You might ask “Where the heck is Pittenween? I thought that he said he was going to Edinburgh, much bigger and MUCH easier to say?”. Well, it is a… story (not a long one, to be sure, but a story nonetheless).

After the disappointment of yesterday being stuck in that hotel in Stonehaven, I was determined to make today better and it looked like providence was also lending her hand in this endeavour. I got up at my normal 8:00 am time that I am forcing myself into and went down for my breakfast that came with the room (if it hadn't there would have been much gnashing of teeth). The meal was a VERY good one with something they call 'black pudding' which was described to me as a meat mixture of unknown origin. Not too bad, if a little bland. The lady serving gave me a look of discuss as she admitted hating the stuff.

I left shortly thereafter and determined that I would NOT take the main high- way but instead take my chances on the 'tourist', or coastal route. This turned out to be a good choice, besides, not too often you get to see the ocean, especially that one. Anyway, only a short distance along I noticed a sign for a castle so I followed the signs off of the road (NOT highway, thank goodness) and was a bit apprehensive as the sign seemed to point at a farm house, pretty big and hold but hardly a castle. After turning into the parking lot ('car park' over here) I noticed in the distance, on the edge of a cliff the castle of which no mistake could be made. Feeling better, I got out and started walking to the castle to be completely taken by surprise as I got closer. The castle was situated on a, for lack of a better term, island, connected to the mainland but about 150 feet above the ocean (did I mention that it was on the ocean where I stopped?). Well after doing the generally touristy thing of snapping a few shots when completely taken by surprise (actually, most of the time I see exactly the opposite, people taking pictures of mundane things, such as “Oh, a pretty rock, better get a picture. Oh, litter on the ground.” etc., etc.).


It is hard to imagine that such structures were built so long ago, at least, in terms of construction. In terms of it's ease of use and cleanliness, there is no doubt… Quite a good view from up there. It was good to see the ocean, I have always enjoyed the water. This water, in particular, was quite a nice shade of blue. There was, of course, a cost to getting in but that did not bother me, after all, how often will I get here? I suppose, that philosophy is true but then I do have other, more practical concerns, foremost among them being whether or not I have enough money to keep saying “How often will I get here?”. Note that I do NOT preface that with the fact that I will run out of money for good, that is not a worry that I have, that is why I have my credit cards with me, to take care of those purchases I do not have money for right now. I know that I will be unable to pay off this trip any time soon, but this too, does not disturb me. More money will follow, after all, I still have the trump card of me being in Prince Albert to use…Tracey, a co-worker just attempted to get a raise in exchange for staying in PA but the only answer she got from our boss was “Talking with you leaves a bad taste in my mouth” (paraphrased, the bit about “bad taste” is right though). This is not a good sign if I would like a raise but it is also true that she asked the wrong person, though I hardly feel that his response was really a professional one, perhaps “Go talk to so-and-so” would have been better. I think that it is also true that they can give us all of the immediate demands (computer, vacation, etc.) as they cost so little to them, but a pay raise demands a much more long-term financial commitment (and a much more substantial one).

Anyway, I left the castle feeling a lot better, if not tired, it was a LONG walk there and back, up and down the cliffs. I headed out following the twisting road trying not to run myself or other drivers off of the road. I have been attempting to keep up with the other drivers so I do not pose a traffic risk but this may be, perhaps, in vain as they travel WAY faster then they are supposed to. The roads are so narrow, driving is quite a challenge, if not exciting. I tend to yell out whoops of joy on some, faster, corners as I barely avoid careening off into some farmers field. Today that might have been worse considering the road was very close to the cliffs down to the ocean, but I am keeping pretty much on top of it (the road I mean).

On reaching Dundee and attempting to follow the highway through the city I decided I would not mind stopping and looking around so I found a parking spot right at the harbour (it is VERY difficult parking here, EVERYONE has a car, I have also noticed that they will park anywhere humanly possible. I have been travelling down this back lane with walls on either side of impossibly thin lanes and had a car parked in my lane with oncoming traffic, it is these circumstances that one closes ones eyes, aims, and prays (hopefully not in that order). It has worked so far). Anyway, as I was saying, after I dumped the car, figured out yet another parking ticket dispenser (that is, a ticket for time, NOT a parking ticket) I followed where everyone else was going which turned out to be a pedestrian mall. We should use this example in North America much more than it is used now. It really pulls the city together, this mall was VERY busy, all outside, and very enjoyable. Found my typical English lunch, fish and chips, and made it back just in time for my time to run out on my parking ticket.

As I was leaving, I was surprised to discover that I was to pay a toll to cross a bridge over the “Firth” that was there, almost $1.50, that was unexpected but certainly worth it, nice view, nice bridge and quick too (ok, maybe it wasn't but who am I to argue?). Anyway, I continued on and passed through St. Andrew's, most likely one of the oldest cities I have seen to date, with a castle (or some-such) located in the middle of it. Interesting to see people walking along the sidewalks past it without really noticing the monstrosity beside which they stand. Mind you, they are probably more worried about the sidewalk itself as most sidewalks around here are barely a meter wide. This makes it VERY interesting. I don't think they had cars in mind when they made those streets though…

After leaving St. Andrews I figured that I would forgo going to Edinburgh as I read that during the Edinburgh festival (on right now) that it was next to impossible to find any accommodation in the city (forget about B & Bs, that is IMPOSSIBLE), so I decided to stop in any little place that had a B & B along the way and stay there, all of the cities are on the ocean and were quite small so I figured it would be a nice change. So I did, and here I am in Pittenween, just outside of the Firth of Fourth (you would not imagine how much fun I had with that name in the car…Fourth of Firth of Firth of Fourth, etc…sigh, it would be nice to have some tapes or something to listen to, the radio just doesn't cut it, talk shows about tractors, etc.).

Anyway, I got in relatively early so I just laid down (I did a LOT of walking today) and read some of the numerous magazines that I have acquired over the past week. Every time I go into a book store I see magazines that I KNOW some of the guys working on the FreeNet would like to see so I grab them. Who cares if they pay me back? Those guys have given so much to Blue Sky that I owe them far more than this, even personally. The FreeNet has really done a lot for me. The technology is as writ, but the companionship and even friendship I have with many of the people is invaluable to me. Something I really did not have before. Anyway, so Christmas will come early for some guys on my committee this year. I still feel guilty that I have not found something for Karin, I will find something soon I am sure, perhaps Harrod's in London? Who knows.

Tomorrow I head into Glasgow to claim my bed at the University of Glasgow in preparation for the Convention which starts on Thursday. I was leafing through the Sunday Times Entertainment section (which I kept from a couple of days ago) and noticed that one of the stars of a british show I REALLY like will be in Glasgow for the Convention covering it for the BBC, I am REALLY upset that I did not bring any of those books…oh, well, I suppose I will have to purchase copies here to have signed. Small price though, to get an autograph. It will be really interesting to meet him though.

⇒ Continue to Glasgow