We needed transport so off the the bike shop to purchase, and I hate to say but matching bikes, then we were off cycling to Avebury, Lacock, Calne and all around Chippenham. Never thought I’d be hitting 30 and still cycling!! just keep telling myself it’s good for me especially since Ian’s thinks every ride is a race!
In April I finally got a permanent job, in the South West of England so now the threesome has become a twosome with Ian & I moving down to Chippenham and leaving Brett in Edinburgh – but not before a great night out with all the friends we had made during our time in Edinburgh, our new friends most of which will remain close made this period in our lives special, thanks to you all. Our first day in Chippenham was so successful, Ian found temporary work, we found our house which is a riot of colour and suited us perfectly it even has a back yard!!, found where I was to work and the bus to get there. The hire car was to be dropped off in Bath, this is a beautiful town, we walked around taking it all in then grabbed a coffee & headed to the gardens where we sat under a large cherry tree and enjoyed our surroundings. Our first purchase was a couple of bikes – cycles that is & I hate to admit that they are matching! but this gave us the freedom of the road albeit the short road. Our first trip was to Avebury where the village is surrounded by standing stones, after a pub lunch and visit to the museum it was time to head back a nice round 34 mile trip – maybe a bit adventurous for our first ride or so my body felt the next day. The following weekend we cycled to Laycock Abbey, checked out the Fox Talbot photography museum and the abbey itself.
Finally the 3 of us got round to a weekend in the highlands, travelling up the west coast stopping at Inverness for the night and returning down the east side, bit of a rushed trip but a lot of sights seen. We travelled through Glasgow & up along Loch Lomond, stopping for lunch in Glen Coe before continuing along Loch Linnhe to Fort William, here we checked out the museum. Taking a short detour we went to the monument of Glenfinnan then back to the main road via Neptune’s staircase (canal locks) along Loch Lochy and Loch Ness (no sign of Nessy, must have been the rain!). Stopped at Urquhart castle – unfortunately we were sightseeing out of season and the castle was closed, and finally arrived in Inverness, were we checked out the castle, found a B&B and promptly went out for dinner. Found a great place where Ian had the most amazing Aberdeen angus steak ever tasted, and Brett and my meals were pretty damn good too. The next day we were up early and off to Culloden for a morning stroll through the past, it’s a very sad place. We were off to Fort George after that and then to Aviemore & up the Cairngorm ski slopes, Ian & I went up the mountain only to have it snow so we never saw the view. Continuing on to Perth we stopped at Jill’s (Brett’s girlfriend & Ian’s workmate) folks place to pick her up before carrying on across the forth bridge back to Edinburgh, all of us pretty tired by this stage.
Next came Hogmanay (New Years) Lee came up from London for the occasion and we headed off to Princes St which had been closed off with bands set up at various points, 2 big screens, fireworks, and other entertainment. It was BYO so we had filled up our platypus bottles with drink enough to sustain us till after midnight, which came all too rapidly with all of us singing Auld Lang Syne in our best Scottish accents. The 25th of January is a big date for Scots with the annual celebratory tribute to the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796) so we headed off to a Burns Supper at the Queensferry arms. On our entrance a lone piper played till we were seated at our table, the programme started with the “Selkirk grace” and followed by “To a haggis” where our supper (the haggis) was piped in and then stabbed passionately by the poem reader. Supper followed – the main course being “haggis with clapshot n whisky sauce”, after which was songs and poems then a lively Ceilidh, which reminded me of when I was at primary school & had to do the Virginia reel, I don’t think my co-ordination has improved much with time, but it was a great laugh and even the boys started to enjoy it.
Christmas rolled round at our place with long phone calls home, pressies opened, a few friends over and a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings, plenty of mulled wine & whisky. We had all been hoping for a white Christmas and as much as it was cold enough it was a beautiful, fine day. It did snow a couple of times while we were here but never enough to last a day.
The All blacks arrived in November, so the whole kiwi contingency (with a few other internationals) went to the game at Murrayfield then into the grassmarket to celebrate the win, where we saw our “boys” who after playing a fine game had had the same idea and hit the town.
Our house warming coincided with Halloween and a costume party was a must, it was a grizzly night with lots of scary people and a nasty punch which tasted far to good to be healthy for you.
Well Ian & Brett arrived in Edinburgh in September after trying to drink the Bavarian beer festival dry and we moved into our flat at 16 Hart Street. With a 5 minute walk to the centre of town, a pizza place, pub, video shop and curry house who could go wrong here.
I arrived in Edinburgh just in time to catch the international fringe festival, so myself, Thornton & friends caught as many acts as we could. This is a must and is worth a trip to Edinburgh for the month of August, we saw comedy, jazz, drama, cabaret, opera and more, we had many a late night to wake bleary eyed the next day for work. This is also the only time the pubs close at 3am and the clubs at 5am!!
I found myself in London mid July after spending a fantastic 3 months in South America not really knowing what to do with myself. Lucky for me Ian came to my rescue in the form of his old neighbour Debbie’s phone number, who I ended up staying with for a week. Deb and Alex were great and it felt like we were old friends already – funny enough I had gone to MIT with Alex years before it just took awhile to realise.