Saturday, December 23, 2006

Consecutive dry days!

It had to happen eventually - I had two days off in which it didn't rain. Monday this week I woke up to see a clear day as the sun was rising. I had been planning to go across the water to Greenock for shopping but I postponed that trip in favour of a day of walking. I was bouncing around like a dog who knows it's going for a walk as I got ready. I went up a trail behind the Loch Eck caravan park to get onto the forest road - a set of tire tracks running roughly parallel to the road below but up on the mountain. I walked it all the way up to the Whistlefield Inn, and stopped in there for a drink and some potato chips. I've been hearing about the Whistlefield all the time since it's a neighbouring hotel but I'd only seen it from the outside so I was curious to go in. I hung around there a bit and talked to some of the staff and then headed back to the Coylet. On my way back I met a fast-walking elderly local man who kept the conversation going so well that I missed my turn off and had to double back to find the trail back down to the road. It was a very good day of walking - it was incredibly sunny and just a bit chilly.

Here's Loch Eck perfectly reflecting the mountain and the mists when I set out for my walk.
One of the many streams running down the mountain-side along the forest road.

Tuesday I took the ferry across the Clyde to Gourock and walked around there a bit before hopping on the trail to Greenock - along the rail line to Glasgow. Greenock was a big port town at one time and a major shipbuilding area. Lots of stuff was imported from the Americas - it has a Jamaica Street just like Glasgow does, probably oweing to some sugar importing going on. It was also a major export town of Scottish emmigrants heading overseas - a lot of them last set foot in Scotland in Greenock. And Greenock's final claim to fame is that it's the birthplace of James Watt, for whom the unit of power is named. They're very proud of him - there's a college named after Watt in Greenock, and a building to mark his birthplace with a statue of him on it, and a restaurant/bar named for him even. There's even a collection of some of his equipment in the small town museum - I saw his balance and what appeared to be a set of drill bits.

I got myself a pair of hiking sneakers in Greenock to replace my worn out sneakers that I've been wearing. I was also thinking of getting myself some new dress shoes but didn't see any that caught my eye and so figured I'd wait a while since I still had the cheap shoes that I've been wearing for work. Then the next day at work, Sod's Law (mocked by fate, similar to what we call Murphy's Law at home) came into effect and my left dress shoe broke at the ball of my foot when I put it on for work. So I've managed two evening shifts on a squeaking, improperly supported shoe and came into town today to get some shoes. I managed to get some very decent shoes so I'm alright now.

I'm glad Christmas is coming, not only for the day off and the gifts and food and all, but also because once it comes I will no longer have to listen to the Christmas CDs we play in the restaurant and the bar, as well as what the radio plays. Other than the music it doesn't feel very Christmas-y to me, even with the decorations and all, simply because everything is so green around here and it's so warm.

It hasn't been raining much at all this week - miracle of miracles! The weather forecast I read for Christmas Day (in The Scotsman) called for it to be clear and a "bracing" 5 to 7 degrees Celcius. I wouldn't describe those temperatures as bracing, but I've checked with some Scots and they wouldn't either so I don't know what The Scotsman was thinking.

And now for something completely different and slightly amusing to you perhaps. Just to show you the kind of joking that goes on around here, and to show how talented our chef Victor is at not only cooking but artistic stuff as well, here is our kitchen porter, Fraser, dressed up as a space-man by Victor. Fraser had to bear this costume because it often seems that he is on another planet than Earth.
Anyway, happy Christmas to everyone!

1 comment:

Ross Wilson said...


It sounds like you are having a blast in Scotland, I am extremely jealous and have been reading your blog every couple of weeks or so. Your last post with the photos was amazing :>

Glad to hear that you are happy and keeping well. If you ever get a chance to go online to MSN i would love to chat, or feel free to drop an e-mail back to the e-town folk that still remember you.

By the way Anna and I wanna come visit you in Scotland in the summer, so i might be calling you later in the year.