Thursday was a dry day without rain but overcast. Went to All Bar One for lunch with Mary Devine and Ed Aldridge, nice but small Caesar Salad with blackened Salmon.
Oh dear, walked past the Petit Paris and was spotted by the waiter. He wondered why I was still in town. I had told them on Monday that this was the end I was going away.
Met Ed in the evening at the Guildford Arms. This was the first day of their Folk and Blues Festival. The place was mobbed, and we seemed to be standing in the walkway. Caledonian Breweries sponsored the event, and every one of their beers was available. I drank the IPA, and also their Porter. A really dark and tasty beer.
As we entered a band called Yard Of Ale were playing, they are on every night starting and ending the evening. They are probably Scotland’s best acoustic pub band, music spans 30 years incl. Folk, Skiffle & Country. Anchoring event for 10th year. The band: Peter Gillan, Colin Mackenzie & Alistair McDougald. They were not my cup of tee, and luckily they were soon off. They played Lonnie Donnegan songs, and Ralph McTell Streets of London.
Next on were the Rhythm Sharks. Sandy Tweedale on vocals & guitar with Gary Martin on vocals & harmonica & slide guitar. Major driving force of the Scottish Blues scene. They only get together to play once a year at the Guildford arms. They were very good. Can’t remember the numbers they played, but it was all Blues.
Wednesday, what a day, heavy flooding showers, thunder and lightning. Yet another landslide in Scotland blocking another road. This type of weather is predicted more and more with global warming.
Didn’t go out for lunch, worked quite late with a new piece of work, which has been passed to me to complete. For supper I went to a Spanish Tapas bar called Barioja on Jeffrey Street. Last time I was here I over ordered on the food and had only 30 minutes to eat. This time I was more circumspect and had plenty of time to eat. Usual plate of olives, nice piece of chicken in some sauce I cannot remember, a lovely baked tomato with anchovies and a salad or artichoke hearts, olives and peppers, couple of glasses of wine and a beer.
I thanked the table next to mine, for buying me my meal. The guy had been speaking loudly about how the bank, (who he works for) should extend into America and Europe.
Afterwards met up with Ed for a couple of pints at Mathers in Broughton Street. Definitely a football orientated pub with several matches playing at the same time. Beer priced reasonably.
I hear I might be back in Edinburgh for a few days next week.
Today was a pleasant day, even sat outside the Tiles bar for lunch. Worked late to finish off some work, and then met Simon Stone and Neil Saunders for a pint of refreshment at Tiles.
Booked into the new cheap hotel, The Rutland Hotel, above the Rutland Bar located at the West End overlooking the entrance to the Fantasy Palace. Soon left for a late supper at Petit Paris, here I ate their asparagus and smoked Salmon for starters, followed by Toulouse sausage, all washed down with some red wine. As I left, I mentioned to the spiky haired waitress that I wouldn’t be back very often as my work in Edinburgh was complete. Gave her a kiss on the cheek and said farewell.
Too late to see the show I had planned to see, so went to Whistle Binkies. Here I saw a couple of bands. Not particularly inspiring, but the Dark Island beer was excellent.
On the walk back I saw two picture opportunities, just when you haven’t got the camera and tripod. The Scott monument looked as if it had a beam of light emanating upwards from its summit. The castle was in low cloud, clear air underneath and lit with sodium lights, it again looked very surreal.
Monday had an excellent flight up to Edinburgh, on time and it wasn’t raining at take off or landing. Arrived at the office at 10.00, into a sweltering heat. For some reason the air conditioning isn’t started until late in the morning and it takes a while to get to a reasonable temperature.
This week I am staying at the Holiday Inn next to Edinburgh Zoo on Corstorphine Road. At least that is what I thought. On arrival I found my booking had been cancelled. Long story but I think it was because I had used to agents to find me a hotel in the centre of Edinburgh. Both had failed and ended up booking the Holiday Inn. I cancelled one booking through one agent, result no hotel. The Holiday Inn were very surprising helpful (I wonder if they were to blame) in finding me a hotel for the night, and laid on free transport to get there. I ended up in the Grosvenor Hilton near the Hay Market. Old world charm, large bedrooms, high ceilings, and well over my budget.
Met with Ed Aldridge for a curry at Suruchi on Nicholson outside the Festival Hall. The restaurant was almost full; we were lucky to get in. I ate Chicken Shakuti with lemon rice and Naan bread. Very nice.
After eating we went to the Pleasance to see if there was anything to watch. Ended up listening to Dan Antopolski doing an hour stand up. His style of comedy did require extreme concentration. Letting your mind wander definitely meant you missed any punch lines. Last half hour did become a bit tedious. I wasn’t sure if he was extremely clever or a complete plonker. There were funny jokes, but none which were side splitting memorable.
Afterwards a quick pint in the Doric, and then I walked back to the hotel. On the way back I stopped at the Rutland hotel. This is above a very lively bar. Found they had rooms for the rest of the week at a very reasonable rate, and it is near the centre of town, so booked a room for the rest of the week.
Into work, some comments about the stamina Cedar people have. Today the sun started to shine, and as I left Edinburgh it was a beautiful sunny warm day. The street crowed with tourists and festival goers. Arrived back in Luton, late, to a cloudy grey wet evening, and how dark it was now. The evenings are definitely drawing in.
Wednesday, at least it did not rain. Was into the office by 7.30 coming in by the airport bus.
Left reasonable early, had a ramble around the Royal Mile watching some of the free Festival stuff on the streets. Popped into Whistle Binkies for a pint during their happy hour.
Went to meet up with Yura Usvyat and Ed Aldridge for a meal at a Nepalese eatery called the Khukuri. (The name of their famous knife). This place was on the way to Haymarket. Slight miss communication, they decided to have a pre meal drink at a Russian bar called Da Da Da. Anyway we met up somewhat later for the meal.
I started with Trisuli Poleko Machha – Fish marinated in trisuli spices and cooked in the tandoori oven and served with a green salad.
This was a whole trout, was lovely and crisp and very yummy.
For the main course I and Yura had, (at least I think it was, I’m only going by the number 51 on the menu). It was recommended by the waiter.
Solukhumbu Bhenda A famous dish from East Nepal. Long slices of Lamb stuffed with minced meat and cooked in onions, ginger, garlic, tomato and the Chefs special spices.
I ate this with Naan bread and rice. This was all washed down with a Nepalese beer.
It was all in all quite a good meal. Different to the usual Indian fare.
Back into town and another beer at a pub with a good collection of real ales and Russian beers. Can’t remember the name. I have walked past in on many occasions. It’s on a corner quite near to the Western Bar, and the Hare and Burke, but not similar in any other way to those two establishments.
Getting rather late, so caught a taxi back to the airport.
Thursday, this was going to tbe the Festival day for us.
Caught the airport bus into work, it was raining and horrible. Not much to report on during the day. Left work promptly at 5.10, back to the airport on the bus changed into my jeans and tee shirt, and then back into the city. It was still pouring with rain. Next time I’m in Edinburgh I must bring a waterproof jacket.
Met up with various people (Simon Stone, Mary Devine, Ed Aldridge, Danielle Anderson, Willis Scott, Brian Swann and Morag Monteath) for a meal at Panchos Villa, a Mexican restaurant, on the High Street. Had a convivial meal and some red wine.
Next it was on to the Pleasance where we met up with Campbell Purvis to see a comedy show by Brendon Burns. The Pleasance is centred on a courtyard where we had a beer before the show. Around the outside of the courtyard are various rooms where the events were located. We were destined for the Cavern. This started at about 10. Brendon is Australian, the show was funny and was of course filled with the F and C words all the way through.
Afterwards, at last it had stopped raining, a couple more bars, (I will get their names later on, the last I think the last was the Star bar, over the Cow Gate.). Here we started to lose people as they left to go on home, Ed, Mary and I tried the underbelly, decided it was hot and damp, so went to Whistle Binkies, which was definitely hot and sweaty. Here we saw two sets by a band called My Next Girlfriend a five-piece rock band paying a mixture of classic rock (Rolling Stones), punk, funk and their own creations. Well worth listening too. We left at 3.35. Caught a taxi back to the hotel, in bed by around 4.30. Up and out at 7.30 on the bus and into work by 8.30. Hardly worth paying for a hotel!!
From the title, you can see I am back in Edinburgh. I flew up here on Tuesday. It was wet and raining as I left home, just a continuation from Monday.
I arrived in Edinburgh late, (air traffic problems because of the bad weather), to a wet raining, low cloud base day. I think it never stopped raining all day. My hotel is out at the airport and is called a quality hotel. Quality indeed. The festival appears to have used up all the hotel rooms in Edinburgh.
In the evening had a few drinks with Simon Stone and Andy Laing at Tiles. Afterwards walked up to the Grassmarket for a quick meal at the The Petit Paris. I was greeted like a long lost friend by the young spiky haired waitress. She wondered where I had been for the last few weeks. Had a nice meal of deep fried filo wrapped goats cheese, followed by Sea Bass fillets done in an Olive and Tomatoe sauce.
Today has been a magnificent day. Clear blue skies all day, virtually not a cloud to be seen. It was interesting lying in the garden watching the thistle down being blown around at over 100 feet above ground. Sad me even got the binoculars out to watch the down blow by on the thermals, and the occasional Easyjet flight coming in to land at Luton.
Day started off by returning the flower containers to the florist in Thame. Nice full English breakfast at 10 in the café in Thame.
Evening we had a BBQ, steaks and burgers from Waitrose. One of the few weekends we have been able to eat out this year.
Learnt today that George had had his delicious petrol sign from his Mazda garage stolen during the week. He explained that he had seen a similar sign in the West Country many years ago, and decided to place one on his garage. The sign was always a talking point for many people who drove past his garage. He did say he had one complaint, eighteen months ago from a schoolteacher, who said he should not be encouraging children to drink petrol. 🙂
This Friday was a relief from Thursday’s storms. Started off a wonderful day, never clouded over completely, but there were some very nice flat-bottomed cumulus clouds around.
Popped out with John Curd, John Mitchell, and Tony Diggory for a lunch time drink. I had a couple of pints of Abott ale.
Picked Rosemary up from work, fairly late, and then to the Plough and Anchor for a drink. It was very pleasant sitting outside on the new decking area under the rush roof with all our friends from Kingswood and Grendon.
Barbara and Tony were there with their new offspring Thomas. He is so quiet and amenable. Quite how he managed to sleep through Brimstone playing at Selina’s wedding is anyone guess. Not sure Barbara appreciated the comment from a guest who mentioned that this was Thomas’s first Rock concert and maybe he would become a Black Sabbath fan.
Today was Selina and Grahams wedding. It was a lovely hot day, and she looked beautiful in her silver gothic dress and shoes. Selina and I arrived at the registry office in plenty of time, completed the formalities and entered the wedding chamber at 13.30.
Soon she and Graham were man and wife.
Now it was back to the house where we toasted the bride and groom, and then ate a small lunch of quiche and sausage roles. Present were close family and friends from afar. We managed a small Blasdale cricket match. The wicket was a bit rough and hard, causing the ball to bounce rather erratically.
Now it was on to the main event at the Buckinghamshire railway centre. Here we had the covered railway station until midnight, and we had a locomotive and rolling stock in steam. So there were plenty of train rides and the opportunity to ride on the locomotive, blow the whistle and control the engine under the watchful eye of the engine driver.
The meal was supposed to start at around 8.00, but started a little later for one reason or another. Excellent meal put on by the Plough and Anchor. Started with melon and summer fruits, then on to salmon with oysters and prawns, beef, chicken and a vegetarian Thai curry. The afters were the excellent tiered chocolate cake made by Rosemary and several British cheeses.
A band called Brimstone started to play some seventies rock music. They played ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, AC DC, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and by special request White Wedding by Billy Idol. I thought they were very good, and so did most of the others at the party.
John and Carol Curd took the official photographs for the wedding. These will be appearing on the website soon.
This week Rosemary and I have been on holiday. This was the week to prepare for the wedding. Many of those small jobs, which I have been meaning to do, were done this week.
Repainted the skirting boards on the stairs. They had become so chipped over the years.
The chip paper on the ceiling in the living room, it was coming off. Managed to stick the edges down and repaint. But this was only a temporary solution. It must all come off and be reapplied before it drops off one day.
The downstairs loo. Well this was a real embarrassment. One of the rooms that had peeling paint when we first arrived here 17 plus years ago. We never touched it, and it was getting worse. A quick blast with the sandpaper and several layers of emulsion sorted that out. The room was almost respectable.
The new bench from the salvage yard in Oakly had been delivered and dropped by the drive several weeks before. We could not move it on our own. This week we painted it a nice Sage green, mustered a group of strong men from the Plough and Anchor and moved it to the brick area by the honey suckle. I don’t believe anyone thought it could be quite so heavy. No one is going to nick that bench.
I was due to visit the bank this weekend to help them migrate to a new level of our Software. Alas this is not to happen. They have delayed the upgrade to some date in the future. I have cancelled the hotel, and given EasyJet the money.
So that means I have a couple more days at home preparing for the wedding.