Travel Journal

Aberdeen and Dunfermline

(Friday 6 August 2010) by Brennan-adventures
Hello Folks,
Well here is a quick update on what’s been happening with us. Mike had a conference in Aberdeen so it was decided I would arrive towards the end of the week. Two old school friends and their partners live around there and another friend and her husband said they would travel to Aberdeen for a get together over the weekend.
I left Southampton on Friday morning and the flight up was without event, although not so busy on the plane… in fact 15 people in all!!!
Aberdeen was a lot colder than Southampton, at least 8c lower, for us softy southerners it was a shock!!8-O

I got to the hotel with the chattiest taxi driver ever, although I don’t know if I was understanding everything!!. The dialect up there is a little strange but a lovely soft accent. Loon and quine are the local words for boy and girl and Fhit is What !!

The hotel we were all staying in was Jury’s Inn, it was very central but had a strange pricing policy for a room, each night was charged individually…. From £130.00 on Thurs to £59.00 on Saturday!!!
When I got to reception I didn’t have to show any identification and was handed a key to Mikes room, later I find he had not warned them I was coming so I was a little perturbed about their security.

I then met up with Sheila, Jean and her husband Robin. We had some lunch then a mooch around some shops….. Jean managed to find me some cheap jeans and she managed to find some (3pairs) shoes… Sheila I don’t think bought anything!!!

Sheila travelled home around 5pm while Jean, Robin and I returned to the hotel, here we popped into the bar and waited for Mike to arrive. After a couple of Juices??!! Well it had flavour!! We took ourselves to the Indian restaurant up the road from the hotel, Mike had been eating there every evening of the conference and they assured him they could make things with NO Garlic…. Well the meal was yummy and no trouble tummy wise!!;-)

Next morning, J /R/ M and I all met for breakfast at 10am, a good spread. Hot food included haggis and black pudding!!! I managed egg, bacon and black pudding, as mike hates black pudding he decided it would be a few hours until he kissed me, even then it would be no tongues!! :-(:-(
We just got back to the room to collect things when the fire alarm went off…. This was 10-45am.
Everyone piled out of the hotel into the shopping centre, a little strange that it was not evacuated as the hotel was part of it!! I collected my handbag and passport before leaving, well you never know if you will return to ash!!
Some of the guests were still in dressing gowns or pj’s and coats, I did offer them a coffee from the café, as they looked a little hung over!!!
Well Sheila and her husband Hamish arrived and found us milling around waiting to be let back into the hotel, so off to the coffee shop while we waited. A wee while later Paul and his wife Gillian arrived, that was all our merry band together for the weekend. Around 1-30 we were allowed back into the hotel, seemingly it had bee an electrical fault in on of the bedrooms and had caused smoke to appear… whew no more panic.

Sheila had come armed with some suggestions to fill the afternoon, there was a Scottish fair being held which included a pipe band, certainly there were lots of Kilties around, some of the bodies were quite Mmmh whaw!!!
Others had eaten too many pies!!
We saw a couple of pipe bands and some interesting stalls then we visited some gardens where a stage had been erected, there were some very strange folk around there….. medieval tents and costumed people; a very pale faced red Indian, and then some people dressed in Victorian garb, one of them dressed like he was a church minister.
Next was lunch.

We managed to find a nice spot outside on some decking in a vodka pub…. This pub had at least 30 different types of vodka, from passion fruit through to toffee flavour…. None of us were brave enough to try them!!
The food looked good and the pub was very busy, we ordered and a while later the waiter appeared shouting “2 Milanese chicken and hoi sin duck wrap“, up went our hands as this was part of our order. He duly deposited them and went to collect the rest, back he came “Pasta bake and tuna sandwich”…. silence this was not part of our order …. Cripes we had pinched another tables order, ours had been Milanese chicken sandwich; what had been delivered was Milanese chicken SALAD…. OOPs and the people served had started eating!!!:-,:-,
Well the waiter sorted it out and the rest of the food soon arrived. We kept our heads down when leaving in case we saw the people whose food we had pinched !! It did cause us a good laugh all night though.

Next we visited the beach, yes there is a beach at Aberdeen and people were in the sea without wet suits!!! It was too damned cold for me, and a fleeting visit was all we needed before retreating indoors to the 10 pin bowling ally….. It had been decided school friends against partners, well I think the school friends lived to regret that decision with me on the team…. High score for me 38!!! One game was quite enough thank you.

Next stop back to the bar at the hotel for a snifter before changing into our glad-rags for dinner.
We left the hotel to a slight drizzle and the sensible Aberdonians had coats…. Softy southerners and Dumpy crew were very unprepared, the dumpy crew had a brolly at least, the softy southerners had nothing…. Luckily it was not too far to the restaurant as the heavens opened. We had a great night and a lot of laughs, the weather was clear but chilly when we left, so a stop off at the bar before bed was needed!!
Next morning all 8 of us meeting for breakfast meant a rearrangement of the dining room!!! Another good cooked breakfast… another “no kiss before 5pm“ !!

It was Sunday and we were off to Aboyne to stay with Sheila and Hamish, Jean and Robin joined the clan for the afternoon before returning to Dunfermline…they were incredibly kind and took one of our large suitcases with them to deliver to my mums… This saved us lugging everything on the train when we travelled on Monday. <3

When we were at S & H’s (whose house is fabby and the work done since we last visited is like something out of a designer magazine) a friend arrived. This lady was originally from Stonehaven, which is near Aberdeen. The stonehaven accent however is quite different with lovely soft lilts, she has a wicked sense of humour and a dry wit. Mike was having great problems keeping up, which again was very funny.
J& R left for home just after 4pm, it takes about 2 hours for the journey so they were in plenty time for eating the Sunday dinner one of their kids had prepared… sounds great to me!!!

That evening Hamish cooked a fabby meal, and we had a lot of laughs around the table, next morning before we left Aboyne all of us walked to the town, we popped in to se an art exhibition…. Loads of talent there, some a little expensive though, especially some paintings that were about 8cm x 5cm… these paintings were miniatures and had a magnifying glass alongside allowing the viewer peer at them. They did not have the complexity of old miniatures but the artist wanted £450.00 each!!!!
Leaving Aboyne was sad, as we had been looked after so well and had such a fantastic time. Hopefully it won’t be long until we all get together again.

The trip to Dunfermline was done by train, a lovely trip alongside the coast and as it was the first time I had been on that particular part of the railway line I was doing the little girl…Ooh ahh thing!!!
The trains all were on time and everything went to plan, including the oldies (my mum and dad) waiting at the local station to pick us up.

Well next day it was decided to visit Falkirk Wheel, this is a crane affair that moves boats up and down the equivalent of 11 locks on the canal…. About 35m. It has two cradles filled with water that the boats float inside, their journey down/up starts with one of the cradles suspended 35m above the other then once moving its like a dance with each cradle taking the side position then moving around to the opposite top/bottom position…. I found the marvel was the way the cradles were kept stable, a few wheels ran around a round hole which allowed the cradle to move smoothly, seemingly it takes as much power to complete the whole manoeuvre as to boil an electric kettle!!!
Next (now Hamish will laugh and call us sad spotters) we went on a steam train ride at Bo’ness. It was a little disappointing as my childhood memory of the Chh,chh,chh was not realised....:-(:-(
Well by now we had thoroughly worn out the oldies….oops

Wed saw us visiting our most senior elderly relations in St Andrews, having lunch near the west sands overlooking the old course which still had all the seating up from the open golf tournament.
Now as St Andrews is know as the home of golf it was interesting to hear there was not a strict dress code, jeans were allowed to be worn in the clubhouse, but not on the green…. However cargo shorts whatever their scruffyness were allowed to be worn on the green. In some golf courses they are soo stuffy and a little pretentious, here it was lovely and so laid back!!
Earlier in the day we had read there was a chance of seeing the northern lights in the sky… Aurora borealis. “May be seen from 8pm until 4am” was the info printed. Some bight spark (Mikee) decided we should take ourselves “off to the hills” to experience this event as it is as rare as hens teeth!!
9-30pm all pilled into the car and motored out to the Cleish hills, again I remembered large open areas, now lots of high trees… Worrying how big a tree can get in 30 yrs.
Well our space was found with a view to the north, the sky was still blue although the sun had set,,,, we waited and waited, the sky was still dusky about 11pm. Saw the stars appear, waited and waited…. At midnight it was decided enough was enough and a return home for a stiff drink was required, not sure if that was because of being locked up in a small place with us for 3 hours or just because the disappointment was overwhelming!!!
Next day we find out nobody in Scotland had seen it, only if you were in northern Norway, glad we didn’t wait there until 4am!!

Mike was travelling to Southampton, so just a day around the doors, lunch was at a milk bar… this is a Scottish thing…. A café/restaurant near a farm that sells homemade food and cakes. This one is a long wooden hut, with LOADS of yummy cakes.
Well once Mike had gone we are just going to take things easy, plouter around maybe a tidy up in the garden, coffee at the garden centre that type of thing, nothing too strenuous .
Well that’s all for now folks….. Catch up again soon
Laur xx

  • just another week in another country by babs

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