Friday, June 30, 2006

Scottish Banknotes - another rant!

I visited Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, Yorkshire yesterday, and went to buy a sandwich for lunch in the League of Fiends shop.

I handed over a fiver, and as soon as the assistant saw it she paused and referred to a notice posted on the wall behind her head which read "We do not accept Scottish Banknotes - they are not legal tender and are easily forged"


She wouldn't take it !!! Luckily I had an English tenner. I said "What? That's the biggest load of shite I've heard in my entire life - if that was the truth then the economy in Carlisle would grind to a halt!" I appealed to the people behind me, who all stared ahead blankly not wanting to get involved, and probably not even knowing or caring that Carlisle is in England.

"It's not me who makes the rules" said the woman behind the till; and of course I found my calm space and realised that not only was she right, she's probably a volunteer so certainly doesn't deserve me mouthing off at her...

Anyway... I was a bit mad at this notice being factually wrong. I can understand people not wanting to accept banknotes they are not familiar with for forgery reasons - people who see these notes regularly know that there are three Scottish banks who print their own and they keep redesigning them; so it's very hard to get used to one image as being acceptable.

I bet there are people out there that don't even realise that the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank are separate entities! The BOS joined with the Halifax to make HBOS

Clydesdale Bank banknotes

Bank of Scotland banknotes

Royal Bank of Scotland banknotes

(The history of some of the images are described on that website too - interesting!)

I quite like these notes; but I can sympathise with people who don't. But to say they are not legal tender is not only wrong but for some reason quite offensive to me.

Oh and by the way, I'm English.

So... I looked it up. According to Wikipedia (hmmm open to challenge perhaps) :

Scottish banknotes are unusual in that they are not legal tender anywhere in
the UK - not even in Scotland - they are in fact promissory notes.
Indeed, no banknotes (even Bank of England notes)
are now legal tender in Scotland - although like debit cards and credit cards, they are still used as money.
How very odd. So, if English pound notes are not legal tender in Scotland, are there any shops in Scotland refusing English notes? God... can you imagine the chaos???

So although to the letter of the law they are maybe right, next time I'll offer to pay by credit card and see if they accept that ;-)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My Birthday!

It's my birthday today!

I woke incredibly early and opened all my cards and some of my pressies and watched some telly in bed - very decadent!

I can never decide what I want to "do" on my birthday. I obviously like to do something special but I can never decide what! Because it's the middle of summer there's no end of organised outdoor events, and the local paper this weekend showed it was nothing different this year. I decided to plump for an open garden near Penrith but never actually got there!

My folks brought a cake round, the one my mum always makes me, rich chocolate cake from the Be-ro book with chocolate icing - YUM!

But we decided to eat it later... went out and ended up going for Sunday Lunch in Eamont Bridge near Penrith at the Beehive Inn, very very nice and huge portions. Outside the pub there was a sign for the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre so we went to check it out and ended up watching a display and I got to hold Olly, a Harris' Hawk. When he was first brought out to us and let go, he zoomed off to kill a rabbit and the bloke had to go and fetch him and the rabbit back! In the picture, I think he's watching a worm.

After we visited the other birds, including a bald eagle, hooded vultures, a merlin, and several different types of owls (lovely) we left and drove just across the A6 to the Jersey coo farm, and had some coffee and ice cream, and went to talk to the calves.

It was about this time that we acknowledged the fact that it really was freezing cold for the middle of summer - checked the car and it said 12 degrees!

Then it was home to watch the remainder of the England v Equador second-round world cup match, which they won. Later we saw the Portugal v Holland match, very hilariously chaotic.

Of course, had some cake too

photos: Blokey

Friday, June 23, 2006

Castlebank Hotel - there's lovely

I had a business trip which took me down as far as Shrewsbury, then into north Wales. I needed a bed for the night so after drawing a blank with the usual large-chain suspects I plumped for the Castlebank Hotel, in Conwy. I found it on and there were loads of people raving about it so decision made!

After I'd booked it (£55 for me for B&B, not bad considering I was willing to pay that for a T****lodge sans brekkie) I googled it and found a good website with lots of information, icluding that they were featured on a TV programme.

The reviews were right, the location couldn't have been better, the place was superb, I felt spoilt the whole time I was there right down to the host addressing me by my correct Sunday name even when he had to remember at least eight others.

I was given Room 7 on the top floor, which according to the blurb was probably servants quarters, but it was bigger than my room at home! The blurb also said that it had been a marine laboratory for experiments with breeding oysters, maybe that's why I felt at home

I then went to my next appointment in Bangor and had time to sneak over to Anglesey via the Menai Bridge .

Last time I was there was when I was about 10, I remember staying in Prestatyn (not thatyn) and going to the Mountain Zoo above Colwyn Bay, and Canaervon Castle, and llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I drove past Llanfair PG and considered stopping, but I decided against it when I saw the 6 tourist coaches parked outside the rather large gift shop. It wasn't like that last time I was there!

I tried to find the prehistoric site marked on the big roadmap but failed, but I'll be back!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Party Time

There was a family gathering last night at my cousin's place. They had optics in the conservatory and a summer house with a verandah! Must have been about 20-30 people there from (literally!) 7 to 70!

Worthy of comment were the lamb and mint kebabs from Cranston's and the Cherry brandy

Amongst all of this was Billy, the large black labrador. Once he'd had a few burgers and shown off a few tricks he settled down in the only available space and had a sleep!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Summer's Here!

I've been a bit busy lately - off work last weekend including a trip over to Northumberland to meet with other like-minded people and drool over prehistoric rock carvings.

Next year it's planned for Dumfries and Galloway, so we now have the task of trying to find a place as fantastically friendly as West Weetwood B&B which has been the venue for the last 3-4 years.

We then spent some time on Holy Island, visiting my favourite beach in the world ever.

The orchids are out at the moment, sticking out above the grass.

(click to enlarge)

I also managed to bump my car last week which took the shine from my holiday a wee bit. I've had word today that the insurance company will not be repairing it, so it's hire cars and garage forecourts for me every spare minute over the next week or so

The weather was great, though! We discovered another wonderful beach, Mossyard, not far from Kirkudbright. So good, we went twice! It has everything; sand, shells and rocks and oystercatchers.

Also visited a ruined church nearby, and the rock art of course... Spoke to a quadbike type who said the graveyard is still used. We spooked a few pheasants, who to be fair spooked us right back! The place had a lovely atmosphere, and nature's really taking over.

I love reading old gravestones.

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