Edinburgh’s Lights

Edinburgh Lights

60,000 lights, 26 arches, 19 metres high, 25 days, twice a night, that would be Edinburgh’s ‘Street of Light’

Set to a background of synchronised choir music which changes each performance, this event is luring tourists and locals out to see what it’s all about. A predicted 250,000 people are expected to attend. Mum and I were two of those on Monday night. I very much liked Edinburgh’s street of light. Certainly begins the Christmas run up with a colourful undertone. Some pics, to show you, if you’re not in Edinburgh to share in its light.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Bit of an Aussie Christmas

Deciding I couldn’t be overly productive jobhunting between Christmas and New Year I hopped across Australia to visit my relatives in Brisbane. When I got to Brisbane last year, I found it pretty hot.  This year, not quite as hot as I remember, perhaps I am just beginning to get accustomed to this weather… :-). Christmas Eve a relatively cool 34 degrees, I sat in the pool watching the kids playing catch and enjoyed a beer in the sun :-).   Not feeling particularly Christmassy at all, a night helping prepare food whilst listening to Christmas songs helped me get into the christmas spirit and surrounded by the envelope of darkness outside, the warm inside temperature could easily have been mistaken for central heating!  ‘An Aussie Night Before Christmas’ by Yvonne Morrison read to the boys, reindeers replaced with kangaroos, the sleigh by a ute and with a sunburned Santa wearing thongs and a last word of ‘goodonya mates’ this story made me smile :-). Certainly a different story than the one I remember about mice and to all a good night ;-).

The morn of Christmas Day, I was woken by the sounds of the kids at 6am.  It started even earlier for one little person who so excited about Santa delivering the presents announced this to his mum and dad at 1.45am and then updated them at regular intervals throughout the night ;-).  With the arrival of Grandy and Poppa, we sat around the tree, watched the kids open their presents and shared our own gifts.   A very Aussie christmas, I received thongs, a beach bag and a sarong.  I actually love the sarong :-). Also given nail polish, you have no idea how exciting it is to now be wearing a new colour ;-).

Spending the rest of the day with friends of the family we ate arancini and sushi sandwiches, turkey and ham, king prawns and Morton Bay bugs, pavlova and banoffee pie and had cobb loaf for supper :-).  Warm but not as hot as last year’s christmas, we all jumped in the pool to cool off and had fun with the kids.  A nice christmas call from a friend, some plans throwing me off a return to Perth were discussed ;-).  Ending the night sleeping camp/dorm style sharing a room with the kids, my second cousin and her husband it was a warm christmas day night ;-).   Awoken early on Boxing Day by the kids and a very persistent fly, returning home, I lay down on my bed and had the most epic nap ever :-).

If I had a crystal ball to tell me how my journey was going to unfold, I would have been on my return flight home for Christmas… Who knows where that path would have led me… Spending it here, enjoying spending it with family, with some help with a direction, I’ve decided not to go back to Perth.  With friends in Sydney, I have decided that a New Year there can’t be all that bad and might just make up for not getting on that plane… ;-).  Life is indeed a journey and I think seeing 2014 in with a new background and new opportunities should be just the right start to the year :-).

One Stupid Moment…

I somewhat epically somehow managed to leave my iPad on a train…

Day one of realisation was filled with hope and positivity that some kind soul filled with Christmas spirit might have handed it in to lost property.  Day two, resigning myself to ‘it’s been taken’, my mindset changed to ‘there’s nothing I can do about it’… I know.  A year of travelling memories (thankfully photos all backed up apart from ones received from others which can hopefully be reobtained) lost in one stupid moment… All over the ‘find my iphone’ app, it was most unhelpful.  Dear Apple, ‘find my iPhone’ is not very useful on a passcode locked wifi only device. Unable to obtain any location settings, ‘lost mode’ enabling you to put a message on your lost device with your number  has been ‘pending’ until it connects to the Internet… Likewise for it making a noise to find it if it has just been misplaced.  Probably reset on Friday soon after I left the train I am pretty sure my message will never be seen… All – debate the merits of pass coding… There is of course a fine line between someone stealing your data and being able to track your missing device though… More effective I imagine for ‘stolen’ and being aware of it than losing it and not realising for a significant length of time afterwards…

Surely you have all of this backed up though I hear you say…? I know you are not going to be impressed with me and probably surprised at my ineptitude on this but I genuinely have no idea if any of this is… Being out of the country and away from my laptop, it hasn’t even been connected to itunes to sync it. I know it was getting expensive to buy more storage as my memory allowance in icloud ran out.  Why offer a 25gb plan if you sell a 32gb tablet?  I have worked and been able to pay for this but I fear that my last memory of icloud backup is one of switching it off in Hamilton thinking I’ll fix this later then totally forgot about it… Until now.  That was eleven months ago… I just assumed it was on.  I am now not so sure… To have this all magically reappear in front of me on a new tablet doesn’t seem such an expense now… I might yet get a pleasant surprise when I eventually buy another tablet and connect it with my account but I will be waiting for the kick in the teeth… No ipad and no back up… It is one thing to lose an ipad.  To lose one that you could have had backed up to the point of a couple of days ago is a whole new ball game… A very frustrating one…

Ever the optimist though, I am sure there are worse things to lose.  At least this is all engrained in my memory.  That at least can’t be taken away.   Maybe some things it has noted are best forgotten about.  My journal only backed up until the 12th December, the timing of this is significant.   The run up to Christmas much harder than anticipated, I am most hopeful that a turn in my luck is finally on the cards… Maybe it’s time for a new beginning… Always a lesson to be learnt, this one is going to be ‘pay special attention to iPads near trains and that money spent on backing up is ALWAYS going to be money well spent…’

Please don’t fall into the same mistake.  With new ipad ownership over christmas i’m sure, please:

  • Ensure you have an icloud account.  Also ensure that icloud backup is on in your settings
  • If you require more storage than Apple lets you have, just buy it
  • Ensure that ‘find my iPad’ is on in your settings list

Some points to consider:

  • If you have a passcode lock, on a stolen wifi enabled device, find my iPad will be rendered useless.  Not only will it not know where it is, the function for it to make a noise if you have just misplaced it also requires Internet.  Lets hope you misplace it in an area with wifi…
  • Do not immediately change your Facebook password if your ipad is taken.  There is an accounts setting called active sessions that will tell you if the app has been accessed anywhere else.  Check this first then change it.  Not the other way around…

A Christmas Seat To Savour

A Seat To Savour

There is currently a memorial called 'A seat to Savour' in Perth's cultural centre in tribute to those in Western Australia who have died in road accidents in the last year. Who will not make it to Christmas lunch. One hundred and fifty four seats surround a long table at its centre. These seats represent the people who have died this year. Western Australia has the worst fatality rate of all Australian states. I walk past this table everyday. It is guarded by security guards 24 hours a day… To stop people taking chairs, plates, forks or knives. A hard task I imagine at midnight on a Friday or Saturday night. I have chatted to more than one of the guards. They find it a hard thing to watch but it will be there 24 hours a day until christmas to serve as a memorial and a reminder to drive safely.

As a Scottish person, used to cold, snow, frost, ice and darkness, it very much does not feel like Christmas. Christmas for me is being wrapped up in a big winter's jacket, many layers, gloves, hat and scarf, your breath appearing in front of you as you walk through Princes St Gardens and browse the German market; perhaps ride the big wheel or go ice skating. To meet your friends or family at the dome and have a club sandwich and look at the Christmas lights. To have to walk to the end of your street to get the bus into town because you can't get the car out of the drive due to a foot of snow! That keeps falling every time you clear it! For it to be warmer inside than it is outside! To smell the warming scent of mulled wine on a cold winter's eve. To have Christmas Eve Eve celebrations. To visit family friends on Christmas Eve. It is one of the only times of the year I will make it to a church… Stopped by a woman in the street the other day, she asked what christmas means to me. I didn't even have to think about this. I wrote snow and family on her board :-). What does Christmas mean to you?

It took until today for the symbolism of this memorial to fully sink in. To realise that many people around the world and in other circumstances will not make it to Christmas lunch. Many who i'm sure would be more excited to see it than me. It has served as a humbling reminder that two family members will not be sitting at any Christmas table. That Christmas this year for some is going to be very hard… For other family members they will be sitting at a different, new table for the first time! Starting a new christmas story. I have been genuinely touched at the offers of christmas tables I have had. Who is sitting at your table this year…?

A Seat to Savour at Christmas

Christmas!!

Seeing the kids excited about Christmas was nice. Reminds you who it is really for. Now understand why people bought me and Lou the same presents!! Fun day had with Tony's relatives, eating, drinking, Secret Santaing and playing backyard Olympics. Was introduced to the wonderment of Cobb loaf – amazing!!

Nice to relax and enjoy listening to Jess Harlen sing and play the guitar. Reflecting on the way home, it was the first time I panicked that I didn't know what I was doing here and had maybe been too hasty. Blaming it on Christmas!! A skype session with the family helped and I was reminded I had a present to open! A txt from Dave reassured me with the words “Just embrace the uncertainty! Far better to wonder what you're doing in Australia than to be bored in rainy Scotland!!!” A point well made!!