post This Caledonian Life

February 20th, 2008

Filed under: Scotland — mat @ 12:01 pm

I listen to This American Life a lot. I’m what’s known as a ‘time shifter.’ That is, I subscribe to the podcast and listen to it sometime after the actual broadcast. For me, that usually means on my laptop as I cook or on my iPod on the journey to or from work. (more…)

post Watching out for buckshot

February 19th, 2008

Filed under: Food,Scotland — mat @ 1:04 pm

Two weekends ago we purchased a coney (better known to most of you as a wild rabbit) at the Edinburgh farmer’s market. It’s been cooling its heels in our freezer since then, until this evening. (more…)

post The neighbo(u)rhood

February 16th, 2008

Filed under: Scotland — mat @ 1:15 am

Central Edinburgh is laid out and considered along the traverse of busy, touristy Princes Street. North of the street are New Town and Stockbridge, where we made our temporary home last month. To the south lie the Castle, the Old Town, and a long sprawl of neighborhoods and villages all the way up to the Pentland Hills. The neighborhoods along the east and west ends of Princes Street, which is less than a mile long, are (quite surprisingly) known as the West End and East End. (more…)

post The flat

February 16th, 2008

Filed under: Scotland — mat @ 12:21 am

I recently had a go at Edinburgh letting agents for their single-minded adherence to sensible working hours. The practical consequence of all this 9-5 M-F-ishness was that the fellow stepping into his new flat this past Friday evening had never seen it before. Orla had done virtually all the apartment hunting whilst I loitered with the Picsies. (more…)

post The Enforcers

February 14th, 2008

Filed under: General,Scotland — mat @ 11:54 pm

Yikes! Word to the wicked: don’t try to sign up with a British cable provider until you’re sure your TV license is uo-to-date. In Britain, unlike the U.S., TVs are licensed, the funds of which go to support the BBC and (I imagine) other slushy money bits that the politicians require. We were aware of this fact, but it hadn’t occurred to us to ask the letting agency whether our telly was currently under license

It was something of a surprise, therefore, when two jack-booted, baton-wielding thugs (more…)

post Market forces

February 10th, 2008

Filed under: San Francisco,Scotland — mat @ 10:39 am

This weekend’s move went off reasonably smoothly, and we’ve even discovered a free wi-fi accessible from the front of the flat (though not the back). There is far too much to say about this weekend to possibly fit into the brief format reasonably expected in a blog, so I’ll leave the description of our new home and neighborhood for a future post and confine myself to a subject I know will interest several of my friends: our first visit to a Scottish farmer’s market. (more…)

post Eastenders

February 9th, 2008

Filed under: Scotland — mat @ 12:52 am

Today we begin our move to our new (and hopefully permanent) address in Edinburgh’s East End. One practical consequence of this move will be spotty telecommunications over the next few days, until we get our Virgin media package sorted out. So my next post will probably be in a few days’ time. All services should re-commence by the middle of next week. Cheers!

post Anniversary

February 7th, 2008

Filed under: San Francisco,Scotland — mat @ 12:27 am

Today marks 11 years since Orla and I met. Astute readers of this blog will recognize that this also marks the first anniversary of the day we hatched the “Scottish Plan.” And the comparisons are in many ways more applicable than the contrasts. (more…)

post Skype tales

February 4th, 2008

Filed under: General,San Francisco,Scotland — mat @ 12:35 pm

Sunday 4:45 a.m. the phone rings. No, not the phone. It’s Skype. The call isn’t unexpected, but it’s about 15 minutes early. Bleary-eyed, we stumble out of bed and vaguely assemble ourselves before answering. On the other side of the digital mirror is California, Saturday 8:45 p.m. and a sea of familiar faces welcoming us into their party. Welcome indeed. Welcome to the world of straddling two time zones through the demi-miracle that is Skype. (more…)

post The wind that shakes the building

February 2nd, 2008

Filed under: Scotland — mat @ 1:16 am

I don’t plan this to be a blog about the weather, but today* had even some of the Scots taking notice. Rain and snow, buffeted by 50 mph winds, made the thin walls of our office building quake worse than the last tuna at a sushi chef convention. (more…)

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