Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Secret Garden

An arched gate prevents Alien Wally from accessing one of the many leafy gardens reserved for residents of the New Town tenement buildings.

Monday, 29 September 2008


Ok, so it's only a seagull. It is however making it very difficult for a certain eagle to maintain its splendour. Alien Wally is pleased to observe these indignities are not reserved only for those chunks of stone in human form.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Scarecrow or Scaremags?

Alien Wally is not sure if the intention of this old tyre is to scare off the hundreds of crows that crowd the back field, but it sure is effective at scaring Mags whenever she catches a glimpse of it out the corner of her eye, when it appears as a man with hands on hips peering down the hill into the dining room.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Doors Open

As predicted, Alien Wally and Mags did manage to get inside the Mansfield Traquair Centre, and this is it:

The murals were painted by Phoebe Anna Traquair shortly after the construction of the church, and are now maintained by Mansfield Traquair Trust.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Mansfield Traquair Centre

Before Alien Wally and Mags moved out to the country, Alien Wally would cycle past this building every day to work. Since he no longer cycles that route, he wandered down at lunch today. The church was completed in 1885, however has since been deconsecrated. Alien Wally and Mags hope to see inside soon during one of Edinburgh's "Doors Open" days.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Goblin Ha' Hap Happy Birthday!

No laughing matter, the Goblin Ha' Hotel is actually named for the Goblin Hall, the remaining chamber from an old castle built by an alleged magician a couple of miles outside Gifford. The Goblin Ha' Hotel's restaurant is also notable for being the venue at which Mags celebrated her eightee.. um, her twent..err, her birthday yesterday.

So, altogether now, Happy Birthday Mags!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Just Shades Of Grey

Giraffes aside, Alien Wally actually quite enjoys the grey cloud that ever so occasionally cloaks the skies above Edinburgh. He didn't realise just how many shades of grey there could be before moving over.

He would like to point out that while this picture was taken at lunchtime, the exposure was set to show the detail in the cloud rather than the foreground, so no, Edinburgh is not yet this dark at lunchtime!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

North Berwick

Alright, so day 3 of North Berwick, Alien Wally couldn't come up with a picture during lunch, and was too busy stripping wallpaper after work. Here we a have a view looking west back toward the town.

Monday, 22 September 2008


Another picture from North Berwick - with Bass Rock looming in the background.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Wurrrm Cast

Oh the idyllic country life, where even the wurrrms that inhabit the beach leave behind romantic heart-shaped casts. Alien Wally and Mags visited North Berwick beach today when they read that the sun was due to make a rare appearance.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Birds On A Wire

A few of the hundreds of crows that inhabit the area around Pencaitland.

Friday, 19 September 2008


As you may recall, remember to look up when in Edinburgh. The Theatre Royal Bar, next door to the Playhouse, seems to be covered in flowers all year round, a splash of colour amidst the grey buildings and grey sky.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Autumn Leaf

This may or may not be the first leaf to drop from the tree outside the MacNoodle house this season. Either way, it bodes.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Windows on New Town

As one walks up the Royal Mile, various narrow alleyways branch off to either side offering glimpses of the city beyond. Correctly timed, one is able to get a picture through one of these windows over the city just as the sun peeps through one of the windows in the cloud cover.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Big Sky

When the clouds inevitably roll across Edinburgh, they're generally pretty low in the sky. Occasionally however, they fly past at a higher altitude, giving perspective to the sky and making it seem even bigger.

Alien Wally took this picture about a week ago, while out strolling with Mags after work. What isn't captured in this scene is the 5 minutes of cursing that followed as he fought his way back out of the bed of thistles which formed his vantage point.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Fence Sitter

The contempt just radiates outward. Alien Wally knows that most of it is directed at him, however he's pretty sure that some is reserved for the wet grass. With the Outside having received a good soaking, one is reduced to balancing on the fence in an attempt to keep one's fluffness dry.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Yum Yum

Thanks Maw 'n Paw Wally for the awesome bottle of Chardonnay, yup, Alien Wally and Mags have kept it on ice since January, but figured one month into their new home was cause enough to celebrate!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Storm's a-comin'

Although it might look like it, it's probably more a case of storm's a-leavin'. This was the view from just outside Pencaitland, as Alien Wally was on his way home from the station.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Don't Blink

When strolling around Edinburgh, always remember to look up, otherwise you may miss out on half the sight-seeing.

It may also be well to remember not to blink!

Thursday, 11 September 2008


Alien Wally could have done with a seat himself, but there's only so much time at lunch to get out, grab that picture and get back to the office.

This is a view across Princes Street gardens toward Old Town, with a tiny glimpse of Arthur's Seat behind the Tron Kirk's spire.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Street Opera

Scruffy buskers, bashing out tunes on old 5-stringed guitars? Not in Edinburgh! No, in Edinburgh you have to dress up a bit, and make yourself more appealing to the upper classes that throng the Royal Mile. How about some Opera?

Alien Wally would love to be able to tell you which aria she was singing, but then he's not quite one of the upper class, no, he was listening to some scruffy busker on his headphones.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

New Town - Old Town

Alien Wally found himself walking past the National Gallery around 19:00 this evening as he headed up to the Royal Mile for a work-related whisky tasting (what commitment!). This vantage point gives one a good view of New Town and Old Town, linked by the North Bridge.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Scots Bere

For the record, Alien Wally is not a farmer, however the barley in this field looks different to what was growing out back.

A wee bit of googling reveals there's such a thing as six-row barley, called Scots Bere (which may or may not be pictured here - see above disclaimer). This would have been the traditional barley grown in Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries, however nowadays two-row barley is predominantly farmed in Scotland and put to good use in distilleries around the country.

Since Alien Wally is mildly interested in what happens to these grains after they're harvested, he read a bit further to find that six-row barley is mainly used in the production of bourbon in the USA (along with a few other types of grain). Of course, the casks used to age the bourbon can only be used once for bourbon. They are then sold to Scottish distilleries who use them a few more times for aging their own two-row-barley-whisky. Alien Wally doesn't quite know where he was headed with this, except to say that people never seem satisfied with what's on their doorstep - even Glenkinchie distillery trucks malted barley down from Inverness because they weren't happy with the malt produced right on their doorstep.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Another Day, Another Sunset

One upside to all this weekend's rainfall has been the amazing sunsets. This was taken yesterday when the sun went down in a true blaze of glory. So incredible were the colours that the camera was given a day's rest to recuperate.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Weekend Weather

After a week of fairly decent weather, things have turned nasty for most of the UK. While this should have meant Alien Wally and Mags had plenty of time to spend indoors stripping wallpaper, they managed to find an excuse to head out and look for bedroom furniture instead.

Friday, 5 September 2008

The River Tyne

No, not the one south of the border, this is the River Tyne that flows through Pencaitland. Admittedly this picture was taken on the Autumn stroll a few days ago, Alien Wally not quite getting round to taking the camera out of its case today.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Edinburgh Skyline

Unsurprisingly Alien Wally ended up on Calton Hill again today, but the sun was shining and it was warm, and with this view of Edinburgh's skyline, who can blame him?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


They thought they would never have to see a scraper ever again after redecorating their house in South Africa, but it was not to be. Alien Wally and Mags are back at it, this time stripping wallpaper.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Calton Hill Tourists

Alright, so it's another picture of the National Monument and Nelson's Monument on Calton Hill. The fact is Alien Wally works round the corner from here, and it makes for a great lunchtime stroll. 

Monday, 1 September 2008

Autumn Stroll

Strictly speaking the first day of Autumn, although the green foliage is having none of that. Alien Wally was off from work today, in a bid to keep the disease and pestilence to himself rather than spreading his cold around at the office. He managed a very sedate stroll down to the river and back before having to retire.