Wednesday, November 16, 2011

you (now) know what I did last summer

Here's a few links to some recent batches of photos that may or may not be of interest:
  • Firstly, and rather belatedly, some photos from my wedding to the lovely Hazel back in June at the delightful Steppes Farm, which is in Rockfield just a few miles from Monmouth. The licensed venue for weddings at Steppes Farm is their restaurant, The Stonemill, which is also well worth a visit just for the food, which is excellent. They also serve excellent beer from the Kingstone Brewery, which is just a few miles away in Tintern - the Kingstone Gold is particularly quaffable, and I should know, as I quaffed quite a quantity of it on the day.
  • Secondly, the annual Swanage trip in September. You'll pretty much know the drill by now, and I've eased off on the obsessive documentation of the pub crawl(s), so there are fewer photos than in previous years. We did, however, branch out on the Sunday and go to Wareham, where, after a pitifully short token stroll up the river and back we did a tour of some pubs, most of which were quite good, the pick probably being The Old Granary, which in addition to having a scenic riverside location and some of the best Badger beer I've ever had, appears to have a strictly all-supermodel bar staff hiring policy in place, which is nice.
  • Finally, a brief jaunt to Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago to do a recce for a wedding Hazel is shooting in December, as well as some standard touristy activities we didn't do last time we were there in February 2009. One of the things we did do last time was visit the Scotch Whisky Experience up by the castle, but as it was being refurbished at the time we got a somewhat cut-down version of the full experience - basically a room, a video, a PowerPoint presentation and a glass of whisky. This time, however, we got the full multimedia package complete with a trip on a little ghost-train style ride with carriages shaped like whisky barrels. And, equally importantly, more whisky (Old Pulteney, as it happens, on this occasion). Served, interestingly, in a room dedicated to displaying the world's largest single collection of Scotch whisky, collected by some guy from Chile and then donated. A fascinating historical document (of, in a lot of cases, distilleries that no longer exist and whiskies that can no longer be obtained, anywhere) but I really think buying this stuff and then not consuming it is missing the point a bit. We also rectified an omission from an earlier trip and climbed the 287 steps to the top of the Scott Monument. I should warn anyone aspiring to do this that the last section is very cramped and narrow; I am not especially fat (well, not massively fat, anyway) but I did struggle to cram my broad manly shoulders through the top section of the spiral staircase and emerge onto the top platform. Good views, though. And you get a certificate (see right). While Hazel was off doing wedding-related activity on the Saturday morning I took myself off on the train from Haymarket to North Queensferry (about a fiver for a return, and a trip of about 15-20 minutes) to have a look at the Forth Bridge. And very impressive too, although it was still somewhat shrouded in mist. So I went back to the station, got on a train going the other way, got off at Dalmeny on the other side of the bridge and wandered about the slightly larger and more interesting South Queensferry for a bit. By that time the mist had cleared and I got some quite good pictures, aided by the bridge being largely free of unsightly scaffolding for once. Those even more fascinated by bridges than me might want to get even more up close and personal, in which case try either this video of someone taking a lift to the top, or this account of some somewhat hair-raising ninja-stylee urban exploration.

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