Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Black and White - a monthly blogging challenge

I can't believe it's the end of August already - that's less than four months until Christmas!! Enough about that big event and back to this month's photographic challenge, the theme being black and white. Rather than do black and white photos, I have taken photos of black and white things.

1. The shed exhibition at the botanical gardens for the festival of architecture had a few contenders but I chose this one as if you look at it too long it makes your eyes go funny.

2. When walking along the Caledonian canal we came across this discarded black and white drum. There were freshly painted ones nearby but I felt sorry for this one that is a little rough around the edges.

3. A beautiful black and white cat that we met when we were out for a drive one day. I have a soft spot for black cats (obviously) and black and white ones as they are the least likely to be adopted from a rescue centre - here's a blog I wrote previously, IN PRAISE OF BLACK CATS, which talks about that very subject.

4. Black and white dolphins in Hopeman. Hopeman is a lovely little town 22 miles east of where we live on the Moray coast. It's a great spot for walking as there is a coastal path and it also has a fabulous ice cream parlour, Stew'n Drews which makes fabulous scrummy ice cream. The dolphins are there because the Moray Firth which Hopeman looks over, has the largest group of dolphins in the UK.

5. Black and White clock. We found this beautiful old town clock in Ullapool, which is on the North West coast of Scotland. It's so ornate and pretty, not something you would see in a modern town and is why I love the quaint little towns that keep their history alive.

There you have it, my five photos for the theme of Black and White. Wait, we're missing one very important picture so I'm going to have to add a bonus photo for you - how could I do any blog with black in the title without including our own little black monster, Muffin. This is her 'stop taking pictures of me and leave me in peace' face.

Why don't you hop over to P J's blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their black and white theme - click HERE to visit.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and appreciate the different colours in our world.

Pamela & Ken

Monday, August 29, 2016

A steam engine and posh afternoon tea

Recently we were lucky enough to win a trip on the Strathspey Steam Railway so on Friday took ourselves off to Aviemore for our lovely adventure. We upgraded our prize so that we could have afternoon tea in First Class, and it was definitely worth it. 

I thought I should include a map for you so you can have some idea where I'm talking about - the top purple star is above Nairn, where we live, and the lower star is over Aviemore, where the train left from. 

It was really lovely to see the old steam engine and I wish the journey could have been longer as it's such a lovely way to travel and very relaxing. It was a train spotters dream having the old train there.

This is our carriage before the devastation of us eating our food in it. We had the carriage all to ourselves which was really lovely and quite romantic.

Here is our very scrummy afternoon team selection.

I did have coffee but I also ordered a cheeky glass of Prosecco to enjoy with our feast - well we were sitting in First Class.

The view outside the window was stunning with the gorgeous Scottish landscape spread before us and the beautiful heather is coming out so the land is blanketed with my favourite colour of purple.

Our first stop on our journey was Boat of Garten which we just took photos out of the window of as we were in the middle of eating. There were lots of old trains around and one very old looking wooden carriage.

Now the next photo I'm putting in only to be fair to my beloved. I'm always using pictures of him where he may not be at his most glamorous, so here is one he took of me when he made me laugh just as I was taking a bite out of my meringue - he's lucky I didn't spray it all over him. He sat there taking constant pictures so there is a whole series of very funny photos.

Here is my beloved doing his impression of a posh gent with his cup of tea and a piece of cake.

More scenery shots for you.

The final stop where the train turned around was Broomhill, which in the tv show Monarch of the Glen is the fictional station of Glenbogle. We didn't get off here as it was quite a small spot, and instead got off at Boat of Garten on the way back as the station is really pretty. Loved this water station for steamed up dogs.

Beautiful floral displays along the station front.

Horse and cart made out of metal.

This is the ladies waiting room which was like stepping back in time - all the furniture, the old radio, pictures on the walls, and knick knacks on display.

More lovely flowers with the old luggage trolley and great station clock.

Here's a few more shots of the heather - it's like a field of jewels laid out before us.

After a really lovely hour and a half we arrived back in Aviemore. I would definitely recommend this journey to anyone that is in the area.

As we walked around Aviemore we discovered this wonderful monument in a small park. It's to all the olympians from the area - there have been more from this area of the UK per head of population than anywhere else, nearly all in winter sports.

Despite the town being overrun by Harley Davidsons for Thunder in the Glens (previous post) we still managed to find a few interesting cars for Ken to moon over. This is quite an old Chevrolet.

This is a great off roader which is perfect for this area of the country as in winter they get lots and lots of snow. It's advertising for the Winking Owl which is a restaurant in Aviemore.

I really liked this campervan with it's cute decorations and near the front it had the word Bimble written on it. Bimble is a lovely word for walking or traveling at a leisurely pace.

I took this picture on the way home showing the heather and the mist coming down over the hills.

That's it for today so until next time, be good, stay safe, and do something nice for yourself this week.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Final picture that I have to share with you is my poached eggs on toast that my beloved made for me - he's too cute for words.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Thunder in the Glens = Motorbike heaven

This post comes with a warning - it's quite a long one with lots of pictures of motorbikes so you might want to make yourself a nice cup of something and put your feet up before you read it. Okay, are you sitting comfortably? Yes, then lets begin.

This weekend is the 20th anniversary of Thunder in the Glens, the largest Harley Davidson Rally in the UK and fast becoming one of the largest in Europe with people coming from all over the world to attend. It is held in Aviemore, a town in the Cairngorms and last year they had over two thousand bikes meet there. As you walk along the streets there is the constant deep rumble of the Harleys as there are always bikes going past - my oldest brother would love it.

This trike is fabulous and you will see more of it later.

Every car park in town had bikes lined up in them and as you can imagine, every hotel, bed and breakfast, and campsite was full.

There were stages set up in different spots around the town with live music going on, and during the night they have well known bands performing. Ken and I felt very inappropriately dressed as we were walking around as you've never seen so much leather in one place.

I loved the design on this helmet - very touching.

There were so many great bikes that I wanted to take pictures of them all - what I liked about this one is the fabulous bike stand which is shaped like an eagles claw.

Lots of the bikes had soft toys attached to them which always amuses me as it's a bit of a juxtaposition between the riders with their leathers and tatoos, and then there's a cuddly toy on their bike. Here's just a few we saw.

There were a lot of trikes around and there were a couple of companies selling them. I could cope being a passenger on one of these as there's no risk of the bike overbalancing and some of them look very comfy.

 Above is the trike from earlier and below is the rules for passengers which is written on the wheel guard - I love the no screaming one.

Now there is going to be lots of pictures of bikes, mainly Harley's but there are a few Indians in there as well. The Indian company actually started two years before Harley.

I was admiring the bike below as I love the colours on it, when the owner invited me to sit on it for a photo - I managed to get on and off without knocking it over.

I really liked this American Flag themed bike and the seats look very comfortable, especially the passenger one.

This bike was a thing of beauty with it's pinkness and artwork and it was for sale.

This bike looks a little out of place and reminds me of the power rangers - we think it might be a yamaha but not sure.

The artwork on some of the bikes is absolutely breathtaking, along with some of the custom design features on the bikes. I've picked out a few of our favourites to share with you and you'll see that skulls feature quite heavily

Customised skull speaker.

Very ornate footrest on the beautiful pink bike.

This one says, "Every man dies, not every man really lives".

This one was a ZZ Top bike and each of the band members was painted on a different part of the bike.

Customised carburetor air intake valve.

Another thing that I could have taken lots of pictures of was the helmets as there were so many different ones. Here's an arty shot with my reflection in this gold helmet.

I really liked this hog on someone's front mudguard.

One of the many trade stalls was selling stone garden ornaments, which seemed a bit strange to me as anyone on a bike wouldn't be buying one. Anyway, I thought these two bikers were very cute.

As we were leaving we went past the main campsite where there are just a few bikes parked up.

So that was our visit to Thunder in the Glens - we were there on the Friday and on the Saturday they have a mass rideout which must sound incredible.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and take good care of you.

Pamela & Ken