Last weekend we took the train up to Stirling. We visited the Wallace Monument--a tower on a hill called Abbey Craig--and then walked through the woods and fields to the village of Cambuskenneth to see the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey, resting place of King James 3 (he was killed in battle or murdered nearby in 1488).
From there we went into the town of Stirling itself for lunch, and then up to Stirling Castle. The importance of this castle is a good part of the reason why the surrounding area is so "historical": kings lived there, and major battles were fought nearby, including William Wallace's triumph over the English at the battle of Stirling Bridge, and Robert the Bruce's triumph over the English at the battle of Bannockburn, a bit further away.
Here are some photos we took at the World Pipe Band Championships at Glasgow Green.
We listened to the twelve finalist Grade 1 (top-tier) bands play their medley event and then walked around the grounds taking in the many other things going on. The sound of pipes and drums came continuously from all directions as bands tuned, marched and performed in several different competitions at once. It also poured rain for a bit, but, you know. Scotland.
The Grade 1 finalists were a mix of Scottish and international, including a handful of Canadian bands. I decided to cheer for Simon Fraser University, for no particular reason other than patriotism. Sadly, despite my support, SFU failed to unseat the Northern Ireland band Field Marshal Montgomery, who won their forth straight world championship.
Raymond Carver. Can't get this back home, for some strange reason...
Learning a little Scottish History.
We awoke to the sound of helicopters hovering overhead, which could only mean one thing: the Commonwealth Games Road Race was on!
We didn't make it outside in time to see the women's race (doh) but we walked down to the corner of Byres Road and University to see the men do a few of their twelve laps around the city.
When the leaders went by us, there was actually a Canadian in second place--trailing the leader from the Isle of Man, but well ahead of the pack--and I yelled "Go Canada!" as he was cheered along by the crowd. Unfortunately, when we checked back a few laps later he'd lost his position.
In a few my photos the sun was shining but don't be deceived: the riders were slogging through downpours for most of the race.
We went back out to catch the leaders go by on the final lap. Here they are in the order they finished (Wales, New Zealand, England).
First thought: somewhat disappointingly, it tastes exactly the way it looks like it should taste.
Second thought: this would be good with hot sauce...
Things I learned on my first week in Glasgow:
- It's good that I packed a sweater for the 19 degree July days (which, frankly, is my preferred weather, so do not take this as a complaint).
- When the weather forecast says the day will be "dry" it means it's only going to rain a little.
- I'm no longer shocked by cars on the "wrong" side of the road. However, I still haven't developed instincts for where they are coming from: they could come from anywhere!
- There's actually no such thing as jaywalking.
- I'm becoming a more serious tea drinker.
- There are enough cool bars and restaurants around where we live in the West End that I have choice paralysis when we go out for a meal.
- The people are very friendly and nobody freaks out over my "exotic" foreign accent.
- The Doctor doesn't only visit London and Cardiff.
I've been in Glasgow for a couple of days. So far, so good.
I'm spending a few days in Nova Scotia on the way to Glasgow. It's been great to visit friends and family and get some pool time before I head off.
Here are some photos from my last days in Ottawa.
Shengrong's in Glasgow getting settled in our new flat, and I'm sitting in our apartment in Ottawa on my only chair, surrounded by boxes. And things that need to be put in boxes.
I'm down to my last week in Ottawa.
I have way too many books to take with me, so I’ve decide to give most of them away before I leave Ottawa. If you’re in Ottawa and want one or several (or in Nova Scotia if you only want a few, or maybe further afield if you can convince me to mail something to you), post here or get in touch. I had a hard time bringing myself to give up some of these, but I decided I had to be ruthless about it.
Here’s the list:
Atwood, The Edible Woman / Surfacing / Lady Oracle
Atwood, The Year of the Flood
Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Cervantes, Don Quixote (Starkey Trans)
Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit
F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
Garrison Keillor, WLT A Radio Romance
Giles Blunt, No Such Creature
Herman Wouk, The Caine Mutiny
James Elroy, American Tabloid
Jane Urquhart, Changing Heaven
John Grisham, The Partner
John Wray, Lowboy
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
Joseph Conrad, Nostromo
Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent
Lloyd Jones, Mister Pip
Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Melville, Moby Dick
Michael Connelly, The Closers
Michael Thomas, Man Gone Down
Nadine Gordimer, Jump
Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist
Nadine Gordimer, The Pickup
Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked
Steig Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Steven Galloway, The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire
Stuart Clarke, The Sky's Dark Labyrinth
The Basic Kafka
Wallace Stenger, Angle of Repose
Widle, The Picture of Dorian Grey
William Deverell, Snow Job
Cormac McCarthy, The Road Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights on Air Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Kafka, The Trial Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminted Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery John Katz, Rose in a Storm John Katz, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm Don DelLillo, Libra Kim Echlin, The Disappeared
Joseph O'Neill, Netherland
Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding
Teju Cole, Open City
Johanna Skibsrud, The Sentimentalists
NON-FICTION SCIENCE AND MATH
Beauregard/O'Leary, The Spiritual Brain
David Foster Wallace, Everything and More: a Compact History of ∞
Freeman Dyson, Disturbing the Universe
John D. Beasley, The Mathematics of Games
Various, The Best Science Writing of 2009
Ward, Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere
Kaplan, Bozo Sapiens
Michael Brooks: 13 Things that Don't Make Sense
Michio Kaku, Physics of the Future
Read Montague, Your Brain is (Almost) Perfect
NON-FICTION ECONOMICS AND POPULAR IDEAS
Christopher Dewdney, Acquainted With The Night
Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist
Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money
Raj Patel, The Value of Nothing
Ronald Wright, An Illustrated Short History of Progress
NON-FICTION JOURNALISM / CURRENT EVENTS
Allison Hoover Bartlett, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
Fernando Baez, A Universal History of the Destruction of Books
Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget
RA Dickey, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball
Robert Fowler, A Season in Hell: My 130 Days in the Sahara with Al Qaeda
Ottaviniani & Myrick, Feynman (Graphic Novel)
David Cullen, Columbine
Evan Wright, Generation Kill
Sebastian Junger, War
Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth (autobiography)
NON-FICTION PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION
Daniel C. Dennett, Freedom Evolves
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
William Lobdell, Losing My Religion
More Show Me How
Bruce Eckel, Thinking in Java
Flanagan, Java in a Nutshell
Hunt, Programming Ruby
Johnson, GUI Bloopers 2.0
Kernighan/Pike, The Practice of Programming
Loftus, Java: Software Solutions
Main/Savich, Data Structures and other Objects Using C++
Mertins, Signal Analysis
Wilensly, Common LISPcraft
Bury/Meiggs, A History of Greece
Homer, The Odyssey (Rieu trans.)
James Ryan, Greece and the Greek Isles
NON-FICTION PHOTOGRAPHY / ART
Joseph/Saunders, The Complete Photography Course
Tom Ang, The Complete Photographer
Van Gogh Up Close
Since I’ve been with Shengrong I’ve occasionally wondered if I’d ever end up following her to another country. Turns out the answer to that is yes, but instead of, say, China, that country is Scotland. She’s been offered a great job in Glasgow, and I have a job that travels well, so off we go.
I decided to make this blog so I’ll have a place to post updates on our progress and eventually photos of our new home. At the present stage of our adventure, we’re in Ottawa, disposing of the vast majority of our wordily possessions (anyone want to buy a dining table? How about an air conditioner?) and working out the logistics of our move. The plan is to be in Glasgow sometime this summer.
Wish us luck!