I’m back baby

Wooo! Properly back online at last! BT switched over my line to ADSL now, and I’ve finally got proper internet access working. www.myfreeisp.co.uk was handy in a pinch, but I’d gotten very used to my wireless setup, with half-reasonable bandwidth. Although I can’t get full rate ADSL here, only 1100kb/s, it’s still pretty good. Makes me wonder how I managed so long in the past using only GPRS.

Pretty much sorted out in my flat now – some cheap and nasty Argos furniture and my room is looking a bit better. Bit of a hassle getting the furniture – they were due to deliver it on Sat morning, didn’t turn up, when I rung later they said they “couldn’t find my address”. I guess looking at a map was a bit tough. So I went to collect it from a store in town. But then on Monday morning, they turned up with my furniture! I could have taken that as well, but I would have felt a bit bad about it, so I told them the truth. Plus I’m not sure what I’d do with another “Malibu small chest of drawers” and a “small wide bookcase”. Getting it assembled would have been straightforward enough – if I had the tools. I couldn’t find anywhere around the city centre that sold something as common as a hammer and screwdriver, so I had to make do – I used a screwdriver and – I kid you not – a pot to hammer the tacks in. Worked a treat.

Started to get sorted out job-wise too – heaps of stuff to get my head around, but I’m starting to get it in hand. Had to change the wardrobe a little – bought two new suits, and now a nice wool/cashmere overcoat. I’m still going to have buy more warm clothes before winter really bites though…but my current problem is getting wet from all the damn rain, not getting cold.

Trying to work out my next few trips before the end of the year – I’m thinking of visiting Cambridge, perhaps Manchester, somewhere in the west of Scotland, and hopefully a weekend break to a European city – I’d like to go to Berlin, I’ll need to find out what I can get cheap deals to from Edinburgh.

Fare thee well, Bonnie Dundee

The time has come for me to move on, from a place that has made me feel most welcome for the last few months. However, I cannae face going cold turkey, so I am moving to Edinburgh – Irn Bru’s just too hard to get hold of outside Scotland.

My time here has gone quickly, but I’ve got a few good memories of this place:

  • When getting on/off the bus, most people say hello/good bye to the driver. One of my regular drivers was quite put out one day when I caught a different bus – “Where were you last night?” he demanded. “Just checking out the competition,” I told him “and I came back here didn’t I?” He came right after that. Last time he dropped me in town, we actually shook hands. Not exactly the sort of thing you do in other cities.
  • The people I worked with at SOL were fantastic at making me feel welcome, and making sure I was enjoying my time in Scotland. I was extremely touched by the leaving do last week, and the gifts. I wonder how well my bottle of Buckfast will age? Probably not as well as the Glenfiddich. Not sure how I’m going to be able to wear the Scotland rugby jersey at the game next month though – perhaps if I wore an All Black’s jersey underneath?

Random comments on Dundee in general:

  • Keep doing what you’re doing – the city is clearly in the process of re-inventing itself – I would say keep going down that path. Redevelop the waterfront area, keep supporting things like the DCA – and not just the bar part of it – and the Rep. Theatre
  • I feel the city could do with another 10-20 thousand people. Some of the infrastructure would put much larger cities to shame. I’m amazed at the number of new bus shelters I’ve seen going up, all equipped with electronic timetable boards. It all seems to be happening relatively quickly, whereas back where I come from, that sort of thing takes years.
  • Keep encouraging the universities – students are the lifeblood of a vibrant city.
  • I just don’t understand the locals’ feelings about keeping their city clean – every day, walking to and from the city, I see guys working hard, picking up rubbish from the streets. Every morning, every afternoon. And yet there’s still rubbish around. There’s a huge number of rubbish bins around, perhaps people could try using them some time? People don’t want to put their rubbish in the bin, but they do seem prepared to pay for other people to pick it up

So, off to Edinburgh shortly for me, where I’ll be straight into another contract. I’ve enjoyed by time here, but on the other hand, I’m looking forward to a new challenge, and some new experiences.

One more thing, if anyone is thinking of visiting the City of Discovery, the local tourist board has put together a fantastic website promoting the city, well worth a look. “Gadgies” is a new term to me, but I can see myself using it a bit. Don’t underestimate the number of shell suits, teenage mums, and Burberry caps that you can see in one day here – it will amaze even the seasoned ned-spotter. Possibly that’s a result of living in Hilltown, but still, it’s amazing.