The Museums…

You bet! I am going to talk a lot about my trip to Edinburgh in this blog, so if you really don’t want to hear about it, you can come back next week. You know.. like when you go decide to avoid going to any shopping centre until Christmas is over because you can’t stand listening to Jingle Bells in the background. Yea… more or less the same.

Anyway, Edinburgh… Like I said in my previous post, Edinburgh has plenty of museums. It is with my deepest regret — and I do blame the timing, that I cannot visit them all. I tried to visit those which is located near where I stayed, the ones that I though is interesting, and was open when I visited, and also… without entrance fee. Yes… interesting enough for me to take the walk, and accessible (close, open, and free of charge). Sadly.. it means I didn’t go to the Surgeon’s Hall Museum, and Edinburgh Castle, because they’re not free. I’ll save it later when I go there with Grump, or my siblings.

I visited there five Museums. I only have three days there, and also an appointment in the visa application centre as the priority in my itinerary. So, five museums, I think it is good enough.

 

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It doesn’t look like that in reality, but the panorama mode with me standing in one place makes the photo looks slightly bendy…

The first one, is the National Museum of Scotland. It is a massive stone architectural structure — I deliberately said that because “building” doesn’t cover it. It’s so massive, I don’t think you can finish looking at every single item in it in one day. Note if you want to visit this place, come early and bring something to eat if you don’t want to spend money on the cafe (hey, I am telling you how to have a fun travelling with minimum budget!).

It is like the British Museum in London, but with an awesome Scottish twist in it. There is a section dedicated for the history of Scotland and the kingdom of Scotland. So yes, if you went to British Museum before, you can now imagine how big the place is. If you like this kind of museums, I suggest you allocate a whole day in this place with rest in between. I believe they have a cloakroom, so you can have your heavy rucksack stored while you’re taking your time there.

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The next one is The Writers’ Museum. Of course! We have to go there, don’t we? It is a little bit of an effort to get to this one. The location of this little museum is a little bit hidden behind the crowded shop, just off the bustling street of Royal Mile. You could easily miss it if you don’t have your keen eye… or your trusted Google Map with you. Like I said… an effort.

Having this dream of one day being a writer myself, I made it my quest to visit this museum even before I set my foot on Edinburgh soil. I thought, I might learn something, or get myself possessed by a great writer, or something like that… However, I think it is a little bit cheeky to say that this is the Writers’ Museum, isn’t it? Because, to be honest… it is actually The Scottish Writers’ Museum — mainly three biggest writers Scotland has — Robert Burns, Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I went to this place, but definitely more than three writers (which works I haven’t even read).

My goodness I am rambling again. I think I need to save the other museums for next one, as I do really need to rest my finger to some good stuff with food. See you around.

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Choo… Choo…

I think one of the best thing I like being in the UK is the trains. It is so easy to travel in this country, compared to where I came from. I think the transport system is very well maintained, and managed, and it is very comfortable too (especially if you are in the “QUIET” carriage).

Of course a lot of people here love to moan about the train. But they do love moaning about everything under the sun — see Grumpy for the best example.

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You see this from your train window, you know you’re close 😀
Anyway, I came back from Edinburgh. It is, I believe, the capital city of Scotland. That was my first time ever visiting the city, and I was extremely excited about the adventure that was about to happen. Although, I must say, that my main mission to go up North is to apply for a Schengen visa.

Why didn’t I apply in London, though? Well, that’s a good story of mismanagement, and disorganisation. Lesson learned — organise better next time.

Now back to Edinburgh… It was… uhm. I wouldn’t go as far as disappointing, because I love museums, and Edinburgh has loads of them — free and paying. Just on the top of my head they have: The National Museum of Scotland, Museum of Edinburgh, The People Story, Museum of Childhood, Surgery Museum… and those don’t include places like The Edinburgh Castle, or the galleries.

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They do know how to impress you with their massive imposing structures…
The buildings were incredible — something that Grump could appreciate better than I did. The gardens were so beautiful. And the view… Oh the view was majestic. Unlike our lovely Norfolk Broads, Lothian has this hill and valley, the terrain that add this extra seconds of breathtaking moments. It just can’t be translated into words. This is where picture does better than my mere explanation…

But… oh what a dirty road. I mean… not just dirty with dirt. There are a lot of dog poos, and they’re everywhere. I don’t know… in Norwich they are very rare, and most of the time you won’t find it in the high street. But you do in Edinburgh… in front of one of the museums, even. So I assume dog owners don’t bother with criminal persecution for not picking up after their dogs. NOT the kind of people I want to be around, obviously.

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The Edinburgh Castle is probably the most crowded of all. This is probably my seventh take of the photo, because there were always too many people in view.
And the city… It is so crowded and so touristy. You bump into people everywhere. It’s almost as packed as London. The city is big, but the street feels claustrophobic, especially with the construction sites everywhere. It doesn’t feel welcoming, although when I was there it was unexpectedly warm — well, warmer then the Southern part of the island anyway.

But in the end, I must say, I enjoyed the whole experience. I haven’t done it for a very long time, and I was most definitely refreshing and inspiring. And as much as I do love coming back home, this little trip to the North has a wonderful reminder why I was a wandering Alien to start with.

Aaaaand, I will write about it another time, because it’s lunchtime, and I love my lunchtime.

Manchester :(

Yesterday, after hearing about what happened in Manchester, Grumpy stopped being grumpy for a while. I think he was a little bit more angry than grumpy, and I know why he felt what he felt. The explosive attack was one of the biggest terrorist attack in the city, and one of the biggest in the country after 7/7. It was also the one with the most fatalities as well…

I don’t blame him to feel angry. I don’t blame anyone to feel angry. To feel more than just sympathy, or sad.

I have never been to Manchester, and to be honest I don’t know what Ariana Grande was until the she was featured in the news. It was her concert anyway. But Manchester… I heard about it since I was very very young. I watched football games on telly with my dad, with him cheering for Liverpool FC, and I fangirling for David Beckham…

It is the hometown of my teenage-dream rockstar Noel Gallagher.

And Manchester is one of the many reasons why I am here where I am now. Manchester is one of the reason why I came to this country. So, even though I haven’t been to Manchester yet (time and money… ), I do feel a certain connection to it — albeit very superficial.

I don’t have much angry words for now. At least not those which are safe for the consumption of people under 21 years old. But I do have some words… and I said it already.

Learning from experience, I know that British people are one of the most resilient people. Grump reminded me that when the attack in Westminster Palace happened not so long time ago. I really hope he’s proven right again this time, and hopefully the city, and the people of Manchester would recover soon…

With lots of love…

From us

Feeding The Alien Pt.2

I know that I said earlier that I don’t know why telly programs need to stop before announcing the top 3, but I have my suspicion. Some grumpy dude that I ended up marrying likes to rant about how short the attention span of most British telly audience, and that could be one of the reason… but of course… it is the suspense. And the adverts… obviously.

Okay… nobody cares when I am stating the obvious. Let’s just crack on… Shall we? The top 3 of food that I tried in the last 6 years in the UK are:

3. Black Pudding
I think my husband was a little bit careful when explaining what black pudding is, when the first time we bought it from Aldi. I can understand why, though.
The idea of food in this country is very sanitised, that black pudding, haggis, and offal can be off putting for some people. Heck… they don’t even like the idea of eating fish that still have head on it, or chicken that has feet attached to it. Where I come from… those are the proof that what you eat is still fresh — just slaughtered before it goes to the wok. So yeah… I can understand why black pudding could be off putting for some people.
Black pudding, my kind ladies and gentlemen… is made of processed pig’s blood… and bits, and herbs and spices, and rolled and cooked so they look like a big fat black sausage. And then you slice them so that you can shallow fry them in the pan, usually to be eaten with a proper full english fry ups. Heavenly!

2. Trifle
I think the first time I tried trifle I couldn’t really appreciate it because of the massive amount of jelly. But when my mother in law introduced me to the traditional English Sherry Trifle… boom! It was the mother of all English dessert. Dare I say that it is better than italian Tiramisu? Oh yes I so dare… Especially with those boozy sponge.
What are you getting from trifle really? There are trifle sponge… soaked with booze (+1000 pts). The next layer is custard… English custard. I love deliberately mention Creme Anglaise in front of Grumpy just to provoke his grumpiness. And the next layer is whipped cream.
Should I say more?

1. Twiglets
Aren’t you surprised? I mean, I have mentioned marmites before, but it is not the same with twiglets, really. You kind of have to pair marmite with something, but twiglets… you can just have it. It is just not so easy to find them on offer.
Do you know that Twiglets taste better when you buy them on offer?
My mother in law loves Twiglets too, and I tried to bring her some every time we go on a visit to their place. And it was hard… so hard not to keep taking a fistful of the yeasty goodness from that black bag every time she offers to share. Yes… I am every mother in law’s dream…

There you go… If you are new in the UK too, and you think you want to take your culinary adventure to the next level, those are the things you might want to try. Good luck 😀

Feeding the Alien Pt.1

One of the best thing of being an alien in a new place is that I got to try new stuff. And my favourite new stuff to try is the food. I am still discovering new tastes here in the UK, even after being here for almost six years. And the last one I tried was Hot Cross Bun… t’was Easter and I was curious — and the bun was okay.

If I have to make a list of the best food I have tried in the UK, it would take forever. So I will just pick my favourite 5 of food I have tried for the past 6 years in the UK. It is not an easy task, and I don’t care if anyone has ever bothered to challenge me to make this list, but… challenge’s accepted.

5. Eton Mess
I learned about this food on my first summer ever in the UK, and it was called so because allegedly it is originally from Eton — yes, the posh school. Eton Mess is basically strawberry, in whipped cream, and a messy crumble of meringue. I had that all summer, almost everyday… and I did blame contraception when I put on some weight when I went back to my hometown.
Eton Mess is the dessert that woke the sweettooth in me. Something that I never was. It is like a gateway drug, that lead you to a massive selection to British favourite desserts: creme caramel, apple/rhubarb/pear crumble, egg tart, banoffee pie, bakewell… No I am no cake person, but I am a sucker to pastries. And it started from a bite of Eton Mess..
What a messy diet…

4. Marmite
I learned about it just days after I arrived in the UK, it is apparently a part of the introduction to Britain for the foreign student. Yes… Marmite is quintessentially British. However, the way it was introduced, didn’t really invoke my curiosity. I mean, yes they told me it is something that either you will love or hate… but I have to say that if these people are a marketing officer, they need to be sacked immediately.
It’s just when my grumpy husband, who also happens to be a proud English grumpyman talk about what it is about to be British, that the conversation about Marmite came up again. He was aghast knowing that nobody has ever introduced me to Marmite before.
Yes, it is still something you either love or hate… I just happen to love it.
P.S. Do you know that in Malaysia, you can order Marmite Chicken? Yes… if you happen to be in Malaysia right now, and you love Marmite, and you have never tried Marmite Chieken (or Chicken Marmite? Now I am confused)… go to a Chinese food restaurant, you might be lucky enough to find one. Good luck!

Ha ha… I stop it right there… for now. I know that it sucks, but I learned from the British telly programs, that when you make lists of whatever, you need to stop before going to the top 3. I don’t know why… but I am a good learner. So… see you next time for the top 3 😀

Weather Wonders

Where I came from, there is no winter. The days are either sunny and dry, or slightly wet to a little bit flooded. The temperature ranges from warm enough to get your bread dough happy, to hot enough to fry a sunny side on the pavement. I used to like cloudy days, because it means that the slightly cooler wind would slip through the opened windows. I used to love the rainy days, especially that moment before the rain falls, and you can smell it… the smell of the rain.

The smell of the rain, though… That idea used to be very romantic. Until QI popped the bubble for me. Apparently it’s just the smell of the fungi being frisky. I wish I have never known that, because now everytime I thought of the smell of the rain… I am actually smelling fungal sex.

Ew!

ANYHOO…

Spring, eh? Try again… Pic taken last month by the way…

The reason I wanted to say something about weather is that it is apparently the favourite topic of conversation in Britain. I didn’t know why, because coming from a place where weather is pretty much predictable, weather is a quite a mundane topic. However this is not the same here in the UK.

It is hailing outside. In April.

You saw strawberries on the shelves, they are in season. You saw the flowers blooming. You think it is spring, don’t you? Especially because it is bloody April. You would have thought the day of scraping frost from your car window the first thing in the morning before going to work was over. But nope, my dear Watsons… not here in the UK.

Overnight, the temperature dropped, the wind had changed and that warm clothing you thought you would never see again until September is back on the rack.

Bloody hail… (was going to go out to take video of it… but… yeah right)

Is this how the universe is punishing us for voting for Brexit? If this is how they’re trying to give us cold shoulder… phew… what a shoulder. Maybe someone deliberately forgot to send the memo to the Great Britain to start Spring-ing.

Oh well… Luckily, I am indoors… I wonder how Grumpy would grump tonight when he come home from work… That would be interesting 😀

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