Saturday, 15 June 2019

Delayed Post

It’s been a week since the blog was updated.  What happened?  The initial few days can be explained by the weather.  It was so bad we basically did nothing!  Then we needed to prepare for our return to Australia.  You may recall we arrived in the UK with one bag weighing 18kg.  There were two other bags inside that bag and we managed to fill all three bags once the serious shopping had been completed.  Whilst I suspect the clothing in the UK comes out of the same Asian factory that supplies Australia Jan is convinced the quality is better.

On our second to last day I did a trial pack realising we were likely to run out of room in the bags.  That necessitated the purchase of a 4th bag during our final shopping day.  Particular care needed to be taken with the packing of the pottery as the luggage bags were all made from vinyl (my old army kitbags).

Our youngest son kindly drove us to Manchester airport on Wednesday morning.  He just dropped us off rather than parking and staying to see us leave.  That was at our request.  We were rather surprised to subsequently hear the drop off cost him £3.  Manchester Airport would be the first we’ve departed from where there was a charge for a drop off!

An interesting situation then developed with the weight of the luggage.  We had an allocation of 30kg each, however the check in assistant failed to realise there were four bags allocating the first two to me.  They had a combined weight of 25kg.  When I reminded him there were two other bags he weighed those at 36kg allocating the weight to Jan.  Then he told us we were 6kg over our allowance.  I pointed out we had a combined allowance of 60kg but as he had entered two sets of bags as different transactions he couldn’t combine the weights.  A discussion ensued before he called over his supervisor.  The supervisor had the required computer access level to combine both Jan and my luggage weights.  that meant we were at 61kg…… 1kg over our allowance.  I was prepared to remove 1kg from the hold luggage and add it to our cabin bags as they were both almost empty but the supervisor accepted we were under our baggage limit.

Jan was concerned we would have our two blue foam rubber squares taken off us whilst I was prepared to argue to retain them.  In the end no questions were asked although we had numerous curious glances from fellow travellers.

The foam rubber squares proved to be a lifesaver.  Halfway through the flight we could have sold them to other travellers for 10 times what they cost us.  I had checked the width of the Qatar airways economy seats and then cut the foam one inch narrower.  That probably wasn’t necessary as there was room to spare.  Whilst we started the journey sitting higher than surrounding passengers the foam slowly compressed over time.  It was interesting watching others wandering around the aircraft cabin attempting to excise the pain from their posteriors Smile  We’ll remember this trick for any future long haul flights.  Yes… I took the foam with us at the end of the flights.

We arrived home in the dark (it’s winter here) at 7:45pm to find a dusty house with lawns full of weeds (observed in the moonlight).  Of course we were jet lagged and whilst I only had 45 minutes of sleep during the previous 36 hours we both still woke at 3am after only four hours of sleep. 

Jan now has plenty of housework to keep her busy whilst I recommence home renovations. 

So what did we make of our return to the UK?  In England you are almost always close to a canal.  We actually tried to avoid them.  Not because we didn’t want to see canals, but rather because we had already visited that area.  We were reminded just how fortunate we were to have those years on board Waiouru.   However your memory does tend to focus on the good times and it takes more thought to remember less interesting period.  For my part I remember those miserable days where we stayed inside Waiouru basically either reading a book or researching ‘life after canals’ on my laptop.  I don’t think I could permanently live aboard for the remainder of my life!  Summer in Australia followed by summer afloat in the UK does appear, however the flights; and more importantly; the remote maintenance of a vacant house in Australia is a major obstacle.  I think we have both accepted it was a wonderful period in our life together, but it isn’t going to be repeated.  Besides, there are many other experiences to be had!  

Friday, 7 June 2019

Pottering Around

The feathers got ruffled today when we returned to the rental car only to discover the key wouldn’t unlock the vehicle.  Ordinarily that wouldn’t be a problem as I’d just manually unlock the car.   However this vehicle has an electronic key and can’t be manually unlocked.

The key

Were the batteries in the key flat and how was I going to resolve this problem?  Pushing the unlock button had no effect!  All I could think of was phoning Enterprise and asking for assistance.  Then I remembered the ‘Golden Rule’…… “Look for the simple things first!”   That’s when the solution appeared.  Wrong black car!   Our car was moored three four bays away.  <phew>

Today was spent pottering around Stoke on Trent.   This is very familiar territory having visited once before by car and numerous times by canal.  By pottering around I mean visiting potteries.  Burleigh at Middleport, Royal Doulton at Festival Park, Portmeirion and Wedgewood

The latter has changed considerably since our first visit in 2003.  We didn’t want to purchase anything large or fragile as it will be going into the aircraft hold in a soft vinyl bag.

Lunch was in a very familiar location.The Toby Carvery at Festival Park.   It seemed strange to arrive by car when all our previous visits have been by boat!

Damned keyboard is getting worse.  Draft posts are taking ages to write!

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Derbyshire and Harecastle

The B roads were rather interesting today.  We spent last night in Nuneaton where the Travelodge receptionist informed Jan we were luck to get a room.  The previous night they had been fully booked with rooms going for £100+.   Apparently the situation had been created because four middle-aged female singers were holding a concert in Coventry.

We again set the gps for the shortest route.  I wanted to go to Bakewell.  Not because I particularly like Bakewell Tarts, but rather because I’d arranged to collect an online purchase from Rutlands UK. After a considerable amount of internet searching I had identified them as the cheapest supplier of Gluebot’s.  Their price was less than half the price in Australia for the same items.  The gps route was very interesting as most of it was down narrow single lane roads with high hedges on either side.  The odd oncoming vehicle just added to the interest.   The last third of the route saw us slowly climbing until we were in the high ground of the Peak District National Park.

Looking at the map one can see the canal network surrounds the national park.  Bugsworth Basin,  Sheffield, Chesterfield,  Froghall, Leek, Macclesfield.

We had lunch at The Winking Man on the road to Leek.

The day has ended with us being slightly to the west of Harecastle Tunnel summit

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Unremarkable Day, Old Ground and a Solution

When we returned to Perth in 2017 I discovered termites had got into our stored effects and; amongst many other items; had eaten my two expensive tailor made suits.  Obviously that was disappointing but as I am now retired a suit is something I’m not going to regularly use.  I’m not planning on being buried which just leaves me with a few wedding and the odd funeral (attending someone else’s of course).

I needed a suit when I went to Saudi Arabia in 2014. Now where did I buy it?  Oh yes, the Sainsburys Superstore in  Rugby.  Today we drove to Rugby where we managed to buy a cheap plain dark suit.   This area is all very familiar and either of us particularly wanted to visit the town.  But it was the only location where I was almost certain I’d be able to buy a cheap suit. 

Well you know what happened after that.

Despite taking an oath that we wouldn’t do it we went for a walk along the towpath at Brownsover.  So many memories!

Readers you may recall me mentioning how uncomfortable the seats were on the two flights from Perth to Manchester.  Neither of us have been looking forward to the agony of the return flights.  I did research the cost of purchasing Business Class for the return.  But I’d probably feel guilty sitting up the front in comfort knowing Jan was somewhere down the back in cattle class.   To be more precise….. guilty for the first 15 minutes!   Then I realised there was a ‘no extra cost’ solution.  We’d go “air force business class”.  All that was required was a brief trip to Dunelm Mill.

I just need to cut them down to fit the base of the airline seat.

Bury St Edmunds

I’ve wanted to visit Bury St Edmunds after hearing the rather unusual name. I’d assumed it meant the place where St Edmund was buried.  However that doesn’t appear to be the case as St Edmund is buried in a number of places.   It’s suggested the ‘Bury’ part of the name is derived from the old Germanic word burgs or ‘fortress’.   The St Edmund half comes from King Edmund who was the king of Anglia around the 7th Century.  His cause of death is disputed with some historians suggesting he died in battle fighting the invading Vikings whilst others suggest he was captured and then killed by the Vikings.  If you follow the TV series Vikings you may recall Ivar the Boneless and his brother Ubba.  Who had Edmund shot full of arrows after he suggested to them his Christian faith would protect him.   Well he died and the Christians made a martyr of him!  

By 986AD a popular cult was formed around him and a shrine was erected.  In 1010AD Edmund was dug up and his remains moved to London for ‘safe keeping’.  They were returned three years later.  The shrine continued to be visited by nobles and kings with Edmund now being recognised as the patron saint of England.  In 1095AD an abbey was established at the location of the shrine.  By trading upon the memory of St Edmund the abbey became rich and powerful. 

In 1217AD Edmunds remains were stolen and taken to Toulouse, France by King Louis VIII.   Edmund is credited with saving the city from the 1628AD plague.  He was now making the French money.

It wasn’t until 1901 that the English (with the help of the Pope) managed to get Edmund repatriated.  He was supposed to be re-interned in Westminster Abbey but there was a dispute regarding the authenticity of the remains and they were kept at Arundel Castle until the issue was resolved.  Today Edmund waits at Arundel Castle; except for three of his teeth which the French gave to Douai Abbey.

Meanwhile the Abbey was sacked by the local population when they became fiercely disenchanted with the greed and corruption of the Abbott.   The population then realised they may have condemned their souls (and killed the goose laying the golden eggs) so they rebuilt the gatehouse.

The final demise of the Abbey occurred in the 16th Century during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.   That guy Henry again!

Bury St Edmunds has three major sources of income.  The nearby large sugar refinery which produces ‘silver spoon’ sugar from locally grown sugar beet.  Greene King brewery is located in the town.  Then there is the tourism.

The ruins of the Abbey

The Gatehouse which was rebuilt after the local population destroyed the original during the sacking of the abbey.

View from the Abbey grounds

Town side

The Pillar of Salt.  Erected in 1935, this is reputedly the first internally illuminated road sign in England.

The Corn Exchange is rather impressive.  I remember writing a query about the Corn Exchange in Newbury back in 2011.  I thought corn was sold, however Bruce of nb Insanity Again left a comment advising me ‘corn’ was a generic word for grain.


It’s now the local Weatherspoons!

The other building I wanted to see was the Guildhall

Parts of the structure date back to the 12th Century.  When the Abbey was sacked the Prior and some of the monks were imprisoned in the Guildhall.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Great Yarmouth

Using the laptop keypad is proving to be quite a trial.  The C V B N and spacebar keys all work intermittently.  I may have a solution but that will have to wait until we return to Perth.   Meanwhile blog reader Dave left what I now realise is a blindingly obvious comment.  I mentioned in watching out for Phil driving around Sandringham.  Dave stated the obvious when he comment that Phil wasn’t at Sandringham.  He’d been sent to Gatwick to collect Donald.  I bet Donald’s hair is now raised even more!

We had a good look around Great Yarmouth today.  Why?  Well one reason is many years ago I’d read a book about the Battle of Copenhagen which took place in 1801.   The British fleet assembled at Great Yarmouth before sailing to Copenhagen.

For centuries the town was a major fishing port; mostly herring.  The industry went into gradual decline from the middle of the 20th Century before finally being killed by the EU fishing policy.  Great Yarmouth became a seaside resort around the middle of the 18th Century.  It has a long and wide sandy beach with a promenade and two main piers.   On visiting Great Yarmouth it wouldn’t be hard to imagine you were actually in Blackpool as the waterfronts look very similar.

Britannia Pier is the oldest of the two piers (opened1858)

The promenade has the usual stalls and ice cream outlets

There’s a plethora of amusement arcades opposite the beach

As usual,I was more interested in the old or unusual buildings.

The Empire Theatre, built in 1908. In latter years it was used as a nightclub but since 2007 it has been empty.

Yarmouth Hippodrome. Built by showman, George Gilbert in 1903 the Hippodrome has remained a consistent presence on Great Yarmouth’s seafront.  TheHippodrome is tucked behind a row of amusement arcades, It used to look out over the sea and is a Grade I-listed terracotta gem, one of just three surviving purpose-built indoor circuses in the world

St John’s Church.  Founded as a chapel for beachmen and fishermen and was built by J.H. Hakewill, in 1857. The church is in simple Early English style throughout despite being extended and altered throughout the 19th century and early 20th century.

The Royal Aquarium.  Subsequently converted to a theatre.

The Windmill Theatre (building in the middle of the photo with twin green capped towers).   Ooriginally built as the Gem Theatre and is one of Britain's earliest surviving Cine Variety buildings.

The Theatre was designed by Arthur S. Hewitt, who also designed the Empire Theatre in the town the same year. The Windmill was built for C.B. Cochran and opened on the 4th of July 1908 with the odd proviso that men and women had to sit on opposite sides of the auditorium.

It was built as a Cine Variety Theatre and in the early decades of the 20th Century was providing the number two variety bills in Great Yarmouth, and later, in 1948, when it was renamed the Windmill Theatre, it was regularly used for summer shows, a policy which continued into the 1960s.  It subsequently became a children’s amusement arcade.

We’re heading somewhere else tomorrowSmile

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Towards Great Yarmouth

Still on the B roads and this morning we headed for King’s Lynn.  Two reasons for this.  1.  It’s the other end of The Wash crossing. 2. The town is reputedly quite interesting from a historic perspective.

The first part of the visit took us down to the riverbank.


The tide was going out so obviously not much chance of seeing an arriving narrowboat.  This view is looking east towards The Wash.   No narrowboats in the other direction either.

Fishing boat Baden Powell

Baden Powell is the only remaining double ended fishing smack of its type.  More information <here>.

During the 14th century King’s Lynn was England’s most important port with sea trade to Europe.  Ports on the opposite side of the country didn’t come to prominence until after the discovery of the New World and Trans-Atlantic trade.

The riverbank would have been lined with warehouses.  I could only see one warehousead after peeking through a crack in the door I realised it had an internal steel girder frame and steel trusses for the roof.  Obviously not a old as I had hoped.

However on the walk back into the town centre we came upon some Hanseatic warehouses built around 1425AD.

The upper floor protrudes over the lane and is timber framed with brick infill.  The frontage is actually leaning toward the lane.  I did mention to Jan that weshouldn’t walk underneath the upper storey just in case a resident decided to empty the contents of their ‘Jays’ pot out the window. “Bucket and Chuck it!”  Smile

This next photo shows the rear wall of King’s Lynn Minster.  You may notice the wall is both bulging and leaning outward ie,the wall isn’t vertical. I suspect the bulge has been caused by the weight of the top stonework and the lean is a result of slowly collapsing foundations.

The Guildhall was rather impressive.

Reputedly it’s the oldest working theatre in the UK and the only existing theatre where William Shakespeare performed.

And here is another photo showing what can happen when the structure of a building starts to fail.

I wouldn’t want the job of replacing the window frame above the door arch.

From King’s Lynn we drove to Sandringham for morning tea with Her Majesty.  Unfortunately she had cancelled the appointment because of another engagement which had occurred at short notice.  Who is this guy Donald?

Oh,Yes we drove very slowly just in case Phil had decided to take the Range Rover for a local spin.

We stayed on the B roads heading roughly towards Great Yarmouth.  Of course it’s Sunday and Jan was looking forward to a roast lunch.  This is where we have noticed the difference between England and Scotland.  Finding a rural pub in Scotland that served a cooked lunch was far more difficult than in England.  We must have passed at least six pubs today all serving a roast lunch.  Unfortunately we chose poorly. The beef was sliced too thick and overcooked whilst the Yorkshire Pudding had sugar in it.  Jan wasn’t impressed!  ’

Saturday, 1 June 2019


Boston England; not Boston Massachusetts USA.  It’s interesting to realise how migrants from the UK kept nostalgic links to their mother country by naming locations after places where they had originated.  Today we went through a small village named Burnham.  Many year ago we lived in Burnham, NZ.  NZ also has an Oxford and Cambridge.  There are many other examples.

In 2016 we cruised up the Trent taking a detour to visit Lincoln.  At the time we discussed continuing on to Boston eventually deciding to forgo it with the idea we might return one day to cross the Wash.  That never happened and instead we visited Boston by road.

It’s a small medieval market town and we probably got it wrong visiting on a Saturday as it was market day making finding parking very difficult.  The land around here is very flat and featureless with the land to the east of Boston almost at sea level.  Because of this the area was prone to flooding.  Efforts to combat this problem commenced in the 11th century with so drains being dug.  In the late 18th century the engineer John Rennie (of canal fame) was commissioned to investigate the problem and write a report.  Acts of Parliament followed in 1801 and 1803.  Eventually this resulted in the current Witham Navigable Drains.  250 years ago the area would have been very marshy with Fenmen residing there living by fishing, fowling and cutting reeds.  Today it appears to be mostly market gardening.

The tide was obviously out during our visit

I had intended to attempt to climb to the top of the ‘Boston Stump’ and take panoramic photos of the surrounding countryside. That didn’t workout as the Stump is undergoing renovation.

The Boston Stump is actually the name of the tower of St Botolph’s Church,Boston.  The church has one of the tallest towers in England and because the land is so flat it can be seen for miles.

Who was St Botolph?   I’d never heard of him but Wikipedia suggest he was Botwulf of Thorney, an English Abbot and Saint who died around 680AD.  Apparently up to 71 churches were named after him and the name of the town (Boston) is a derivative of his name. I couldn’t find anydirect link between him and Boston.  But then if you believe what allegedly happened to his remains after his death then anything is possible.

Botwulf is supposed to have been buried originally at his foundation of Icanho, but in 970 Edgar I of England gave permission for Botwulf's remains to be transferred to Burgh, near Woodbridge, where they remained for some fifty years before being transferred to their own tomb at Bury St Edmunds Abbey on the instructions of Cnut. The saint's relics were later transferred again, along with those of his brother Adulf, to Thorney Abbey, although his head was transferred to Ely Abbey and various body parts to other houses, including Westminster Abbey. [Wikipedia]

Friday, 31 May 2019

A Tasty Lunch

The weather has been rather miserable for the last two days which meant I could have posted a blank white square to show the cloud we’ve been driving through.  Never mind, we’ve reached Ull.  I thought we were at Hull, but after listening to the locals I’ve realised the “H” is silent.

Today we could actually see the countryside and after a brief discuss Jan decided she wanted to see Goathlands.  For those readers who don’t follow the ‘soapies’ on the box the TV name of the village is Aidensfield of “Heatbeat” fame.

The village pubis actually The Goathlands Hotel as displayed on the large sign on the end of the building. 

However the sign on the opposite end of the buildings displays the following

We wandered into the pub to check the lunch menu.  It didn’t impress so we left.

Across the road from the pub is Scripps Garage and Funeral Services. 

The police station and house from the TV series isn’t in Goathlands but someone was quick to cash in on the location by parking this vehicle outside the village shops.  You know your age when you remember driving one of these in your youth! 

Jan parted with some of our hard earned cash in one of the village tourist shops.  I confess to pressuring her to buy the table mats with the Yorkshire Moors scenery. However buying the politically inappropriate Gollywog mug was her own idea.

The range of food in both tearooms didn’t impress us and we decided to move on.

Last time we were this way I remember seeing radar domes high on the moors.  Today we noticed this…….

My assumption is it’s a replacement for those radar domes we saw in 1999.  A three (or four) sided phased array radar?

The car was heading towards Pickering when I happened to notice what appeared to be a pub on the left side of the road. 

The Fox & Rabbit had a good menu.  Jan was also impressed with the local cider. We both opted for the ‘Roast of the Day’(pork) and it was delicious.

After letting lunch settle I again changed the car gps parameters so it would take us on the shortest route to Ull.   This resulted in us seeing some fantastic scenery on narrow one lane roads.  Apologies for the typos…. The faulty keyboard is a trial! 

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Instructions for inserting photos from Google Photos

Thank you to our readers who left a comment confirming they could see the post box.  When I thought about the problem the reason was obvious.  The photo was being inserted into Open Live Writer from our Google Photos album and then being published in Blogger.BUT I was the only person seeing the photo in our blog.  The Problem was the photo was not being SHARED.  Once I had changed the album to being ‘shared’ in Google Photos then every reader could see it.

This is how you share a Google Photos Album.

  1. Login to your Google Photos
  2. Click on Albums in the left vertical menu bar.   This will display all your Albums.   If you do’nt have any Albums you can create one by clicking on the first box.
  3. In the image below you will see the Album May 2017 is shared but April 2017 is not.  I’m going to share April 2017 shared photos
  4. I double click April 2017 to select it and then click on the three vertical dots in the top rightshared dots
  5. This brings up a pop-up window.  Select Optionsshared option
  6. In the Options window drag the Share slide at the bottom of the window.  When the slide is to the right just click on the X at the top  right of the box to close it.  Do the same to close the main options box

 shared slide

   7.   Your album is now shared

   8.   To insert a photo into OLW open your album and right click on the photo.  Select the “Copy Link Address” option.

  9.   In OLW select Insert from the toolbar and then click on the Picture icon.   Select the “From the Web” option.

  10.   Right click in the top box and paste the photo link from Google Photos.  A preview of the image should then appear in the larger lower box.

  11.   Finally, click on the Insert button to insert the image into OLW

It is only possible to post one photo at a time.





I think the nautical term for today would be “Make and Mend”.  It was a short travelling day from Perth to Falkirk. We spent several hours in the laundrette after a week on the road.  The other couple in the laundrette were from Portland, Victoria which is south of Melbourne.  The amusing aspect of this meeting was us entering to find them watching the tumbling washing machine.  They told us they were watching TV and every time the tumble stopped Brexit was off.  But a few seconds later it would be back on. Australian humour!

Once our ’smalls’ were clean and dry we drove to the Falkirk Wheel.  I previous blogged about the wheel here so I’m not going to repeat myself.   The weather was also better during my last visit. Consequentially I only took three photos today.



However I didn’t have the 4K action camera last time so today I filmed the wheel doing a half cycle which I’ve posted below.  The video clip has been edited and reduced from 4K to High Definition in order to reduce the file size.  But be warned those readers with a small data allowance. It’s 55Mb.

OK…. can’t insert the video into OLWSad smile

If you were able to see the photo of the red post box in the post below then I have worked out how to insert images from Google Photos into Open Live Writer.  I’ll write how I did this in my next post.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Trying again–2nd Test


Have I cracked the problem of inserting images from Google Photos into an Open Live Writer draft post?  There should be two image below

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Inverness to Fort William to Perth

This was a long day and due to the weather (rain) not particularly interesting.  We’d driven the road between Inverness and Fort William on a previous UK holiday. It also rained on that trip.  The main difference between the two trips was this time I was determined to get a photo of Urquhart Castle.

This time I remembered where to stop on the A85 to get that distant photo.  Which I; of course; cropped. 


We then drove to the castle car park (free parking) where I took more photos from a different angle.



Fortunately the rain held off for these two photo opportunities.

We had also planned to stop at Fort Augustus and visit the Caledonian Canal.  Unfortunately there were two problems.  The first was getting stuck in a queue of traffic immediately prior to Fort Augustus.  The reason for this turned out to be the raising of the bridge at Fort Augustus to allow two yachts to transit from Loch Ness.  Then it started to rain!

We carried on to Fort William in a long line of slow traffic.  Whilst we have previously visited Fort William (I strolled to the top of Ben Nevis) we’d not looked around the town on that occasion.


If the Model T made it to the top in1911 you will realise how I was able to stroll to the top!

The journey from Fort William south to Perth took us back through the centre of the Scottish Highlands with similar scenery to the trip up. Except it was raining today.

Monday, 27 May 2019

On to Inverness

Today we toured the south east Scottish Highlands, wherever possible staying on the B roads.  The route took us in a northerly direction though a part of Scotland we hadn’t previously visited.


From Alyth there was a steady climb to Glenshee on narrow roads.  By the time we reached the summit at Glenshee the terrain and vegetation had changed significantly.  Rolling hills which reminded me of the land around Benmore in NZ South Island.  Some of it also looked similar to Central Otago.  Of course it was Scottish settlers who established themselves in Otago.  Not because it reminded them of home….. it was the discovery of gold! 

Glenshee appears to be a major Scottish skiing area.  Although with no accommodation people must travel daily.


We drove on to Braemar where we stopped to have a look around.


The annual Braemar Highland Games are held here every spring.   The Queen’s Scottish residence at Balmoral Castle is only 9 miles to the east of Braemar.  We didn’t think it would be polite to pop in for tea and continued north.

In truth we had lunch in Braemar with Jan selecting the macaroni cheese for the third successive day whilst I opted for the Wild Boar Burger. Frankly it didn’t taste like wild boar.  More likely ‘mildly annoyed’. 

Braemar Castle is on the outskirts of the village.  It’s a tourist attraction (of course).  I didn’t find it interesting.  The castle actually looked ‘new’. Or perhaps I’m getting blasé about castles.  This one had too many windows to look old.  Further along the road was another interesting castle or house tucked amongst trees.  We found a layby and I walked 500m back down the road in a effort to take a photo.  The problem was the building had been carefully surrounded by trees.One assumes to provide the owners with plenty  of privacy. 

IMG_3470IMG_3471A check in Google Maps revealed the building as Invercauld Castle.  Wikipedia states “The Farquharson family settled in the area in the 14th century, and constructed a tower house in the 16th century. A vaulted basement within the present building dates from this time, although the tower house was remodelled in the late 17th century. Further alterations were made through the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1875 the castle was extensively remodelled by John Thomas Wimperis in the Scots Baronial style.[1] The house retains many Victorian furnishing and paintings.”

Some of the B roads eventually became single lane with passing bays.  Fortunately there was little traffic despite it being the last day of the Bank Holiday weekend.  No doubt they we on the A roads and motorways.

It was whilst were were driving on these high B roads that we noticed pockets of snow on the distant hills.


I’m now harking back to my schoolboy history lessons and if I am correct the Highlands used to be quite densely populated.  However the local ‘Lords’ turfed many of the small peasant farmers off the land and replacing them with sheep.  Many of he disposed Scots emigrated to Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand with others heading to England where they found work in the factories of the Industrial Revolution.  Of course I could be wrong?

Sunday, 26 May 2019


Somewhat of a rest day from driving after being on the road for a week. Frankly, the ‘frog car’ (Renault Clio) isn’t impressing me.  The gearbox is very ‘knotchy’ and when you press your foot down on the accelerator the car declines to comply.  It wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding!  Perhaps I’m being unkind.  After all It’s a small country with narrow roads and I’m used to open spaces and long distances.  But then….. only milk and juice come in two litres Smile

We drove into Dundee this morning timing our arrival with the opening of the shops at 11am (it’s Sunday).  We both decided against buying an umbrella realising it would be hard to take back on the aircraft.  Jan purchased a very fetching bright pink rain jacket.  She’s now unable to hide from me!   Next we went to Marks and Spencer.  Jan has always shopped here on each of our trip.  She finds the clothing to be of a better quality than Oz.

Dundee proved to be more interesting than I had anticipated.  It’s history of shipbuilding is retained with two ships being preserved down by the river.  The HMS Unicorn is a surviving sailing frigate of the successful Leda class.  Built in Chatham Dockyards, Kent and launched in 1824 HMS Unicorn never saw active service and was never fitted with masts.  She was towed from Kent to Dundee where she served as a depot ship for almost 140 years.  She is now a museum and tourist attraction.

The second vessel is RSS Discovery.Wikipedia states she “is a barque-rigged auxiliary steamship built for Antarctic research, and launched in 1901. She was the last traditional wooden three-masted ship to be built in the United Kingdom. Its first mission was the British National Antarctic Expedition, carrying Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton on their first, and highly successful, journey to the Antarctic, known as the Discovery Expedition.”

Dundee is one of a number of cities that have adopted the idea of positioning interesting bronze statues around the CBD.


I would have preferred to take photos in sunshine rather than drizzle.


I haven’t seen one of these in many years!


Robin has left me a comment regarding the insertion of photos from the cloud into OLW suggesting the problem is with the Google API. So today I opened a free account with Canon to store my photos in the Cloud in the hope this would get around the API issue.   No Luck!  I’ll continue to look for a solution.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

You’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road

Or so the song goes.  We’re on the move and because it’s a Bank Holiday weekend we’ve had issues booking accommodation.  Eventually Jan found two nights in Dundee.  Those readers who took geography at school will know it’s on the other side of Scotland. Never mind, the distances aren’t great compared to Australia. We didn’t want to go via the shortest route as that would mean motorways.  Instead we decided to sneak upon Dundee.


Jan had read there were a few major events in Glasgow today so we avoided the city.  Loch Lomond is probably beautiful but both times we’ve driven along its western side there has been low cloud and rain.   Moreover there are not many layby where you can stop for a photo whilst heading north.


We had just reached the northern end of the Loch when we got caught up in a car rally heading to Inverness. The interesting thing was the need for each driver to stop somewhere on the side of the road and water the vegetation before frantically racing to catch up with the rest of the vehicles in the rally.  Consequentially we had to keep a close eye on the rear vision mirror as each car caught up and blasted past us.

We stopped in Aberfeldy for lunch.  Jan had macaroni cheese, which she said was very nice, whilst I made a poor choice opting for the mince and potato.


The water fountain outside the cafe as the only interesting feature I noticed in the town.


This fountain was erected and various improvements made to the town of Aberfeldy by Gavin, Marquis of Breaddalbane as a memento of the cordial reception accorded to him and Lady Breaddalbane by the inhabitants on their first visit after the restoration of the marquisate July 1885. 


Despite the weather, there were plenty of walkers about in Dumbartonshire and Perthshire today.

Tomorrow we plan to tour the local countryside. No visits to distilleries as Jan doesn’t like whiskey and I’m driving.

Brian I’m of the opinion that Google isn’t particularly interested in Blogger.It’s a poor medium for collecting data as it’s mostly one way (writers and readers) and most bloggers and readers don’t fit the age range that would appeal to Google’s potential advertising clients.  Most of us aren’t young and single with money to burn.

Oh….. I haven’t been able to insert photos from the web into my posts.  They are being inserted from my laptop hard drive.  I’m not sure if it’s Google Photos, me or the speed of our connection.

Galloway and Ayrshire

Today I’m going to see if Open Live Writer will import photos from my Google Photos Album.

We have been exploring Galloway and Ayrshire.  The first part of the journey involved driving from England into Scotland where our first destination was Gretna Green.This was our second visit and I still haven’t made an honest woman of Jan.  The interesting thing was how much the location has grown in size over the years.  I remember the Blacksmith Shop, which now has a coin operated turnstile at the entrance (we opted to save our money). The other buildings were unfamiliar being large souvenir outlets.  This is such a popular spot I suspect the prices are higher than elsewhere.  But that didn’t appear to deter the two coach loads of Chinese Tourists.  Didn’t they realise it was probably all made in China….. and cheaper there! 


The Old Blacksmith Shop

I don’t remember seeing any of this on my first visit.


The plan was to take the coast road to the west via Dumfries where we planned on having lunch.  That didn’t work out and Dumfries provided to be a disappointment. The issue was parking….. or lack of it.  When we finally found a vacant parking space the marking showed “Disc Only”. That’s when we discovered all the parking was “Disc Only”.   The car park sign stated discs could be purchased from participating stores and the TIC. This was just too difficult so we drove on.

The coast road is rather attractive and I would have taken more photos if parking area had been provided.  Unfortunately many of the road side parking areas are located where there is no view!


This part of the country is dotted with small stone whitewashed single storey cottages.  The tide goes out a long way in this part of Scotland and obviously come in very fast catching the unwary.  We could see a large wind farm out in the estuary.



Most of the land appears to be used for mixed farming.  The farmers were busy either haymaking or spreading effluent.  The smell of the latter certainly clears the nasal passages. 


When we reached Stranraer the road became very familiar.  It was here that Daniel (youngest son) and I caught the ferry to Belfast.  We had boarded the bus in Glasgow and I thought it was taking us to a nearby ferry.  Daniel hadn’t informed me we had a 3 hour bus trip!


But the coastal road is interesting and I rather enjoyed the views from the bus windows.


From Ayr we headed northeast to Killmarnock.  We’re now in Ayrshire. Our plan was to head inland and explore some of Ayrshire.  The first thing I noticed was the change in the terrain and vegetation. Crops were being grown in the west but as we moved further into the centre of Ayrshire it appeared the ground was poorer. There were some sheep and cattle but much of the land had been turned to pine plantations.   We were driving the B roads in an effort to stay away from motorways.


This area obvious gets some wind as there were numerous wind farms.

Tomorrow we head further north.