Category Archives: Inverness

2018, part 2, the last pre-code lady

And so to the second half of the year.

In truth, personal things prior to September were fairly limited. Mainly because I was at work, through the school holidays, covering for those who need the time off.

One sad thing that did happen before then, happened in August. To many, it probably seems amazing that an adult actress from the early 1930’s had survived this long, but one of them had. But eventually that tie was cut, when Mary Carlisle passed away at the grand old age of 104. She was pretty sharp to the end, if less mobile, and for a while she had been the last, and all knew the link was coming to an end, but for those of us who love that era, it was still a sad moment when it arrived.

September saw me going back to a place I hadnt visited in nearly 40 years, Inverness, taking Eric away with me for a few days of fun. Well, as much fun as two people with disability issues can have, anyway. I managed to fulfil one ambition I’d had for about that long, if not more, by travelling the Skye Line to Kyle of Lochalsh. The fact that the last time I was there, the only way to Skye was by ferry, and now a bridge has been there for decades, all a bit strange. There are still a couple of railway lines in Scotland I’d love to do (Oban line, Fort William to Mallaig), and the Cambrian Coast line in Wales to a place I could never pronounce correctly (Pwllheli) that are a challenge for another day, health permitting. There are also a couple of very long distance ones in North America too, though they may be less likely, and trickier to do.

At one point I thought that November would see me doing a Transgender Awareness Week speech in Florida, but it soon seemed that someone was all talk, and no reality, so it never happened. So instead, I headed somewhere nearly as warm for the week, to the Algarve, to give my back some heat before winter kicked in. I wont deny I might have done a little bit of apartment prospecting while there, should the chance arise, and yes, if things work out, my old age could well be spent out there. There is a financial issue (not enough money), and a political issue (post Brexit residence rules) that may stop that, but fingers crossed… A lottery jackpot win before March 29 might be very handy! But lifestyle, and health wise, I could do a lot worse.

Then we come to the old chestnut, my health issue. In recent weeks my left wrist seems to have developed issues, probably due to too much typing, and stuff, for the last 40 years or so. So now I have 2 issues leaving me wondering how much longer work is going to be possible? More amusingly, due to coming 4th in a year long Golf tipping contest on Twitter, I gained £100 for my pains, and thought I’d give some new therapies a try, rather than frittering it on clothing, and the like. So yes, I got to discover just how amazing a flotation tank (sensory deprivation tank) is, and even better, the weightless floating does seem to do my back a lot of good too. Fine, the tank hasnt tried to brainwash me yet, though I’m still hoping!

Oh, and December saw the Works Christmas dinner, in a new dress, in a casino, and my first ever bet in such a place. Yes, I lost quickly, but it was a free £5 chip, so nothing lost really!

Lastly, and sadly, the Department I work in, in their wisdom, have decided to move our section out of Finance, and into a new Collection based group. So unfortunately, just as our LGBT committee were getting ready to do something really exciting, I’m out, as from tomorrow. I cant see me going quiet on LGBT issues, but it may give me less options now, though I have applied for something for the whole Department, not just Finance, but will be over a month before I hear about that. Ah well…

Right, tomorrow I will close the trilogy, with a look at New Year happenings (and possible happenings) on the first day of 2019. But until then, let me wish all my readers, those who arent there already at least, a Happy New Year in 2019.

OK, video. Just a quickie tonight. Its hard to find anything for Mary Carlisle other than a couple of full films, and sets of pictures. But I found this, Bing Crosby singing to her, 85 years ago!

The logic of Trump,honesty, and a likely farewell

Oh fine, I wasnt going to post again tonight, but enough has happened today to make it worthwhile, so lets roll with it.

The day started with some amusement, and helped to convince me that Trump followers really are idiots, or some of them, anyway. It actually started positively (if you ignore the earlier sighting on news of Trump doing a fist pump at a 9/11 memorial service, for heavens sake. Is he, and his fans complete idiots? Oh fine, seemingly, but more on that shortly.

Some very efficient service from a nice man at Scotrail assistance, means Eric will not need to walk miles at Edinburgh Waverley on the return journey, assistance arranged! But then to today’s journey, and the moment of idiocy. There were at least 2 signs, that I noticed, advising customers that there were no seat reservations on the train we were catching to Aviemore, due to, as I found out later, a printer issue.

So fine, no great fuss, got in a pair of seats, ready for the journey, and then… This American elderly man, wearing, you’ve guessed it, one of the dreaded M.A.G.A hats came up to us, and told us we were in his reserved seats. I politely explained, just as the conductor was again confirming it over the speaker system, that there were no reserved seats. His only reply (and its fair to comment, there was little sign of intelligence in his eyes, was to repeat what he said, and glare at us again. After 3 rounds of this, I decided that beating my head against a Trump fan, with an IQ roughly around zero, was a pointless exercise, so we gave up, and moved.

He then started bemoaning us to his wife, who miraculously pointed out to him that we were right, there were no reserved seats on the train. Anyway, one of his other companions/family members gave a face that was clean out of Redneck territory at the whole event, best described as a gurn. No, I’m not sure his IQ was as high as zero! Thankfully, we were only going one stop, so soon left them behind, about 35 minutes later.

The steam train ride was nice. Cant remember the last time before this I rode a steam train, definitely cant remember the last time I had a meal on one! Anyway, back to Aviemore at 14.08, and… we proceeded, after about 30 minutes wait, to get the 12.23 to Inverness! No, I’m not kidding, there was an issue with a freight train further down the line, it was running about 2 and a quarter hours late! Now, in this country, when you have this much of a delay, you get a refund on your ticket. Thing is, we were actually booked on an anytime ticket, which even though that wasnt our planned train, we could have claimed for the delay. Thing is, we had reserved seats for the 14.40, so if anyone checked, we werent actually delayed, but a few minutes early.

I’ll be honest, if worthwhile money was involved (£9.75 each), and I wasnt a civil servant, I probably would have gone for it anyway. But yeah, I can just see the headlines, if anyone found out, so for that much money, no go. Honest, but stupid, probably!

Lastly, after we got back to the hotel, and Eric settled down for a nap, I took a stroll back up into Inverness, one last time, probably. I cant see me being back anytime soon, and in truth, a few years after that, I probably, quite literally wont be going anywhere, lol! Body might last a few more years, but I suspect not many, and the odds on being back up here, not good.

So, when I was a child (as I have mentioned before), I had some distant relative who lived in the Highlands, at Kinlochleven, of a very similar age to me. She, as I suspect young Scottish children do, was from time to time, dressed in her clan colors, Maclaine of Lochbuie. At one time, I had a tie, and a plaque in said colors, but both have long since passed from my ownership in time, and moves. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to look for a dress, or skirt in said clan colors, but unsurprisingly, I couldnt find any, its not one of the popular clans, shall we say? But those I did, well over £100, so definitely not going to happen, regardless! Oh fine, lets include the clan name as a category, I might get offered a skirt, or dress in clan colors, though I wont hold my breath on that!

And thats about it! Tomorrow we head back down south, end of the break. Lets just say I’m looking forward to some lay ins, in the morning, for the last 3 days of my break! Eric, please note, lol!

I dont know what to say about video suggestions, to be honest. Last Farewell, Roger Whitaker, maybe?

Edited to add the video from home

Build a rainbow or two, with a missing ferry, and hotel?

Totally confused? Oh, I hope so, as thats the plan to make you read this, lol.

OK, catching up on the week so far. Yesterday was more memorable for the things that didnt go to plan, whereas today, with one exception, went pretty well to plan.

So yesterday, lets start with the usual culprit, Trans Pennine, and their non-express service. OK, lets say wonderful service from a member of staff from same company! Even more confused? Oh good!

We arrived at Huddersfield yesterday morning, to find our train was running 13 minutes late. Then it got to 18 late, actually left 16 minutes late, so yes, they have as much clue as a certain US president does, lol. Not surprisingly, it lost more time before York, and basically, we werent going to make our train at Newcastle, and all plans could have gone haywire from there. So, I thought I’d buy a coffee, and at least enjoy that on the journey, when…the conductor told us our train was actually behind us going into York. It was probably going to overtake it en route to Newcastle (it did!), so he got us off there, wrote a sweet message for the guard of the other train, we got on it, and sorted.

Well, apart from my coffee, which was the item I then couldnt carry, and half got lost in the transfer, but anyway…

Next, Edinburgh! I had rashly assumed all platforms were pretty much in one area, and that the transfer, even with limited mobility on our parts (Eric even more than me), it wouldnt be that hard. Unfortunately we were dropped off on a platform about half a mile from the main area of the station, and it was a challenge to get there. Thankfully, we had plenty of time, so survived.

The rest was straightforward enough, other than the amusement on my part, when I saw they’d put Eric down as Mr Carpenter on the invoice. I know, one name on the booking, twin room, so…Still found it funny, but thats just me? Hotel is lovely by the way.

Today, to Kyle of Lochalsh. OK, this is where the title comes into play. You could call the Skye line, the LGBT line, because we saw rainbows both ways, a very spectacular one heading there, less so coming back. 2 of the stations, the platforms are so ‘large’ they only open 1 door on the train, because thats all thats on the platform!

OK, first the missing hotel. Eric has got one of those ‘drivers eyes’ videos of the Kyle line, but the thing is, it was made in 1987! It therefore showed a building I first saw as a child, the Achnasheen Inn Hotel, on the platform of Achnasheen station. So, someone was looking forward to seeing an old friend again, right? Wrong, seemingly, as it burnt down in 1995! I did wonder if I was missing something, until I found out the news at the museum on Kyle station! Just glad I didnt say anything at the time, as locals would have thought me crazy asking about something that burnt down 23 years ago!

Oh fine, the missing ferry. No, not the one at Kyle, though that is definitely gone. Funnily enough, there was a large boat moored where the ferry used to leave from today though. But further up the line…

The first time I saw this corner of the world, by road, was 1971. We were using an old road map (about 1968?), and it showed the road crossing to Stromeferry, by ferry. I was navigating just fine, until we approached the area, and the signpost said something totally different to my map. Thankfully, wisdom prevailed, I followed the signposts, not the map, as the ferry had been replaced by a new road the year before! In truth, today, nearly 50 years on, I couldnt make out either point where the road met the ferry, so to speak, on either side of the water. Passing of time, and all that!

Tomorrow, so to speak, we go back in time, on a steam train from Aviemore, to Boat of Garten, and back. Lunch booked on the train, ooh! No, I havent bought a flapper dress with me, though maybe I should have done? Thursday, we head back south. More on those 2 days at end of week, I’m sure.

Apologies, but no video tonight. We do have wi-fi at the hotel, but its not quick enough to play videos, from You Tube, for sure. Probably would have gone with the theme from Rainbow, for those who wish to find their own!

Edited to add the video. Yes, the full length version, a first for me

Cant Help Falling In Love

Oh, did you think you were getting some details on my post romances? Ah well, sorry to disappoint. There was only really one, and though we stayed together for 12 years, it wasnt ‘a fine romance’, but most of that was my fault, and my body problems, not that I knew why at the time. She’s out there somewhere, but wouldnt recognise my name now, even if she saw this.

So alright, its about contriving a blog to fit tonights video find, lol!

Its funny how some cities you visit, you instantly fall in love with. I can only really think of one in the UK that struck me like that, and that would be Inverness. Dont ask me why now, that was over 30 years ago now, and though I havent been there in a long time, and have no idea how its changed, I will always have a soft spot for it.

As has been mentioned before I believe, there is one US city that captured my heart the first time I saw it, and thats Seattle. Maybe its the weather, maybe its the people, or a whole combination of things, but its one of those places I look forward to visiting again, maybe next April if things work out. The only US cities to even get in range are Chicago, and San Francisco, and the latter isnt just because of its whole, very relaxed attitude to LGBT people, though I suspect that might count as a bonus. Chicago, I have no idea why, just had a good feel while there.

Two others deserve a mention, one being my new love of this year, Toronto. I know, its cold in winter, but I almost suspect I could live with that given the chance. Tallinn in Estonia is the other. Like Inverness, the first visit was a long time back, and indeed my only visit so far, and that was 14 years ago now. Again, I suspect a lot has changed there since then. And like Toronto, the winters are a bit chilly lol!

Its actually very windy here tonight, though not as bad as some parts of the UK all the same, thanks to the last remnants of Hurricane Katia, thankfully all will be gone before Saturday when I fly out to Boston. Cant see me falling in love with the place, didnt really do so first time around, 23 years ago, so cant see why it would now?

Oh alright, enough waffling, you want to know about the video I guess? Its hard to believe how long this band has been together, and the line up has barely changed in all that time. Irony is the name of the band refers to the unemployment benefit form of the time, though they certainly havent been out of work since then! It is a cover, but thats something they were good at, excellent cover versions.

So no more, hope you enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajp0Uaw4rqo&feature=related