Random stuff.

Since when did a Unicorn become the national animal of Scotland? Really. It was a question on QuizClash and my playing-partner-in-crime had the same WTF moment. We both did the same thing. We Googled it and right enough, there it is:click here to find out why.

Now come on. Surely a Haggis makes much more sense. At least it exists! The only problem is the left legs don’t have as much meat on them as the rights ones, but hey, tasty none the less! Unless you put them in a seriously alcoholic marinate, they can be quite chewy.

You might ask yourself, why the left leg has less meat. It’s simple, they go round the mountainside anti-clockwise. There. Today is a learning curve.

As I was zooming (at 70-ish) down the motorway the other night on a rather manky Smoggy, I was wondering who the bright spark was at Nissan. The one nissan-cuberesponsible for designing THE ugliest vehicle I’ve ever clapped eyes on. The Nissan Cube. Even the name makes you think of something square-ish. I mean, did Nissan launch a competition for kids? It’s the kind of thing you would draw if you were playing Pictionary (great game) under the influence of a post-Christmas dinner pint of port. Get. A. Grip.

I know. Some of my readers will be gasping at the use of the ‘C’ word. It’s the only description that I can use to identify JUST HOW MUCH PORT you would need to possibly draw that.

So, now I have got rid of the elephant in the room, I can carry on. The weather’s changed again, Winter is here. The trees are displaying the last of their seasonal colours. All we need now is a big breeze and ‘flump’ all the leaves will be off the branches.  Damp leaves or bloody larch needles can give you a bit of a fright if you’re not paying attention. Little cunning micro-climates hidden in the shadows can make your ride unexpectedly invigorating! So, it’s time for thermal under layers. The snow appeared on the peaks a few weeks ago. We have had a smattering of snow at ground level too. That’s enough of a message for me. Where’s my Gerbing jacket? On the coat pegs at the back door? Nope. Cupboard? Nope. Bedroom? Why would it be there? Nope. Much head scratching. I’m sure it should be handy, albeit the garages are still a bit up in the air…. then I remembered. It was in my top box, where I’d left it on Sunday. DOH!

Two thermal layers, Gerbing jacket, bike jacket. I feel like a trussed up turkey. Cosy, but makes doing blind spot checks a challenge. It feels like I’m wearing a neck brace and for winter riding my technique has to change somewhat. Involving a bit of shoulder interaction. Warm as toast though, that’s what matters. Now with waterproof Daytona boots, I’m sorted. Don’t forget though, you may be wrapped up all cosy, but the roads can be pretty slippy – so take care and ride to the conditions.

I’ve been doing some food hygiene training down at The Balmoral Hotel in November. I was honoured to receive a tour around the hotel and also was invited back a third time to do a last workshop for a couple of hours. It was a bit odd working in Edinburgh. A lovely hotel, a fantastic group of staff – and I was very well looked after by Andrew, their Development Manager. What it did bring back to me was how relieved I am not to have a career in that part of the trade! I don’t miss it. Training at The Balmoral? No pressure then. I have to say I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The group was a variety of front of house and chefs. Lovely to work with All chocolate! knowledgeable people. The deluge of information is backed up with a load of homework. Some are struggling, some will breeze through. It’s fairly normal. There’s language barriers and time to contend with. That’s normal too. One thing you can’t do is ‘blag’ Intermediate Food Hygiene. I wish my students well in their exams. The best part of my visit? The breathtakingly stunning view from 7 floors above our capital city. Lovely. Also lovely was the Halloween display. It was all chocolate:

After my training day, dinner was a bit of a surprise. All my usual haunts were closed so I went somewhere that I’d never been: Hewat’s, which is just down from the flat. It has always looked too posh, however, I took the plunge. The surprise? I used to work with the owner in my younger days at The Sheraton. What a good blether we had, remembering walking the floor in room service. The food was fantastic too. Be warned, the chef likes butter. Nom nom. I look forward to going back with Ed. Cheers Margaret, it was great seeing you.

Glenuig InnOur most recent trip out was to the Glenuig Inn on Ardnamurchan. Ed and I went up there last week and had a great visit. A lovelyGood Morning progressive ride on the bike on quiet roads. Heated suit turned on. We got there late afternoon and had a bowl of soup – mmmmm. We had called the owner in advance because we wanted to see his heating / recycling / food waste system. Food waste goes into a dryer. Dry food waste is put into the wood burning hopper. A simple version of clever ideas at this energy efficient Inn. Thank you to Steve for the tour-aboot and to Karen for the blether afterwards. We had a thoroughly good evening and some very tasty food. I didn’t share much ice cream with Ed – it was too good. The next morning, it was bitterly cold (see top tip about being cosy and the roads being slithery) however, it was one of the most stunning runs you could ever wish for. We took the Arisaig road back to Fort William from Glenuig. Spectacular doesn’t even do it justice. Mirror-like reflections on the water. Scotland at its finest, that’s for sure, where else would you like to be?

Ewan & JimOther news? The lovely Ewan McGregor came to visit the business with his Dad, Jim. Next week we go on holiday to California and we are hoping to meet up and do some motorcycling with Ewan. You can imagine the size of my grin if that happens! So, California here we come and I will be trying to ‘blog as I go’. A new adventure beckons.





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