Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (23 Great King Street)

Still cold, but the sun was out most of the day. I had no reason to leave the flat so I stayed inside all day.

I worked on my Early Memories most of the afternoon and finished up several sections. I was on a roll and just kept writing. There were some difficult stories to write about, but I pushed on and got them written.

Tonight for dinner I had more of the Shepard’s Pie and watched the next Star Trek movie, Beyond. This movie in the current timeline was not easy to watch because of the violence. I hope the next movie will not be so dark and perhaps include some of the humor that Star Trek was known for.

Tomorrow I will (hopefully) finish the first draft of my Early Memories. Also, I need to run a few errands in Stockbridge.

 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (23 Great King Street)

Woke up very late. Rested most of the day until I decided to make Shepard’s Pie later in the afternoon, but I didn’t have enough beef mince (ground beef), so I walked over to Tesco and purchased it there.

The Shepard’s Pie turned out really good! Think I have found the right combination of ingredients and method to prepare it. Good comfort food on a cold day.

Updated some financial information. I’m dropping one of my credit cards and will only use my UK American Express and Bank of America cards. I have my Chase Card and my credit union cards as well, but they are tied to checking and savings accounts and don’t earn any points if I use them. I’ve paid for a hotel room or two with the points earned from my American Express and get enough points on my Bank of America card to erase travel-related expenses from my statement, that has amounted to around $100 per month. Fun to go into my statement and use the erase feature. I use my UK American Express to pay small expenses, if the shop or restaurant accepts American Express, and the B of A card for flights, hotels, and Airbnb.

Watched a Star Trek movie tonight, Into Darkness. I’ve probably seen it over five times already. Still fun to watch.

Tomorrow I vow to resume writing my Early Memories. I’m so close to finishing the first draft. Then I can probably edit it in one or two days. Then another day of adding pictures, then one final day for formatting. I’ll send a draft to Cousin Ginny to get additional feedback in the next day or so.

 

 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (23 Great King Street)

Woke up before my alarm that I had set last night for 7:30 a.m. Today I’m taking the train to Inverness to meet up with Mary who is there visiting family. We have been trying to make plans to meet up since October.

I called for a taxi to pick me up at 8:45 to deliver me to Waverley station to catch my 9:33 train. It took less than 10 minutes to ride to the station, but it gave me time to collect my pre-ordered tickets from the ticket machine, grab some liquids and snacks for the train, buy a cup of coffee and locate the platform from where the train will depart.

It was getting to be under 10 minutes before the 9:33 scheduled departure and the platform for departure had not been posted. Since Waverley is a very large station on several floors, I asked at the information desk if they had an idea which set of platforms I might expect to find the train. They said it was most likely going to be platform 15, or somewhere nearby. It wasn’t until 5 minutes prior to departure that the departure platform was announced. Was amazing how almost 100 people were able to quickly walk down the platform and board a train – and for the train to leave on time.

As we were going over the old cantilever railway Forth Bridge, I took a couple of pictures of the new bridge, Queensferry Crossing. The Forth Road Bridge partially obstructs the view of the new bridge, but I was still able a great picture of both through the train’s window.

Another picture from the train crossing the Forth Bridge and the two bridges to the East:

The train to Inverness took us from the green pastures of sites from the lowlands to the snow-covered hills of the highlands:

 

The picture below was exceptionally beautiful so I shared it on Facebook as I returned to Edinburgh.

On the 3.5 hour ride up to Inverness, I used the time to make quite a few updates to my Early Memories before the dodgy internet and WiFi connection made saving my updates difficult.

The train arrived on time and saw that Mary was waiting for me as we exited the train.

After I secured my laptop and travel sack in a locker at the train station we headed off to the nearby mall. I asked Mary if she would purchase a supply of the naproxen pain relief pills to use when my back acts up. Naproxen is in Aleve in the U.S., but is limited in the UK to women with menstrual cramps. The only pharmacy in Inverness that would have had the pills was out of the product. Guess I will try my luck back in Edinburgh. I found a pharmacy in Edinburgh that was okay with selling me the product, but others were not so willing. Anyway, no big deal, I was looking forward to getting caught up with Mary and having a good lunch.

Mary and I found a place that we liked to eat lunch and we talked about our travels since we last saw each other this past June in Dublin. We were at the table for a few hours and then noticed that everyone else had left and we were the last two. The restaurant was in the process of preparing for the dinner customers as we left.

I was also looking to purchase the same boots that I had purchased last year when I visited Inverness. They have been great boots and have proven to be totally waterproof in the rain, lightweight, and very comfortable. We went to the store where I had purchased them last year and found they were marked as being 20% off. Nice! I tried on a pair and found they were exactly what I was expecting. Now, what to do with my old pair. I’ll see if a charity shop would take them with a chance that someone might still find more use from them. We also stopped by the M&S store and I found a pair of loungewear that I liked.

As it was getting dark and colder, we thought a warm coffee drink would be nice. We found a bar right next to the train station where we ordered a coffee drink with some Bailey’s added. Perfect! We talked about our future plans and were still unsure when we will meet up again. Definitely before our friend Barbara is due to arrive next August.

It was time for my train and we headed to the train station next door. We said our good-byes and I boarded the train. I had expected to work on my Early Memories stories on the way back but was too tired and took a quick nap after the train left the station. I listened so some music and ate a couple of snacks on the way back. The internet connection was off and on during the trip. Just as I completed a Facebook posting the train was approaching Edinburgh. It was nearly 10:30 p.m.

I took a taxi back to the flat, but stopped off at the Tesco Express store to pick up a couple of items before walking the half a block to the flat. Once home, I changed into something comfortable and made a fried egg sandwich for a late dinner.

Tomorrow I’m planning to make a Shepard’s Pie and get more travel planning accomplished. I’m really dragging my feet on finalizing some of my next stays, so I really need to get on it.

 

 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (23 Great King Street)

Slept in long enough so I’d be ready when Donna and Adrien arrives here at 10:00 a.m. to replace the switch so I could have hot water again in the kitchen and bathroom sinks. (As mentioned before, the shower has a separate water supply that I switch on just before I get in the shower.)

Donna and I talked for a bit while Adrien replaced the switch. Even though he confirmed that the power was off, he got quite a shock as he was working on the switch. Then we turned off all of the flat’s power and all was well. I’ll say again, these hosts are the absolute best!

After they left I re-washed some of the dishes to make sure they were totally clean and also a pan that needed to be cleaned, but had been waiting for the hot water to be available again.

Updating the travel blog, paying bills, and researching travel options – took the remainder of the afternoon. Amazing how quickly time passes when you deep-dive into several projects. Before I knew it, it was getting dark and time to finish the remaining chicken noodle soup for dinner and take a nap.

I confirmed with Mary that I’ll be in Inverness a little after 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. Watched the movie “Lincoln” then went to bed so I’d be ready for an early start tomorrow.

 

Friday, 24 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (23 Great King Street)

Adrien stopped by at a little after 8:00 a.m. to see why there was no hot water in the kitchen. Also the sink in the bathroom, but thankfully not the shower which has it’s own heating. He determined that the switch in the kitchen that turns on the boiler for the hot water was failing. But after a few minutes he got it working enough to fill the boiler with hot water so I could wash dishes. He thinks he can return tomorrow with a new switch.

Today I spent a fair about of time looking at various travel scenarios for January. Now I’m thinking I will stop by Tunisia on my way to Madrid. The airfare is cheaper if I book travel from Cairo to Tunisia and then Tunisia to Madrid. Hotel prices are fairly low in Tunis and I could take a day or two exploring the city. Though the written reviews for the airport don’t look encouraging.

In the evening I finished watching “The Iron Lady” then a Star Trek movie. Somewhere during one of these movies I received a text from a friend asking where I was and replied that I was still in Edinburgh. He had seen a news story about a possible terrorist attack in London, at the Oxford Circus station. I looked up the story, now over an hour old, and saw that it perhaps wasn’t a terrorist attack because there was no bomb and the police couldn’t find any evidence of shots being fired. Nice to know that people are concerned about my safety and this isn’t the first time that I get notified that someone is concerned about my traveling to London. Though I know that it is big news when anything suspicious happens in London, so I guess that is something that I need keep in mind. Meanwhile, in the states…  But I won’t go into that here. Like traveling anywhere, I keep my eyes open and enjoy the ride. I will say I’m not going to live my life hiding under the bed because I’m afraid to leave my home. That isn’t living, but rather it is giving up.

 

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (23 Great King Street) 

Almost forgot it was Thanksgiving today, since it isn’t celebrated in Scotland. Just a normal workday for everyone.

Around 4:00 p.m. I put the chicken I bought yesterday in the oven. Made some mashed potatoes and also peas for dinner and miss the pumpkin pie. I’m thankful to have many great memories of past Thanksgivings to keep me company. Also enjoyed via Facebook what my friends and family were enjoying during their get togethers. Also received several texts from the U.S. wishing me Happy Thanksgiving.

Made a little progress on my Early Memories, but not much. As I was cleaning up the kitchen I noticed that there wasn’t any hot water to wash the dishes. I let the Donna and Adrien know. Then heard back from Donna who said that Adrien would be by tomorrow between 8:00 – 8:30 to take a look. So I washed what I had with help from hot water from the electric kettle. I’ll re-wash them when I have hot water again.

 

 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (23 Great King Street)

Slept fairly well last night and took my time getting out of bed. I decided I should leave soon after and walk over to the Glencairn address to pick up my senior rail card.

It was raining outside but I had on my rainproof coat, cap and waterproof boots. The rain was like in Oregon, just enough on and off to use my coat’s hood, then some drizzle. I’m an Oregonian – no umbrella! I didn’t mind it at all. Kept my fingers crossed that my rail card was there, and it was. Put the keys in the flat’s mail slot in the door and was on my way. I’ll have to show a comparison in a future post how much I save by having a senior rail card.

The walk to Waitrose was about 30 minutes and it was starting to get dark. As I walked past the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art I saw a large neon sign above the main entrance. I crossed the street and took a picture, though it didn’t turn out too well. A good reminder that all is well. “Everything Is Going To Be Alright”

Soon I was walking down the road to Waitrose and was in the store shopping before I knew it. I didn’t find a turkey so I selected a chicken to roast for tomorrow’s dinner. I took a taxi from there back to the flat since I had two large bags of groceries. This will hold me (I think) until I leave on the 8th of December for London.

Started to watch a cable program, The Good Place, for most of the evening. A very odd program, but was fine to watch on a cold and rainly evening.

I have absolutely no plans for tomorrow. Perhaps I will look for an Airbnb for my stay in London from the 18th to the 24th. I still need to talk with Prean and Viktor about their Christmas plans for the 24th and 25th.

 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (6 Glencairn Crescent) 

Moving day. Back to 23 Great King Street.

Another lazy day for me. Withdrew the remaining balance for my stay at the Great King Street address. As I said before, I’ll not pay in cash again – too much of a hassle.

There wasn’t any interest in anyone from InterNations to meet for Thanksgiving dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. So, I’ll probably try to find a turkey or chicken and roast it and be thankful that I can continue to travel as I have.

I worked quite a bit on my Early Memories before cleaning up the flat and packing. My hosts (for both properties) arrived a little after 6:30 p.m. and drove me over to the Great King address. They are really nice people and very responsive to any questions or requests that I have.

After I got my receipt for the cash transaction, we drove over to the new place and received help carrying my suitcase and bags up the two flights of stairs. Was nice to be in a place that is so familiar.

After they left, I went to the nearby Tesco Express to pick up a few items. Nice to have a store a half block away.

I only unpacked a few items and will do more unpacking tomorrow. Made a quick dinner of a fried hamburger patty, boiled potatoes, and asparagus – then called it a day.

Tomorrow I will return to the 6 Glencairn address to pick up my senior rail pass that Prean mailed to me. I forgot to mention to him that I was moving. I’ll also swing by Waitrose and pick up more food for the next couple of weeks.

 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (6 Glencairn Crescent) 

I didn’t sleep well last night and napped through most of today. Was raining part of the day and didn’t want to go outside. Was nice to have a day without much to do.

Enjoying my last full day in this flat before moving back to the Great King Street flat tomorrow.

Tomorrow, like today, I’ll write some more of my Early Memories. I’ll pack tomorrow and wait for my hosts to come by to help me move my luggage. It was nice of them to offer.

Actually I was ready to sleep at around midnight. You’d think with all of the napping I did today I wouldn’t be tired.

 

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Edinburgh, Scotland (6 Glencairn Crescent) 

After breakfast I added more Earliest Memories stories. The break from writing these stories was helpful. Sometimes difficult to write these stories. So many memories to write about and not sure at times what to include. Some interesting revelations have come up for me as well and have included those remarks in the stories. I will add pictures to some of the stories later.

At 2:00, I started to walk to the National Museum of Scotland to meet up with some of the InterNations group for a tour of the museum, with an emphasis on the alliance between Scotland and France. We met a volunteer historian who, in amazing detail, showed us pieces from the museum that helped tell the story about this alliance, which was mainly to keep England in check by combining resources and occasionally a few marriages between the two royal families. I also took pictures of some of the other exhibits in the museum.

Main Exhibition Hall

James Watt Exhibit (Inventor from Scotland)

Ceiling from House (With Story Pictures)

From the museum, I walked towards Princes Street and took a picture of the Christmas Festival as seen from the Mound. Many people were out on the streets and it took a while to make my way through them to reacht M&S where I needed a couple more ingredients for my Skinny Lasagna Soup.

On my way back to the flat the fireworks started. I guess that is why so many people were walking around. Waiting for the fireworks to start.

I took a brief nap before starting dinner. The soup turned out good as usual. You would think by now I’d get tired of making and eating this soup. Good thing, because I’ll be eating it for the next couple of days.

Worked more on my memories in the evening and before long it was 11:00. I watched a little TV before going to bed.

I woke at 3:30 a.m. and soon received a text from a friend in Portland. After a few texts back and forth I suggested talking via Messenger. She was up for it and we ended up talking for over an hour. By 4:30 a.m. I was ready for more sleep.

More work on Earliest Memories stories tomorrow. Not much else planned.