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Got the upgrade to First Class on the return journey. Certainly less cramped than outward in standard, but otherwise not sure whether it’s still worth the extra. We’ve just had the bacon sarnies brought around, and a cup of coffee but at first glance that looks like the sum total of the extras. Last time around the service was still being run by GNER, and we had coffee on demand, and a meal included at lunchtime. Now that it’s under the management of the government, these extras appear to have gone.

Fortunately the free WiFi remains. The civility of of the staff does not. Okay they’re not actively rude or anything, just rather surly and uncommunicative.


Aberdeen has entered the race to be the UK City of Culture in 2013, according to the ever reliable P&J. Funny, I thought Derry/Londonderry has been the City of Culture since Jan 1st, and would remain so for the rest of the year.

Okay, typical P&J journalistic accuracy and they actually mean they’ve applied to be City of Culture 2017.





Working in my mother’s garden this morning. There’s been an Escallonia against the back wall of the garden, been spreading for years and is now more or less dead. Went in there and ripped out all the dead wood, leaving just two branches which showed a bit of life and might come back into leaf. A third branch I left because it was entwined around a branch of the neighbouring Rowan. Didn’t have any tools, just breaking off the dead wood (it was that rotten) and would have needed a saw to get the branch away from the Rowan.

Cleared away all the dead wood that had built up over the years underneath the trees. As soon as I had finished a blackbird was straight in there and emerged a few minutes later with a beak full of grubs and worms. It stopped on the ground no more than two feet away from me. It stopped and looked at me, not in the least afraid. It seemed to be saying thanks for clearing a new source of food, then flew off into the field next door

I’d forgotten just what a Scottish Gift Shop was like.

Now admittedly it’s a long time since I was inside any gift shop, but by my memory, the Scottish varietal always stood apart. Something that cannot be equalled in the sheer appallingness of the twee crap on offer within. All tartan and bagpipes and haggis.

Today it was Glamis, but it could have been anywhere, this was typical of the population as a whole

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