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Sydney

Syd in the UK

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Been back for a nearly a couple of weeks now, Sunday morning and the sun's threatening to shine so here's hoping. I arrived back the day Mr Murdoch and his son "Harry Potter" were up before the beak and just in time to see him cop a plate of foam in the kisser. I suppose if it happened to me it might be the most humbling day of my life too.

Last week I was upstairs on a bus sitting next to a rottweiler called Bronco. I'd forgotten dogs were allowed on public transport, and being a dog lover it was nice to see. Buses and pubs over here are really "owned" by the proletariat, no doubt about it. I saw a family of four complete with collie dog, two bicycles and a couple of suitcases that would break a Qantas baggage handler get on my bus the other day. They were going to a wedding ten miles down the road and decided to make a holiday out of it. Generally I'm the only one on the bus not talking on a mobile phone. I catch the 141 to the new hospital at Esk Bank everyday to see my elderly mother. We go through Roslin, famous for the chapel and the Da Vinci Code and it's quite a pleasant little sojourn. Amazing how busy this wee village has become since they made the movie. As kids we played all around this area from the castle and chapel to Roslin Glen and never gave two hoots about the holy grail. We knew all about the Knights Templar because the village of Temple, settled by the same Knights is only a stones throw away. The bus driver told me he had a load of Asian tourists the other day who boarded the bus at Roslin, each carrying a bag of horse sh1te hoping to take it back home. They'd bought it from one of the local farmers who'd set up a little stall next to the Original Hotel, they regularly sell bags of fertilizer to surrounding locals, it's a rural area . The driver said he had a helluva job getting them off the bus, and the local police became involved. Roslin is also famous for Bovril Johnstone who invented the beefy drink for soldiers during the first world war. A wee greasy spoon on the main street now bears his name.

I was in the local pub last night and had the good fortune to be approached by a pretty wee thing who said her grandfather knew me. Now how's that for a loaded intro. Anyway I felt quite flattered to have the company of this local lass with her wee tangerine face, courtesy of the local tanning salon. Seems to be a badge of honour now among the young and trendy. She insisted on introducing me to her boy friend whom she called over. A rather interesting looking beast with fake, (I suppose because they were huge), diamond earrings, and a blue arm which on closer inspection proved to be a collage of tattoos, and dressed rather resplendently in last seasons track pants complete with baggy knees.

"How long is your visa mate", he enquired. I tried to explain I was a British subject and entitled to stay as long as I liked. He looked a wee bit vague, and took a long swig of his vodka and red bull. Making an effort, god bless him, he said, "I'll bet you've noticed a few changes since you've been away". After a thoughtful pause I said, "Well when I left here back in the seventies Judy Dench had great t1ts, but that was before she was a Dame, and I wonder if she'd consider sending back the dame hood thing to the palace, if it meant the return of these puppies". Now I don't know if it was all too much for him, or if he genuinely felt I had deliberately gone out of my way to blaspheme this national treasure. The other possible conclusion was that English wasn't his first language, he was a Geordie. Anyway I finished my pint and said my cheerios.

After leaving the pub I stopped off for a takeaway meal where the local Chinese chap with the broadest Scottish accent gave me an ear bashing on how we were letting too many foreigners in to the country. I thought of tipping him off about the Newcastle lad around the corner but thought better of it. I told him I'd been into Edinburgh a couple of times and I couldn't help noticing the number of Polish people. I said I'd mainly encountered them as staff in restaurants, and that service had improved no end, and hoped that one day the Poles would get their own tartan. We agreed to differ on foreigners, I collected my stir fry, making a mental note to never upset the bloke who cooks your food, and to make a bigger effort to appease the locals.

Edinburgh is so busy at the moment, a bit like a theme park for all things Scottish. A wonderful wee city that's easy to walk around and a variety of good local pubs that even the tourists have difficulty locating. When George Clooney was leaving the Balmoral Hotel a couple of years ago, he asked the door man if he could recommend a good local pub. The doorman pointed across the road to the back lane behind Princes Street to the Abbotsford and Cafe Royal which are unchanged since JC was a full back, and Mr Clooney by all accounts spent a couple of hours sinking a few pints with the locals. Not too far for him to stagger home too.

Edinburgh is so lucky the city elders of hundreds of years ago had the foresight to create such a grand town because if it was left to the present incumbents of council we'd have even more shops selling tat made in China and retailed through Indians dressed in kilts. When I was a kid a visit to Edinburgh entailed getting into your best gear, and Princes Street shops were generally well to do tailor shops with prices marked in guineas and US dollars, and Woolies had the best restaurant in town for the working man. We now have Burger King/Carphone Warehouse/Ann Summers etc. A wee shame and council should be held accountable. We had the Royal Wedding in Edinburgh yesterday down in the Canongate and it attracted the usual crowd of well wishers traveling from all over. I'm really surprised the royal family have so many followers in Scotland, not my cup of tea at all but good luck to them. More to follow...............Syd.

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Anyway I felt quite flattered to have the company of this local lass with her wee tangerine face, courtesy of the local tanning salon. Seems to be a badge of honour now among the young and trendy. She insisted on introducing me to her boy friend whom she called over. A rather interesting looking beast with fake, (I suppose because they were huge), diamond earrings, and a blue arm which on closer inspection proved to be a collage of tattoos, and dressed rather resplendently in last seasons track pants complete with baggy knees.

 

LOL!. You'd never get me heading back there mate!. At least when young folk over hear get one of them wretched tattoos they seem to have a reason behind it like displaying their pride with a Southern Cross or commemorating the Eureka Stockade, I'll bet that big Jessie had some soccer team or his last girlfriends names on him!. I despair for the UK if that's an example of how it's young people are growing up. :no:

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