15 April 2010, Thursday
Drove into Falkirk. Walked through Marks and Spencers. Car park is underground and Linda took the opportunity of having her Mazda detailed. There is no real street parking in Falkirk and people are forced to use paid parking. Had lunch at a bar/restaurant and used GBP 20 to pay the bill. People are very friendly in Scotland particularly when they hear an Australian accent. Bit of a surprise to get used to pounds, shillings ands pence. I have forgotten all of that since Australia was converted to decimal in 1966. 

Went to 3G bought a dongle in Falkirk. Does not work where we are living in Anonbridge, Stirlingshire, a few miles from Falkirk. The coverage afforded by 3G is not great and I suspect that is the same for most country areas on the edge of the town envelopes. Met a guy from Nepal in a shopping mall in Falkirk. He sells mobile phones and told me that he wants to work in the hotel industry. Took a job in Scotland because he could not get a visa to Australia. The only thing he does not like in Scotland – the cold. He was connected to the internet using his own 3G dongle. We were in the middle of Falkirk but the dongle took forever to connect to my website. 

Wore the Gortex jacket for the first time and needed the warmth. The wind is really chilly.

Visited a park called “Dollar Park.” Sandra remembered it from her childhood and spoke of her Dad taking her there to look at the lion statues at the entry. The lions are unique in as much they have a ball in their mouths. Dollar Park used to be a private estate and the old house is certainly magnificent but it has not been maintained. Imagine a family owning the house and the surround gardens (now the park) in its heyday.

Callendar House is located in Falkirk and has quite a history. Magnificent building which was once a private estate. Can be found on the web – www.falkirk.gov.uk/cultural

This is one of the lakes in the estate and they have white swans. I suspect that the swan (you can just make out at the end of the image) is a descendant of the one that attacked Andrew Miller when his Mum took him to Callendar House for a visit.

19 April 2010, Monday
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.