Sunday, 31 August 2008

Village Entrance

Returning from his short drive into the farmlands, Alien Wally stopped to capture the village entrance, or one of them anyway.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Hay Ho

Alien Wally has decided that since indicating at the start of the pic-of-the-day series that he reserved the right to post older photos, this should also give him freedom to post forwards in time as well. He will take this picture tomorrow evening, when he realises he still hasn't taken a suitable photo and hops in the car to remedy the situation.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Waverley Station

Alien Wally has been catching the train to work for the last week. A short ten minute ride every morning takes him from a fairly rural, two-platform station into the heart of Edinburgh, where a slightly more grand twenty-platform station awaits.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Local

There are many walks around Pencaitland, most of which hold the promise of a reward at the end.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Flood Waters Rising

Actually, Alien Wally and Mags have nothing to fear, the bridge that links Wester Pencaitland to Easter Pencaitland has been there since 1510, and while last week's heavy rain did cause the river to swell significantly as shown here, there was no risk of flooding.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Dishwasher Screensaver

When Alien Wally and Mags left their flat, they were forced to leave the landlord's dishwasher behind. This now means that they're forced to look at this view while toiling over the dishes.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Harvest Time

Farmers don't get weekends, and so bright and early this morning the harvester came for the barley. For those of you who checked the timestamp embedded in the image, 11:00 can be considered bright and early, especially on a Sunday morning!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Wester Pencaitland

One of the many walks around the village provides this view back toward Wester Pencaitland. The River Tyne divides the village into Easter Pencaitland and Wester Pencaitland, with MacNoodle's house situated in Wester Pencaitland.

Friday, 22 August 2008


Alien Wally and Mags were so keen to see Glenkinchie distillery that they arrived there before opening hours this morning. Since it's less than two miles away, they turned around and walked back home vowing to return at a more respectable hour.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Backyard Barley

Today's picture was actually taken a few days back, but since the fields behind MacNoodle's house aren't going anywhere in a hurry, Alien Wally reckoned he was justified in posting it today.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Village Church

After a week of unboxing, Alien Wally and Mags finally venture further afield from their house. Almost half a mile away they found the village chapel - dating from the 16th or early 17th century.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Books On Wheels

Like the icecream van, just maybe not as exciting for kids. The library arrived outside the MacNoodle's residence this afternoon, and Alien Wally and Mags were able to sign up and get library cards. How cool is that!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Night Time Game Viewing

Now that they live out in the wilds, it's time for Alien Wally and Mags to start keeping an eye out for Great Britain's Big Five. Here's one of them, caught this evening out hunting.

Fearless and ferocious, it came ambling past the house, quite unfazed by the two soft-skinned pink blobs who could have reached out to touch it, were they not afraid of the nasty pointy teeth, and needle-sharp spines.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Wherever You Are

There's a friendly Spar wherever you are, as Alien Wally and Mags have discovered. After living just up the road from a Spar in Lakeside (Cape Town, SA), they find themselves living just up the road from a Spar in Pencaitland (East Lothian, Scotland).

Saturday, 16 August 2008

The MacNoodle's Back Garden

Strictly speaking not part of the property, however MacNoodle will definitely be staking a claim. This is the view out the other side of the house, taken from the bedroom window. Mags is hoping for potatoes in the farm field beyond the trees, but Alien Wally suspects barley.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Sunset Maltings

The view from upstairs in MacNoodle's new house allows Alien Wally to keep an eye on the first step of the whisky making process.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

5 Star Luxury

As an oasis to a dying man in the desert, so is this sleeper couch to Alien Wally. After a full day and half a night moving, it is time for lights out. Does it matter that this is the middle of the lounge? No. Good Night!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

St Andrew Square

Alien Wally and Mags seek a tranquil scene after leaving the bank having just made the most expensive purchase of their lives to date.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

High Street Fashion

Fashion and Alien Wally should never be mentioned in the same sentence, however even he has to wonder if perhaps this is taking the idea of platforms a bit too far?

We’re Moving To The Country

For some of you this is old news. Others may be wondering why Alien Wally allowed his music collection to be boxed up over the weekend. ‘Tis true… after many months of searching, Alien Wally and Mags found themselves a hoose, as well as a solicitor patient enough to answer their many queries regarding the Scottish property system, and a bank willing to throw money at them in the midst of a credit crisis.

Along with said hoose comes a garden for the MacNoodle and adjoining farm fields (not for the MacNoodle per se, but which she will appropriate as hers in due course as is Madam’s wont). Yes, folks, Alien Wally and Mags are moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches drink a lot of whisky. Did they mention yet that Glenkinchie Distillery is a neighbour?

Another neighbour is the Local Laird, to whom Alien Wally and Mags thought they had pledged their serfdom under the Scottish feudal system when they read the following single sentence gem of legalese in the title deeds:

“CONSIDERING that we are about to feu off the said subjects in separate lots for erection of dwellinghouses and relative offices or other buildings and that we are about to execute in favour of feuars feu Charters or Feu Dispositions and that it is proper and expedient to set forth and declare the various reservations, real burdens, conditions, prohibitions, declarations, obligations and stipulations incumbent respectively upon the proprietors and prospective purchasers, and that in order to avoid repetition ad longum of all such reservations, real burdens, conditions and others in each of the feu rights, conveyances or other writs to be granted by us or our successors we have resolved in terms of the powers conferred by Section Thirty Two of the Conveyancing (Scotland) Act Eighteen hundred and seventy four to execute these presents so that the said reservations, real burdens, conditions and others may (in so far as applicable) be imported by reference to these presents into all feu rights, conveyances or other writs to be hereafter granted by us as aforesaid or our foresaids as well as into all conveyances or investitures to be hereafter granted of or relating to the same by a reference or otherwise to these presents Do therefore and in virtue of the said Act Hereby PROVIDE, SET FORTH, and DECLARE but that without prejudice to the addition in specific cases of further reservations, real burdens, conditions and others or to the real burdens and conditions, if any, already affecting the said subjects…”

Stop! Stop that! Did you get that? Alien Wally and Mags didn’t. Luckily, before they had purchased their pitchforks, sackcloths and ashes, their solicitor informed them that the feudal system had been abolished a few years ago and their dwellinghouse was indeed theirs to, um, dwell in, without any conditions. Well, apart from a lifetime of slavery to the MacNoodle, that is.

Monday, 11 August 2008

The Queen's Back Garden

No, Alien Wally is not snooping through the back garden looking for tabloid pics, he is on a legal track that runs around the back of Holyrood Palace. He also suspects that the Queen has finished her Summer visit to Edinburgh, which would make sense since Summer itself seems to have finished with Edinburgh.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Boxing Day

CDs, check. DVDs, check. Cat, check.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Royal Mile Madness

The festival is in full swing, Alien Wally's daily meander has been routed via the Royal Mile to take in some of the random street performances.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

The Nor Loch

After yesterday's rain it seems the Nor Loch may be making a comeback.

Getting Tattooed

Despite the dogged determination of certain folks to cling to weather stereotypes (note, certain folks who have never actually ever been to Scotland… y’all know who you are!), it doesn’t rain all that much in Edinburgh. The city is an ecosystem unto itself and its weather will often behave in ways completely contrary to what is happening outside the boundaries of the city bypass.

Rain is a sporadic visitor, usually arriving seemingly spontaneously and unannounced – the brilliant blue sky clouds over in about thirty seconds flat, followed by a deluge that lasts for about ten minutes maximum. Thirty seconds after that and all signs of rain are gone, leaving one standing under one’s umbrella beneath the sky that is once again a brilliant blue, nonchalantly trying to convince passers-by that South Africans actually use umbrellas in the sun. For shade. Duh.

It is very rare that rain settles in, makes itself at home and stays long enough to establish squatting rights. In fact, in Alien Wally and Mags’ year and a half here, they hadn’t yet encountered such persistence of wetness. Until now. Until the day on which Alien Wally and Mags went to see the Tattoo. Since tickets were booked last year sometime, the rain had plenty of advance warning to replenish stocks and prepare for The Wetting.

But… let’s not talk about the rain any more, shall we? Let’s turn our attention to the Tattoo instead. So, how was the Tattoo? It was wet spectacular. It was wet colourful. It was wet rousing. All the regiments taking part were wet brilliantly choreographed, although the Norwegian King’s Guard were probably the wettest best performance of the night. The audience was wet supportive. The audience was wet in good spirits. The audience swallowed rain water by the bucket load cheered and clapped loudly.

Lesser people than Alien Wally and Mags left early. Wimps. The many Scots in the audience stayed till the bitter end, as did Alien Wally and Mags with their Scottish heritage. There are many things that can be said about the Scots and their taste in music, but the only one suitable for polite company is that they shall endure. E’en tho’ the rain may fall, and trickle into places unmentionable. Yea, e’en as the Royal Mile turns into a river, and sodden clothes add a few kilograms to the weight that cold numb feet are dragging back home, they shall endure.

Their cats, on the other hand, know when to stay home under the duvet cover.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Ah, but is it art?

Even though Alien Wally had a day off work today, he was still too busy to capture a suitable photo. However, with all this newly acquired kultcha, he feels able to confess that he did indeed stumble around after Mags in the Gallery of Modern Art a couple of weekends ago.

The classical exterior to the building, erhrrm, belies the daring and audacious works presented within. Works that include such treasures as "a-long-list-of-names-of-people-i-think-i-met" and "photo-of-me-with-sticky-tape-stuck-to-my-face".

Monday, 4 August 2008

Festival Proper

Today was the official first day of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with the Royal Mile oozing artiness from the very cobbles themselves. It was up to Alien Wally to absorb as much Kultcha as he could during his lunch hour, we all know he needs it.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Union Canal

Mags and Alien Wally have lived in Edinburgh for over a year, but clearly still have a lot to discover. Alien Wally had no idea that the Union Canal reached so far into the city. Snaking over and under roads and railways, at one point it crosses 18 metres above the Water of Leith. Alien Wally cycled down to the canal today to check it out. He now declares the canal's towpath his favourite cycling route; in no way influenced by the flatness inherent in the canal's design.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Third Person Paranoia

Alien Wally captures conclusive proof that there is someone watching him from behind.

This confirms what he has suspected for a while now, that there is someone watching him, and reporting on his activities, even as he is writing about writing about writing about them in this blog.

Friday, 1 August 2008

The Eye of Google

The Eye of Google now turns to the Kingdom, as Alien Wally manages to snap a retalliatory picture. Seen here, one of Google's fleet of street-view cars combing Edinburgh for hobbits.

Note: Since Google is respectfully blurring registration plates, Alien Wally felt it fair to reciprocate.