Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bonnie Scotland - Day 1 of the tour

Not much time - only ten minutes but I'm going to start anyway while I have wifi access and put up just a few photos of this amazing place.

The flight over was long and boring but fortunately uneventful. The short train ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh got me all excited as I had forgotten just how amazingly green it is here. So different from home - the agricultural landscape, the style of the cottages and barns etc

My friend Paul met me at the central train station in Edinburgh and we just picked up the conversation where we left off about three years ago. He is a good tour guide and we just did a lot of walking as well as have dinner and that was just what I needed after such a long journey and it kept me awake until 10pm.

The tour started the following morning. A motley crew of Aussies, Kiwis, Americans, a French and a Belgian. There are four of us more mature-aged folk and the rest younguns - just 15 of us in all.

Here is the bus taken at our first stop to have a good look at the Forth Bridge. The tour guide Stevie was quite a character  - he reminded me a lot of Rob and Cale Marangon actually.

Here is a photo of the Forth bridge - the largest cantilever bridge in the world. The engineering of the bridge inspired the building of the Eiffel tower subsequently.

The next stop was Dunkeld "fortress of the celts". It is the smallest city in scotland because they got a cathedral because the local priest agreed to bury the mad, bad Alexander Stewart when no-one else would.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Claytons Retirement

D-Day and no going back. I told my boss I was retiring on the 31st August. This is so I can move to Melbourne to spend time with my sister who is living with cancer, and with my niece too. We haven't spent anywhere near enough time together over the years, living as far away from each other as we do and both with our own families, careers etc

I am hoping to find work in Melbourne but not a full-time job, some flexible interesting work with interesting people to supplement my rather basic superannuation pension. I don't ask for much do I !

So I'm entering a new phase and out of my comfort zone a little. I'll miss my house, my friends and hardest of all my Richard and my Dannii and her husband Sam. Anthony, Chloe and my granddaughter Sienna had already made plans to move to Melbourne a few months ago and they'll be there before I arrive at the beginning of October.

So my biggest adventure of the year is coming up in September, a 2 week camping cycle tour from Dieppe in Normandy to Gerouac in Brittany [see more]. This will be preceded by a backpacker tour of the western coast and islands of Scotland [see more]. But these adventures have already been gazumped by this larger endeavour.

I am feeling a tad overwhelmed by all I have to do between now and the end of August, both at work and home - packing up my belongings and getting the house ready to be rented out as soon as I leave for Europe on the 2nd September. Those of you who know me well will realise this will be a real test - I like to socialise rather than do work and I will be wanting to see people a lot before I leave.

But I'm looking forward to this new challenge as well.  Well at least Melbourne is a place people like to visit so I'll make sure I have a guest room and hope my friends and family will visit often.

Stay tuned...