in 1814, the 150ft-span bridge is the oldest surviving example of Telford's prefabricated lozenge-lattice cast-iron arch design. It was cast in sections at an ironworks in north Wales and transported by sea to Speymouth from where it was conveyed to the construction site by horse-drawn wagon. The bridge continued to carry traffic over the Spey until the early 1970s when a new road bridge was built just downstream. The picturesque structure attracts thousands of visitors every year and is one of Moray's most photographed landmarks.Telford was born in the Borders and went on to become one of the greatest civil engineers of his time. Among his most celebrated feats of engineering is the Caledonian Canal.In Moray alone he was responsible not only for the Craigellachie Bridge but also the original Spey Bridge at Fochabers, Burghead harbour, the Spynie Canal, Cullen pier and Tomintoul Church. Later this year it is planned to create a Thomas Telford Trail linking all of Telford's surviving construction projects in Moray.

30 Jun 2007

"Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles

"Holding Hands - Part 1", by Bruce A Cameron

OK, so I am a proud father.

Here is a video that Bruce did for his animation work at University. I am sure you will enjoy watching it. Please click on the Video picture twice to load it.

You can see all of his videos at MY VIDEOS Blog .. click here.

29 Jun 2007

"Warm Sporran " by Jethro Tull

I just cannot believe this. We, in the UK today, are being subjected to the most stupid laws. Is it because we try and obey the rules that we get deluged with even more? Read on .....

Sporran wearers will need a licence.
Kilt wearers could face prosecution if they do not have a licence for their sporran under new legislation which has been introduced in Scotland that has come from the EU

The laws are designed to protect endangered species like badgers and otters, whose fur used to be favoured by sporran makers.

The legislation applies to animals killed after 1994. Applicants must prove that the animal was killed lawfully before they will be able to get a licence.

The conservation regulations were designed to close a number of loopholes and bring Scotland into line with other EU members.

They also apply to other vulnerable animals like deer, wildcats, hedgehogs, bats, lynx, moles, seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises.

The regulations require anyone who owns any part of a protected animal to obtain a licence. The maximum penalties for breaking the law are a fine of £5,000 and six months in prison.

It's part of our national dress - but now we could be forced to have a licence to wear it.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said the law was introduced to ensure the protection of vulnerable European species and covered products made from skin, fur and teeth of a number of protected animals. ---
I agree with this bit.

The legislation is aimed at those sporrans made from protected wild animals within the last 13 years. ---- But not with this bit. How do I know this for my 12 yr old sporran? Come on, who is going to put me in prison? I have just read that a person who killed someone with his car was let off with a suspended sentence and here we are going to jail a man for wearing a 12 yrs old sporran made of badger's fir. I think its time to emigrate!

I liked this letter published in the Press & Journal newspaper today. It sums it up for me really. Thanks, A H Muir for your comments.
"Sir, Like many Scots, I have endured the progressive criminalisation of the common man be they local, national or European. I drive down the road, I am judged to be a speedster and large bumps are put in my way on the tarmac to inconvenience me. If I go to a bank, I am judged to be a member of the Mafia and must prove my identity, especially do if I wish to remove my own money. If I dare to fly, I am regarded as a terrorist and must be subjected to body searches and other humiliations. If I volunteer to assist a children’s sports society, I am regarded as a pervert until I prove otherwise. In every aspect of life, I am considered guilty by our Government until I prove otherwise, but my patience has finally snapped. Now, I must prove that my sporran is not made from an endangered species, even if I bought it 13 years ago. It is the final straw. To be demeaned daily is one thing, but when you try to deny a Scotsman his sporran you are in dangerous territory, indeed.

I could not agree more.

25 Jun 2007

"Food Glorious Food" from the musical OLIVER

Food Around The World Tag

Thanks for the tag, Irene.

Here is my favourite Scottish Dish. Skewered West Coast Queenie Scallops wrapped in sliced Scottish smoked salmon, marinated in freshly squeezed lemon juice, crushed black pepper and salt.

bamboo skewer
1 slice of Scottish smoked salmon cut horizontally
2 small quennie scallops
1/4 lemon
A touch of sprinkled salt
A touch of crushed black pepper

The method
Lay the strip of smoked salmon flat on the chopping board. Roll the salmon around each of the scallops. Then finally skewer them.
Sprinkle the ingredients and squeeze the lemon juice. Best to leave for a couple of hours to marinate.

When Tagged please copy this section below to your Blog and add your name to it +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Proposition: What is your favorite food in your state or country?
Requirements: Find some info about the food and show delicious pictures of it.
Quantity: Tag FIVE PEOPLE.

I am tagging Janet, John, SUZ and maybe more later. So, come on guy's give me your favourite dishes.

Tag Mode: You leave their blog and post link and add your name to the list below.

Mybabybay loves Asam Laksa from Penang, Malaysia
JustMyThoughts loves Penang Char Koay Teow
My Lil Venture loves Laksa Sarawak
Montessorimum loves Teluk Intan Chee Cheong Fun
Health Freak Mommy loves Dim Sum from KL, Malaysia
Mama's Bag of Tricks loves Hakka Mee from Serem
Irene loves Pulling Noodles
Miky Bar Kid loves Scallops

"Anyone For Tennis" by Cream

It's that time of year again when the Wimbledon Tennis Championships are held. You cannot miss them in the UK as the TV and Radio coverage of it is everywhere for the next 2 weeks.

However, I wanted to bring to everyone's attention a fantastic tennis court that must be the most remote and most beautiful setting in the UK if not in the World. I found it while on our cycling holidays in the Western Isles of Scotland. It's the Bunabhainneadar Tenis Court. Here a a few photos of it and there is no other building near it. Maybe Wimbledon should be relocated to play there next year.

17 Jun 2007

"Beautiful Sunday" by Daniel Boone

As I've been away I am now trying to catch up with things at home.

First, A big Happy Birthday to Claire. We celebrated her birthday on the 30th May and had a meal in a restaurant in Aberdeen. Sadly, Ferruccio could not be with us as he is working away from home. Grant came with us and we had a good time together. CHEERS, Claire.

Also, a BIG Happy Birthday to Suzi D who's birthday was on the 11th June.

Secondly, It is Father's day today and Claire gave me a gift and card. Thank you Claire, very much. Here is a photo of what she gave me.

16 Jun 2007

"Déjà vu" by Crosby Stills Nash and Young

Western Isles of Scotland - June 2007

Harry and I enjoyed our 1st holiday here 9 years ago so much that we decided to do it again. We took the train from Inverurie to Oban and sailed to South Uist for the start of our holiday. We cycled through South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Harris and Lewis. We then took the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool and cycled to Garve to meet the train going back to Inverurie and then cycled home from there. We had to push through North Easterly winds the whole way, just like last time! Will we ever learn? We cycled 233 miles.

CLICK HERE to go to our photos of the holiday.

26 May 2007

Boxster Scotland Trip - 2007

I organised the Porsche Club Boxster Scotland trip again this year and it was a great success, so everyone is telling me. It rained a lot on the first day but we had the best of weather for the rest of the time. Here we are at the Clan MacDuff Hotel nr Fort William.

"Mandy" by Westlife

A very sad time.

Mandy, my Mum's dog, died last week. She came to live with us when my Mum died a few years ago. She was always a very happy dog and was no bother to us at all. All our family loved her very much. She was nearly 15 yrs old.