Sunday, August 30, 2009

0400 and wide awake

Well I slept like a wee log for about 5 hours till 0330 and got up at 0400 wide awake, I think I have a slight case of desynchronosis, good word ehh :) means jetlag, a temporary disorder that causes fatigue, insomnia and other symptoms as a result of air travel across time zones.

Its almost spring here and we have 6 bushfires on the south coast of NSW threatening properties, according to the fire chief the weather felt like a summers day with very blustery winds fanning the fires like we usually get in summers days. I hope noone loses their homes or lives in these fires.

I phoned Sheena to see how she was feeling and she is sick, I hope her grandson Joey ( Platypus) doesnt contract it as he is only 8 months old and she was baby sitting him the other day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

home james and swine flu

Well we are back home in Sydney, I have a cold , runny nose, chesty cough and a bit feverish. Last night in Hong Kong when we arrived, Russel had left a message to say Sheena has swine flu so I went back to the airport medical center to see if I should have a test given my symptoms, there was no Dr on duty so I had to take a taxi across Hong Kong 30 mins drive and almost $300 to find an A&E. There were about 6 million Chineese in the que all with masks on, so I pushed 5.7 million aside and bribed the ones that looked like they may have had black belts in Origami or wateva to get to the front of the que, as you do being an uncultured Gijin. I didnt want our rep as being barbarians being spoilt. Anyway after a short wait of about 2 hours the dr saw me and was happy that my flu is just flu flu not one named after some poor animal. He gave me scripts for various drugs and I went in search of the Pharmacy which is well hidden in a labirynth below the hospital. The Dr and scripts cost me nothing apparently as I'd argued with the receptionist that I thought a swine flu consultation for someone in transit should be free.

It was about 0030 before i got back to the hotel so my plans of having a good sleep to break the journey went amiss, but thankfully we are home in one peice and I've just remembered I shouldnt be drinking this scotch due to the drugs :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Highest point on Luing

Well the bracken was as high as my second youngest nephew in places when we went for a hike today up towards the highest point on the island, I tried carrying him on my shoulders for a while and I tell you the young moms you see carrying their kids around get a workout.

The islands look different from the high viewpoint.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Internet withdrawls

Well Sheena, who is in holiday in Ibitza had her phone / internet disconnected so I had internet withdrawls this last few days, its amazing how much i use it for researching things. My wee neice
Cara had a residue of a tranfer tatoo when I was down last week and I have been searching high and low around Scotland for some for her as a present if only I'd had google.

Sheenas dog Gus, had me tearing my hair, whats left of it, out this morning as he just wouldn't come back for me, I think it was due to the park we were in and the fact that he maybe doesnt come for Sheena there, as he was ok when we walked off lead along the canal yesterday and he swam etc, anyway it took three qaurters of an hour before i could rugby tackle him and get him back on the lead. Anyway I'm back down on the island again with the attack cat.

I'd really like to move back to Scotland, there seems to be a bit of a shortage of computer repair men here :) so I think having the house valued when we get back is on the cards, mind you as soon as I sink back into my sofa or go out fishing with Paddy or even enjoy my walk / paddle with Jessie in a dry climate I may well change my mind again, I used to be undecisive now I'm not sure. Its raining here today which reminds me of a wee story.
A long time ago, in Communist Russia, there was a famous weather man named Rudolf. He's always had a 100% accuracy rate for his forecasts of the Russian weather conditions. His people loved him and respected him for his faultless foresight. He was particularly good at predicting rain. One night, despite clear skies, he made the prediction on the 6:00pm news broadcast that a violent storm was approaching. It would flood the town in which he and his wife lived. He warned the people to take proper precautions and prepare for the worst. After he arrived home later that evening, his wife met him at the door and started arguing with him that his weather prediction was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. This time, she said, he had made a terrible mistake. There wasn't a cloud anywhere within 10 miles of the village. As a matter of fact, that day had been the most beautiful day that the town had ever had and it was quite obvious to everyone that it simply wasn't going to rain. He told her she was to be quiet and listen to him. If he said it was going to rain, IT WAS GOING TO RAIN. He had all of his Russian heritage behind him and he knew what he was talking about. She argued that although he came from a proud heritage, IT STILL WASN'T GOING TO RAIN. They argued back and forth for hours , so much that they went to bed mad at each other. During the night, sure enough one of the worst rainstorms hit the village the likes of which they had never seen. That morning when Rudolf and his wife arose, they looked out the window and saw all the water that had fallen that night. "See," said Rudolf, "I told you it was going to rain." His wife admitted: "Once again your prediction came true. But I want to know, just how were you so accurate, Rudolf?" To which he replied, "You see, Rudolf the Red knows rain dear!"

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back in Inverness

Well we travelled back up to Inverness today via Crianlarach due to a delay on the Fort William road, hopefully it wasnt another fatal accident we had to wait for 3 hours on the way down to Luing as a motor cyclist had died on the A82 at Glen Cloy we ended up missing the last ferry and getting a lift across in a tinny. The route via Crianlarich and Glen Coe was a nice run but took twice the time.

The Massacre of Glencoe occured in the early morning of 13 February 1692, during the era of the "Glorious Revolution" and Jacobitism. In Gaelic, the event is named 'Mort Ghlinne Comhann' (murder of Glen Coe). The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen—Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achnacon—although the killing took place all over the glen as fleeing MacDonalds were pursued. Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, on the grounds that the MacDonalds had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, Mary and William II. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

We also traveled over the moor of Rannoch which is a large expanse of around 50 square miles (130 km²) of boggy moorland. Rannoch Moor is designated a National Heritage site.
It is notable for its wildlife, particularly famous for the sole British location for the Rannoch-rush, named after the moor. It was also frequently visited by Horace Donisthorpe (what a great name ehh), who collected many unusual species of ants on the moor and surrounding hilly ground. Today it is still one of the few remaining habitats for the "narrow-headed ant".
Peat deposits pose major difficulties to builders of roads and railways. When the West Highland Line was built across Rannoch Moor, its builders had to float the tracks on a mattress of tree roots, brushwood and thousands of tons of earth and ashes.

One of the villages we passed through is called Fortingall. The venerable yew tree in Fortingall churchyard has been dated to anything up to 5000 years old. The circumference was noted in 1769 as being 52 feet. Its a really picturesque village that doesnt look atall Scottish with its thatched cottages
There is a tradition which ascribes Fortingall as the birthplace of Pontius Pilate, the son of an Augustan ambassador and a local woman. This ancient tradition also claims that Pontius Pilate was related to the Scots King, Metallanus, whose royal seat was located on a hill fort called Dun Geal (the White Fort) at Fortingall.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Roughing it and the glorious 12th

Well we are really roughing it here only managed Lobster for lunch yesterday, whats the world coming too ehh? :) My Mother, bless her cotton socks, starts hording food for my visit months previous so the freezer is full of goodies I asked her one time if she prefered my to tell her I was coming home or to supprise her and she much prefers knowing in advance so she can hoard.

Its the Glorious 12th we should be out shooting something Grouse moors in Scotland and northern England report a surge in bird numbers this year after several very poor seasons due to outbreaks of disease-carrying parasites and unsuitable weather.

The last few years, grouse bags have been hit hard by infestations of disease-carrying ticks and the parasitic worm Trichostrongylus tenuis, which can decimate grouse populations. The industry is facing intense pressure from ministers, police and conservationists to crack down on illegal persecution of birds of prey, which are unlawfully poisoned and shot by gamekeepers who blame them for killing grouse.
A fresh crisis has emerged this year with a major outbreak of heather beetle, which kill off the young heather shoots that provide 80% of a grouse chick's food, and their characteristic purple or deep pink blossom. Many shooting moors report large-scale loss of heather, and reduced grouse numbers.
Serious heather beetle outbreaks used to occur every decade, but according to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, they are now happening every five years, suggesting a wetter and warmer climate may be to blame.

A guy decided it was time to introduce his blonde girlfriend to the great outdoors, so he takes her hunting for the weekend.They were pretty deep into the woods when he began to have horrible pains in his chest! The blonde began to panic ... "Are you alright? Are you alright?" But suddenly, the guy finally grabs his chest and falls over. Just before his eyes close he manages to mumble, "Call 911"The blonde frantically grabbed the phone and dials the 911 operator. "You've got to help me," she screamed into the phone, "My boyfriend has had a terrible heart attack and he's not breathing! I'm here in the woods all alone and I think he's dead!"The 911 operator goes, "Okay, you've got to calm down. I'm going to tell you everything you need to do.""But I think he's dead!" she continued to scream."Okay ... before I can tell you what to do you need to calm down. Can you lay the phone down and make sure he's dead, then come back to the phone?"The blonde screams into the phone, "Okay okay! Hold on ..."There was silence on the line for a moment and then the 911 operator hears a loud "KABLAM!"The blonde comes back on the line and says, "Okay, he's dead. What now?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Isle of Luing

Well its raining this morning so a good chance to blog about where my parents live and I grew up.

The island is only 6 miles long by about a mile wide and has a population of about 200 which has been pretty stable over the last 40 yrs, owned predominately by a farming family called Cadzow the island has two villages that were initially populated by quarriers as the island has fine slate. Early signs of habitation on the Island include two ruined hill forts. The southern most of these still has a flight of steps, and pillared doorways. The island was part of the kingdom of the Lord of the Isles, and passed through the hands of the MacDougals, MacDonalds, MacLeans and Campbells.

My Father fished lobster here as did his and we were talking last night about the Argyll Marine Special Areas of Conservation and the fact that they have stopped various methods of fishing namely dredging in the Firth of Lorne and the area round the island, I was supprised when my Father offered the opinion that if dredging was to be stopped then all fishing should be. The marine area round the island now covers 210 km2 including the gulf of Corryvrechan which when running is the 3rd largest whirlpool in the world.

Attacked by a killer cat

I have suffered bites and have been mauled by a guard cat on the isle of Luing. Dealanach (Lightning in Gaelic) so called as she attacks at lightning speed is apparently "only playing "when she attacks, according to my Mom anyway :)
Its a top day here, sunny and warm, we had a visit to Oban and lunched out at a seafood place that used to be the seamans mission in the town. Its half six in the evening and the sun is still high in the sky, I'll get a sunset probably by half ten this evening.
My folks have the best view from their house which looks out over to the isles of the sea and Mull, About 542 St. Brendan the Navigator founded a monastery on Eilach, Holy Isle, one of the isles of the sea , possibly because of the combination of its isolation and good grazing. This may make the remains the oldest extant church buildings in Britain, although the earliest written record of its existence dates from the late 9th century.The monastery was destroyed by - or, at least, may have become excessively vulnerable to Viking raiders, from about 800 The island has probably seen only intermittent occupation since, which has contributed to the survival of the ruins of many of the monastic buildings, including two chapels, beehive cells, and a graveyard with three crosses and another circular grave. The cells are contained in a pentagonal enclosure overlooking the rocky landing place on the south, which is guarded by various skerries, The oldest chapel is rectangular and may date from the 11th or 12th centuries.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weddings and long drives

Was a wonderful day for a wedding congratulations Mr and Mrs Grant, it must feel weird being addressed as Mrs "whatever" for the first while, anyway I hope they will have a great life together and it was nice to meet my new inlaws.

Sheena (bridemaid) and Russel (best man)

We let this bloke in as he had bagpipes, actually he's the father of the bride, really handy ehh :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

London airport

Its great all this free wifi, encourages me know end to blog away, so whats been happening since I blogged last? Well I've travelled 5995 miles or 9648 Kilometres about 5000 miles of which i was in blissfull logland untill rudely awakened by buisness class shaking violently, it wasnt a mechanical failure or bad weather but Angie laughing at Dara O Brien in the next seat. No Dara wasn,t on board it was on a show that was playing.

It was bonny coming into London with only high clouds and a red sunrise but someone must have told the old guy upstairs as its peeing cats and dogs out there now, whats new ehh.

A swarm of deadly tropical jellyfish has washed into chillier climes. The Portuguese Man o'War jellyfish have already been found in Cornwall and now they are appearing on beaches in Pembrokeshire. Welcome England to what we have to watch out for in Australia some parts anyway.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Leg 2 starts off 1st class

Well I'm sitting in the 1st Class lounge in Hong Kong airport thanks to Angies Platinum frequent fliers card, I think downloading great plane disaster movies from utube and playing them loud on my laptop may outnoise the four screaming kids whos Mom seems to be adverse to corperal punishment that are sitting across from us here, I really hope they are in 1st class on the plane.

Today was wet and humid and we had to fill in the day finding airconditioned spaces as we were thrown out of the hotel at 1200. I almost forgot to pick up the new suit in the end.

Benson, Englands most popular fish, is dead :( the carp weighed in at a huge 64lb 2oz. and died at 26 yrs old. She was caught over 60 times by anglers.Benson's final resting place will be near the lake she loved - she is to be mounted and put in the lodge for all those on guided tours to see and admire. The wake will be attended by Donald the dogfish, Mike the maceral and Tammy the tuna

Theres a really large black lady waiting in the economy section, you know with the rest of the peasants, lol that will be me on the HK to Sydney leg on the way back anyway I just casually asked Angie if she thought all the women in her tribe would be her size , she said she didnt know so I said maybe we could stop off in Birmingham on the way North.

day 2 level 3 warning

It sounds a bit like a progression in a video game "day 2 Level 3" anyway it meant rain and wind and temps down to about 30 C which wasnt bad when you were in the wind but was stifling when out of it.

We visited the tailor for round two and then went to Aberdeen Harbour which is well blog worthy, The Jumbo Floating Restaurant was established in October 1976 after four years and over HK$30 million were spent to design and build it. It was originally decorated in the style of an ancient Chinese imperial palace. In 2000, two tugboats brought one of the floating barges from the Aberdeen Harbour to the mouth of the Manila Bay, and was rebranded as the Jumbo Kingdom Manila. Much of the original ancient Chinese imperial palace style renovation has been retained. The Jumbo Floating Restaurant recently went through a major multi-million dollar refurbishment which transformed it into a theme park on the sea which includes dining, shopping, sightseeing and cultural attractions. The thing is they forgot to renovate the back of it, Front of the Jumbo Resteraunt with paint

Back of the Jumbo Resteraunt which reveals it to be Yes not a Magical Emperors Palace but a collection of well used containers stacked on top of each other connected with ladders.

It was an insight to see Sampans, like the wee one we got a tour round the harbour in , alongside multi million dollar mo
tor cruisers. All the fishing fleet were alongside so there were all sorts of boats not many would I fancy being at sea on in any weather even the well found boats have no safety gear or anything I think I may have found the source for all those vessels that appear in Australia full of refugees.

After we found a second Tailor, which wasn't a hard feat, and Angie got measured up we went back to the hotel and jumped in the pool.

Monday, August 3, 2009

day 2

We had a level 1 typhoon warning this afternoon after a 38C sunny day which has left me pink as ussual. After lightning and rain this last half hour or so it looks like its starting to clear up again it will be interesting to see how much things have cooled off outside as it was stifling today.
I'm sitting here with my feet on the window sill looking out on a Hong Kong skyline that takes a lot to believe, Hong Kong has 106 buildings that stand taller than 180 metres (591 ft). The tallest building in Hong Kong is the 88-storey Two International Finance Centre, which was built in 2003 and stands 415 metres (1,362 ft) tall. There is a new building going up just acroos the bay from the hotel here that looks about the same height, I cant imagine working the crane on the top of that new building I'm high enough here on floor 8.

The “People’s Republic of China, was the first place in the world created by God, otherwise known as Chuck Norris. China is known as “birthplace of everything”. Everything was invented in China first, including the Television, Internet, Bad Driving, Toilets, Paper, Cheese, Industrial Pollution, kem chi, Mexicans, Existance, Bird Flu, SARS, Heterosexuality, Gunpowder, Astronauts, Jews, Bill G8S, Dan Dan Mian and CCTV. You name it, they invented it before anyone else. (Except homosexuality which was invented in 10th Century BC by Dioxippus Alcaeus, a Greek paleontologist and architect. Compare the population of both countries for a hint). Ohh and swine flu which 3% of the population are wearing masks to protect themselfs from.

I have been learning some handy Chineese on my visits to the Peak and on the star ferry today

Ai Bang Mai Ne: Ibu.mped into the coffee table
Chin Tu Fat: You need a face lift
Gun Pao Der: An ancient Chinese invention
Hu Flung Dung: Which one of you fertilized the field?
Hu Yu Hai Ding: We have reason to believe you are harboring a fugitive
Jan Ne Ka Sun: A former late night talk show host
Kum Hia: Approach me
Lao Ze Sho: Gilligan’s Island
Lao Ze: Not very good
Lin Ching: An illegal execution
Moon Lan Ding: A great achievement of the American space program
Ne Ahn: A lighting fixture used in advertising signs
Shai Gai: A bashful person
Tai Ne Bae Be: A premature infant
Tai Ne Po Ne: A small horse
Ten Ding Ba: Serving drinks to people

Sunday, August 2, 2009

1st leg over

No I didnt get lucky I meant first leg of the journey over. The flight wasnt too bad although 9 hrs feels like 19, its mega hot here and sticky. The hotel is lovely so seems to have been a good choice.
My neck / shoulders have a cramp in them something awful which I think came from excersising Jessie on the bike, I noticed I strained it the other day and sitting on the plane probably agravated things.
The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth."
In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" came out as "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead."
Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off."
When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go"
An American t-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of the desired "I Saw the Pope" in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed "I Saw the Potato."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

One more sleep

One more sleep and we are off to Hong Kong, most things have been booked online and I've even been in touch with a tailor in Hong Kong over the internet, he was actually refered by the hotel we are staying in. So its time to pack and try and fathom out what clothes I'll need in a month away, Hong Kong will be steamy hot and rain showers no doubt, Scotland will be, well who knows? it could be a lovely summer or it could be rain the whole time so the first thing on the list is a raincoat.
It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a new Indian Chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the weather was going to be. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect wood to be prepared. But also being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?" "It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed," the meteorologist at the weather service responded. So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared. A week later he called the National Weather Service again. "Is it going to be a very cold winter?" "Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter." The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find. Two weeks later he called the National Weather Service again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?" "Absolutely," the man replied. "It's going to be one of the coldest winters ever." "How can you be so sure?" the Chief asked. The weatherman replied, "The Indians are collecting wood like crazy!"