A Greggs Drive-Thru – A surprise in Clydebank, Scotland

They must be doing something right here, as it seems that Greggs is going from strength to strength.

Right now, there are about 14 of these in the UK, and they no doubt have intentions to open more. They, to me surprisingly, started 80 years ago in Gosforth, near Newcastle; and now have over 2,000 restaurants in the UK.

My partner in crime suggested that it would be new to go here, and so we did. The menu is the same, the shops though, being purpose-built, are more spacious and seem brighter and fresher than those you would find on the High Street.

Not that it was important, but I chose a chicken baguette that was simply fine and at a much cheaper price in a “normal” sit-in restaurant.

And though we parked and sat outside, the number of cars / trucks that used the drive-thru in the 20+minutes that we were there, was astounding.



Tips in Restaurants? Is it out of control now?

I had a recent journey to a mid-level café / restaurant in the West End of Glasgow, and immediately noticed that the prices had increased significantly (above).

It seems like the days of having a lunch for under £10 are simply over with, but it just wasn’t that; they also had a tip added to my bill, whether you liked it or not (as I saw no disclaimer indicating that it was voluntary?). It was ONLY 10%, but it seems that the precedent has now been set and I eagerly await when the 10% becomes 15%, and so on, and so on, etc. Something that has happened across the pond in America the last few decades.

In addition, during a trip to my local gym recently, I came across the video below whilst on the treadmill:

This, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_fMkXHYh6c, was a very fine critique of this phenomena and how some, if not many, are now simply fed up with this tradition. As well they should be(!) with now takeaway workers at a your local drive-in fast-food joint in America, now demanding them!

In addition, it’s not just the above video, but I ask you to go to YouTube and do a search for information on this topic; your results will come up with a myriad of different videos relating to this very theme.

My own opinion that has served me for a long time, is that tips should ONLY be optional, and the new system of adding these to your bill automatically, especially when they have not told you before, is simply outrageous and should be immediately banned by parliament.

I don’t make tips on my online job and neither do I expect them.


A walk around Moulin, just north of Pitlochry in Perthshire Highlands

As I am actually part-living here in the Highlands nowadays, it’s giving me the opportunity to do more “things” here, without the need of hurrying back down to Glasgow after each trip – what a relief!

First, forgive the photos as I had set the camera to the RAW format for some reason, and then had to convert to JPEG.

Moulin is basically a sister “city” to Pitlochry just to the north, and is a wonderful wee walk to go around the north side of the town, whilst walking around the periphery of it. There is also a possibility to use this path to walk the nearby Corbett of Ben Vrackie.

What is interesting here, is not only the Moulin Hotel, but the attached brewery.

It wasn’t open at the time of our Sunday walk, but is during weekdays. I’ve had the beer in the hotel bar, and it’s well worth the effort to come here.

Following on from here, we went west and then headed a bit south, with us winding up in the Pitlochry Golf Club restaurant. I thought it would be empty – it wasn’t! (Ed; Is there anything else to do here on a Sunday?) – How dare you! Of course there is.

What I found quite interesting here, is not only that the course was 18 holes (I thought it would only be a 9 hole course), but that it also has a 6 hole pitch & putt course, that is ideal for children or for people who wish to work on there short game; something that is quite progressive and something that I feel golf must do, to make the game more accessible these days.

In addition, I noted from an information board that Pitlochry was once called the “Switzerland of Scotland”; this was something COMPLETELY new to me!


Tomintoul, Highlands, Scotland – A quick hot chocolate

I’ve been here in Tomintoul before several times; one after seeing a cheap deal on Wowcher or Groupon, and the second time, when I did the Speyside Way with friends, and used the youth hostel here for several nights accommodation. Well worth it!

Whilst there in the youth hostel, I was told that not only did the village have many more people years ago, but that it was a Gaelic speaking one. He also noted that the pronunciation should be, “DAW men dowl”. Finally, he stated that many of the existing houses are now AirBnBs, and the village tends to come to life in the summer when more people are living there.

It’s an interesting place, with not only a distillery for Tomintoul whisky just before the village, but it also has a very basic, grid street system.

We came here for a quick hot chocolate after seeing that the hotel we had stayed at years ago, the Richmond Arms, was not only open, but was advertising their wares with a street sign.

I noted that the village square is still there, and has a “designer” hotel, a village shop, pub restaurant / hotel, The Glenavon, and a tourist info / museum building, that provides much needed info on this area.

For those interested, there is the nearby Glenlivet Estate (yes, the same name as the whisky!), where a myriad of activities take place.


Kids? Families? Should there be flights only for Adults?

Naturally, everyone should have heard this before, but there was a recent Tiktok post, where in my opinion, an obnoxious, rich, American, sitting in first class, bemoans the fact that at times people ask her to swap seats in order to be by their children or families?

Really? In first class? And that’s why I did not really take this so seriously, as it seemed that Ms Peters, was merely rubbing it in, that she had enough dosh to afford first class to begin with.


At the time, the above video had over 900,000 views, with the blogger, an Audrey Peters, toasting the camera with a glass of champagne or Sekt. Her caption read:

“when a family asks me to switch seats on the plane so they can sit together”, followed by a raised eyebrow emoji.

The video now has over 175,000 likes; so apparently she has struck a nerve somewhere.

But I take her point.

But just how would this work, if there was ever to be be flights for “adults” and flights for “families?

Several observations:

  1. At times, this is exactly what we have already, where flights at school holidays are almost exclusively for families.
  2. What if you booked only for adults, and then later added children? Would they be booted off?
  3. Would there be a very strict vetting process, presumably based on passports, so that the age restrictions would be stuck to?

Since I started to do this post, I’ve come across an unbelievable amount of websites, blogs, rants, deranged anger, etc – all about this type of topic. And it is always divided into two parts:

  1. I hate kids!
  2. You don’t have children!

You’d think in this day and age, we could have some form of tolerance – nope!

So a solution; let there be a list of passengers with their ages, that is constantly updated, with seat locations, so those in Category 1 (above), can choose seats / flights.

Secondly, let the airlines have completely segregated flights, where there are indeed, age restrictions – one for families (and children), the other for adults, and let the market work.

I know many would not want this, but I’d believe the two above options would still be in the minority of flights, and hence the vast majority of travel would still be what we have presently.


Yes, you can ski in Scotland – A trip to The Lecht ski resort, Aberdeenshire

Since living in Scotland the last few decades, I’ve only been skiing two or three times, the last at the Glenshee Ski area in north Scotland. The snow was a bit wet in late March, but the skiing at the top was perfect and it was sunny.

Ditto that for a recent trip this month to The Lecht ski area in northeast Scotland. Whilst I am still recovering from a recent illness, the other half took full advantage of the conditions (and it seemed that EVERYONE in Aberdeenshire also did!); the place was packed!

The conditions were sunny, slightly windy, with a temperature of about 0 – 2 degrees – perfect.

I stayed predominantly in the café; a typical, dreadful one, with the usual suspects of food – stale sandwiches, God-awful chips, and something that looked like chili? And with a side order of a queue of 30 minutes, as there were only about two people serving & cleaning, I had an awful time. Though when I finally found a seat with my egg sandwich, I was just fine.

As I get annoyed just so quickly nowadays, I noticed the typical behaviour of dreadful families, who only consisted of two or three, who were not only hogging a table for eight, but had also brought their own food! I naturally was furious; but PLEASE patrol this Lecht staff, as it is completely not on!

With more snow falling in north Scotland whilst I write, who knows, maybe in the next week or two, I’ll do some sliding.


3 alternative hates in a café / restaurant in the UK –

1) Doors that are left open –

This is infuriating, it seems that this always happens; even when it is cold outside.   The owner simply always has to get up (usually from behind the register or serving counter), if a polite and gullible customer hasn’t, in order to shut the damn thing! 

You hear the noise from outside, and most definitely feel the cold weather (especially if there is a cold wind); this makes me furious!   Please, either make a better door or fix the one you that you have – this is all totally uncalled for.

The picture above, shows one such door in the Scottish Highlands, where during a recent visit of about 30 minutes had to be attended to at least a half a dozen times – this is just not on.

2) Butter packets that are as hard as a rock!

This is another one that I hate, as you’ve just been handed a great British fry up, and when you try to spread this stuff on your toast, it disintegrates as if a bomb went off!

Why do they do this?  It is just SO easy for them (the café) to have this pre-warmed so that it’s actually possible to use it!

My remedy is that the tea pot that I’ve ordered with my breakfast is where I usually place the butter on or against, so the butter is at least manageable to use.

3) Filthy Salt and Pepper Shakers:

I regularly use both the salt and pepper, but first of all, I always look to see if their lids are closed, and then normally clean the tops.

They’re simply always disgusting!  And yet another reason to think just what the café owners / restaurateurs are doing during the day?  It does NOT take that much time to do this; to make sure that the tops of these are tight and that they have been cleaned in the last decade – exasperating!


Train trip to Budapest – Glasgow, London, Paris & Zurich – Part 3 – How are the trains / night train?

The Zurich to Budapest “old school” night train

We originally took the train (Scottish Sleeper) from Glasgow to London. I must say that this one has improved recently, with a massive investment for new rolling stock.

Equally, inside, the train was sleek and clean.

From there, after a two day stay in London (will blog later), we went with the train to Paris, with the “trainport” at St Pancras being similar to any airport departure lounge.

The Eurostar trip was incredibly fast, and after a little bit over two hours, we were there in Paris, at the Gare du Nord. The train was clean, spacious, and it was easy to find the restaurant car!

From here, after one night (will blog about this later), we used the TGV to go to Zurich (below). What a train! Extremely quick, with little to no noise. And there was even enough space for my bags (at least in my opinion!).

A mad dash in Paris, to get the TGV to Zurich

And man, did it fly! I can’t remember, but I thought it said its speed was something like 361kmph? Though the photo is slower.

Amazing. And plenty of enough space for baggage, though I must admit, I went First Class on this leg.

It was also no problem to have some food on the short journey of about 2+ hours. Also talked football with the kitchen staff (it was the World Cup afterall).

From there, we were in Zurich, but for only a short, two hour stay (more later). We boarded (below) the night train to Budapest. As above in the very first photo of this blog post, this train was from a time long ago; I loved it. I was only in Zurich for about 2 hours, but would like to return (below).

The train’s sleeping compartment was completely old school! There were actually 3 beds there, and the ceiling was quite high. In addition, they delivered us a small breakfast the next morning; tea / coffee and rolls. Which is what I expected.

I must say, it was rather a rough ride. I always sleep better sitting for some reason?

The beds were very comfortable and communication / attitude of the staff just fine. They spoke a strange German so it was not a problem to communicate, so I did not speak too much English. I wouldn’t think that this is a problem for the non-German speaker.

I can only say, that compared to the MUCH higher cost of going on the Orient Express; I preferred this!


Musical End of Year Awards – Hanging Stars, Juniore & the Asteroid No. 4

I shouldn’t really do this, as there are just so many opinions on music; but here I go anyway.

The scene now is worse than ever, and until the “charts” are based back on sales, rather than streams, with the accompanying corrupt marketing campaigns, and utterly corrupt algorithms that the major streamers use, we’re fucked.

But here I go. . .

Album of the Year – The Hanging Stars; Hollow Heart

The Hanging Stars, once again put out a very listenable, neo-psych, country, pedal steel heavy masterpiece; probably their best yet. Thoroughly modern, thoroughly retro. As John Peel said years ago about The Fall, “always different, always the same”.

Single of the Year:

A tie! Between that horribly, irritating TUI advert song, that was in my head all year, and is undoubtedly older than 2022; Juniore, Ah bad d’accord

And the always listenable Asteroid No. 4, and their change of scene, into a female-based synth pop sound, with Set Your Sights:


November Eurotrip Part 2 – Budapest again- The Gellért Thermal Bath

Amazing in all reality!

I’ve never really seen anything as opulent as this, with it NOT being a hotel, museum, or footballer’s mansion.

Yes, I’ve been to thermals /saunas before as they’re called in Germany, but this one had a key difference; you had to wear clothes! What a relief, and also it was completely indoors, as the outdoor pool was closed (It was freezing anyway.).

The baths from the outside

What must be said, is that we did this in a tourist, old-fashioned way – we had no towels and decided to go to the venue to buy tickets.

Please buy online, as the place can quickly become very busy (I believe that they limit customers at busy times of the day.). In addition, BRING YOUR OWN TOWELS! They do NOT rent them, so we had to buy two “deluxe” ones, at 30 euros each! What a rip-off!

Two more shots of the interior

Obviously, we have no pictures of the indoor pools, but there are plenty of those on the website links.

I will say, there was a very mellow vibe here, not a lot of noise, very respectful patrons and a lack of English speakers.

Final montage, note the “buy online” sign

Finally, there were families here, all ages, tourists, and everyone seemed to get on with each other. As for the price, I thought it was only about £10 to get in. We went there on a Tuesday afternoon, and there did not appear to be a time limit for your stay. Unlike this country, where a gang from the Stasi would inspect your ticket, and repeatedly warn you that you had to be “oot” at 3:30.