Saturday, 23 August 2014

Happy Days Are Here To Stay

It is hard to believe that a year ago we were in the midst of 'moving mayhem'.
We had to push hard to clear the bottleneck and free ourselves from a tremendous amount of crap and clutter but we got there in the end.
London feels like a shadow from a distant past now and I feel like I've finally found my way home after thirteen years at sea.
I admit that leaving London after all that time wasn't all plain sailing and smiles, there was a great deal of apprehensiveness involved too.
After all we did just kind of up sticks, leaving the financial security that Mark's job had provided behind and when we landed in Glasgow we had to hit the ground running.
It seems we've had luck on our side and things have turned out jolly well for us, better than we even dared to hope when we were discussing the future twelve months ago.
I am so thankful that the last year of my thirties was one of rapturous change.

To celebrate my big birthday (which isn't actually until next month) Mark and I went on a fabulous road trip last week. 
We visited spellbindingly beautiful South Wales and spent two nights at the stunning Beeches Farm Campsite, which is only a stones throw from our beloved NDAC near Chepstow where we did our Advanced Open Water Course two years ago (you can read about that here here).
After a days awesome diving at NDAC last Thursday we headed towards the south coast to hook up with a friend from Dive Wimbledon and his lovely wife who had rented a caravan in Swanage.
We did two wreck dives with Divers Down on Saturday and on Sunday we dived Swanage Pier twice.
Despite hurricane Bertha blowing a hoolie in the run up to our little holiday, we had pretty decent weather.
The second night at Beeches Farm we were even treated to a completely clear night sky and spent some time gazing at the stars. I was thrilled to spot three shooting stars, I haven't seen one of them for years.
On Monday we were planning to make a wee stop off at The Lakes for one night but the skies looked threateningly heavy and dull so we decided to do the Swanage to Glasgow trip in one excruciating hit.
The motorway was clogged up and our wee handicapped car was starting to make disgruntled noises, thankfully the lucky spirits were yet again looking out for us and we made it back home before he decided to go on strike.
The day after we jumped on a train to Edinburgh to go and soak up some Fringe vibes and do some serious guerrilla drinking. Our lovely Bulgarian friends sent us a rather nifty picnic bag with a wine cooler attachment that came in handy.
We lazed around on our tartan blanket in The Meadows and Princess Street Gardens, enjoyed free-bee gigs in The Grassmarket and on The Royal Mile. 
We made a couple of trips to replenish the wine cooler bag and bypassed the pubs altogether, like the young man in the bottle shop so wisely said "why pay £7.50 for a glass of wine, when you can have the whole bottle for a fiver". Why, indeed.
In Glasgow the consumption of alcohol in public places has been illegal since 1996 and you can be fined for enjoying a bottle of vino whilst having a picnic in the park, however in Edinburgh you are allowed to drink in public so long as you don't noise up the police, I like Edinburgh!

As per usual I took about a gazillion photos, you would be forgiven for thinking that I've super-glued the camera to my hands and never do anything else but snap away with it.
I do so love taking photos and with so much awesomeness to be awestruck by, can you blame me?!
Beeches Farm Campsite and Devil's Pulpit.
South Wales - A truly spectacular place with mysterious beasts, magical mist and miraculous ale trees.
Diving and re-homing gnomes at NDAC and fanning the flames with a Scubapro fin to get the BBQ going.
Mark, Santy and Jon at the pier and various vistas from Swanage.
Cato our car makes a great dive gear clothes horse, not sure if he agrees.
We dived two wreck sites, namely Fleur De Lys a French fishing crabber built in 1969 that sank after an explosion in the engine room back in 2000 and Valentine Tanks that sank in 1942 whilst practicing for the D-Day landings.
On Sunday we dived underneath Swanage Pier and I spotted a Greater Pipefish and almost wet my drysuit with excitement, it was so dainty and cute.
On Monday we made the long and arduous journey back north. The motorway was horrendous in places and it felt like we were standing still for hours, it was like something out of a zombie apocalypse movie, everybody was trying to get the hell out of town and head for the hills it seemed.
Beautiful Edinburgh.
The birds are having a grand old time while The Fringe is on with us humans leaving scraps here, there and everywhere.
Some of them were actually quite blasé about me wanting to share my lunch with them.
Free Fun and guerrilla drinking, that's how we roll around these parts.
You may not be allowed to drink in public places in Glasgow but putting traffic cone hats on statues is OK.
All the photos can also be viewed individually in this Summer Holiday Flickr album that I made.

It is back to work now but I am still on a holiday high, I hope it lingers!
Hope you are all doing grand folks, have a lovely weekend.
Much love,

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Ready, Steady, Glasgow!

Last week was like a wonderful whirlwind.
Our dear friend Leslie of The Dandy Lion Market came up from London for a wee break and Mark and I both volunteered at the Commonwealth Games.
I did two days at the swimming events at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre here in Glasgow and Mark went across to do a day at the diving events held in Edinburgh.
We managed to cram a whole heap of fun stuff into seven days and enjoy the buzzing vibe of positivity that the streets of Glasgow have been awash with during the eleven days of the games.
I absolutely loved being a part of the games and even if the days were pretty long, starting at 7.30am and finishing off at around eleven at night, we had an absolute blast.
Here I am with Chris, Tom and Chris outside Aquatron.
We all got kitted out in the official games volunteering clobber.
The events passed without incident so I didn't actually have to don my scuba gear and get in the water.
One of the judges accidentally dropped a pen in the pool but we were not called upon for that as it was quickly retrieved by a lifeguard.
The Australian team were amazing and swam home a motherload of medals.
Sadly there were no Scottish gold medals won on the two days I was there, so I never got to hear Flower of Scotland.
Personally I prefer this version with Kenneth McKellar...
Gie it Laldy!

It was billed as The Friendly Games and it truly was.
I haven't been in a place filled with so much positivity since the last time I went to a rave.
I would do it again at the drop of a hat!
I think it was a perfect time for Leslie to enjoy Glasgow too, even if Mark and I had to work a lot.
We still managed to have the obligatory drunken night out, visit the Gallery of Modern Art, a funky Pam Hogg exhibition/pop-up shop and a wee trip to the seaside.
Leslie and Mark at The Crystal Palace where we also hooked up with some visiting relatives from down south.
Matt & Leslie battled it out with cues at The Solid Rock Cafe.
Leslie with Clyde at Central Station.
The Pam Hogg exhibition and pop-up shop.
A wee trip to Irvine Beach Park.
It's all back to business as usual for a few days now before we head off for another adventure.
This summer has got to go down as one of the best ones in my life so far, I am loving every minute of it!
I will love you and leave you with an amazing tune that is having me dancing around the house at the moment and lusting for a pair of red jazz trainers...
Hope you are all well peeps.
Loads of love,