I passed Barga - the town where many of Scotland's Italian immigrants come from - ten years ago on a cycling holiday. I was always curious about where people would leave to come and live in such a windswept place. We have a rich history of ice cream parlours / fish and chip shops with their lovely interiors, exotic staff and of course the weekend special-treat. When I was a kid we used to pop into Luca's of Musselburgh for, more often than not, a strawberry 99 before the long drive back to Ayrshire from my grandparents. I decided to pop in for old times sake on Saturday and joined the orderly queue to get an oyster which brought a pretty wide smile to my face. By coincidence I was in Ardossan the next day and, bouncing off the walls, we popped into the Palazzo sampling almost every flavour before the door was blocked and threats thrown for us to spend cash. It was nice to be back in Ayrshire once again.
Posted by stupot at 01:19 PM Monday 27 Aug
Posted by stupot at 07:42 PM Sunday 19 Aug
Coal certainly seems to have been the running theme over the past few days. With the visiting Japanese, the first half of the week was devoted soley to seeing the west coast. We first visited the mighty Mount Stuart house on Bute (funded largely by coal sales) and then today we headed to Mallaig on the Jacobite Steam Engine also powered by the black stuff - flakes of which are landing on me as I write, through the old slide windows above the table. The type of train is one which I just remember as a child when our local village station still had two functioning platforms, a bridge and a waiting room. We'd see my Dad off to work having his ticket inspected and boarding through a narrow, hinged door with handle, two steps up. Now that everyone drives and our railway stations have become lifeless and trains sterile, it was nice to remember how we used to do it. Some of the best views in Scotland were helped by the rare summers day and after a picnic overlooking the harbour, we headed back to Fort William on the Hogwarts Express.
Posted by stupot at 09:17 AM Wednesday 15 Aug
The Edinburgh festival officially started yesterday. I didn't actually know until we reached Princess Street and the parade was about to start. After a leisurely coffee with Ali and her friend Ruth, I went off to have a draw before I picked up my Gran. I wanted to go to the Warhol exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy but I decided I'd be too rushed so I opted to draw the building and return to see inside on the 25th. Princes, George and Rose street were already filling up with an international crowd at 9.30 on Sunday morning and I remembered the special feel Edinburgh has with its focal point of the gardens and castle. It started raining so I got the bus and headed out of town, feeling a bit guilty - as you do - for the tourists.
Posted by stupot at 01:57 PM Monday 6 Aug
nine and a half weeks
I went to the doctors last week to re-register and took with me my wee list: it outlined my skin having miraculously cleared up since returning to the damp weather - which has unfortunately also led to my asthma having stirred from a long sleep. Wheezing is back. The other health point of note was that just two days previously and nine and a half weeks after coming back to Scotland, my stomach had finally started to process deep fried meat again. After about 6 weeks I admit to having become a little anxious about the whole thing....