Monday, 17 January 2011

Do you remember the first time?

It seems silly that I have travelled half way around the world but have never visited Scotland. So this year my news year’s resolution was to rectify this, and I did…

I flew to Edinburgh on a dark, drizzly January night, but the spark of the Scottish capital brightened my day. From the moment I arrived in the city, the imposing architecture and the might of the surrounding landscape overwhelmed me. Sublime.

The skyline is dominated by church towers, mountains and of course Edinburgh Castle. I ventured towards the Castle along the Royal Mile. As I walked I passed numerous charity shops, students, tourists and those native to the city, I got a real sense of the unique tapestry that makes up the city. From the soot covered buildings to the faint sound of bagpipes everywhere you go; there’s a part of Edinburgh for everyone.

After a 30-minute tour of the castle I had learnt lots about Scottish history, Margaret’s Chapel, The Stone of Destiny and the labyrinth of cells underneath the castle itself. The castle’s use throughout history and the strong military background which carries on today.

Of course there is more to Edinburgh than the castle but it’s a pretty good place to start if you want to explore the city. Of course, a 5 minute walk from the bottom of the Royal Mile is Holyrood Park, the home of Arthur’s Seat. I think this park was my favourite part of Edinburgh. I love the fact that you can walk a few minutes from the centre of the city to the looming hills of Holyrood. As I walked about the gale force winds nearly knocked me off my feet once or twice, but the view was worth the struggle. A sharp intake of clear Scottish air as I reached the top, I was ready to embrace the working class beauty that lay before me. Edinburgh, I miss you already.

Monday, 10 January 2011

It's a Dog's Life

The weekend reunited me with one of God’s greatest creatures, the dog. How did it happen? Well a series of zig zags, jumps and cartwheels…It all started when I had to go and talk to a man at Swindon and District Animal Haven about the new “enriched cages” that are replacing conventional “battery cages” for chickens next year. I met John Warwick on a muddy January day at his farm just outside Wootton Bassett near Swindon.

We discussed the EU legislation that is coming in next year. Chickens that are cage farmed for eggs will have a bigger area to live. The worry is that Europe will be flooded with cheap eggs from outside the EU and run British farmers out of business. No one can predict the future so we’ll jus have to wait and see what happens.

So John and I talked it over for a few minutes and then my mum and I bought some chickens from him, which was all very nice. Then I noticed the dog kennels and innocently asked whether I could come and walk some of them one day…to which he replied “you can have one for the weekend if you like”. To which I said yes immediately and thus my love affair with Bruno the black Labrador begun. Bruno is in the rescue centre because his owner is a homeless man who is trying to become free from drugs. In order to do this he is spending some time in a kind of halfway house to try and clean. Unfortunately no dogs allowed, so Bruno goes into care himself.

Bruno is a lively 6 year old dog with a wonderful temperament. Bruno will sit, lie and give you his paw on command. I took him to Savernake forest and he was quite happy running around in the fresh crisp air without a care in the world. I gave him a good old clean and brush and he was as good as gold. I couldn’t believe how lovely this dog was. From how he led his head on my lap whilst I was driving him places to how he snuggled up on my chair with me as we watched television…bliss.

True love never runs smoothly or goes according to plan and I of course I had to give Bruno back because he already has an owner. Most of the dogs at the rescue centre don’t so Bruno is one of the lucky ones. But it was I who was the lucky one, picking up Bruno to get my dog fix and having a wonderful weekend.

Monday, 3 January 2011

January Rant

January 2011. It seemed like only a few moments ago I was beginning 2010-but hey ho, time flies when you are having fun?

So what does 2011 bring? V.A.T increase, train fare increase, temperature decrease, holiday increase, age increase and budget decrease. A mixed bunch really. The January sales offer nothing new, although I did pick up a bargain £3 dress from Next so I can’t complain! The train fare increase is just ridiculous. I can’t believe how much some of the fares are going up by. I wouldn’t mind if the trains were actually on time, fast and nice but they aren’t! Luckily I’ve recently brought a few train tickets so I would miss the train fare increase and thank goodness I did. This is my last year of having the delightful young persons rail card, I don’t think I’m quite ready for full price travel yet.

According to the ‘young persons’ rail card I cease to be young this year as I hit 26. I didn’t think it was that old until I told my sister I didn’t want kids until I was 35 to which she said “oh you’ll be a geriatric mum then”. Great. So technically 26 is middle aged and at 35 I’ll be loosing my mind and dribbling. A brilliant thought and start to 2011. Hurrah.

One thing I can look forward to is a well-earned break as America calls in a few months time. It will be good to go back to the old U S of A and spend dollars that I don’t have.

I don’t usually set myself New Years Resolutions as I don’t keep them, so don’t see the point. I just try and set goals that I can achieve. One of which is to be able to wear my £3 dress this time next year!

Happy New Year one and all. See you anon.