Tourist magnet

Edinburgh, or at least the Old Town area, appears to be run entirely for the benefit of tourists who must all want the same souvenirs, judging by the number of shops selling tartan scarves. I searched in vain for some good stickers for my suitcase or a tartan collar for a certain cat I know but ended up with just a few interesting pictures from the castle, a ceramic spoon rest and a set of Scottish themed magnets, including the obligatory hairy coo and scotties in tartan coats. Plus a tartan scarf.

Granite city

I’ve spent a few days in Aberdeen, Scotland, where my great-grandfather Adam Gauld grew up. Most of the city is built with the local granite, a lovely silvery-grey stone that has been used in everything from tombstones to townhouses and massive public buildings with ornate decoration. Adam’s father James was a mason (which seems to be the local equivalent of a brickie) living and working in Aberdeen between 1880 and 1940. One of the best hotels in Aberdeen (Skene House Whitehall) just happens to be on the street where James was living in when Adam was born, Esslemont Avenue. Naturally, I’m staying there!

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SculptureStarting day six of my fabulous holiday and for the first time I’ve slept right through the night and feel much more alert. I had arranged two days in London when I landed with flexible plans just in case I had jetlag but it has persisted far longer than I expected. All I managed to do on my two days in London was to visit the V&A and then go on a short shopping trip down Oxford Street. I’ve just bought one or two small things but luckily my hotel can store my extra bags for me while I am away in Scotland and the north country.

The image is one of my favourite pieces of stained glass from the V&A, sadly I have forgotten who made this Arts & Crafts era panel, which is one of four. I’ll just have to go back for another look when I’m back in London next.

Fun with Google Maps

Mum keeps asking me for my itinerary and a few other people have been asking where I am going so I’ve been looking for ways to add my plans to this blog easily to share them. I’ve been using Tripit for all my travel plans for years just forwarding my email bookings so it automatically creates an itinerary. I have added a few people so they can see all my plans but when I tried using the calendar feed from tripit in a post (via a custom Google Calendar) I quickly realised there was way too much booking detail included.

So instead I’ve spent a bit of time making a custom Google Map with all the locations of places I am staying, visiting, travelling and shopping and then writing up the highlights on a page here. I setup a few categories (Accomodation, Attractions and Other) and used some standard colours for those so I could quickly filter and scan, plus I used some of the custom icons which were cute! The only drawback is that I had to make the map public on the web in order to embed it below, which means I had to leave out the locations of family and friends I am visiting for privacy reasons.

Photography practice

I was out early taking photos this morning, under the capable instruction of my daughter, and for once using a real camera. Amanda is lending me her Fujifilm digital camera for my trip so I won’t need to rely solely on my phone.I’ve never owned a real camera so I don’t have any idea what all the buttons and dials do so we headed down to Cape Schank for a short walk and a little photography instruction. The flower close-ups were a bit fuzzy, and I’ll need to practice framing shots to get a better layout but I’m happy with this for a first attempt.

34 days to go…

The return of the blog

Moffat Beach Headland

I have a six week holiday booked in October and November to the United Kingdom, with brief side trips to Ireland and France. Since I expect to take a photo or two, and I will be doing some family history research while I am there, I have decided to resurrect this old blog to record anything of interest to people back home. I guess if you could rely on Facebook or Instagram to show all your posts to your family without fail there would be no need for a blog, but who can know the arcane methods of the Facebook newsfeed algorithm…

This time I am trying to improve my photography as well by adding an image to every post. This week its a nice shot of dawn for this new beginning.