Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Angel and York

Not sure why we stopped here but there seemed to be a photo opportunity.

R's brother in law's twin sister was cross that we were so close to her when we were at Alnwick Castle and did not visit her. The buggers are not coming and see me, she said when R posted a photo on FB. We did see her days later. She, being a local, pronounces Alnwick as Anick. Alnwick Castle was not quite what I expected, but nevertheless, pretty good. I say it as Alnick Castle.

About one million people a year visit the castle and it was very busy when we were there. Of course my unique photographic skill of making places look like they are devoid of people has come to the fore. The castle, well some of it, dates back to 1096. Tell me what this is if you know.

The interior is as you would expect. Some scenes for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey have been filmed here, along with many other movies and tv shows. The Royals when travelling by train from London to Scotland used to stop off at Alnwick Castle for an overnight stay.

The Duchess of Northumberland founded the modern garden via a charitable trust in 2003 on land the family donated plus a contribution of £9 million, for a total cost of £42 million.

The castle is still privately owned by Ralph Percy, the 12th Duke of Northumberland. He and his family live in part of the castle.

I expected more of this kind of thing in the castle gardens.

Something to do with Harry Potter. There is no escaping Potter in northern UK.

Mini golf is quite popular in England.

We stopped off after the castle to see the Angel of the North in Newcastle. It was very controversial when it was built by renowned sculptor Antony Gormley. Car body panel shops loved the sculpture as car after car banged into each other as they slowed to see the work.

We travelled on to the delightful York. While I can't recall much about it, I know we liked it.

The Shambles is way cool.

York Cathedral.

Hard to believe tomorrow night we will be back in London and our whirlwind tour over but we still have Cambridge to visit.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Out of Step

We had one of these maps before but I can't remember what it was about. I saved this one at the same time. The Asian red bit would be Burma and a bit of red in Africa no doubt another former English colony. One very large country seems out of step with the rest of the world.

Which gives me the opportunity to rant on about our backward steps with metric and it is all about the American market but why should it be when a small part of the world's population live in the United States? We have reverted to inches from centimetres for tv screen sizes. Ditto for tyre pressures, kilopascals to pounds per square inch, kilojoules to calories, baby weight partially reverting to pounds rather than kilos, but which country's pounds? Aren't English pounds different to US pounds? Waist sizes on pants. Shoe sizes. It is a disgrace and a government organisation, we used to have one for metrication, should act and stop this.

Do read the note about the UK at the bottom of the graphic. It is how we found it. It was a sudden change when crossing the border from Ireland to Northern Ireland.

I am away for a couple of days, fleeing AFL final match mad Melbourne for a peaceful island with family. Actually, we will be watching the match with family on the this last Saturday in September. The day preceding the match is a public holiday. Whether that is right or wrong, who cares. A public holiday for all (penalty rates for those who have to work).

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Pity we couldn't catch the tram to the city centre. Like Sydney's newest tram line, the construction budget blew out to astronomical figures and timelines. It was supposed to run on to Holyroodhouse Palace, the royal accommodation in Edinburgh, but it was curtailed. It will probably be extended one day. We had to catch a bus to the centre of the city. While I could see it running past, I could not work out how to get down to the bus stop from our very elevated hotel. I asked hotel staff and they pointed me in the direction of stairs down to the road.

This was the day when hotel staff cleared away our rubbish, including my very fine pretty blue throw away plastic water bottle bought in South Africa last year. Given all theses photos were taken with phones, I guess I forgot to take the camera with me too. My current water bottle is from England.and contained Tango Orange Juice. It's a nice strong bottle.

I had no idea what this Gothic building is until now when checking. It is the Scott Monument, Sir Walter Scott that would be. It was quite hot and I really wished we were fitter and gone down to the monument, near the famous Jenners Department Store and the Waverley train station.

While Edinburgh is very hilly, the Golden Mile, Princes Street, is flat, with very upmarket and downmarket stores on one side and falling away to the lovely Princes Gardens on the other side with Edinburgh Castle on the far side of the valley.

Ah, what fun. A bagpipe player. I don't mind bagpipes in small doses.

A Harry Potter busker character, I think.

Jesus, more bagpipes.

An optional tour was a visit to Edinburgh Castle but we chose to just see the outside. I busied myself with my phone and found a public bus we could travel on for one stop, one very long and very steep stop. Well done me. We entered as far as we could without paying, like to the end of a queue. My allah was it busy.

I am not sure where we took these two photos. Obviously somewhere elevated.

Now down in the lovely Princes Gardens, where I came across the nasty ice cream seller.

As they say in Geordie Town, it was boilin' (by Scottish standards), at least 25 degrees.

Oh god, another bagpipe player, I think welcoming us for dinner and a show.

The show was quite entertaining.

I expect every Scottish person will have heard Robbie Burns', Address to the Haggis. I tried haggis and I did not vomit.

Laddie, show me your sporran.

Right, we've heard quite enough bagpipes for one day.

I think this was where the dinner show was held. I also think we had a fixed price menu.

Back to our stinking hot hotel for another night of restless sleep.