15 April 2010, Thursday
Travelled to Avonbridge (home of Brian and Linda Martin – “Bradlin”) which is located between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The village of Avonbridge is near Falkirk (Sandra lived there). Look at this Google map for a reference.
Drove into Shieldhill and met Brian Martin’s brother (Ronnie) and family. The name of the business is called Moreland and Martin (http://www.morlandandmartin.co.uk/index.html). Willie Moreland did not remember Sandra and had to be reminded it was her.
16 April 2010, Friday
Stayed home today – not planning to go out. Brian Martin still not here – held up over the volcano eruption in Iceland – planes not flying – airports in UK are closed until the dust cloud dissipates. This the view from the study.
Went to Hopetoun House (http://www.hopetoun.co.uk/) after lunch.
17 April 2010, Saturday
Brian Martin is still not home and is being held up by the volcanic ash that has clogged the skies over Europe. Stayed home for most of the day and decided later to go out for a meal of fish and chips. Had haddock for the first time (not bad). Could not resist trying two of the local ice cream flavours. The sun goes down very late in this part of Scotland; hence we went exploring looking at some of the places that Sandra stayed at. We saw her parents home, her own home in Lauriston and Sandra even managed to say hello to her pal (Barbara). Sandra had to tell her who she was.
18 April 2010, Sunday
We hope to meet Brian Martin at 4.00pm at the Forth Bridge. It has taken him 5 days to get here from Azerbaijan (west of Uzbekistan) via Frankfurt, Calais, Dover, Heathrow and hire car to Forth Bridge, Scotland.
Bought two Sunday papers today and had a long conversation with the shopkeeper (very interested in everything Australian).
19 April 2010, Monday
Raining this morning. Brian Martin got back on Sunday. Good to have him here as he will supervise my driving until I gain confidence to do it myself. Linda and Brian Martin have provided a Renault station sedan for our use. I don’t want them out of pocket so I will be arranging additional insurance cover in case I or Sandra or someone else bingles the vehicle. Hopefully that will not happen. Brian thinks the Perth drivers are more courteous that drivers here in Scotland. I am of the opposite view.
The plan is to go into Falkirk this morning and see why the 3G dongle does not work. I suspect it is the range. If my view is correct, the dongle is unlikely to work in the north and south of Scotland if we are outside of the towns. Anyway, wait and see.
Doug Sturrock lent me a book on Churchill written by Martin Gilbert. Heavy going but I am enjoying it. I love history and being here to see history all around you is very special.
Drove for the first time with Brian Martin supervising! The road rules are essentially the same but you do have to be careful with the speed of the vehicle. Brian and Linda have kindly provided a Renault 7 seater with manual gear change. Very nice bit of engineering (I never thought that I would have something nice to say about the French). Drove into Falkirk and managed to get the dongle working at the supplier. Unfortunately when back in Avonbridge, the dongle range is just outside the envelope. Brian suggested we try the dongle within what he believes the envelope is for the 3G dongle to work. I hope the bloody thing works when Sandra and I go off by ourselves.
Bought a hands free Bluetooth for the Renault – £20 – not expensive and that is what worries me – will know later if that works.