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Entries from January 1, 2011 - January 31, 2011



I didn't have a good nights sleep last night. It seems that the two lads in the room next to ours came back from a night out at about 02:00 and weren't very quiet about it. I think they probably work most of the rooms in our corridor before getting to their room where the  continued a very loud and drunken conversation. I was tempted to either hammer on the connecting door between our rooms or phone reception to sort them out but my wife solved the problem by simple phoning their room and asking them to be quiet. They apologised and we never heard another noise from their room for the rest of the night.

Later that night I had an unexpected bout of diarrhea (does anyone expect diarrhea?) followed later by a spell of acid reflux. I wasn't feeling at my best when our alarm went off at 07:00 but we'd booked train tickets to Edinburgh so it was into the shower, breakfast and a taxi to the Queen Street train station.

Once in Edinburgh we took the City Sightseeing tour bus up to the castle where we again had free admission with our Friends of Manx National Heritage cards. It was bitterly cold in the castle so we mainly looked at the indoor exhibitions before leaving to get some warming food. We stopped at the whisky shop just below the castle was were surprised to that "As We Get It" cask strength whisky was around £20 cheaper here that at Gretna Green where we normally bought it.

I managed to steer us to the Castle Arms for lunch where I enjoyed their excellent sausage and mash, washed down with a pint of Edinburgh Gold, before getting on the tour bus again back to Waverly Bridge. We were all feeling a bit cold and tired so we decided to call it a day and take the train back to Glasgow. Our return journey was with a different train company which took a different route and terminated at Glasgow Central station, which was handy as it was closer to the hotel. 



I'd decided to take one for the team today and let my wife go shopping in Glasgow while I took my mother around some of the sites I'd already seen on previous trips. One of the City Sightseeing bus stops was just across the road from the hotel so we were soon on board and on our way to our first stop of the day, the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.  I think the main features of this museum are the Spitfire hanging above a bunch of stuffed animals including a giraffe and elephant and Dali's "Christ of St John of the Cross" which unfortunately has been out on load to another exhibition both of the times we've been there.

The next stop we got off at on the bus tour was Glasgow Cathedral. There wasn't an awful lot to see in the cathedral, but it was surprisingly warm on a cold and windy day. After the cathedral I walked with my mother over the bridge to the Glasgow Necropolis and explained about the interesting tour we'd previously been on. 

The final tour stop we made was at the People's Palace. My elderly mother was flagging a bit by now so we didn't stay there too long. She wanted to go back to the hotel for a rest so After explaining which tour bus stop se needed tog et off at I made my way in to the town centre to meet up with my wife at Mussell Inn for my favourite Glasgow lunch of hot seafood platter washed down with few bottles of Hoegaarden.

Photo: Hot seafood platter at Mussell InnAfterwards we wandered back to the hotel and as none of us really fancied going out for a big meal that evening I nipped out toi the nearby Tesco Express to get a few sandwiches and snacks.


Isle of Man to Glasgow

We headed off for another long weekend in Glasgow. We had asked my elderly mother if she wanted two come and she jumped at the offer. Instead of paying 16 for her to join us as a guest in the Manannan Executive lounge we put the money towards a cabin for both journeys.

My wife and I were the only ones in the Manannan Executive lounge and after we left Douglas harbour we joined my mother in the cabin. I found it hard to settle on the top bunk so after a while I returned to the lounge and spent the rest of the crossing in there by myself.

I didn't bother with our TomTom GPS at first as I now knew the way through Heysham to Lancaster and on to the motorway. Our first stop was our usual stop at Gretna Green for lunch. They still aren't doing haggis, tatties and neeps so I settled for sausage and mash. We didn't bother with the whisky shop as we were planning to try the one recommended to us in Glasgow.

We were soon back on the motorway and I noted that Gretna seems to be almost exactly half way between Heysham and Glasgow, which makes it an ideal place to stop for a break and probably better that the various motorway services on the route. We turned on the TomTom GPS for the last leg of the trip as the M8 through Glasgow gets a bit confusing to find the correct lanes and the exit we needed for the Marriott on Argyle Street.

After checking in to the hotel my wife headed out to the shops. Never underestimate a woman's ability to shop, it's unlimited.

Photo: View from Glasgow Arc, or Squinty Bridge, at night

In the evening we headed out to India Quay for a meal and a look at the Glasgow Arc, or the Squinty bridge as the locals call it.



Canon S95 ordered

I'd so far managed to hold off the temptation to upgrade my Canon S90 to the new S95 and my Canon G9 to the latest G12 model. I wasn't using my G9 very much as it was too big to be easily pocketable and really needed to be carried in a bag. I don't know if I'll every use it again, although it may be a good camera to leave in a car so you always have a camera with you when you go out. The S90 tends to live in my jacket pocket so it's nearly always nearby during the day and on nights out.

While surfing the web tonight on my iPad I happened to find David Pogue's love letter to the Canon S95 and purely out of curiosity I decided to check the current price on Amazon. My wife had seen this over my shoulder and asked what I was buying so I explained that I wasn't buying anything, I'd just read the "lover letter" and just wondered how much a Canon S95 cost now. I handed the iPad over to her so she could read the letter for herself.

After a while she asked me if I wanted the huge T Bone steak she'd bought for me - I obviously said yes! I do really appreciate that my wife, who has been a vegetarian for over 40 years, buys and cooks lovely steaks for me and she went out into the kitchen to cook it.

While she was cooking an email arrived from Amazon confirming the order for the Canon S95 she'd ordered for me.

Steak and a S95? Can't be bad!


Apple launches Mac App Store

Apple launched its new App Store for the Mac today. If you've bought apps for the iPhone or iPad before you'll instantly feel at home in the Mac app store as it has the same familiar look and feel which allows easy, almost impulsive, purchases.

I've "bought" a couple of free apps, even ones I already had, as I like the upgrade available notifications you get, much the same as you're used to on the iPhone or iPad or in iTunes. Unfortunately if you've already bought a programme that is now available in the app store it won't then update through the store.

What has really impressed me though is some of the pricing. iWork is available as separate components, much like it is on the iPad. The standout purchase though has to be Aperture 3. Although I use Lightroom I have purchased Aperture 1, 2 and 3 over the years, each at a cost of over £100.

The same programme is now available through the app store for around £45 and will install on up to five computers linked to your app store account which makes it incredible value.

What has also impressed me is that Paul Thurrott, a Windows evangelist, also seems to like it -