En Route to the Best City in the World: Glasgow!

En Route to the Best City in the World: Glasgow!

Although, there are many people who wouldn’t call Glasgow the best city in the world. A lot of people actually seem to think pretty bad things about it. Like, when I was at school and everyone was applying to University, NO ONE wanted to go to Glasgow except myself and ONE other friend! What was that about? And whenever I told people that my first choice was Glasgow, people would sort of look at me in disgust and ask why.

And you know what?

I had (and still have) no idea. I didn’t know anything about Glasgow and I think I just wanted to go there because no one else did. I was probably just trying to do that cool thing of doing the complete opposite of everyone else.

Ah well. We all make important life decisions in our own way, don’t we? Doing the opposite of what everyone else was doing was probably better than my other way of making important life decisions: The Tingles. That was when I would write my options down on different pieces of paper, scrumple them up, close my eyes, move my hand above them and then when my hand tingled I would pick the piece of paper that was nearest.

Shit. No wonder my life’s a mess.

Jokes. It’s actually alright.

ANYWAY. I actually do love Glasgow. I especially love the bars – they always play such good cheesy music. And I love the middle aged women. I love the way they dress. Anything goes with the middle aged women in Glasgow. The higher the heels, and the spottier the leopard print, the better! And they’re all so freakin’ friendly! And not in the fake, way overly nice way (that’s my kind of friendly), but in the good fun, slagging off kind of way. The kind of friendly that I could only dream of being.

Well, since I’m on the train and since the next stop is Glasgow Queen Street, I should probably go.

P.s. It’s absolutely chucking it down. Classic G-Town.

Scotland Doesn’t Suck

Scotland Doesn’t Suck

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Contrary to popular opinion, I think Scotland is the absolute bees knees and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else (well, except maybe Ireland). Yes, it’s cold, wet and dark pretty much 97% of the time and yes, the majority of people suffer from SAD, Alcoholism and/or Obesity, but that’s WHY it’s so special.

Like, think of Gran Canaria or Florida or California or somewhere else like these places. They’re beautiful, sunny, sparkling, they have bright flowers and warmth, and you’re able to sit out at night without it being necessary to be absolutely TRASHED.  I mean, all of this is great for two, three, maybe even four weeks, but imagine living in these places FOREVER. God, it’d be hell. Your legs would constantly have to be shaved, you’d always feel guilty for not being out in the sunshine, you could probably NEVER have a duvet day, and you’d have to work/shop for food/go to the post office in horrendous heat. But what’s even worse, the sun, warmth and general loveliness would become the norm.

You see, I think it’s important to live in places like Scotland so that you actually get to experience a holiday. When Scottish people go on holiday, they NEVER take the sun for granted. Until maybe at the end when their skin’s all blistered and sore, and they’re dying to get back to the wind, rain, hail, and snow. But for the majority of the time, they’ll be filled up with bubbly, champagney, fizzy happiness at it all.

Although, thinking about it, I guess it’s possible that the people who live in Gran Canaria, Florida and California view Scotland as a holiday resort – that they get off the plane to be met with a wind that could freeze ice, and rain that could kill a ox, and go “Aaaaah, isn’t that refreshing?”

Doubtful, but it is possible.

Gran Canaria with Da Fam

Gran Canaria with Da Fam

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There’s one great thing about working full time: you TOTALLY appreciate your time off.  I’d say this is the best holiday I’ve ever been on just because I can compare it to my life at work. Like yesterday, I was floating in the beautiful, sparkling ocean, which was lovely in its own right, but what made it even better was the fact that I was thinking of those poor souls at work, probably consoling an angry customer who was just told they can no longer be seen for their appointment as they arrived 20 minutes late (ugh, people), and counting down the minutes to their second break.

But seriously, if you don’t have a full-time job, get one just so can experience this blissful FREEDOM! I’m not just content here, I’m ECSTATIC that I don’t have to wake up to an alarm; that I can read all day; that I can have a cocktail whenever I want; that my life is one big break and not just two tiny half an hour ones; that there’s time to write, time to sleep, time to EAT, time to do whatever I want.

It’s awesome.

So this is day two in Gran Canaria and so far, I’ve learned that the older you get, the less you are willing to put up with bullshit. I feel kind of bad now for how I’ve always seen my Dad as this angry, grumpy, impatient consumer, constantly annoyed that things are not meeting his standards, but really, he’s just a victim of his age. I started to think this around the same time I was in the airport with my Mum for about four minutes. It was strange, she was behaving the way that Dad usually does. She was rude to the check in staff (he kept turning his head as he was speaking to her, making it hard to understand him); she was affronted at the price for a cup of tea; the plane was far too cold (then it was far too hot); she pointblank refused to move from the aisle seat that she had paid for especially (she was asked to move so a guy with a BROKEN LEG could have more room), and anyone who tried to skip a queue…well, I don’t really want to get into what she did then.

So here I was, confused. Why is Mum behaving so much like Dad? She was always the sanctuary, the nice one, the good cop. But then, it hit me: SHE’S OLD. Ok, maybe not “old”, but older. She’s the same age Dad was when we first started travelling. Tragically, Dad hit his grumpy old man stage around the same time I hit my grumpy-OMG-my-parents-are -so-embarrassing stage. Those were turbulent times, but at least with Mum, I’m in my laid-back-23-year-old-alright-with-who-I-am-and-who-my-family-are stage. I can just watch Mum wreak havoc with calm amusement (although, I did flinch when she made the poor guy with a broken leg hobble to the end of the plane, OH THE SHAME).

I was also slightly chuffed that I’d have a few good stories to tell the aunties when we arrived, but instead of being hit with guffaws of laughter and “oh stop, you’re too funny(s)”, I was met with “I would have refused to get out of the seat as well”, “Bloody Ryanair – more RyanIDon’tCare HAHA”, “kids these days just MUMBLE! You can’t hear them at all”, and “Tell me about it – THREE EUROS for a cup of tea!”.

Yep, they’ve gone old too.

Old Before Our Time

Old Before Our Time

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Yup. Ullapool’s lovely, but we’re probably the only people here who are under the age of seventy. This is not something that bothers me though as I LOVE old people. Like, really love them. I love speaking to old people, films about old people, books about old people and just old people in general. Well, apart from my Grandma – she was a bit of a scary lady. Terrifying, really.

Aaaaanyway, so yes, we’ve reached Ullapool. It was a nice journey, actually. I insured my boyfriend on the car so I was able to just kick back and have a wee snooze. I woke up when we arrived and it was absolutely pissing it down – pretty standard weather for here I’m guessing, although yesterday was quite sunny. I keep trying to tell my boyfriend that I’m actually a little sunburnt, but he’s adamant that the redness of my cheeks is due to the copious amounts of red meat and butter I eat.

RED MANSo we checked in and I’m pretty sure the hotel owner took a double take when he saw us. It did feel as though we were 12 year olds playing at being grown-ups, but he took us to our room and after another wee snooze (we definitely belong amongst the older generation), we headed out to wonder around the town and try a pub called The Seaforth – the place where I finally got my long awaited for mussels. I was going to take a photo of them to put on here, but I couldn’t stop eating. They were served in a creamy, garlic sauce and were absolutely delicious. I don’t know why you never get a spoon to go with your mussels because the sauce is definitely the best bit. I usually use one of the mussel shells to scoop it out the bowl, which I think actually adds to the flavour, but you do end up with sticky, fishy sauce all over your hands and running down your arms, but I don’t mind that.

We then headed to another pub called The Ferry Boat Inn and we were lucky to bag a comfy seat by a window that was decorated with fairy lights and overlooking the harbour. Ah, there’s nothing quite like a pint and good view to make you feel content. There was also a couple of couples sitting next to us who I was hoping to make friends with and as we were leaving the pub, I saw my chance! One was taking a photo of the three others so I offered to take a photo of all four of them. I was met with the reply, “Oh yes please, you’ll know how to work this phone better than I do”, but I didn’t. I ended up taking a video of them and had to ask my boyfriend to do it. They then told us to have a good night and wondered off in the opposite direction so my hopes of friendship were dashed.

Ach weel.

The next day, we had a proper wonder around the town and came across lots of jam and short bread and tartan. Classic Scotland. We then went on a wee boat trip to see some seals. We saw the seals and I guess they were cute, but I couldn’t help flinching at their shimmying down the rocks. I know they’ll have tough skin, but it still looked sore. The tour guide was a bit useless as well. He didn’t tell us anything. He just parked the boat next to the seals and we sat there for half an hour, listening to people go “Awwww…” He then took us around the corner, and parked there for another 15 minutes, but I wasn’t sure what we were meant to be looking at. There were a few seagulls and a lot of rock, but that couldn’t be it, could it? I think everyone else was a bit confused as well. There was one confused “Awwww…?” and that was it.

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Back on land, we returned to the hotel for another snooze before setting off for dinner and this time we thought we would try The Ferry Boat Inn as all the food we saw there the night before looked really good. And BY JOVE it was. I really wanted to get mussels again so we got some to share for a starter and they were even better than the ones I had the night before and what’s more, SHE GAVE US A SPOON! Finally, a woman after my own heart. It was funny that it was only one spoon she gave us. It’s like she knows drinking the sauce is only something some people do. We both had scampi and chips for our main course, which I’m sure was delicious, but I hadn’t eaten in 12 hours and before eating my mussels, I’d had a pint of cider, so naturally, I felt a bit drunk and sick. My boyfriend told me to stop eating my scampi, but I powered through and sure enough, the scampi soaked up the alcohol (hehe, drunken little scampi) and I was right as rain.

We also decided to go to The Ferry Boat Inn because they had an open mic night on so we thought we’d be in for lots of music and laughs. We were. A group of older people joined our table and didn’t stop talking about sex – or “bonking” as they called it – the entire night. They come to Ullapool every summer, by the sounds of it, and rent a bungalow that sleeps around ten people. They hit tea rooms by day and pubs by night and all I have to say, is that retirement looks AWESOME!!! After a few pints, my boyfriend then got up and played, and by the end of the night, I had to fight the old ladies (and a few old men) off him with their walking sticks.

So that’s us up to date. This morning I had haddock and a poached egg for breakfast – trying to be healthier – and it was nice, but I missed my sausages and black pudding. Tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow. As for now, we’re away for a wee drive to Gairloch.

But not before another snooze.

Road Trip!

Road Trip!

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Another summer, another road trip to the west coast of Scotland and this time we’re heading to Ullapool. This is a place I’ve been wanting to go to ever since someone told me about a restaurant that serves the most delicious mussels and chips. Nom nom nom. It’s also meant to be quite pretty, although the weather forecast is absolutely dismal, which means my effort to secure my bikini bod was entirely wasted:

Stonehenge tourists braving the driving rain

I guess it’s just as well I didn’t actually secure my bikini bod.

But I’m excited, despite being met with confused and horrified glances when I told people I was going to Ullapool. They asked me what there was to do there, to which I replied, FISH AND CHIPS! Which is probably the main reason I’m going, but there’s also boat trips and seals and pubs with alcohol and board games and…ok I’m out. I would love to go swimming, but it really looks too cold. I’m still bringing my bikini though.

So I’ll try and let you know how it goes and prove those people who said we were crazy, wrong.

Bon voyage!

Blogging on a Boat; Day Two; Mayonnaise and Tabasco

Blogging on a Boat; Day Two; Mayonnaise and Tabasco

IMG_0995Today, I woke to sounds of laughter and convorting and splashing at four in the morning – my brother and my sort of brother were back from their night out and they had brought friends. It really did sound as though they were having loads of fun, but it also sounded as though they were very drunk and as I was very, very sober, I decided to roll over, plug into Pride and Prejudice and go back to sleep.

Lamest twenty-one year old ever.

But I did head to the bow of the boat today as we set sail! And it was going very well as the seas were a lot calmer. But then Dad turned on the generator, which turned off all the navigation instruments and made the boat lurch to the right and proceed to go round and round in circles until we figured out what the hell was going on. I swiftly returned to the safety of the cockpit once again, but maybe, maybe tomorrow will be different and I’ll get a full sail out by the bow. Although when I asked Dad what the chances were of dying if you fell off a boat and he replied with, “Man over board equals man dead”, my courage levels did indeed plummet and so we shall see.

Isola Ventotene proved to be a lovely place, although after dinner there, my courage levels in ordering the unknown have also plummeted. I went for “Il Crudo” and what I got was a plate of raw tuna and prawns. I usually quite like raw fish – it tastes so fresh and delicious – but I find the texture a bit difficult. If I was to eat it, I would only have a tiny bit of the fish to get the taste and a lot of rice or toast to mask the slimy texture, but last night I was confronted with just a big pile of the slimy fish. No bread or anything. And so I ate as much as I could and then swapped with my brother who absolutely loved it. He had ordered octopus, which I’m also a bit iffy about (tentacles) but I was hungry and it wasn’t as slimy as the tuna and prawns and so I gulped in down.

Something else I’ve noticed about Italians other than their laid-back attitude is the fact that couples do not talk to each other when they go out for dinner. I’ll have a look again tonight, but last night there were four or five tables of couples, eating their dinner in complete silence. I thought that it was nice that they were so comfortable with each other…or perhaps so accepting of the fact that they have nothing to say. Makes another difference from Britain where people tend to go purple with the effort of carrying on the conversation. If all else fails, MENTION THE WEATHER.

My brother has just turned up, brandishing a bowl and asking, “Josie, can you do this?”. He wants me to make my mayonnaise and tabasco dip. It’s really easy – it’s mayonnaise and tabasco – but he still insists that I make it. Lazy cow. But if you haven’t tried it, you should give it a go; it’s delicious with some bread or crisps! Although everyone (bar my brother and I) thinks it’s really spicy, but apparently Dad used to put tabasco in our milk when we were little and so we’re used to it.

I have no idea whether or not to believe this.

Blogging on a Boat: Day 1

Blogging on a Boat: Day 1

I woke today feeling slightly nauseous after all the red wine I drank last night and so I have decided that from now on I shall just stick to vodka. Definitely the healthier choice. I also had quite a fitful sleep – any time the boat lurched I’d sit bolt upright and claw at the walls until I realised that I was perfectly safe and not locked up in a mental asylum. They – whoever “they” are – have not come for me as of yet. I did, however, wake up to a policeman banging on the door and demanding to see our papers. Oh joys, I thought, Dad is going to be arrested again. But thankfully, everything was in order and after TWO AND A HALF HOURS, we were allowed to be on our way.

So yes, one thing that I have observed about Italians is that they sure take their time. I remember reading about this in Eat, Pray Love and thinking that it would be lovely to live in Italy, away from all the hustle and bustle and busy nothings in Britain, but since arriving, I have found out that I just cannot hack their laidback attitude. I am trying – a lovely German girl I befriended at RADA kept telling me to “stop being so bloody British”, but alas, I cannot.

What I can hack, however, is their food and scenery. The menus have all been in Italian so far (I know, shocking) and so it’s been quite fun not knowing what on earth we’ve ordered. You certainly learn things about yourself – for instance, I thought I hated anchovies, but that’s what I got for my starter last night and they were delicious! I also thought that clams in spaghetti just wouldn’t go, but turns out they do. And so the food may be slow in getting to you, but it sure is delicious when it arrives.

As for today, we have anchored up near Isola Ventoten, which looks very pretty. The journey here was bliss. I sat at the bow of the boat, revelling in the brisk sea breeze and thinking that sailing is perhaps the only thing that I am not scared of. A rather big wave, however, shooed me right back into the safety of the cockpit from which I was not to venture out again.

Maybe tomorrow.

As for now, I am away for a swim as my face is melting and my thighs may have to be surgically removed from this chair.

Over and out, folks!

P.s. I tried to write about RADA, but it was so gushy and emotional that it has been confined to my diary. Far too many feels for this blog.