In brief:

Californian meal on Friday evening, in Calistoga, a little place tucked behind Rose Street. The steak was superb, if a little overdone for medium rare. Great wine selection.

Three hour long Salsa dancing course on Saturday morning. I was playing catch up, since this was part 2 and I'd missed the first one, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the instructor seemed to think I did ok.

Hour long drive to Scaramanga, in Cupar, who sell fabulous leather bags (and much else in the way of furniture, journals, old suitcases and hand-cut wooden printing blocks) in an Aladin's cave somehow wedged into a modern industrial unit. I was most impressed by their decision not to import statues of Ganesha on the grounds that the Indian families who make bags for them wouldn't be comfortable with them importing what are, basically, religious artefacts. Good for them (and bad for me, but hey-ho). I can thoroughly recommend the bags, and I now seem to own three of them. Hey, I'm doing a lot of travelling. Stopped on the way out of Cupar to pick up cheese and wine at the Luvians Bottle Shop - may also have acquired a bottle of Talisker Storm. I'm not a huge fan of whisky with no age statement - all too often it's a chance for distilleries to dump their young barrels in with some older but less characterful ones, and punt it to the undiscerning masses (Bowmore Legend, anyone?) but this is quite lovely - lots of peat and spice.

Came back to Edinburgh the long way, through Anstruther and had fish and chips at their world renowned chippy. Great fish, and best chips I've had in ages.

Ate the cheese, drank the wine, watched some of a Bruce Springsteen DVD (live in Dublin - amazing speeded up version of "Atlantic City" as an opener) collapsed.

Sunday brunch at Mimi's Bakehouse in Leith, followed by a dram at the Vaults and then a touristy afternoon at Edinburgh Castle with a side-trip to Richer Sounds.

Got back on the slow, Helensburgh train (the fast train wasn't, as there was a bus replacement service part of the way) and found a very grumpy cat demanding to be groomed.

A most excellent weekend, and I'm glad I have today working from home to recover before heading back down to Slough tomorrow.
Have I mentioned how much I hate not having access to a proper keyboard? Still on the iPhone. I can't do justice to today with two finger typing. Sufffice to say that we left three hours to drive 180 km and almost missed our flight. I'll explain the unmade road and invisible airport anon, but suffice to say we checked in with three minutes to spare, which is cutting it fine, even for me.
Hard to believe I'm in Paris at all, never mind in a charming Latin quarter hotel (booked from the CDG Sheraton, where I blagged my way into their business centre) or that the concierge upgraded us on hearing where we'd come from (he's Moroccan)
Found a great wee restaurant tucked away on the Ille and watched some petanque for a while. I'm thinking of going to Mass at Notre Dame tomorrow - the best thing a out being agnostic is never having to say a good act of contrition...
Now that was an entirely acceptable birthday.

A surpriseing amount of love form the office - three cards, two CDs of Basque music, a PS2 game, Wii stuff, a cake and lunch. Quite brought a lump to my throat. And I totally powned the weekly meeting, keeping everyone from killing each other in fromt of our new spanichsw overlords wihome I dfor one welceome,. although none of them wiil  thank me.

Then back home for surprise huge lump of sheep and erven surpriser desert from [livejournal.com profile] unblinkered  cool person that she is. The sheep was fantastic, but the starter and desert were out of this worjhd.

Company for dinner was K (friend fior 28 years) James (15 years) and Eddie (33 years). Not a bad bundch.

After dinner, whisky and Singstar. Sweet home alalblalalama neve sounded so sweet. Mayne we should have skiped Club Tropicana though.

Hsppy Mathoms to you all. Listiening to Lyle Lovett, feeling pretty mellow, and a day off tomorrow. Let;s face it,. life may not get better than thims.



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