Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Weeks

Last few weeks until my stint here in Scotland ends for the time being. Some may say being on one's own changes them and in some cases it could do that, but I think all my changes happened long ago and there may be some adjustments made but nothing can be really altered.
I suppose some life shattering event may throw that opinion into disorder though.
The Cowall Games are starting up and everyone is dragging cash out of the cash machines at a rate like I have never seen since I've been here. I actually had to stand in line today, even though that line was just a couple of people, which for this place constitutes a crowd. While putting money into an account, the cache machine outside sounded like it was on it's last legs .
The weather report isn't do good but that is OK since at this point I am used to some drizzle and have been keeping my rain gear for those times I need it rather than those times I fancy a candy bar.

As per norm, this is being typed out in 'my' cafe and amusingly enough, I found one of the workers there has a fave bevvie. Buckfest. I think I have mentioned this evil drink before but it is sort of like combining a redbull shot with a bitch-brew.. You know, those wines that have so much sugar they could just about put Pepsi out of business if they didn't get their clientèle drunk and driving on a regular basic.

Overall, this trip has been good with only a few downsides not worth repeating.

The good points are that the weather is very similar to Seattle, with better roads, lesser bullshit from the big cities even though there are big cities not more than an hour or few away. Even London is not more than 5 hours away on the west-coast mainline. Culture is accessible, but is not cheap. You have to really plan your days out before leaving the house or wherever you are staying. If you do not have a place to stay for free in London, don't bother. It almost costs money to breathe in that part of the world. It is better just to stay out and then use mass transit. The only way around this is if you have a few people to share the cost of a rental(initial cost + fuel + etc). For one or two people, just cough up the cash and deal with the smell of farted upon seats and people who don't give a shit about you because that is going to be way cheaper than hundreds of pounds per week for rental car you probably won't use that often, plus hundreds for fuel (currently 1.19 per liter for diesel) so figure a 30-50 liter tank every 300-400 miles is 35 pounds [ current exchange rate 1.54 =54.978 dollars) a time. Getting from London to where I am is roughly 450 miles if you figure all the BS). Then you need a car ferry ticket which is another 10 pounds [ 15 dollars] and driver/passenger 5 pounds [7.50]. It adds up very quickly. Oh, and if you go the other way, you will need to pay the congestion charge which is currently 8 pounds.

A train ticket, if you plan it ahead can be yours for as little as 24 pounds (or as much as 100), and be in London far faster. You still need a ferry ticket but you can book a commuter ticket all the way through to this town in one shot including the ferry for less than 10 pounds.. So for two tickets, on average of 60 pounds each (single which sucks for prices) you can get from London to Scotland in roughly 6 hours. I'll take that over flying or driving any day... You are still locked into a moving tube of metal but at least on a train you can get up and move around without getting in anyone's way. If you book ahead and are lucky, first class isn't much more which means you get free wifi and much better seats. Which I did for the final trip down. Treated myself for 5 pounds extra. Better than the hundreds (or thousands) that airlines charge...

By the time I enter more, I will probably have been at the games so will have some footage of them, the sports and the fireworks... woot!!

Just as had packed the laptop away and was about to leave this old couple asked if they could sit down on the couch by me. The room was filling up and at the time I was planning on leaving soon, so I said of course they could. The husband was 88 and used to be an engineer at Rolls Royce airlines division. Obviously long retired but still quite proud of his work.  

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