Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Up, up and away......

Well, I finally got round to it: booking my flight in a hot air balloon, that is. "What on Earth are you wittering on about, Sog" you say. Well a group of my kind relatives clubbed together and bought me a balloon flight as a fiftieth birthday present. I half suspected that they might do something like this because they had been canvassing my opinion on parachute jumps and the like at an earlier family gathering. Fortunately, my less than enthusiastic reaction to the latter convinced them that I was a fully paid up member of the CCS---the Coward's Club of Scotland.

I instantly thought that the balloon flight was a great idea with numerous photographic possibilities. However it was only when Wosog rejected the idea of buying an extra ticket so she could get into the basket with me that I started to wonder if my yellow streak might prove an obstacle again. Anyway, I've put that thought behind me and booked a flight from Perth on Saturday 19th August.

I don't know if I've mentioned the fact that Wosog has a wicked sense of humour? I'm sure it's a total coincidence that as part of my 50th birthday present from her she gave me a book by Ian McEwan called "Enduring Love". Part of the complex plot involves a GP falling to his death from a hot air balloon.

Funny, that!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tas Mania 2

When we heard Gdog was going to Tasmania, we thought we would give her the opportunity to demonstrate her deep knowledge of that far off land by mentioning the tasmanian devil. "That's some sort of plant, isn't it?" said Gdog. I didn't think this was likely in view of the cartoon character based on the creature!

Well, Gdog here is what the tasmanian devil "plant" sounds like, and here's a bit of info about them.

Sometimes I wonder if we should let her walk through Glasgow on her own far less travel to the other side of the planet! Anyway I'm sure she'll be fine (typing slowly due to crossed fingers).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tas Mania

I don't know if I mentioned it, but Gdog's going on a wee trip to Australia next month. She's going there as a student volunteer. The organisation involved, International Student Volunteers, Inc., has projects in various parts of the world. Gdog has known for a while that she is going to Oz, but she only found out this week (a) which part of Australia she is going to, and (b) what exactly she will be doing there.

It turns out she is going for 2 weeks to the Long Point Wetlands Rehabilitation Project in Tasmania, which is run by the the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. One thing we hadn't thought about until very recently, following a conversation with my cousin in Melbourne, is the fact that Gdog is visiting Oz during their Winter. Here is the advice she has been given about the weather she can expect:

"The daytime temperatures will range between approx. 10° to 18° C (50° - 65° F) although may be as cold as - 5° C (23° F) overnight outside. Weather conditions vary in winter, however rain and windy weather can be expected on some days, so please ensure that you are adequately prepared for cold, wet and windy weather. Please note also that wet clothes may not dry overnight, so at least two sets of clothes to work in should be brought unless you don'’t mind putting on wet clothes in the chilly morning!"
This is not exactly the picture I would have had in mind previously when I thought of Australia!

Gdog's main task at the project will be removing gorse, which sounds like somewhat harder physical work than she is used to. She will be getting up at 07.30 and clearing gorse from 09.00 to 15.30. I suspect the accomodation will also be somewhat more basic than she is used to! Some folk, on hearing that she is going to Tasmania to clear gorse have made the point that Scotland has quite a lot of gorse that she could have cleared if she wanted to, at much less expense!

Gdog, however, assures us that she is looking forward to the challenge, but I think she is really looking forward to the two week holiday that follows the volunteer work.

Call me a cynic, if you like......

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Weekend in Old Reekie

If anyone is reading this and is mystified by the title, Old Reekie is Edinburgh, the capital of Bonnie Scotland. Although I only live about an hour's drive from Edinburgh, I've only been in the city about half a dozen times. Because we had made arrangements to meet friends there on Saturday evening we decided to make a weekend of it.

We heard from one of our friends that the weather had been foggy and cold on the Friday, but on Saturday the sun was "splitting the sky". The grass in Princes Street Gardens was covered with eager sun-worshippers when we arrived about 13.00. We spent the afternoon wandering around Edinburgh Castle photographing everything in sight.

In the evening we had some excellent Mexican Food then went to the Jam House, which is part-owned by Jools Holland. The music was good and we had a great night that finished around 01.00. We were glad that we had booked a hotel 5 minutes walk away (at great expense).

The next morning we took some more photographs, including several of the Scottish Parliament. I was quite impressed with the controversial building, although I am still very aware of how expensive the project was and disappointed with the continuing problems that the building seems to have.

All in all it wasn't exactly a relaxing weekend, but well worth while. I'll maybe not leave it so long before I visit Old Reekie again!