Thursday, 26 April 2012


Danny's daughter Kathleen gave birth to a wee boy over the weekend.  This is Danny's first (biological) grandchild.  The darling's name is Mason and he's gorgeous!

While visiting we took some nice walks around the city centre.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Visit to Stirling

Danny and I celebrated our 12th anniversary by an overnight trip to Glasgow followed by a trip to Stirling the next day.  We hadn't been to this ancient town for quite a few years.  Since we pay zero for the buses and are members of Historic Scotland, the trip was fairly low cost.  The benefits of being a pensioner in Scotland!

Some links:
Stirling Castle

Argyll's Lodging near the castle

My photo album of Stirling

An old home in Stirling


Argyll's Lodging

Stirling Castle

A Stirling church

A collage of some of the ceiling carvings in royal palace

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Flowers and French

Took a wee walk around the garden today to see what was blooming.  Here's a few of them.

Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Hearts

Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Hearts




I've been working on learning French by using the Rosetta Stone programme.  It teaches based on the idea that learning a language like a child does is the best way.  You learn by listening and seeing photos and figuring out the meanings intuitively, like a child.  

This was fine in the beginning of the programme, but I figured out later on, I'm not going to learn like a young child.  I'm going to learn like an adult.  I need to know the grammar rules, etc as I'm going to be comparing this language to my native language.  So I'm supplementing my Rosetta Stone (which is completely in French) with some online lessons and a grammar book.  

I hope to practice what French I've learned on a trip to France next spring.  Good incentive!  I'm hoping to spend a week at Plum Village Buddhist community near Bordeaux, and then spend a week exploring Dordogne with Danny afterward. Looks totally charming!  It would be very rewarding to be able to communicate effectively in French whilst there!

Monday, 2 April 2012


Photo albums here

Danny and I just returned from spending 4 nights in London.  My favourite city.  We were able to find a good train fare with our Senior Railcards so travelled first class.  We booked Virgin Trains and were offered complimentary food and drink on a frequent basis.

On Thursday night we attended a sold-out appearance by Zen Buddhism Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, at Southbank Centre.  It was a long evening but we both enjoyed listening to this very wise man.  I especially enjoyed the chanting which took place later in the evening.  TNH who is known as Thay (teacher) is a lovely, vibrant man and it's difficult to believe he is 86.  About Thich Nhat Hanh   Although he is soft-spoken he has a magnificent energy and presence which filled the auditorium.  I've been tossing around the idea of attending a retreat at Thay's community in France and feel I'm long overdue and am planning on booking one for next spring or summer.  Plum Village

Friday morning we went on a walk not far from our hotel to the Smithfield area to find the plaque which commemorates the execution of Sir William Wallace (Braveheart), Scotland's national hero.  Smithfield Meat Market was built in the 1850's and has beautiful ironwork.

Smithfield Market

Smithfield Market

Later we visited Danny's old school - Ayland's in Enfield.  We stayed all afternoon and into the evening and very much enjoyed our visit with dear friends.

Lovely daughter of our friends Roni and Bill - Lucy and her hyperactive puppy, Bingo:

Saturday we wandered around different areas of London taking photos and in the afternoon I attended a group meditation and talk held by Thich Nhat Hanh in Trafalgar Square.  Even though it was very cold and cloudy I truly enjoyed being there.

Sunday we returned to Southbank Centre for Bach St Matthew Passion concert which took about 3 hours in total.   The performances were spectacular and emotional.  We had a two hour lunch break and many of those attending brought picnic lunches.  This concert is one which Danny attended almost every Palm Sunday while he lived in London.

Typical tourist photos.....

Our hotel

We stayed in a new hotel - Tune - which is a 5 or 10 minute walk from Liverpool Street Station which is located in The City.  I found good reviews from previous customers and with such a good price and location we decided to chance it.

Tune Hotel - London Liverpool Street

  • Double room
  • Comfortable bed although the mattress was a bit too firm for me
  • Good shower
  • Clean
  • Very small but we spent little time in the room
  • No closets, cupboards or dresser, however there was sufficient room for clothing and bits and bobs and there was a rod with 5 or 6 hangers for clothing.  The bathroom had a long shelf with plenty of room for toiletries.
  • Our room was in the basement with no windows which is a much cheaper rate.

Price:  the price fluctuates with the time of year and March is off-peak.  We paid 43 GBP per night but also paid 7 GBP per night for a package which included towels and toiletries, wifi, satellite tv and a hairdryer.  There are no tea/coffee making facilities in the room.

So for a total of just over 200 GBP we spent 4 nights in an ideal location in the centre of London.  The neighbourhood was quite nice with refurbished flats on the narrow, cobbled road our hotel was on.  This was an off-peak rate and summer rates will be much higher, but still lower than other hotels.