Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Scottish diaries...books :-)


 In theory we are supposed to be downsizing and some point and we are getting rid of books and other items. This said it is a bit dangerous going into a large second hand book store.

Another damp day and neither of us could be bothered to do much so we went over to Inverness to try and find the book shop that we visited 14 years ago. After a good wander round, we found the old shop (now closed) and remembered that the new shop was just around the corner.

After an hour or so and several temptations later we left, empty handed. I earmarked some books to go back to next week.

We entertained ourselves with a walk through the Victoria market which unfortunately had quite a few empty stalls.

Then it was time to check out the book sections of the charity shops where I found two of the books that I had seen at the book shop marked at 50p each. These are books that I read years ago and just fancied rereading again.
Total haul from charity shops in Inverness? 5 books costing £7
Bring the holiday total to 8 oops!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Scottish diaries, what no wine,

Another lazy morning spent knitting and chatting. Eventually we decided to brave the rain and head out towards Inverness.

Last time we were up in this area was about 14 years ago and we found a little winery up at moniak castle so that is were we were heading.  Slight problem,  took the back road into the village and couldn't find the castle. Retraced our steps and recognised the gate house but no signs that it was open to the public at all.  Drove back up to the main road through the village and we saw that the sign was blacked out.

A bit of research when we got back revealed that the castle us permanently closed and the winery no longer hand bottles the wine and the address on the website is for a winery in Devon.

Never mind, we drove up through Dingwall to Strathpeffer, a small interesting looking spa town and I think we will be popping back to visit further.  The actual reason for going to Strathpeffer was to visit the Highland museum of childhood which is housed in part of the old Victorian railway station.

It's a lovely small museum, dolls and toys, old photos of local children with details from their lives but the best bit was a short film of childhood reminiscences from four elderly residents of the area who I believe are no longer with us.

We followed this with lunch in the station cafe and a good look at the sculpture  (almost a totem pole) showing the history of Scotland from early days through iron age, viking attacks right up to nuclear power and north sea gas rigs.

We ended the day in tesco having decided that 3 carrots and a bit of cheese wouldn't make much of an evening meal !

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Scottish diaries...wet,wet,wet

Yesterday, Wednesday 7 sept, we awoke to rain :-) so decided to have a slow morning knitting, spinning, watching TV and eating croissants. Well we are on holiday!

The garden here is full of birds,  many of which come up on the patio area and two so far have tried to get in only to realise how hard glass is. No birds have been injured.

Eventually we realised that it would be an idea to go out for some air so we went down into Fort Augustus, about 2 mile down the road.

Fort Augustus is at the bottom of Loch Ness where it meets the caladonian canal and is quite a tourist attraction with a flight of locks with a swing bridge at the bottom.

After wandering round the few shops (and picking up a darning needle to deal with the loose ends in my knitting) we walked up by the locks rathe intrigued  by the large boat moored at the top.

Getting closer we could see smoke coming from the chimney and smell the familiar smell of steam.
It was ....... A Clyde puffer boat built in 1943 now being used as a holiday boat carrying 12 passengers.

She caused a great stir as she descended the locks and got a round of applause and cheers when she reached the bottom.

Then back to the cottage and great British bake off on the telly.

Knitting update..

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Posting interrupted by unforeseen circumstances!

Hi, I was enjoying writing the Scottish holiday posts but apparently my computer wasn't and it went belly up big time this morning.  Blue screen and message about hardware failure. After 8 plus years it's finally given up the ghost.
Fortunately 98% of my stuff is backed up onto an external hard drive and I'm posting this from my tablet but all the holiday photos are on memory card and I can't upload that onto here.

So, a short break from Scotland whilst I consider my options,  new desktop computer or laptop or something that's been reconditioned.

Speak soon xx

Scottish diaries. ..more miles


Yesterday,  Tuesday was a damp squid to start with so we both checked  the weather forecasts over breakfast,  we had planned a trip out but only if it was reasonable as driving in the rain for a soggy ice cream simply doesn't appeal.

The verdict was that the rain was  going to clear so we set out for Plockton, the setting for the wicker man film and Hamish Macbeth.

By the time we got there the sun was out and we did some wildlife spotting,

 visited an exhibition by Jane Mackenna and bought  a couple of prints. One of the old post office on Skye as it's always been a favourite wee building for some reason and one just because I like it.

During the summer there is also a knitting shop here they sell garments knitted by the local ladies over the winter months. I popped in for a chat but nothing caught my eye :-(

We then headed up to Ullapool, again somewhere that we had visited several times but makes a lovely place to sit and eat a sandwich.

Although you have to watch out for the seagulls, fortunately this one hadn't yet learnt to sandwich snatch.

all in all a quiet relaxing afternoon except for the fighter jets doing low level flight training down the valleys and across the harbour ( when my camera was packed away!! )

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Scottish diaries. ...A day of delays


After clocking up more than 700 miles in the last few days we decided to have a late start and an amble around.

First off we went over to the nearby farm shop, the shop part was really small but some local veg etc however the cafe part looked wonderful with homemade cakes and soups and a small selection of local crafts. The walls were hung with paintings and an old spinning wheel was spotted on top of one of the cupboards. We have earmarked this cafe as somewhere to retreat if the weather gets really bad.

Outside the cafe was the residence of Bracken, a seven year old roe deer who used to live in a nearby wildlife park.

We then went over to Fort William which took some time as the bridge was open over the canal.

 Then the police stopped us as yet another wide heavy load was making it way across the area.

This is how to chill when stuck in a jam :-)

Further delays were caused by roadworks!

Fort William hasn't changed much, still a mix of closed shops, mountaineering / walking shops and eateries. So we raided the charity shops but only found a couple of books. There was an old spinning wheel in one shop with a broken bobbin, not really justifing the £200 price tag.

We did our shopping (the real reason for travelling there) and stopped of at the Glenfinnan moment on the way back.

Did I mention the rain ?? and I cast on a hat..

Monday, 19 September 2016

Scottish diaries...bikes,bikes,bikes


We woke up at about 6am yesterday so decided to get dressed and out to avoid the road closure. Left the cottage at 7 to find our way blocked by a police car, after a quick discussion and a check as to where the unusual load was we were allowed through. The next two police cars let us through and we took the back road out of fort Augustus heading up towards Inverness.

The mist was slowly lifting over the hills and in the valleys,  very few cars around so the wildlife was taking advantage of it. Sheep all over the road and at one point a deer was running up the road towards us but it neatly turned right at the junction. We later saw what may have been a couple of pine martins crossing the road.

We were heading to the Grampian motorcycle convention at Alford transport museum near Aberdeen.  We visited the museum a few years ago and they told us about the big event that they had held a few days earlier so this time we were determined to make it.

I have photos but none of the vintage bikes parked up as I was so tired on Saturday evening, I forgot to charge my camera up.

It was a good mix of vintage bikes ,stalls, a bit of racing and the purple  helmets...

So we start with the scooters...

Then move on to some classic bikes

then some more scooters...

The World Famous Purple Helmets !!

A bit of moped mayhem...

and some super moto

A very good day plus we avoided the rain until we were back around the loch Ness area. A slight diversion took us off the beaten track to look for a farm shop that had been recommended, it was closed but we will head back out there tomorrow.