Tweed, haggis and bicycles

We went to Scotland.

The lowlands and Edinburgh was our destination. A few days in April filled with tweed, bicycles, haggis and drinks. You always hear about rainy Scotland and the cold weather. But for us this time, it was like any sun vacation around the Mediterranean sea. Sunny, warm and very nice weather.

The days was focused on tweed safari, visiting Harris Tweed shops, Walker Slater, woollen mill outlets. Observing ladies and gentlemen using tweed as everyday cloths. We were amazed by how natural so many used different tweed clothings, jackets, suits, coats, skirts, scarf’s, hats and caps. They where not going by the rules of the modern fashion icons. The tweed people used their own mind, to create a look that represents the person wearing the clothes. Instead of being a follower of fashion, where the clothes shows who you pretend to be.

Just sitting outside in the sunshine at an pub located at Grass market, looking at the display of all people waling by was real treat. Almost as an cat walk. Sadly the weather forecast told us that it would be rainy and cold upon arrival. So, I decided not to use my own Harris Tweed jacket. That was a bad mistake for my part. Since the spring had arrived in sunny Edinburgh. The birds was singing and trees was blooming. A tweed jacket had been the right choice! Instead I had my winter jacket, that made me look like a polar explorer.

Edinburgh is a town build upon hills. Streets, stairs, up and down. Having a tea in Princess street gardens, a glass of locally brewed ale at Tollbooth tavern on Canongate or trying a small Whiskey at an pub on Cowgate. A nice town with lots of atmosphere and things to see, parks to visit and steep streets to walk. Of course, there were bicycles to. The regular ones but there were some interesting ones standing here and there to. You had to look around a little to see them.
Among others there was a display outside a coffee shop. It was a rusty British roadster, all original with rear coil springs with a front loop leather seat. Typical rod brakes and a delivery carrier mounted in the front. It was a real beauty!
Then we had the modern rat bicycle with fat tires, a Sögreni style chain guard and turned down handlebars. Many of the special and classical bicycles we noticed, were used as commercial eye cathchers. The best example we saw was the rusty worn old racer that had commercials for a repair centre where then learn you how to repair things (sadly not bicycles, more furnitures), all over the bicycle.

What about the food I hear you ask? Of course, Haggis! The traditional Scottish dish. In short, it was available everywhere, from the traditional serving, to the modern style. You could have an traditional Haggis with “neeps and tatties” or you could have it as breakfast along the sausages, beans, tomatoes and eggs. Or why not try it as a hamburger? There were all ways of serving haggis. We found one place that served the haggis burger with the option of sausages on top. That was a bit to much for us. So we settled only with “bangers and mash”, fish and chips or one of all pies that was on the menu.
But the Scotch egg is a real treat! So strange, yet so perfect. It is an hard boiled egg placed inside a layer of sausage meat, then coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. Absolutely delicious!

In short, it was a good visit. It was 4 years since my last visit to the United Kingdom, but my first visit in Scotland.
Will I return? Tweed, haggis and bicycles? Of course!

But the next time I will use my tweed jacket.




Thoughts about beeing behind a till, in front of a till.

The modern technology is advancing fast. The train dont wait for any one. If you cant keep up, too bad.

We have now phones that is more advanced than the most advanced personal computer 15 years ago. There is cars that is tuned by simply connecting a small memory card to a computers and upload a new software to the card. Insert the card in the car and there you have 50 more horse powers and things. Everything around us is things that they only dreamed of in the 60’s when watched “Mission Impossible” and “Star Trek”. Voice controlled computers, face shifting apps in the smart phones. The technology is everywhere also in the everyday, close-where-you-live shop. When going to shop the food for your dinner you go to a shop, pick what you need and goes to the exit to stand in a line and wait until you can put your items on a conveyor belt and the person at the till, the cashier can take your items and move them in front of a scanner and get a *blipp*.

Since long have the natural way of thinking stopped. The *blipp* is a sound of the brain melting. When my mother was working in a till in the 70’s she had even a crank to turn the till if it was a power cut. She punched in the amount on buttons and pressed an “add” button. A huge mechanical noise made is sure that it all worked. Now days there is panic in the eyes when the *blipp*” goes *blooop*. Think, use the brain. Do not rely on the electronics.


Now to make life even more faster and “be able to give us more service” they have designed and installed self-service tills. That must be one of the worst ideas so far. Why? Well here me out on this one.

What is the benefits of self operated tills? Speed? Price? First speed, those machines is great when they work. First you have to activate the machine. Then put a bag on a plate, if you dont want to use a bag then press that button on the touch screen. If you like to put down the items somewhere you cant since the machine complains instantly. Then when sorting out that matter, you have to scan the items *blipp*, milk, bread, butter, *blipp*, *blipp* and *blipp*. A bottle of beer to the steak *blooop*. Then a sign appears, “please contact the staff for help, you must verify that you are old enough”. Now my blood pressure is getting up. The man from the staff comes and presses a secret combination on the screen and flashes his special card. Then its all done again, now for the veggies. Bananas, put them on the scale and find the category for fruits, the search for bananas. Press banana symbol on the screen. After that you are done, now select way of paying. Credit card, cash, any coupons, discounts, any headache well press that button to. Press button for getting a lift, here is a button for ordering nice weather for tomorrow. After paying you are done, now you can get on you way home.

Here is my point. IF I am supposed to manage it all by my self, why is there a regular till behind me? IF I am supposed to manage it all by my self, why should I pay the same price as if there was someone sitting behind a till and doing this job? So in short I am paying more for the food because I do someone else’s work. I am not employed by the supermarket. There is people standing around with their flashy cards to help people that wants to buy beer.

I rather stand in line and have a person working at the till. If I where to use the *blipp* machine then I want a discount for using it.

Now there is  a third way! Home delivery, on internet there is a few sites that offers to pack, and deliver the food home to your door. In no way a aid for older, sick persons. No, everyone can use it. Here is the small catch, its cheaper than the supermarket. AND the drive the items home to you. Of course a bottle of milk and a loaf of bread is not cheep. But if you shop once every 14 days or even once a month. There is big money to save. After all in this modern times, time is money. You have to think of the time you spends in a supermarket shopping, standing and messing with a machine, driving/carrying the items. Versus having a man driving the times home to you. The last alternative is cheaper and better.  Having one van driving food to 20 people rather than having 20 cars driving around. I think that’s better in every aspect.

Call me Captain Cynical but, I cant stand those machines that goes *blipp* But there is no escape for me. I have to join them instead of fight.