A Travellerspoint blog

Drive to London

overcast 4 °C

Packed and ready to leave after breakfast, it is very windy and weather forecast for Scotland is winds of 80k. Signs on the highway give warnings so we are cautious driving. Birmingham is the first stop.
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Man it is cold, the wind is like ice. The Toyota seems to have a problem with the boot locking, so Lynn is standing in the cold, while John tries to press each button on the key in every combination possible and loosing patience very quickly ( not happy Jan). Finally, it locks and we head for O’Neils for lunch. A beef and guinness pie and an irish stew, yum. It seems mash and peas are the standard vegitables… can’t have too much more of these.
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The trip was uneventful, but the weather did clear and we stopped on the way into London at Beaconsfield to get takeaway for dinner as we didn’t want to go out once we arrived at the Little Ealing accommodation just out of London.
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It is convenient to have wifi again so John is quick to hop on to update the blog. It is easy to get behind quickly. We were able to Skype the boys and grandies as we are missing them all.IMG_0753.jpg
Well an early night tonight as it has been a long day driving.

Posted by BioC12 11:43 Archived in England Comments (0)

Ecclefechan Local Area

rain 5 °C

Morning photo shoot in the conservatory of the lovely house we are staying at. It is so homely and warm, it is very easy to relax and enjoy. We have been able to park the car in the garage so no need to remove the ice each morning before we hit the road. This is a big advantage.
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Today’s journey takes us to a Tibetan Temple in Eskdakemuir. It is said to be the largest outside of Tibet. Wow what an experience first we went through a significant amount of snow along the way, a bit of ice on the road and pouring rain when we arrived, but it was worth it.
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Brecky was a hot coffee and toasted sandwich in the café operated by the monks.
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It was such a calming and spiritual visit. We were told it was bought for a bargain price of 50 pounds when the monks were forced to leave Tibet. The environment here was so similar to that of Tibet that they have built onto the original house and there is construction and improvements still continuing. When we left the temple “ Samye Lins” the next stop was Dumfries.

It was raining very heavy so had to make a run to the shops and lunch “homemade hot soup”. Yes the soup is going down so well in the cold. The shops have no awnings so there is no cover when you are walking down the streets. A shame the weather was so bad as the shops looked nice and as usual John would have got caught up with the shopping bug. Not sure how his bag will close on the way home.
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We called in at the local ‘ fechan” shop for some ‘fechan tart’ and a bit of comfort food on a rainy afternoon. The owner, Richard called in for a chat to see if we needed anything. A lovely man who lost his wife suddenly from a heart attack. He is a true Scotsman and very friendly. Then off to have dinner at our local, the Ecclefechan Hotel to say farewell to Jo and Mary.
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Posted by BioC12 04:29 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Glasgow - A City Our Son Chad Knows Well

snow 2 °C

Today’s journey takes us to Glasgow – Chad spent two years there working and also playing rugby union. He’s given us the address of the bar he worked in so we’ll park and spend some time in and around the city centre.

Very, very cold this morning - snow has fallen heavily overnight and the temperature is down to just a couple of degrees celsius. I quickly take the opportunity to get a snapshot of the reindeer Xmas decorations across the road at the village hall – it looks great at night through the branches of the hedge outside our bedroom window.
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On our way we drop into a roadside diner for a coffee and wi-fi blogging. A couple of other Aussies are in the corner, flying in direct from home.
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On the road again to Glasgow we start moving up in altitude and bump into some fantastic snow. We stop for a picture of snow on the pine trees, which temp you to want to get out and start a snowball fight. The snow looks great perched on the trees, fences and across the paddocks and hills.
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Glasgow is absolutely freezing today as we park and walk to the bar that Chad worked in – unfortunately its not open and we think has changed. We stroll down to the mall looking at all Scottish things on offer, especially the kilts. Geez you must be cold wearing these little numbers in this weather.
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The weather entices John to buy a new cold weather jacket – great buy at the USC store – reduced from £170 to £40. Lots of musicians playing the mall, plus a large flock of pigeons that are being fed by the many sitting near them. Bump into a store called the ‘Twofatladies’ and are not sure if this comes from the television cooking show.
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We intend to have dinner at the Ecclefechan Hotel tonight so we’re on the road early for the drive back and to beat the darkness and snow. For some reason the white lines on highway are not clearly visible - and the huge number of semi-trailers is a little scary. We keep hearing the many accidents that include trucks occurring right across the United Kingdom on the radio - so home in daylight is our intention.
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A quick stop at the Ecclefechan Hotel to see what’s on the menu – bump into Joe Kelly the publican – and absolute hoot and gentleman - we’ll be back for dinner in an hour or so.

Posted by BioC12 11:07 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Eccelfechan, Peebles and Edinburgh

snow 3 °C

First task today is a photo shoot of the cottage – so well presented and so warm and inviting. Ecclefechan is a small village off the M6 south of Glasgow and Edinburgh and very handy to all points across Scotland.
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We have breakfast and head for Peebles, back in Australia a work colleague mentioned Peebles as the place the Lock name originated from – not sure why or when the ‘E’ was added to our name. Our great grandfather Archibald Lock spelt it the original way. Maybe it was the ‘Protector of Aborigines’ who changed the name when my grandfather was moved to a mission under the ‘Act’.

We weave past villages as we make our way to Peebles and finally arrive to quite a sizeable town. I spot a sign for the local Peebles Rugby Union Club and grab a picture standing under the hanging street sign.
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Choosing to stay with the old hotels to chase our favourite midday meal (soup) we find it at ‘The Green Tree Hotel’ – this cold weather makes the soup a welcome daily meal along with the crusty breads.
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I spot a little chubby Father Christmas on a sideboard behind Lynn – my sister Tracey would love to have him – for reasons only our family will recognise and understand.
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After lunch I ask the publican if there's a history centre in town, I'm wanting to see if there are records of the Lock name here in Peebles. He asks the locals in the bar about the Lock name, but no connections. They point us to the Tourism Information Centre that has some records, alas not many, but are given details of the regional Heritage Hub in Hawick that now houses all the Scottish Borders records. Not open today – so will hold onto the contact information to give it to my sisters who are doing some great family research.
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Next stop today is Edinburgh, although we’ll only do a drive through as the days are short, and snow has begun to fall and we’re not quite sure what the drive home might bring in the dark with freezing conditions. A few reroutes due to snow fall but all good.
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Its Sunday night, so we do our ritual of fish and chips night on this side of the globe – travelling through to Gretna Green we pick up our dinner and head home to Ecclefechan. I’ve been quite surprised with northern hemisphere cod, not oily like its Australian counterpart, very nice sweet white flesh.

Posted by BioC12 11:48 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

We Set Our Sights On Scotland

overcast 4 °C

Lynn and I both love waking up to the soft morning light here - unlike the very bright morning light of Australian mornings. There is not a sound until about 8.30 when the odd car goes past the house. You wake more slowly adjusting to the day in a warm cosy bed. We lay here discussing the day ahead and what we’ll see and do in Dublin on our last day here.

First a morning chat with our AirBnB hosts, unfortunately Rocio is not well and we won’t get to see her. Working as a babysitter the children see looks after has passed on their colds to her. Diago, Lynn and I chat about an essay he’s doing on change management as part of his investment career. Give him some quick tips on how to research relevant academic papers on the web. We say our thanks for our overnight stay and lovely Dublin apartment, and head down the cobbled streets to pop our bags in the car. The apartment complex is extensive, with an unusual wooden addition surrounded by a small moat.
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On the tram heading to ‘The Point’ - end of the line where the docks are we spot an ice rink and an ice hockey game is progress. Remembering images of our boys when they were young, learning to roller-skate. Dropping them off, we stay awhile for a few giggles as they scramble for the rails, their legs out of control and heading in all directions. One of those little pleasures as parents.

We do a late breakfast at Café Crema – get our mobiles corrected by Optus back home and we’re ready to take our car back to Budget - and then a bus to Terminal 1 for our flight back to Manchester.

We stay too long in the lounge area and have to quickstep it to our departure area – a word of advice when travelling out of Ireland – the departure areas are a long way from the terminal entry point. Luckily for us the travelators are a huge help in moving much quicker – we scrape in by a few seconds of missing our jet and somehow we’ve missed customs – but we are still allowed to board. We're both hot as, from the scurry - but quickly cool down.

35-minute flight and we’re back on the ground in Manchester and heading to the JetPark to pick up our trusty Toyota Avensis Wagon. With address logged into the SatNav were off and on our way to Ecclefechan (Scotland). Its a few hours drive - and in soft rain we’re met by Richard Little (owner) of Beccleuch Cottage our home until Thursday morning.

This little cottage is gorgeous – and can’t wait to see it in the daylight.

Posted by BioC12 11:04 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

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