Sunday, June 29, 2008

Arty types are not web designers

These days we expect online booking systems to just work. But the one for the official Edinburgh Festival is rubbish, and I can't book anything. They don't seem to answer the phone on Sundays either. Just how hard is it to spend your money, eh?

Friday, June 27, 2008

For steam men

Being lucky when I got the train home from Glenfinnan meant that I shared the platform with this train. Interesting to see the sheer amount of steam coming from various bits of the carriages (to work the brakes?). All those figures being romantically obscured by steam in old films are not exaggerated. It didn't keep the midges way though.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cool plane

Last night and tonight, somebody has been offering pleasure flights over Edinburgh in a Dakota. What a nice thing to do.

Nice weekend

Saturday's walk up Ben Cruachan was unexpectedly continued into Sunday, due to the absence of a train back. This sounds like a disaster, but it was a lovely summer evening to be waiting on a station platform in the woods. After a bit, I wandered off and easily found myself a B&B.

The forced stopover meant that I got to wander round the absurdly picturesque Kilchurn castle on Sunday morning. Then to Dalmally, (birthplace of Labour leader John Smith), and so home.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Stalin and the bomb

In Our Time continues to be excellent. Lysenko this week, who I knew nothing about, but I really should have. A small gem from the programme concerns the development of the Soviet nuclear bomb. Stalin forbade the use of Einsteinian physics (since he knew it was wrong). Beria later reported back to him that they were getting nowhere and wanted to use more productive methods. Stalin relented, reflecting that "we can always shoot them later". What a wag!


Currently enjoying the long-awaited DVD release of this cult comedy from the early 90s. Maybe its Scottishness biases me, but I do think that it's better than Python.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Meall na Fearna

A delightful walk yesterday to Meall na Fearna (just East of Ben Vorlich). I came up with the wizard wheeze of doing it from Callander, which seems to be my default destination these days. It's a longish approach that starts up a picturesque road behind the town, takes you past some forestry and sheep pastures to the wonderfully named Arivurichardich, then insists that you climb to a col at 600m before descending to start the hill proper. The col must be reascended on your return, making this reminiscent of the famous Bealach Bearnais.

I meet one other walker, on his way up Stuc A' Chroin, who paces me to the col, then I have the rest of the walk to myself. Perhaps because of this, there is a lot of wildlife to be seen: a hare, a hind wandering past, and a group of wild goats.

I feel hugely satisfied, possibly even euphoric afterwards. Is it just the fine weather? Or the smugness of planning and executing a fairly long day out without blisters, tiredness or mishaps?

Reading Michael Palin's diaries this morning, I reach his account of filming bits of Holy Grail on a hillside above Callendar. Maybe I walked past the constitutional peasants.