Sunday, October 29, 2006

From Loch to Lock to Loch

Greetings all,

I am back at my sister's (and new brother-in-law's) house in Glasgow.

Spent the last couple of days with Girlclumsy's family on a boat cruising different scottish lochs and over half of the Caledonian Canal.

It was a rather relaxed time and im glad we had the opportunity to do it.

I managed to live out one of my childhood dreams by navigating the different Locks between the canals. I have been interested in locks for a while and seeing these Locks seperated Lochs that just made it a whole lot more interesting!

The canals were created in the early 1800s and even today they would be considered a major engineering feat.

I can also tick off another Wah-MileStone... i jumped off our boat into Loch Ness. It was a very cold and windy autumn morning but the Loch was relatively still. I jumped staright in... and then swam straight back to the boat and climbed out as it was bloody freezing! It felt like i had been kicked in the groin; it was THAT cold! I made a joke that the water was fine and was taunted by Girlclumsy's uncle that maybe i would like to go back in..... so i did.... oh gods it was cold!

Thank goodness for me i had purchased a bottle of 'Black Bottle' Scotch. After a few slugs i was warm warm warm! :)

Girlclumy's brother, father and uncle (actually he is her great uncle but hates to be reminded how old he is) are all seamen and had great fun running the boat whilst the women (and I.. i became an honourary woman) sat back and enjoyed the scenary... so it worked well for us all ;)

We are in Glasgow for a few days and then we are off to Brussels to have a squiz at the ... capital.. i suppose you could call it... of the European Union... and then onto Morocco

wow.. Morocco looming already.

My parentals have winged their way back to Australia after Paris and made it home safely. Of course the airlines have lost BOTH their bags. This is a disaster for them and an equal disaster for us. We had given Mater and Pater all the souvenirs we had collected since China! All gone... if the bags can not be located. We had kept all the souvenirs to a minimum but the ones we bought meant a lot to us... ah well.

I was asked if i was missing home and i have to be honest and say 'No'.

Sometimes i get tired and grumpy but even at my lowest ebb i realise that i am tired and grumpy in Scotland and that is better than being happiness and light at home anyday :)

Best wishes to you all

Sunday, October 22, 2006

More than One Night In Paris

eeew... the title even makes me a little nauseous!

First things first... I qm using a french azerty keyboard. They have all the letters in the 'wrong' position and so my usually bad touchtyping skills are now awful beyond belief!

This is my second time in the french capital and it seems to be even more expensive this time around.

Girlclumsy and i hqve been in the City Of Lights for a few days. This time around we are with her parents and her brother, simon (the oversexed lad fron the estonia entries ;) ). As fate would have it my parents have turned up here as well and we are all in two hotels side by side.... and no, it isnt as bad as it sounds ;)

The usual touristy stuff has been done... The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame, Musee D,Orsay (ya gotta love that Rodin!) but ,y fqvourite sight seeing was into the catacombs to see the boney remains of 16 million parisians all buried under the streets of Paris.... oooooh yeah! pictures will be forth coming! drians and dead people... thats me!

GC and her brother dragged me along to EuroDisney and i had.... a really good time! surprisingly! i have even conquered my fear of roller coasters and went on the SpaceMountain rollercoaster twice... upside down in the dark... like birth but more scary

It has been wonderful to see Paris again...always good to retrace past visits

better fly, time is running out

Onward to Loch Ness...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You take the High-road and i'll take the cliche...

Greetings all,

It has been a long time since I have written anything travel related from the Wonderful World of Wah.

We have been in Scotland for about 2 weeks. It must be obvious from my total lack of blogging basically nothing has happened since I have been here... nothing at all.. nada, bupkiss, zero, zilch, squat, diddly, a big duck egg...

Well... nothing except my sister's wedding...

Yep.. the girl known to me as Deborah Jane Rowbotham for 32 years is now Deborah Jane Walker nee Rowbotham. Married off to a lovely scottish man named Eoghann (pronounced Ewan for the Hard-Of-Gaelic).
Eoghann (and his family) is great. Funny, generous, kind hearted and able to put up with the entire Rowbotham Tribe (sans Jack, Adam and their two sprog) camping bedouin-style on his living room floor (and abusing the living jebus out of his oh-so-fast broadband connection.. mmm City of Heroes.. yummy). This means that from now on if you mess with me you mess with the entire Walker clan... and they are scottish! a-ha! ...

But I am jumping ahead of my self... the weekend before Deb and Eog were married I was invited to Eoghann's Stag Weekend. We all piled into a 14 person bus and hit the Scottish Island of Islay (pronounced I-la.. the Isle of Islay... they drink a lot of whiskey here). I knew this was going to be a long weekend when it was explained to me that the weekend would consist of traveling to 7 Scottish Whiskey Distilleries and partaking of as much 'Water of Life'.

Oooo boy.. what a weekend.. Let me tell you what happened..

It all started when Eog****************************************************. (These stories have beed erased in accordance with the rules of 'What Happened On The Stag Weekend Stays On The Stag Weekend')

Hmm seems that contract i signed in blood before the stag weekend really works! Aaaaanyhoo we all had a ball of a time (My father also came along and I am allowed to say plays a mean game of poker.. and takes no pity on drunken people). Scottish and Irish people are great to have a stag weekend with. I advise everyone that is thinking about having a stag party/weekend to hire Rent-A-Gaelic.

Oooh.. if you are interested in Whiskey Production than have a look at the Bruichladdich Distillery website.. they even have live webcams! Keep an eye out for the whiskey they call WMD (Whiskey of Mass Destruction) and WMD2 - Yellow Submarine. The names of these two whiskeys have an interesting origin.. i cant say much now due to time constrainst but it has connection with an american spy agency and the fact that whiskey stills look alot like chemical warfare vats.. supposedly.

Girlclumsy and I have also visited the Falkirk Wheel. This is an amazing bit of engineering. Everybody knows how impressed I am about 2000-5000 year old drains and suchlike.. well I have found a piece of modern engineering that has a sense of whimsical grandeur. It looks like something out of Alan Moore's League of ExtraOrdinary Gentleman. The Wheel is a device that lifts canal boats (and lowers them as well) 35 metres between two different height canals... and if that doesnt get your heart pumping then you just cant hang with the Wah-Dawg :)

So, as i said before my sister was married on the weekend. She looked very beautiful in her dress. My mother had a fantastic hand made hat. It was created in Australia and carried half way round the world to be the Hat of Honour at the wedding :)It was a fantastic, fun ceremony held at Eoghann's parent's house. Called The Croft it is situated near the town 'Muir of Ord' in the scottish highlands. It was a non-religious ceremony (huzzah!) where the good times rolled well into the night. I even wore a kilt! oooh yes sports-fans.. the Wah was covered in kilty goodness! I was in a dress, carrying a knife in my sock (it is called a Sgian Dubh prounced 'Ski-An Do'.. well close enough) and ready to party! And party we did! I love a national dress that requires you to wear a knife. Nobody was stabbed that night but i think that was mainly to do with everybody being exhausted from the traditional scottish dancing and the free flowing alchomohol. Big Props (I am such a white geek) to Geoff and Helen. They are Eoghann's parents and did an amazing job with the food preperation and house set-up. I was especially impressed with the Australian Bar they created in their garage to make us feel at home. I have never seen so many cork-hats and plastic crocodiles in one place! I met the Irish author Evelyn Conlon. She and her talented husband Finton (he plays the flute professionally) were guests at the wedding. She even gave me a signed copy of her last book (here i come EBay!.. no no.. i jest). Her next book is about Irish people coming to Australia during the Irish Potato Famine. I hope that when i return to Australia next year I can organise for her to do some readings from her new book at the Brisbane City Council Libraries!

All in all a very successful wedding and reception. It was a shame my elder sister Jacky, her husband Adam and their two children, Quinn and Perri, couldn't attend but they were remembered and missed during the ceremony (There are many many pictures and videos for them as well)

Tomorrow we are off to Paris for a few days. We shall be meeting up with Girlclumsy's parents and my parents as well.. seeing that my parents only left at midday today i am not missing them that much :)

After Paris we come back to Scotland and cruise around Loch Ness for a while.. then.. well then we have a week or so to do something before we head off to Morocco.

I'll try and keep in touch more often than once every two weeks :)

P.s Best of Luck to 'Nightwatch' at the Brisbane Arts Theatre. It opens... soon. If you like Terry Pratchett novels and you live in Brisbane Australia then make the time to support a local theatre company!

More from the Cephalo-Hominid War

Alerting all CLF members...

More photos from the front (and one from the side as well... but they are never as flattering)

As you can see the squid invasion is becoming more insidious. The photo to the left clearly shows a oddly attractive human-cephalopod hybrid trying to lure male humans to their DOOOOOOOOM. To make it worse she seems to be working for a company called KocMoc... how dare they mock our genitalia! huh!

I have good news! When scoping out Inverness I came across a most unlikely ally in the war against the Squids...

You might have seen her work in Predator 1 and Predator 2... you might even have seen the other movie Aliens Vs Predator... You know her as Predator but I have been informed that actually she is the daughter of the Loch Ness Monster! Ah Ha! As everybody knows the Loch Ness Monster is a Pleisosaur that survived the end of all the other dinosaurs. When most people dont know is that the old girl has had a few children and some of them, including Ms Predator, have had semi-successful careers! Even better I have been assured that the Loch Ness Monster hates SQUIDS!


Even though Nessie herself cant make an appearance due to being a 30 ft dinosaur hiding in a Scottish Loch her daughter (a delightful conversationalist, i might add) has added her support to the CLF!


SquidFinder General

Thursday, October 12, 2006

SquidFinder General Reporting!

Greetings Squids!

I finally have proof of the Cephalopod Invasion! All members of the CRF (Calamari Resistance Front) and even the RFC (Resistance Front against Calamari.. splitters!) are ordered to stop whatever they are doing and pay attention to this report... many Bothans died getting us this information.

Seen above is the SAS (Squid Airborne Squad) practising their tightrope skills! They didn't realise that the Squidfinder General was so close and had a camera! This photo was taken on the greek island of Mykonos only a fortnight or so ago. These squid soldiers can be clearly seen rappeling down the mainstay of a boat ready to drop onto the deck and overpower the sailors on board. If it wasn't for my excellent hungry whale call impersonation (squids and whales are mortal enemies!) then the crew of the Good Ship Zorba would have been Squid Food!

To the right is the most disturbing photo of all!
The squids have already started infiltrating our numbers. They have taken human names, human women and started shore-line cafes on the greek island of Santorini! Blatantly taking photos of themselves and using it in their advertising campaigns! (Note - Evil Squid Cafe-Lord is on the left... Heroic SquidFinder General is on the right)

Squidy is becoming more and more bold!

We must maintain the never-ending vigil!


The Wah
SquidFinder General

P.s We have dumped all the photos from the trip so far here at THIS address. They have no captions and are in very rough chronological order. But feel free to troll through the madness

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I remember the old school yard

This is not a travel blog...

A couple of days ago a girl from the high school I graduated from contacted my parents and told them that our school was holding a 15 year reunion.

As it is held in mid-October in brisbane I definitely won't be going... but how do i feel about this?

I have been mulling it over and i dont think i would have gone anyway... why? It was 15 years ago the last time i was at that school. It was an okay school and my fellow students were basically decent people, but I havent kept in contact with any of them... not one. This means to me that I didnt really care that deeply about any of them.

We had our moment together and then we went our separate ways in the world.

I am sure that some have done 'better' than me and others have done 'worse' than me. I assume we are all a little fatter and most of them would have children, jobs and the usual. You have traveled, loved, worked and lost. You have experienced joy and pain and everything in between.

The person I was in that school has very little connection to the person I am now. The seeds of The Wah were in that boy but the man I am today was shaped by forces outside of school over many years.

If you treated me well at school then I wish you well in your life.

If you treated me poorly at school then I still wish you well in your life.

So, fifteen years on, this is my reunion. This is where I say what I would say to you at the reunion.

This is where I finally bury that chapter of my life.

Best Wishes to you all