Friday, January 28, 2005

On The Road Again

So, I bought a car. My first actually. I'd never had the need for full-time access to a car before. But the time finally came.

When I first started working in Fife, I found that with the hours I was working it would be easier to get a flat near work. And so I lived in Inverkeithing for a full year. No regrets - I've met some great people here and had some great nights out. My PS2 also helped pass the time. But by autumn last year I found I was working normal hours and really didn't need to stay in Fife anymore. Quite frankly, I was getting a bit bored of the same old and decided I would rather commute from Glasgow.

I first had to switch my Canadian licence to a British one. Second, find a used mid-sized car with automatic transmission, something easier said than done since the vast majority of cars here are standard transmission. The hardest part though was getting a loan to buy the car and insurance coverage. My previous credit and driving history don't count here so I was starting from scratch. It is very disheartening getting rejected again and again for loans, and getting quoted exorbitant rates for insurance.

After some perseverance (and with a little help from some good people), I finally managed to get it all sorted. I'm now commuting to work from Glasgow with my first car - a blue Ford Focus (that has yet to be named - suggestions welcome).

And of course I'm driving on the left-hand side of the road. The "drive on the left" song (courtesy Kevin) certainly came in handy the first few days!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Breaking the Routine

While a day of meetings is not normally high on my fun list, this particular day of meetings was held out of the office. More specifically at a small hotel located in the Highland town of Pitlochry. A beautiful drive through some stunning landscape, a bit of business chat for part of the day, and then a nice walk through town. There was even the chance to see the Fish Ladder which was built to allow fish to go around the dam to spawn upriver. Cool concept, but alas no fish climbing this time of year!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Burns Night

Today is the birthday of the legendary Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). He wrote poetry by the common man for the common man, and for that reason his work still resonates today. Burns Night commemorates all things Burns, and the highlight for many is the Burns Supper, featuring song, food, drink and poetry. Alas, I won’t be attending a full Burns Supper this evening, but shall be having a traditional haggis meal at home. So, a wee excerpt from Burns’ “Address to a Haggis”:

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Caledonia Calling?

"The most powerful Atlantic storm to hit Scotland in more than a decade" - The Herald

"The worst sustained two weeks of weather ... seen in 20 years" - The Scotsman

Gales rattling my windows, rains soaking me to the bone, and possibly the worst week of commuting ever with cancelled trains and late buses galore.

It's good to be back!