Sunday, December 17, 2017

It’s started, or rather I have finally…


The writing of the annual family letter, the reception and sending of Holiday Greetings, Christmas Cards or whatever else anyone may chose to label them!

I missed last year entirely thanks to a bad bout of flu in between Christmas and the New Year that lasted well into 2017 so this year am making a serious attempt – note that word “attempt” to at least send those who have already sent me greetings, mine in return.

It was writing the first three that had me reflecting upon how good my life is, how wide my horizons and the depth of my friendships.

The first one was in French, the second in English, but when I wrote the third in German I had to realize that perhaps this order wasn’t random and that I was blessed. May you all feel the same.


Monday, December 4, 2017

I love the tax office!


Now that isn’t a sentence one hears often and this statement does need some qualification.
I should rather have said I love the Geneva tax office.

I have not needed to go down to the Hôtel des Finances often, but when I have I have
Always come away thinking only the very best of the people who work there, their competencies and the speed with which my problems are solved – and not once has it not been in my favor either!

Why though they call it a “financial hotel” I haven’t had a clue – no one ever stays, nor would one want to as the booths tend to be rather monastic, gray and blue grey, lots of rather styrofoam-looking ceilings and probably linoleum from at least 50 years ago so not make for attractive lodgings.

However, this is more than made up for in the smiles and helpfulness of those found behind the counters.

I needed to sort out my younger son’s 2017 tax declaration as when he officially left Switzerland the department of the population had transmitted that fact to the taxation office and they had sent a formula to be filled in that even I had a question on every other line.

In the end it turns out that one can be officially gone from Switzerland but still liable for taxes until such a point as one has a foreign employer and fixed foreign address (that was one of the problems – no fixed foreign address as he is coach surfing, Airbnb…ing and the like). They “divorced” the information from the population control from their system, took back all the forms and the tax declaration and will send them to him as normal in January.

This was very good news indeed making things much simpler all the way around, so after perhaps all of 15 minutes spent there I walked out with a spring in my step and love in my heart for the Geneva Tax Office.  Too bad that I don’t have the same warm fuzzy feelings for the IRS!

Items taken to the tax office - the envelope was full and returned empty!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It’s started or…


Help – it’s way too early

I received my first Christmas card yesterday before I have even gotten around to considering writing any myself.

OK this is perhaps a reply to my on-line Thanksgiving greetings and the friend who sent is leaves around the 12th of December and won’t be back home until after the holidays.

I must say I admire her – especially as last year my Christmas letter never got written
at all: flu just after Christmas that lasted 10 days just wasn’t propitious for letter-writing and by the time I had caught up and recovered it was more like Easter!

This year I shall have to try and do better so let the cards roll in, that will perhaps stimulate my reciprocation. 

Still, a Christmas card in November? 

But I sure did enjoy this first one - gets me in the holiday mood so bless you J for being even more organized than I.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Enough already or…


How many more days will be labeled?

Black Friday,
Small Business Saturday
Cyber Monday and now
Giving Tuesday

If one goes to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Black_Fridays) the number of “Black Fridays” boggles the mind, the latest of which is of course a selling mecca. Most people don’t even realize that the reason for it is the captive audience in the USA of those who have taken off the Friday in between Thanksgiving Thursday (I can coin labeled days with the best of them!) and the weekend that follows giving the retail industry the ideal opportunity to sell, sell, sell.

Cyber Monday. Again, according to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_Monday, Cyber Monday was created in 2005 as a marketing tool to incite consumers to shop online in the USA. It too has spread to the rest of the world. Why, oh why, must we copy everything the USA does?

Giving Tuesday: a movement created to somewhat counteract Black Friday and Cyber Monday, although in my mind, simply another marketing tool https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giving_Tuesday


And somewhere in all that I missed something that hasn’t been largely touted, Small Business Saturday! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Business_Saturday  Totally understandable of course as small local businesses haven’t the advertising power of the large companies!

So how about
Wicked Wednesday (you decide what is wicked),
Thankful Thursday (we could use that one every week – no need to sell or tout anything but love)
Or – the best of all – Simply Sunday, Serene Sunday, Celebrating Sunday.

Listen friends, get off the consumer bank wagon; get out and either take a good look at the world of nature around you or interact with other humans; live your lives and enjoy them and we won’t need to label the days.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The luxury of being elsewhere


There is nothing quite like a vacation. One chooses a city, a beach, a country, a mountain.
One studies up on whatever culture, subject or destination one has chosen and gets on the road having duly arranged for air or train fare or having decided to take the car.
There is the enjoyment of planning; the excitement of actually doing and finally the quieter pleasure in the memories and photos of any given trip.

I will never downplay vacations.

But there is better: there is – back when I was renting in the mountains – and with a very few select people - the luxury of being elsewhere.

Being at a friend’s where one follows one’s own schedule and desires (and those do take into account the host or hostess with many a pleasant hour simply chatting, cooking together etc.) knowing that one is allowed to be at home in a way that one never actually is in one’s own home.

No normal schedule: no cleaning a drawer, a cupboard, the refrigerator – so one happily enjoys doing the dishes or mopping the floor because one wants to, not because one needs to or “should”. Here it is simply “could if I feel like it”.  No tasks needing done, no niggling in one’s mind that one should call so and so; visit another; plan something with a child, etc.

Here one can be egotistical – walk to the beach? Hmmm think I will; lay in bed reading half a day, no problem; eat breakfast at 10 or lunch at 11, have dinner or not it’s all delightfully possible.

I love my life at home and would probably be bored should I enjoy this state of affairs too long nevertheless I will return so mellow that it will take days to get back into a “normal” rhythm and life. Who cares? I highly suggest and hope that all my friends can experience, if not often, at least occasionally the luxury of being elsewhere.


Friday, November 24, 2017

We’re the “dindon de la farce” or…


The fall guy, taken for a ride, the captive audience, the idiot consumers.

One recent morning I headed for the train station – fortunately early, which although it isn’t my want, worked due to a train at the most reasonable hour of 10 a.m.  First glitch: bus dumping us out two stops early due to “heavy traffic jams in the area”.

OK so it was a glorgeous day (combination of glorious and gorgeous) and again having sufficient time I decided to walk the rest of the way: through the park, over the main bridge, re-connecting with my city.

Duly arrived in the train station I went to the kiosk to buy some of my normal reading material – and couldn’t believe my eyes when the cashier told me CHF 6.80 for a magazine that had a CHF 3.40 sticker on the cover – and which I bought for that price last week!

You’ve got to be kidding
Doubled from one edition to the other!

I had her run another one – labelled the same – and got the same results. Her supervisor wasn’t there so I said never mind. Went to another kiosk only to find the same price.

Who are we kidding here? Do they really think that we pay so little attention to prices? Even I will no longer purchase these magazines at those prices and I will make sure that all my local English-speaking friends are aware as well so they might as well pack them back up and send them to the publishers – the market is dry for the duration.

By-the-way I checked: it wasn’t a double edition nor a Christmas edition, just someone deciding that gouging the customer was fair.

Funnily enough the third glitch wasn’t one: they were saying that my train was 18 minutes late – good thing I didn’t take them at their word as we left only two minutes late. Oof lunch in Valence was safe.

A recent edition of Woman's Own that I bought for CHF 3.40

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Clean as a whistle or…

It would have been useful to have been a beer drinker!

After four days of a non-residue diet (and my mean non-residue or absolutely nothing that might stick to one’s ribs at all!) I was ready for the great event: a colonoscopy.

There is some question as to the origin of the phrase “as clean as a whistle” or “as slick as a whistle” but it was what came to mind after processing that last 2 liters of prep and 1 liter of water!

Some say it refers either to the ease of producing a whistle or to its clear tone.
Others that the basic idea suggests the clear, pure sound a whistle makes, or the slippery smooth surface of a willow stick debarked to make a whistle. But there is also a chance that the phrase may have originally been 'as clean as a whittle,' referring to a piece of smooth wood after it is whittled.'" (From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997.)

What it has to do with cleaning out one’s intestines I don’t know, but that is definitely how I felt going into the exam.

Good news: a five-year reprieve by which time I may (note the emphasis on MAY) have just barely forgotten the process.




Monday, November 20, 2017

Out of the blue…


Literally, as it had to make its’ way across the ocean from one continent to the other
and metaphorically as totally unexpected.

Not many things in life are as good as a letter from a wandering child.
This one was special and will be treasured.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

A great rainy day or


How to entertain one’s self when the weather finally turns gray and one has been accustomed to sun.

 

We have been spoiled this year by a lack of rain and too much sun.  Now before anyone gets upset with my priorities, it must be remembered that one of my reasons for returning to Europe from the sunny California where I grew up was for the seasons. I love the mix and if I sometimes have been known to complain about the “eternal gray” only those of you who have lived a long time in Geneva, Switzerland will be able to empathize. There have been years when it turned gray at the beginning of November and proceeded to only be sunny if one had the odd January day where the cold wind blew: and that until the end of April.

However global warning exists even here in Switzerland (the glaciers are melting at record speed, ski resorts are trying to recycle themselves into summer activities and we now have many, many, more stores and office with air conditioning although it is still hard to get a permit for a private home).

Forgotten is the heat wave of May/June, but even the most adamant followers of the sun have begun to notice the lack of rain.  Lack that is during the week and on Saturdays as for 3 straight Sundays we have had rain.

Faced with yet another Sunday of drizzles, one needed some new ideas and here is what I came up with: take a good friend, meet around 10:00 for coffee in a different place from the usual; proceed into town to a museum (all of the city-owned ones are free except for the special exhibits and there is certainly enough to explore to cover many a rainy day) – this time the Museum of Art and History near the Old Town. An added advantage was the fact that there was street parking near the museum alleviating the necessity to pay for parking.

My favorite Hodler: The Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau

"L'Orage"/ The Storm -Alexandre Calame - 1839

Have a leisurely lunch in Carouge: we chose La Bourse and had delicious steaks with rucola salad and parmesan chips – accompanied of course by a decent red wine: sigh – they were out of the Pont de Soupirs so guess I will just have to return. Split: one to visit a house-bound friend, myself to visit a very good friend and neighbor in the hospital. Back home to check on e-mails, write this blog, watch a bit of TV and enjoy a relaxing evening.

Not only a great rainy Sunday, but simply a very good day as well.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Splitting hairs or


How retirees have fun.

I have a reputation, not always deserved, of being on time.
In fact some of my local friends swear that one can set one’s clock by my
Arrivals – to the point that once when I was a quarter of an hour late one particular
Friend sent a text message to find out if I was o.k.

Yes, simply stuck in traffic.

Today I had lunch programmed with this particular friend (also those of the
“best hamburgers in the world”!) and the lady of the house requested that “exceptionally” I not come until 12:15 as she had some errands to run and did want to be home and prepared
when I showed up.

To this I replied that we could even make it 12:30 as I was not always that rigid.
Loved her answer: o.k. 12:22:30 it is.


I had to finangle a bit to make that work, but I was ringing the doorbell at 12:22 and some seconds.

This is how we-who-no-longer-work-for-money entertain ourselves.

By-the-way the burgers are still every bit as good as touted in my original blog

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Portal, scan and a pat down...


Home, sweet home
Portal, scan and a pat down: bye bye Edinburgh. Thursday and I was going home (some of the English languages best words). I was so tired the night before that I had a hard time going to sleep.

The Castle of Edinburgh as I left the city
The trip by foot down the hill to the bus stop was much easier than I had anticipated; the wait not long (maybe 5 minutes) and the bus fairly empty, the ride fine. At the airport EasyJet has it down to a science: you weigh your own luggage, scan the boarding card whereupon the machine issues a luggage tag, one then rolls one’s luggage to a portal and a real person checks the boarding card and ID. No receipt issued.



Ah, but security more than made up for that ease: I went through the portal, which promptly rang so in turn I got to go through the body scanner – also rang – and led to a pat down. Was it the bar in my arm? No one seemed much concerned – maybe my nails have lead in them.

Made my way to the departure zone, looked at all the stores – now mainly whisky so didn’t buy anything. Went out the East wing as well and finally settled on a Cappucino with an extra shot of espresso and a “Cheddar Cheese Ploughman with Branston Pickle on Malted Bloomer” (read a cheese sandwich on brown bread). Ate half before they announced a delay of almost an hour in the flight’s departure. Good thing that I was going home!

The time did finally roll around but there was a gate change – went there only to find a UA flight. The board posted “gate change awaiting” and although it also posted “go to the Easy Jet App” that wouldn’t load. Is this fun yet? Again though – I was going home so not much could dim my good spirits.

Scottish thistle - the country's "flower"


What a trip, what great travel companions so I'll leave you with the thought lettered on a pub in Inverness:

*Friendship is like Whiskey, the older the better. Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good Whisky is barely enough.*

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Fringe, Hub and Tattoo…


all rolled into one along with what seems like hundreds of thousands of tourists equals Edinburgh on steriods !

Fringe - the world's largest arts festival!

 Slept the sleep of the righteous – or the dead tire and it was actually my alarm clock that woke me up at 7. Had to go find breakfast as none in my arrangement there – sigh. Had gotten used to the wonderful Scottish breakfasts. Actually if the truth were known I was not very happy to be in a big city. Weird that.

I walked in the correct direction stopping for a cappuccino (good) and a scone (not quite so good if not downright not a scone!).  My travel companions texted that they were on their way so I went on down and walked up the hill towards the castle. 

Castle of Edinburgh with stadium seating for Tattoo

It was only when I logged on to the Tattoo wifi that I found out that I needed it to receive WhatsApp messages. We finally did re-connect with each other around 10h00. I had meanwhile done the souvenir store near the castle. When we connected we went back in and spent too much time there as by the time we went back to the castle (which opened at 9h30 and had basically no lines) the line was way too long. We proceeded to head for the Bobby statue down at Greyfrair’s then into the church grounds and cemetery. 

Greyfrair's Bobby

Most of the churches here charge £2.00 for taking pictures – hmmmmm….. We had gone past the Elephant coffee shop where the first Harry Potter book was written and since G wanted to eat there and none of us had had much breakfast we went at 11h30 before the crowds.

The Elephant House

As the sign says...

Afterwards we continued wandering down the Royal Mile dipping into stores until we arrived at Holyrood – the Queen’s residence in July. It was 15h30 so only time to take in the palace itself and gardens. It didn’t take much imagination to see the Abbey ruins as a whole building nor the “palace” as living quarters. I was actually rather awed to be walking where the Queen lives at least a month of the year! Had a Prosecco and a third of a polenta cupcake with lemon icing. My was that delicious in the castle coffee shop. 

More than one interesting sight on the street

The Royal Mile

The castle - a special camera setting

Holyrood Palace

The Abbey

The world's best cupcake


After having walked all the way back up the Royal Mile and finding the store that I wanted to re-visit inaccessible due to the arrival of the Tattoo participants, we
(or rather I) decided that we should look for a restaurant down on Rose Ave. walking down the hill near the Museum. £55.00 got us two great salads (Caeser for G and a “Rosehip” one for me with greens, artichokes, pine nuts, croutons both black and white, and grilled chicken – scrumptious – and Fish and Chips for M who for the first time was so tired that he didn’t finish it). I treated them and gave G her two cards and a book about Mermaids and other stories from Orkney and both of them a wee Orkney desk calendar. Walked back to the Novotel and got some cheddar (ok 4!) on the way in a Sainsbury.

Knew that I had a voucher at the hotel for having them not make up the room so enjoyed a Prosecco down in the bar before yet again tumbling into the last night of hotel or B&B beds. This travel is hard work!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Back to minor snafus...


and some lucky breaks as well.

And back on the road headed for Edinburgh after a normal breakfast. But first we walked back into town, went to St.Mary’s where I took pix of yet another Via Croci (in ceramic this time). Back to House of Fraser for a wee bit then across the bridge to do a couple of souvenir stores as G was looking for a t-shirt for a grand nephew. 

Flowers at the Park Guest House

One of many stone statues at the Park Guest House

St.Mary's in Inverness, the first catholic church to be built when Catholocism was again allowed
Back to the Guest House to pick up the car and go to the Botanical Gardens (floral hall as the owner of the B&B said) as I didn’t really want to walk it.  

On the road and on the way down – saw a sign for other gardens so took off then couldn’t find them but never mind we came across the battle fields of Culledon (Lord Cumberland (English) against a Bonnie Prince Charles Stuart (backed by the French) – the battle between the Jacobites and those loyal to the English. Inadvertantly went in the back way so didn’t pay the £11.00. 
 
Culloden
Walked around a bit then continued on to the Cawdor castle and grounds. Had lunch first – I took the carrot and coriander soup with a cheddar cheese scone. Since they didn’t allow backpacks in the castle, my pockets were full and I had my sweater and scarf around my neck, my purse and camera slung across my chest, and my jacket tied around my waist (originally misspelled that one "waste" in a probably freudian slip) with the black backpack folded and stuffed in it.  The Cawdor castle was very well laid out – even a dungeon and more tapestries than I have seen in a long time. It belonged and still is inhabited by the Cawdor family.
 
Entry to Cawdor Castle

Motto

Great gift shop but not really enough time as M had told their Guest House that they would be there by 17h00.  

Then of course we ran into traffic slow downs on the A9 due to roadwork so they had to call and let him know that they might be late. Turns out that he is leaving. Now one would think that he would have told them that at some point! Oh well. It may mean my having to negotiate getting to my hotel with my luggage on my own later this evening. Time will tell. Also know that my roaming days run out tonight at midnight and that the new ones won’t start until Aug.10 so no more looking up routes, fares and the like unless I want to spend a small fortune.
Will be glad to be going home as am now tired of rushing.

Sevral hours after planned we finally arrived at their B&B and they negotiated getting the key (their phone bill is going to be awful as they have had to use it several times) around 18h30 then we set off to find my hotel. Had decided to do dinner literally whenever we saw something, but most likely after my hotel as I didn’t think there would be anything on the outskirts where we were. Got lucky and saw a grill on the left side as we were traveling so a left-hand turn further down and we went back.  I had a great burger and they split a Caeser salad and a pizza. Our waitress had an accent so I asked where she came from – Hungary. On to the hotel which we had trouble accessing. G had seen it off the freeway, but the GPS showed weird directions and we overroad them – to our sorrow. on the third try we managed to finally arrive at the hotel where they proceeded to offer me the same conditions, if I would go into town. I looked at her and said "but I can't make my friends drive me into town then back out to there place here on the outskirts" to which the receptionist replied, "no, no, we'll order and pay for a cab". She did a good sale’s job so I took it and arrived at the Novotel in the city around 21h30. Getting more and more tired. Room anonymous and of course not really in the center of town – getting to a tram or the Airlink bus tomorrow is going to be a challenge. 

I could go back to the other one for the last night, but that would mean taking my luggage and storing it for the day so am seriously considering simply taking a cab – regardless the costs. After all I haven’t spent what I brought as after the credit card snafu I charged as much as I could instead of using my cash. 

The bed in any case looked beyond blessed, as by then I was truly tired.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Re-entry into a more modern day…


and return to the Mainland
Day 6 of the Scottish adventure

We had agreed to meet at 8 down in the breakfast room, but I was a few minutes late – enjoying the wifi so much! Mick of Bankburn Guest House is so funny, then two other chaps came in so conversation was lively. I had chosen not to face scrambled eggs again as they had yogurts and oats, etc. but as we were talking she mentioned the local bread specialty of “bannock” made with bere flour (apparently only grown on the island of Orkney – a six-headed stalk instead of barley’s two) and cheeses so that is what I had. Ah ambrosia: mature cheddar and another smoked something and they even hauled out the pickles. 

Breakfast at the Bankburn Guest House, St.Margaret's Hope

A great change before heading back to Kirkwall to explore the museum and cathedral before having to take the ferry at 14h00.

Parked in a public car park near the Visitor’s center and started off. Several lovely souvenir stores that we explored then time was flying so headed for the museum where, yet again, we spent too much time. I finally suggested splitting and meeting in front of the cathedral – at noon. 

The Museum is in the Tankerness House

Good thing, because I discovered the Earl’s and Bishop’s palace. Didn’t have my ticket of course but walked around – Watergate – then the cathedral. 

One of the old towers
 
The St.Magnus Cathedral founded in 1137
The St.Magnus Cathedral was originally part of the Archdiocese of Nidaros (Trondheim) in Norway and when Orkney became part of Scotland in 1468, it was given to the people of Kirkwall by the Scots king, James III. More information http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/stmagnus/magcath.htm
One of many headstones, this one to a virtuous woman who died Nov.2, 1694

The town's original stone cross

Shrine to the 833 men and boys lost on the torpedoed HMS Royal Oak in 1939

Tapestry given by the Hordaland council
In Norway upon the commemoration of the 850th anniversary of the foundation of the church: The King of Norwary presented it to her Majesty the Queen Mother on August 19, 1987.

Coming back down I realized that there were shops to the right so did a quick re-con before rushing to the church to at least see the inside. Wow the dates on the tombstones! Took several pictures then it rang noon and out I went to meet my travel partners.

We then went back down my shopping street, enjoyed lunch at the Pomona Café.  We split again as time was very limited. I only had time to “do” the gourmet Orkney store next door. Prosecco kit, cheese biscuits and a cookie for on the ferry. Ran almost back to the meeting place and still didn’t beat them: too much to see, I must return.
 
green hills and lochs, flows, bays, broughs and the like

leaving Orkney

World War II gun emplacements

The wake created by our ferry much ressembles the sky

Settlements along the way to John O'Groat's

The drive was lovely with yet again beautiful scenery. A half hour out of Inverness G absolutely had to go to the bathroom so we pulled off where they thought this great mall had been… nothing. At the end when we were almost back on the freeway we u-turned and went to a – for want of a better description – your typical freeway stop. Not knowing when or where we would find dinner we had it there - not the world’s greatest meal, but truly the only not-quite-stupendous one of the trip. Then continued on to our Park House Guest Hotel and the same rooms that we had had four days earlier for the night. They were going to stay in so I walked to the river and along. “Did” Fraser’s and didn’t find anything, but felt good for having looked.

The "castle" of Inverness
 Is in fact not a castle at all! This one was built in 1836 upon the site of many former castles who's rich history encompasses Mary Queen of Scott's and the Jacobite uprisings. It was destroyed by Bonnie Prince Charles http://www.britainirelandcastles.com/Scotland/Highland/Inverness-Castle.html

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

More history and time travel on the Island of Orkney


Day 5 of the Scottish adventures
The bay in the morning light
After yet another wonderful breakfast in the conservatory this time we packed up, paid and got back on the road for another full day of touring. 

Crossed the barrier roads again and stopped to take picture at the second one that somehow we had missed the day before (low tide?). 

sunken ship, one of several

The Churchill Barriers

Then a stop at the Italian Chapel – one built by the Italian Prisoners of war that is the only relic of Camp 60, Italian POW  captured during the North African campaign who were sent to work on the Churchill Barriers. The story is one of cooperation in between the locals and the POW’s and has become one of the most visited places on the island. https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/the-italian-chapel-p253741


The Italian Chapel

Inside: this is plaster on two tin quonset huts

Yet another bay and beautiful hill

Then on to the “stones”:
First visited the Stones of Stenness and the village (Barnhouse Neolithic village) next to it before backtracking to go to the restroom in Stenness – the Maeshowe attraction with shopping – yet again. 
 
part of the stones at the Stenness site


shelter from the wind; shelter from the sun

The Barnstone "village"

Loch of Harray by the Stenness and village ruins


The play of light on water was always beautiful
We then returned to see the Ness of Brodgar  - an ongoing archeological excavation – they have only discovered about 10% and that was followed by the Ring of Brodgar with its’ many stones up on a hillside. Time for lunch we set off towards an address of a restaurant, but G saw the Standing Stones hotel so we made a u-turn and had delicious tuna sandwiches there quickly as we had a 14h00 tour of Maeshowe.
https://www.visitorkney.com/https://www.visitorkney.com/

 
Ness of Brodgar


Surely a more recent "find" - sitting on one of the stones around the back

One of many standing stones throughout the island
For Maeshowe – a burial place – we were bussed out to the site then let in by the guide with explanations.
The Maeshowe burial site - no pictures allowed inside.
Took about an hour after which we were no longer in the mood for old stones or old anything. Returned to Kirkwall and headed for the Tesco where G and I went shopping whilst M had a nap in the car. When we went back to the car from our shopping he was sound asleep so we walked into the center of town and did a lovely souvenir store. Wanted to do the cathedral but saw a small museum and since it was closing time decided to return in the morning.

The St. Magnus cathedral founded in 1137

Tower near "Watergate"
 Back to our new quarters – the Bankburn Guest House ( http://www.bankburnhouse.co.uk/ )– no one apparently around so we simply walked in and put our stuff in our room, had the bottle of beer that G had bought with the Mermaid label and some of the cheese crackers that I had bought for cocktails then went back out in search of dinner. Mick’s wife recommended the Murray Arms restaurant in St.Margaret’s Hope so that’s what we did. Without reservations we had to eat in the pub – never mind. Had 5 starters and two desserts between us. I had the scallop soup and the fried cheese. Scrumptious. Back “home” I discovered that we really truly have wifi!
Part of St. Margaret's Hope
 Made the sunset as seen from the huge (albeit communal) bathroom even more splendid.