In 1997 my son and I took our Mercedes 408 camper van on a trip through Nth Ireland and Eire. That was the first year the ferry ran from Campbelltown to Ballycastle, we parked on the Campbelltown pier, nice and flat, and near the chippy and cinema. Handy to pee on a slipway down into the harbour, but not in the morning after the tide had been in and it was a bit slippery, for Neil cos he ended up in the harbour! I heard a shout and plop rushed over to see Neil swimming to a ladder and me…

Mar 20th by Ian under Miscellaneous

On my post "Oman;  real place in the sun", I mention the jail, we here's the tale: I reckon it was a set up, however I reacted the wrong way. This is what happened, in Oman you can obtain a liquor license linked to your salary. I was well paid and could never drink my allowance, so I bought booze in moderate amounts for my staff. The Indian ones, the Pakistanis true to their faith did not drink. Yeh I know there are many Indian Muslims but none were in my staff. Anyway, the monthly trip to the booze shop…
ya beauty, my son who is 27 does not know what a steam punk is, so for once I'm ahead of the game. Only because I heard the tail end of the radio cafe program on radio Scotland regarding steam punks. Intrigued I listened as I drove from the cursed contract on the A7, well there was a dawning realism that I may and my wife may belong to this sub-culture called steam punk!! Why ? because we both mend and make things, but don't most households? Like a drop of mercury (could sue schools for that now) I can't…

My wife and I visited Seattle in September 2007 as part of a mini tour of the USA’s Pacific North West. We found it a very interesting city and from a photographic point of view it is something very special.

We stayed 5 nights at the Best Western Plaza by the Green Hotel in Kent, to the south of the city. Although still very much within the sprawl of Seattle the hotel was around 30 minutes drive from the centre. Travelling around was fairly easy with the Interstate 5 running north/south through the city linking all the main attractions.

Eating

I worked in the Egyptian desert, it's western desert, as an inspector of civil works. The whole trip was an experience particularly Cairo. I know cities can sprawl, but Cairo when flying over it in a small plane is huge!! Anyway to the desert, the company I worked for, was, from memory Solus engineering and the guys i worked with were all brits, so we stuck together. Americans were there of course and that multi-national company Schlumberger. Anyway to the point of the blog, El Alamein, amongst our group were two pot smokers,  plus me and a scouscer boiler maker…
Sent by Wimpey Asphalt to set up a post as technical manager, I arrived in Hong Kong, the MD immediately set about me with beer and the need to stay. I was resolute having been an expat I had to measure up the place. It did not measure up, plus for the first time in my life I had jet lag!! When you lie awake in the middle of the night having had a belly full of beer you know you are in trouble. So what of Hong Kong? Great for shopping, terrible for driving, most cars are automatic, because…
Pete and I were so fed up with St Lucia, that from information gleaned from the Italian owner of our local restaurant / bar the Il pirata (the pirate) we decided at Christmas we were off. Landed Christmas eve got to hotel, booked in and took to our feet. We were lucky to get fed and watered by 9.0pm as everywhere was closing down. So ended up in bed early to be woken at 12.00 when the whole place went mad with fireworks and a street full of people. We stayed in bed. Next day we started to explore on…
Being a juror, not just called to court but one of the chosen 15, that has to note the evidence and make some sense of it. There is a natural reluctance to be one of the chosen 15, as evidenced by the reactions to being chosen and not being chosen. so there you are chosen, huckled, no escape apart from a serious ailment with a doctors note, or a pre-booked holiday of a lifetime. Both these cards were played during the currency of the trial and 15 became 13. Still a majority verdict had to be 8, hmm.. the law…
Once I'd seen images of grizzly bears catching salmon I was sold.  I had to go see for myself and try to capture similar images. After a bit of research on the web and through photographic forums my wife and I came up with only a few options where we could view grizzlies in the wild, have guaranteed sightings (well almost!), and be safe all at the same time.  We chose Brooks Falls in Alaska, within the Katmai National Park, for our adventure of a lifetime.  Further research lead us to our tour operator Katmailand at www.katmailand.com.  [As a wee…
Prauge is a very beautiful city, especially in December when the Christmas markets are on the go.  Here are my thoughts and musings after a long weekend trip there last December. We flew from Edinburgh to Prague using Jet2.com - very easy and quite cheap.  You may hear "horror" stories about being ripped off by taxi drivers and to make sure you book a transfer from the airport.  These transfers will cost around £40 return.  We chose to find our own way into the city from the airport.  Get on the 119 bus to Dejvicka metro station (it's the bus…
Well you must have come across them, the criticisers, those who have a knowledge of the rules but not the activity. Usually they are in the control line, the purse string command line. As I referred  golden rule in a previous post, he who has the gold, rules. They're not really "jobs worths" usually well meaning, even thoughtful, helpful when it suits but lapse to criticism when the rule book cannot be obeyed. And sometimes it cannot be obeyed. Because the rule book does not apply to a current problem or covers all aspects of problems that it should. English…
I like Oman, and it's people, even though when I had to leave within a month when my work permit was not granted, I had 5mins left on my visit visa, at the airport, Mr jobs worth said, your lucky, another five mins and we would have to jail you. Back to Dubai I went. I was subsequently jailed, but that's another story. Anyway I loved Oman, real people, real links to the history of their land, settled they were. I could sense the difference between Dubai, Saudi, Bahrain, and Oman, settled, the folks there had been there a while…
Army worms? what on earth are these attacking the crops in Northern Liberia? Seems they are a caterpillar of a moth. Insects and snakes dominated my first few weeks in Liberia, mainly through expats, not really winding you up (that did work) but it's a kind of "induction". In 1979 I arrived as a seldom drinker and emerged 6 months later as a regular drinker. I blame McCluskey, and he has carried on being an expat, where I no not where? McCluskey you're a Luddite without a pen. Liberia, my first third world country, I was seconded to Ove Arup…
Even those poor inhabitants of Gaza will have realised that change has happened in America. Mainly because their plight is linked to America, but not through being able to watch TVs, with lumpy and restricted electricity, in situations like these the power of the radio becomes the communication media. I have for years listened to the BBC world service. In Oman I had a Nissan Patrol that had a short wave feature on the radio and I could pick up the world service, brilliant. A link to home and the rest of the world. I am not a newspaper fan,…
Northern Rock bank, our bank, the tax payers bank declaring today to pay themselves a bonus. I mean the brass neck of it, I'm astounded. Reason for bonus? paid back more than expected to the government. What about mortgages and helping small businesses? what about inputting to the economy that they so successfully wrecked? well not single handed but with the the other casino bankers. A couple of years in the Siberian salt mines is too good for the lot of them. Fred the shred from RBS has been declared the worst banker in the world, does he care does…
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