The Holyrood…

If you do believe that you have to go to Westminster when you visit London, then for the same reason you should believe that you have to go to Holyrood when you visit Edinburgh. I am not comparing London and Edinburgh, although I did mention that originally I thought Edinburgh is just the Northern version of London.

Of course it is not, for example… as mentioned in the previous post, people in Edinburgh are kinder, and friendlier.

But if you think Westminster is important, it is not fair if you don’t see the same kind importance of Holyrood. Of course, I am talking about the two houses of Parliament. Uhm… is that how you said it? What is the plural form of “House of Parliament“? Is it “Houses of Parliament” or “House of Parliaments“?

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This is the Parliament House looks like if you approach it through Royal Mile
Anyway…

I think I made it too obvious before that I kind of interested in politics a bit. So, I made it my mission — weeks before my visit to Edinburgh, that I had to visit the Scottish Parliament Building. Since on BBC it’s been called Holyrood so many times, I made the assumption that it is located in Holyrood road. I mean… deduction process, hello?

BUT, to be honest, it is easier to find it if you get there through Royal Mile.

BUT, BUT, I think, if you decide to visit the Parliament House, you should still do it through Holyrood road. And this is why…

The Dynamic Earth

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I am not really sure why it is called so, but I think it is one hell of a modern architecture. It is an amphiteathre, and I kind of think it is meant to be used to host big events. When I was there, it was a little bit too early in the morning, so I don’t think it was open for public yet. The bright side: an obsturcted view, perfect for panoramic mode photoshoot.

Dynamic Earth is located in the end of Holyrood Road. It might seem like a dead end, but if you go further, you could see a little passage that would take you closer to the Parliament House, which would be just on your left hand side.

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And this is what you’ve got if you approach through Holyrood Road. Massive difference. You’re welcome…
But this is why I said you should approach the Parliament House through Holyrood Road, because, if you didn’t go straight to the left, you would see a kind of ampitheatric-ish garden where you can sit and nom your snack. Please do enjoy some view there, especially when the sun is shining, and you realise that you are protected by the massive range of mountains around you.

Walk straight ahead.

“But… But the Parliament House is on the left…,” I heard you say. Yes, Dear… a little detour won’t hurt. Afterall, like I said, there are good reasons why you took Holyrood road earlier, didn’t I?

Yes, you are heading to The Palace of Holyroodhouse.

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To be fair, I am taking photos from a locked gate… I can’t make it better even if I tried… Sorry…
Or Holyrood Palace, in short. And if the name hasn’t given up the clue for you yet… It is a palace. Like Buckingham, or Kensington, or Sandringham… but this is in Holyrood, and it is open for public. Not for free, and for some extra you can even get an access to The Queen’s Gallery.

 

Me? I had a mission, remember? So I just took some photos, and get back on track.

I was lucky, though. I didn’t look up the opening times for the Parliamen House. Heck, I didn’t know that it was open for public. Yes for general plebs like you and I. Even for some lost aliens like me. I came a bit early, but apparently I came when it did open early. Like I said, I was lucky.

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From the Parliament House, looking out. There you go… the Queen’s Gallery…
It is pretty understandable that the security process was tight. I am not surprised that it is going to be even tighter after the explosion in Manchester last week. There is a guided tour there if you want, but since I was alone, I thought it would be a bit silly to ask for a guided tour. You can see the exhibition in the hall, but not all sections of the building are open for public — obviously.

I was kind of hoping that I would see, or even take a selfie with MSP Ruth Davidson, but apparently I wasn’t that lucky. Maybe next time…

 

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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

The Rules

I like watching NCIS. Grumpy introduced me to this series few years ago, and we’ve been watching it since. The rerun, the new one, everything. Sometimes, I even remember the whole plot just to watch the first three minutes of the episode… but I watch it anyway. The same applies when I watch Agatha Christie’s Poirot with David Suchet as Poirot, or Miss Marple for that matter… I think they’ve done the characters really well.

Back to NCIS, without any intention to spoil anything, there is Gibbs. He’s the main hero of the show — the old guy who does his thing, and does it well. I have to say that if you think about it, Gibbs is just an average guy, he’s not on the top of the pyramid, but he’s still the boss for a lot of brilliant agents. He’s not the one with the ultimate power to make it happen, but he can still tell his people what to do without having to do everything himself. And we like this guy…

One thing about Gibbs that I like the most is his set of “Gibbs’ Rules”. Gibbs lives by the set of rules such as: never ever screw over your partner, or never get personally involved to a case. I like that a lot. I think everybody needs to learn from Gibbs about this rule-making business. I believe that everybody needs a set of rules for their lives — in fact, I have been trying to write down some rules for myself too (but that’s for much later).

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Why, though? I heard you asked, why would you need to make rules?

Like I said just now, I think people needs to have a set of rules. Of course we don’t need to make rules for every single little thing we do in life, but we definitely need some ground rule to follow. Imagine a manual book… Every proper machine comes with a manual book, shame that we don’t when we were born. But we can write one, can’t we?

True that we don’t need that manual book for everything. We don’t always refer to our smartphone manual book every time we turn it on, or make a phone call, do we? We turn to manual book when things go wrong. We turn to our manual book when things are not what they are supposed to be. We use the information in the manual book to troubleshoot, and I think that’s exactly the set of rules should be done.

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Gibbs rule “never ever leave without a knife”, for example. Is a very practical rule that he could always refer to — as a ex-marine, that makes sense. My dad has his own rule too, almost similar to Gibbs “always have cash with you”. Very practical, and have saved us several times from the embarrassment of broken card machine. I am pretty sure these two wise gentlemen have learned from life before coming to these rules.

I am still writing my rules… I believe my father is still revising his everyday too. I can tell you one of my rules, though: “never go shopping with empty stomach”. What do you think about that?

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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