Friday, August 21, 2009

Innis & Gunn

I don't know how many of you know this, but on our honeymoon, Katie and I had an awesome time, simply because we discovered Innis & Gunn beer (nothing, I repeat, nothing topped the sweet taste of Innis & Gunn). It just so happens that Innis & Gunn is a beer from Edinburgh. With hindsight being 20/20, I firmly believe that God Himself, on the first moment that Innis & Gunn touched my lips and corroded my liver, destined me to move to Scotland.

Now I have had the pleasure in my time on Canadian soil, while stroking my pet moose up on Kawagama Lake, to share a bottle or two of Innis & Gunn Original Oak-Aged Beer with my family and friends. It was spectacular. I couldn't help but tell people of my love and undying affection for this glorious drink! I would make sure whenever I could that I would bring some to a party to share my joy with others.

The plot thickens:

On the way up to the cottage one weekend I discovered that the LCBO had begun importing Innis & Gunn Blonde. I was enraptured, and bought enough to share with my brother Matthew and my father-in-law Dave (two fellow enthusiasts). Upon my arrival to the cottage, with a grin so large I thought my face would explode, I ran down the steps as fast as I could shouting, "David, David! Where are you! You'll never believe what I found!" Oh, but he did believe. In fact, he had meant to surprise me as I had hoped to surprise him. The fridge was overflowing with the blondie goodness of our new found Innis & Gunn. Needless to say it was a great weekend.

(I know, you're beginning to think, "Is Jeremy a lush?" No, I say! You are also thinking, "When is this going to have anything to do with them actually being in Edinburgh?" Hey, I'm getting to it)

So on the day of our departure to Scotland (see, we're getting there) I found out that there was an Innis & Gunn Canadian cask made especially for Canada Day! So I thought, what would be a great way to celebrate our last moments in the Great White North? By drinking an Innis & Gunn brewed in a Canadian whiskey cask, of course. SO I DID!

Now, we have arrived at today, oh GLORIOUS DAY! While at a local beer shoppe, Katie and I we're perusing the different beers. Katie, while pointing to a bland generic beer, said, "Hey isn't this the beer I tried at the Bier Markt?" To which I responded, "WHO CARES?" (I actually said this, I'm not even joking this time!) "Look at all these Innis & Gunn flavours we've never tried. The India Pale Ale, the Rum Cask, the Highland cask! They're all here!" I wept. I picked up one of each and slowly walked towards the clerk, with the bottles cradled close to my bosom like a mother overjoyed over her new triplets. I said to the clerk, "Oh man, I'm a huge fan of Innis & Gunn, but we don't get all these kinds in Canada." To which he responded, "I don't really like Innis & Gu..." I slapped him hard across the face before he could speak the last of his blasphemous words. Wasn't this guy Scottish? And from Edinburgh? He whimpered and confessed, "Although, I really like the Canadian cask. Have you tried it? I think they did their thing the best with that, mate." I slapped him again and said, "Of course I have, I'm bloody Canadian. I drank it before I left my snow covered homeland!"

Then I walked out of the store without paying because I was so insulted.

Anyway, here are the pictures of me in my joy:

Here's a picture of each brew from lightest to darkest (really just for enthusiasts):

And lastly, here's a close up Katie took of me slapping the clerk:

(I haven't cut my fingernails in a while. And yes, I did get a manicure. It's oh so European).

This post is dedicated to my brother, Matthew Westacott, and my father-in-law, David Freel. Good luck with the polar bear hunt on the frosty plains of Toronto. Don't forget to leave the lights on in your igloos so you can find your way home. While I drink these beers I'll be thinking of you and how jealous you must be.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Exploring the City

Here are some photos of our first real exploration of Edinburgh!

This is one of the buildings of Moray House School of Education where I'll be starting on Monday. For those of you whom I showed pictures of my school to on Google Maps and it was a modern looking building, I was sort of wrong. The building from Google Maps is part of Moray House, but it's the Sports and Physical Education building. There are a few other buildings across the street where I'll probably be spending most of my time.

Here's another photo of one of the buildings that is part of Moray House. It's actually the library.

This is Holyrood Park. There was a concert going on, hence the crowd.

Here, you can see the huge crowds along the Royal Mile. There are just so many people! I feel sorry for the people who have to get to work in the morning!

More crowds with a tour bus trying to get through!

Jeremy was clearly getting sick of my picture taking at this point. I think he was embarrassed to be seen looking like a tourist. I had to keep reminding him that we were tourists. This is at one of the staircases to the Grassmarket. There are all kinds of random alleys and staircases taking you to other streets as a shortcut. A lot of them aren't on the map, so it's fun discovering them as you go.

This was taken in the staircase down to the Grassmarket. Even the Scots know!

Here's Jeremy trying Haggis for the first time! I had a bite too, and it was actually pretty good! We ate at Maggie Dickson's (I posted the story about her earlier). Because of the Festivals going on right now, it was so busy anywhere we went and we ended up sitting on the patio. It wasn't exactly patio weather, but we were hungry, so we stuck it out. Plus, Maggie Dickson's was so busy that we had to wait an hour for food because they ran out of dishes!

Haggis, tatties, and neeps (aka haggis, potato, and turnip)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We Gots the Interweb! Hazzah! Plus a Trip to Hollywood (I Mean Holyrood)

So we finally have our very own internets. Yes, internets. So we thought we would post some pictures from our adventures.

One of the first evenings we were here, I turned to Katie, speaking in the voice of those native
to my newly adopted homeland, and said, "Ack(bar), sittin' in this wee flat, right now is
somethin' only an edjit would do with the weather being what it is this bonnie evenin!'" So, knowing the rain would eventually destroy our lives here, we went to Holyrood Park. To those of you that take us for liars, here is the proof:

Here's Katie, standing in front of a gigantic mound in Holyrood Park. She was afraid that you would not be able to see it in the picture so she decided to point her arms toward it.

Here's another picture of Katie. She ran up the stairs as fast as she could screaming, "Da, Da, Daaaaaaa, Daaaaaaaa, DaDaDa DaDaaaaaaaaaa, DaDa Da Daaaaaaaaa...and yelled "Adrienne" when she got to the top, while swinging her "fists of fury" in the air. If you look really closely, you can see the asian tourist she punched lying just behind her and Mr. T cowering in the foliage (but you have to look really closely).

Oh, would you look who it is, Katie again. Isn't this picture beautiful, if you look beyond the person ruining the view of the well lit Edinburgh landscape.
...Hold on, I think I have one here that has an unobstructed view. Ah, there it is:

Oh, and I was there too (nice back, eh?):

Unfortunately, it was getting too dark, so we stopped half way up the hill. Plus, Katie has a terrible fear of falling down stairs, and falling off the top of a giant cliff because we couldn't see seemed a far worse fate! The next morning when it was light enough for us to see, we climbed back down and headed home.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Maggie Dickson

The first pub Jeremy and I went to was called Maggie Dickson’s, which came with a very interesting story. Apparently, Maggie Dickson was this young mom who, soon after having her second son, ran away and lived in a Bed & Breakfast. She got to know the owner of the B & B very well and became friends with her, but became even better friends with the B & B owner’s son. Maggie found herself pregnant and hid it from everyone so as not to get into trouble, but apparently, in those days, it was illegal to conceal a pregnancy. Maggie went into labor early and decided to put the baby in the river, but lost nerve at the last minute, and hid the baby in the reeds by the river instead. Not long after, some men found the baby. It was soon revealed that Maggie was the mother and she was sentenced to be hanged. Before being buried, however, the funeral procession heard muffled moans coming from the coffin. They opened the lid to find that Maggie was alive! Maggie returned to full health, but there was a problem. Should she be hanged again? Representatives from the Church, the University and the Town Council debated the issues, and decided that her sentence was already carried out, and whatever happened thereafter was in the hands of God, and who were they to question God? Maggie lived on for another 40 years in Edinburgh known as Half Hangit Maggie.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Excuse me sir, which way to the Internet?

Dear Journal,
We're going to be writing more soon, hopefully some funny stuff (I've been thinking of some stuff, based on weird things I've seen that are different over here). But we're still stealing internet from the neighbours, so it's pretty unpredictable. Should have our own up and running in a couple of days! Meanwhile, we're making notes about what to write next.
Your Pal,
...I mean, Jeremy
(I hope people remember Doug Funny from Doug...that old cartoon...Oh, man this joke blows...)

Friday, August 7, 2009


4 August 2009

“We Be Fancy”

This blog entry has been brought to you by the Letter J. Followed by the letters E, R, E, M, and Y.

This afternoon the family decided to get fancy before Katie and I headed to the airport. We got out the best linens and fine china, then in a ceremonial send-off, we popped the cork off a bottle of champagne. We quickly raised our glasses and said our cheers because we couldn’t wait to take a bite out of our hamburgers. We’ll always remember the day we left Canada because it was the only day in the history of ever that someone had champagne and hamburgers together. Don’t knock it!

Then, Dave, Patrick, and I decided to dress up like Mexicans in honour of moving to Edinburgh. Dave and I obviously had too much champagne... I still don’t know why Patrick did it. Peer pressure?

“The Airport”

This blog entry has been brought to you by Van Delay Industries.

While Jeremy and I were in line to check in, our families waited off to the side. That’s when Dad decided to make Cindy cry by saying, “Cindy, you’re not even crying yet.” To which her response was, “CRY.” After checking in and saying our tearful goodbyes [Jeremy almost cried, you’re not alone Cindy] to our families, Jeremy and I indulged in a pizza, salad, and water that cost $26! The airport knows how to milk it because people can’t buy food anywhere else.

Then, at about 6:10pm we sat at our gate for the short wait to board at 6:40. Unfortunately, we heard there was going to be a delay. Word on the street said there was inclement weather. Our plane finally left the tarmac at 9pm, when it was supposed to leave at 7:40.

P.S. While waiting at the gate, we saw a woman walking around with her 1 year old son, and Jeremy said, and I quote, “I hope we get to sit next to her and her baby. I’m going to chat her up to see if that baby has a daddy.”

Guess who we sat next to on the plane?

Yep. The baby and his momma. We found out he has a daddy. He kept touching Jeremy’s shoulder because he missed the male companionship of his father. So did she. Just kidding.

Fortunately, the baby slept for the majority of the flight.

P.P.S. This paragraph is brought to you by Jeremy (bolded for emphasis, as a friend thought Katie was the one farting)! And the letters F, A, R, T. As many of you know, chili, beer, and the state of being alive make me gassy. I found out that flying does the same thing based on my experiences flying to Mexico, and now Edinburgh. Anyway, I farted. Which prompted previously mentioned mother to sniff her son’s butt. She then promptly took him to the back to the change table to clean him up. While she was back there, the seatbelt light went on because of turbulence and she was stuck at the back for about half an hour. I farted for the rest of the trip.

Here’s a picture of ME sleeping on the plane:

Here’s a picture of how I slept - we just don’t have a shot from the actual flight.:

5 August 2009, 3:30am Toronto time; 8:30am England time.


We arrived in Exeter. What we originally assumed would be a quick stop to let passengers off and pick up new passengers, turned into a security check point where we had to get off the plane and go through security, wait for the plane to be cleaned, and then re-board to continue on to Edinburgh. Needless to say, we were dead... tired, that is.

Here are some shots from above England!

“Welcome to Edin-bor-oh”

Our flight attendant seemed thoroughly confused by the name Edinburgh. Every time she had to say it on the PA she said it as a question. Edin-bor-oh? She had the same problem with the name of the pilot and Exeter. We weren’t entirely sure if she knew where she was or what she was supposed to be doing.

We arrived in Edinburgh at 11am local time, surprisingly at the time we were supposed to. I guess the pilot was speeding?

Our flight attendant said, “Welcome to Edin-bor-oh?” But we weren’t sure if we were there, because she certainly wasn’t. We got off anyway. Turns out, we were in Edinburgh! We got a taxi and shockingly got all our luggage in it. Our first stop was Click-Let, the letting agency we rented our flat from. We signed our lease and picked up our keys. It took forever just to get through all the paperwork and the taxi was waiting for us. We didn’t want to get another cab because we weren’t sure if we’d be able to get all our stuff in it! So the poor guy waited. He’s not poor anymore.

Eventually we got to our flat and we were so excited to finally be there just to be able to relax. Jeremy went inside the building while I stayed with our stuff on the sidewalk. He came out soon after discovering none of the flat doors were labeled! So I went in and guessed which one was ours, but didn’t want to try my key in case it wasn’t, so I knocked.

(Check out our flat keys, by the way!)

A kid answered (so clearly it wasn’t ours) and I just said, “Sorry, wrong place.” Turns out ours was across the hall. I tried the key, but couldn’t get it to work, so I went back outside to get Jeremy to try it. He tried and couldn’t get it either. We went back and forth a couple times with no luck. We looked at each other, shrugged, and said, “Edin-bor-oh?” We cried.

Just kidding.

Jeremy found a pay phone to call Click-Let, to which they said, “just pull the door while you turn the key. Steven’s been there before and he says it’s really tough.” Jeremy came back and finally go the door open. Whew.

We weren’t 10 minutes in when Fay arrived! She brought us towels, bedding, and some food [mostly goodies, actually]. Then she took us out for dinner to a place called “Al Dente.” Not exactly Scottish cuisine, but it was the only place open that served food. Apparently bars don’t serve food here. Weird.

While we were walking around looking for a place to eat, Jeremy and I kept getting mixed up as to which ways to look first when crossing the street. At one point, I almost stepped out into the street when Fay grabbed my arm because a car was coming from the other direction. However, Jeremy kept walking and got hit and rolled over the hood and windshield. He continued somersaulting and rolling onto the other side of the street where he quickly jumped up, brushed himself off and called to Fay and I, “hurry up guys! I’m hungry.” He won’t be making that mistake again (in case any of you are scared that this is a true story, don’t worry. Jeremy just made it up. Jeremy wasn’t hungry. We had already eaten by this point). Needless to say, it’s going to take some getting used to when watching for traffic.

We went straight to bed after Fay left around 7pm Edinburgh time. We slept straight through until 11am. That’s 16 hours of sleep! Oh shoot.

6 August 2009

“Would you like a 2L jug of beer with that?”

We had a bunch of things on our agenda for today, number 1 being groceries. Fay told us about Sainsbury’s, a grocery store close to us. It’s like a Loblaws. Only with bad teeth and an accent. Once we had everything we thought we needed, we walked through the last aisle just in case. That’s when we found out that they basically have an LCBO in the grocery store! No lie, there was a 2L bottle of Strongbow cider.

They must drink this stuff like pop over here. Unfortunately, they only had Innis & Gunn Original (for those of you reading this who have never tried it, TRY IT!). Stay tuned for a future posting when Jeremy discovers a flavour of Innis & Gunn that’s not available in Canada.

For those of you who don’t know, Matthew Westacott loves HP sauce. He puts in on everything. Especially his cereal. We found a bunch of flavoured HP that we’ve never seen in Canada (Matthew, I know we can’t send booze in the mail, but maybe we can send HP).

We did some other shopping today as well because our flat doesn’t have some things we either needed or wanted. We picked up a teapot (the one in the flat was all rusted inside. Gross), some sharp knives, and a frying pan among other things. One of the things we bought today was a “toilet scale” (apparently people need to weigh their toilets?) that was only £2.99. (It took Jeremy 35 minutes, and a system terminal override, to fix the special character function for the pounds symbol. That’s the kind of dedication we have to our blog and our readers). The scale is in kilograms, so now I have to do math anytime I weigh myself. Ugh.

Well, that’s it for now, mates (pickin’ up the lingo).

This blog was brought to you by scammed wi-fi. We’ll have ours set up soon.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Suitcases

Jeremy and I decided to put something on our suitcases to distinguish them from all the other suitcases in luggage claim. I had some fun doing some doodles in my sketchbook before deciding what to put on the suitcases. Here are some shots:

We also have some address tags with Canadian flags on them - gotta let everyone know we're Canadian so they don't mix us up with Americans!

Go here for some pictures from our day at Wasaga Beach on Saturday.