Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Day 1 - Nairn to Rosyth and on-board Blue Star 1

I left this morning around 10am and by about 11.45 was driving into House of Bruar (a rather upmarket pit-stop for food and some quite fancy shopping), a little north of Pitlochry on the A9, where I had some lunch and bought a few 'typically Scottish' gifts to give to a couple of people at my destination - basically jams produced locally. Then just before 1pm I was on my way. The weather when I left home had been overcast, but there was no rain. However maybe 20 or so miles north of Bruar the rain began, light at first, but as I travelled south it got steadily heavier. By the time I reached Perth it was raining quite heavily and that continued until I reached Rosyth at about 2pm - where the ferry port is. However, it doesn't seem to be raining now - perhaps it's such a fine drizzle that it's not showing up on the surface of the water - we're still in port of course and will be leaving here at about 5pm assuming we keep to schedule.

Now I am seated in the bar near the prow (is that the right word?) of the ship, just having a glass of sparkling mineral water and trying out wi-fi access to see how it works from on-board. It was pretty straightforward and I was online wihtin mintues - however, they sell access in 90-minutes slots and it is relatively costly at €9- (GBP6.29), so I think the novelty of trying it will be enough. If I recall from last year wi-fi access from most of the hotels I stayed in was about €9- for 24 hours in France and about €12- in Spain, so I shall probably give that a go during the next couple of days, if only to check my email.

In a couple of hours I shall go and get dinner (wine-less I'm afraid as I'm back on 'Atkins' - see section at right for my diet details if you're not familiar with it; basically it's lo-carb and in my case is mainly protein of whatever kind I fancy, accompanied by copious salads at all meals, including breakfast). Over the past year I've seen my weight creep back up a little and this process continued over Christmas and New Year. About 10 days ago I decided that this had to stop as I had been having to buy clothes (trousers especially) a little larger to be comfortable - 33" waist instead of 31" or 32". Of course I'm nothing like as heavy as I was before I started 'Atkins' about 5 or so years ago and I never intend to let myself get that way again.

OK, enough of that. Tomorrow I should be heading down through Belgium from Zeebrugge and will soon pass into France where I'm headed for Orléans tomorrow evening, having transited a part of the Boulévard Périphérique in Paris - that should be enormous fun (not). I used to travel on a small section of it pretty frequently (around the other side of Paris near Neuilly) and it is a road which is never not busy, even during the wee small hours of the night.

I suppose one of the advantages of having only 90 minutes access, and working purely off battery power, is that it focusses the mind - rather than spend idle minutes 'surfing the web' and generally wasting time, one is forced to do what one wishes to do then close the machine up. That's what I plan to do in the next few moments. As I'm typing this it's about 4.45pm and just getting dark - we should be leaving port in the next 15 or so minutes, hopefully.

PS/ I hope you notice the serious political content in this post; time constraints and being 'on vacation' make me feel whatever disasters may be happening onshore, it's not my concern just for these few brief hours!

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