Monday, January 28, 2008

Is that a sabre in your rucksack...?

This post isn't going to have a lot of continuity to it.

I was down to Edinburgh on the weekend to do a Level 1 Sabre Coaching course. The weather was pretty wild, with high winds and rain from Inverness down to Edinburgh. I took the bus, a 3.5 hour trip during which I was in a state between wakefulness and sleep for much of it and couldn't wait to get off the super-heated bus at the end of it. When I came back Sunday night, I heard that the rail line had been closed due to flooding in some parts, so if I had taken the train I would have ended up on a bus anyway.

The course was challenging for me, but I definitely learned some things about coaching fencing, in particular in giving individual lessons which is not something I've done before and lacked confidence in doing. I also learned that if you walk around with a large backpack with two sabre blades sticking out of the top of it (at least a foot in length) that you will attract a lot of curious/fearful/strange looks, but will never be asked what it is that you have in your backpack.

On a related note to that: last Tuesday when I was returning from fencing with the afore-mentioned two sabres in my hand, I boarded the bus to find that the supervising bus driver (she was training the driver) was eyeing me quite closely. I thought to myself that she was not going to allow me on, and that I was going to have to argue through the whole deal about sabres being sports equipment and no more dangerous than a hockey stick or a cricket bat. As it turned out, she used to fence way-back-when in school and had always been looking for a fencing club to join. So I gave her the coach's contact information and I answered her fencing questions for most of the ride back to Inverness.

I've had some visits with friends as well in the last week or so. Jamie was up to Inverness from Cairngorm Lodge (where he's working with Rob now) on his birthday (the 16) at my invitation, and we went out to celebrate. Then Rob and Tina were here the middle of last week due to interviews and courses being held at our hostel, so I got to hang out with them some as well. I tried to meet up with some buddies in Edinburgh, but their work schedules didn't mesh with my course schedule, so it'll have to be another time.

I also learned last week that various levels of management have read my blog, since it pops up on Google if you search "Inverness Youth Hostel" and "blog" (usually when looking for reviews of the place - hey, we're great!). So the readership is growing!

Taxi's in Inverness have the most easy-to-remember phone numbers that I've ever seen. One is 222 555. Another is 222 900. And, for the immensely drunk, all you have to do is go to a payphone and mash the 2 key until it starts ringing, and you'll get the company who's number is 222 222.

Pedestrian crossings in Inverness make people wait for a minimum of what seems like 5 minutes before crossing. The closer you get to the city centre, the longer the wait. Traffic seems to flow twice in each direction before the pedestrians get to cross. Which is why no one waits for the lights in the city - I certainly don't, and I've basically given up on pushing the button in order to get the little green man (the walk symbol - the don't walk symbol is a red, stationary man) to eventually come up.

I see a lot of BBC news these days since we often have the reception TV at the hostel set to that channel. A regular feature of the news programming is a segment when they look at the day's newspapers to see what the headlines and pictures on the front pages are. Now, I don't know about you, but I find this extremely odd. Here we have the medium of television, in which moving pictures (they call them videos, I believe) and sound are available to convey information. And what do the news anchors do with that medium? Let's all take a look at some typeface and still-pictures printed on poor quality paper. Also, they've become journalists once-removed. They're reporting on what other journalists have already reported on. Strange.

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