19th to 23rd August

Monday

It was a hard weekend of partying and merriment and eating junk food, but for someone who is not used to this anymore, it became too much.

I was awake most of the night with an upset stomach, it was as if someone had tied my intestines very tightly in a big knot. I reckon I slept for only 3 hours if it was that.

And so after a morning of first nothingness and then shopping with Joe and Linda. I did manage to eat a sandwich for lunch. After lunch we walked into town, they had a few errands and I just like buzzing around the shops. LOL

We did visit lots of shops for them, first stop was to bring both their watches for repair, for different reasons and then we went to the world-famous Braithwaites Coffee shop for me. Everyone in Dundee knows to venture down Castle Street in Dundee is a journey through the beautiful aroma of freshly ground coffee. I stood for a bit in this very old shop, we heard it has been there for nearly 180 years and it still has a brilliant authentic look, nothing has changed and long may it stay that way.

We headed next to Slater Menswear, as Joe had gift certificates he wanted cash. Promising myself I would not spend any money, sigh!, I started to look around and…big surprise…I had bought a hat within minutes. Well, thinking that would be me I look and the jackets and ended up buying one. FFS spine of a jellyfish.

I may be weak, but I think I have style and I am super happy with what I have purchased.

As my upset stomach was still acting up, we headed to Boots the chemist and there I purchased Andrews Liver Salts and that did the trick and within a short time by stomach was back to its usual farty, gurgling self.

We were returning to pick up the watches Joe and Linda had brought for repair and as we walked towards the shopping centre when Joe noticed an old man standing by the entrance and it was George, Linda’s father. Now I won’t go into details, because it is personal for them, but they haven’t spoken in about a decade. I asked Linda how she felt about seeing him, but she assured me she was fine and I believe her. Linda and I headed home and Joe headed for a few pints

The evening we had steak pie, potatoes and veggie for dinner and I reckon it was what my stomach was screaming for. The rest of the evening was super relaxed and I was in bed early. Time for bed.


Tuesday

Up early spring in feet and the belly slowly getting back to normal. I decided it was time to walk into town.

Like a tourist on speed, I was photographing everything. I walking down the town. Dundee is built on a hill and walking to town is much easier than walking home, but stay tuned because this will be tried later.

I got into town and made a direct route to the REAL museum of Dundee, no not the now-famous V & A museum, but the McManus Museum and Galleries. This is a place I remember well from my childhood. I spent many happy hours here and even did a short archaeology course in my teens. I was coming back here for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The main attraction is, of course, the whale skeleton. Dundee was once a thriving whaling city, long before the Jute era. Another thing that brought back memories was the stuffed animals, but I guess the numero uno memory that was relived was the creaking floorboards. When I was done with my tour I told the receptionist, they should never fix them as it was part of its charm.

After nearly 2 hours of memory reliving in the museum, I stopped for a bite to eat and a cup of tea in the restaurant and of course to buy souvenirs in the museum shop. I really loved being back in the old building and I promise not to make it so long for my next visit.

After my cultural trip, I made my way through town to buy a white shirt and some cheap clothes for working in. I am painting the decking in their garden. I think it is the least I do for all their hospitality. After which I stopped for a sandwich and a drink and it was then I decided I would tackle one of the hardest streets in Dundee to walk up…the Hilltown. And so with bags on my back and drink in my hand, I started this climb. The hardest part is the 1st part. It is almost a 12% grade and for someone who lives in a country, where hills and mountains are only in postcards and paintings, it was a hard climb. I have to admit I did struggle to find a rhythm to march to up the hill and to make matters worse an old lady, who looked like she was in her 90’s raced past me at double my speed, LOL

I had to pause about twice, due to lack of stamina, but also due to my right knee, which was playing up and really starting to hurt.

The only advantage to making that Godawful climb is the ultra super baker at the top of the Hilltown. Rough and Frazier (or Roughies to the locals)

After a short rest, a pie and a drink. I set off to buy another Scottish delicacy, namely potted hough, but not before a visit to the most famous of sweetie shops at the top of Hilltown and next to the Hilltown clock. This shop stocks lots of sweets from yesteryear and it is like a blast from the past as you suck on a cola cube.

So after another climb up a steep road, I had my hough and was heading home for a well-earned rest. My legs were seriously knackered and as for my right knee, well it f**king hated me.

In the evening, Joe’s son Scott and their grandchildren and grandson came for dinner. She is a lovely girl because she laughed at all my jokes, but not only that she was very polite. The Grandchild, on the other hand, was a handful and a smacked arse would not have been out of place, but who am I to talk about raising children. When they left we were all knackered and yet again, I was in bed early and another day had passed.


Wednesday

Breaking the week, with some work, some walking and lots of rain

In Joe and Linda’s garden, they have a decking, where people can sit and well, enjoy life, or even some beer.

They have been struggling for ages, to get the first coat on the bottom decking floor, so I said I would do it. I had actually tried to start on Tuesday afternoon, but after about 10 minutes and a blue sky, the wind brought cloud and rain…..wasn’t a happy ma.

Well, today started similarly, I knew there was rain coming, but it wasn’t expected until late afternoon, so I decided to go for it. Would you believe I had been working for only about 25 minutes when would you believe it, it started to lightly rain? I stopped for a bite to eat and to bring in the washing and hang it inside. Then after about 10 minutes the rain actually stopped and the sun came back out to play.

So I finally got out to finish it. After cleaning up and changing. I decided today would be a short walk to the surrounding area of the last house I lived in Dundee before moving to Holland.

My right knee has seemed to recover from the walking, but now my calf muscles are acting up. I have never walked so much in my life and this includes walking Bruce every day.

I headed up to our old house via the Fairmuir park, where I used to play football for Fairmuir Boys and the famous kiddies park where I fell asleep in many years ago after tripping on acid and staring at the stars. We had had our usual Friday night out, consuming lots of alcohol and taking an acid tab (LSD). For some strange reason, I always seemed to want to trip alone and I am not hoe I ended up in the kiddies playground, but I do remember looking at the stars. Anyway, I remember waking up and thinking: who are those people in my bedroom screaming ‘stay away from the scary man’ and why is it so warm. Upon opening my eyes I realised where I was, about half a kilometre from our house. So I finally got home telling the mum I slept at a party.

I walked down my old street, many happy memories there, I actually bumped into an old neighbour. I wasn’t sure who it was, but she remembered my mum and shared some happy memories.

I walked right down the street to the Kingsway (this is Dundee’s ring road and always busy), I walked along and back up towards the Strathmartine Road side of Fairmuir Park. Well as you can guess it is thirsty work all this walking and because it started to rain again, I stopped off for a couple of pints. Nothing much happened in the bar it was empty, but there was one dude who was laughing while telling his stories to the barman. I wanted a pint of what he was drinking. When I came out, it was raining, so I headed along the Clepington Road and towards the chip shop, as it was not teatime and I was peckish. I took my snack towards the Dundee United training complex and watched the youth team training.

After about half an hour and completely soaked I headed home. The evening was uneventful, I was knackered and in bed early. Tomorrow I planned to do the tourist thing at the waterfront.


Thursday

Acting the tourist in my hometown

This was the tourist day. I walked downtown and headed directly for the ‘Unicorn’, this ship was docked in the docks, long before the ‘Discovery’ came back to rest here.

The weather was perfect, not too warm and a nice cool breeze. I walked around the docks to see it sitting there. I have never been on board before and I was genuinely excited.

There are 4 decks onboard and every deck you descend to the ceiling is lower. The bottom deck was too low for me. so I decided it was time to move on. After passing the road bridge, the next port of call was the V & A museum and arts centre. The thing is huge and interesting but in my view not a patch on the McManus museum. I lunched in the V & A. A chutney and cheese sandwich, followed by a scone with butter and jam and a cup of tea…yummy.

After lunch, the next stop for me was the Discovery. This is the ship Captain Scott used on his fateful voyage to the Antarctic. The museum and ship are very impressive and gives you an idea of the hardships and the cold the sailors had to endure on that voyage.

I had just finished the tour when Joe phoned. He had just been to a funeral and wondered if I would like to go for a pint. Who am I to say know. I did, however, have one last destination on my tourist day. The Tay rail bridge.

This is where I made a massive error of judgement. I always remembered the bridge being close to the town…..like hell it is. It took me ages to get there, but walking along the seafront is never annoying.

I took lots of photographs and headed back into town via Perth Road. I had arranged to meet Joe at 2.30 and I was running a bit late. So sweating like a long-distance runners underpants, I got into the bar about 5 minutes late (those who really know me, know how much I hate being late, but luckily Joe hadn’t arrived yet. I was enjoying a pint, when it was about then I realised, I was in the wrong bar…..IDIOT!!!!

So I walked up to meet Joe and we had a few pints. Again the evening was not much to write home about and again I was in bed very early.


Friday

St. Andrews Day and the home of golf

This was a day I was really looking forward to. It has been ages since I visited St. Andrews, famous for the ruins, the University and of course most famously known as the home of Golf. To play on the Old Course is every golfer’s dream, but as I am lead to believe will cost you an arm and a leg to play a round of golf there.

The day started differently, mainly I never walked into town, as I usually do. No, my dear readers, I took the bus into town. I reached the town and walked through towards the bus station for my short bus journey to St. Andrews. I think it is about 12 miles from Dundee. Before the journey, I got a ‘Steak Bake’ from the bakers Greggs…..Man, they are to die for.

As the bus arrived, I took photo’s of it, just from the blog. The bus driver asked if I was a bus enthusiast, it seems there are many. I answered ‘no, I’m just a tourist’ we laughed.

It was another warm day, thank God the windows were open and the scenery is just breathtaking in beautiful Fife. The memories started flooding back when we passed Leuchars and Coatbridge. Leuchars was, of course, best known for the R.A.F. base that was stationed there.

Well, we reached St. Andrews and it could not have been more beautiful bathed in the glorious sunshine.

I decided to head first to the Old Course, as this was situated on the outskirts of the town. Well, disaster struck before I had even begun my tour, as I turned my camera on to take some shots, the camera read memory card full. I thought unbelievable, I have taken thousands of photos on this trip, that will be fun when I get back to Holland and have to check them out.

And so, after asking a lovely couple where I could find a camera shop, I was directed to Boots in town and I purchased 2 cards, just to be on the safe side and well, we started again and I headed towards ‘the home of golf’.

I have been here more than once, but it is always a pleasure and an honour to stand where all the greats of golf have stood. My trigger happy camera finger was going nuts and I took lots of the old course. Including one of myself on the famous bridge on the 18th, but that will be seen when I get the camera photos sorted

After about an hour buzzing around the gold course, I decided to head along the shoreline to the old ruins. St. Andrews really is a beautiful town and I would recommend it to everyone.

The coastline is stunning and the smell of the sea is brilliant, well, I think it is and I am sticking to it.

I passed the Castle ruins because I wanted to visit the Cathedral ruins, with gravestones and all. This has a lot of history and I remember years ago, we checked out the dates on the gravestones just to try to find the oldest. I think it was something around the 17th century, mind you the memory is not what it was. LOL

After walking past the gravestones, I visited the souvenir shop to see if I could find something nice. There was a young girl behind the counter and I overheard her speaking to Italian tourists. After they had left, I mentioned that I thought she would have spoken Italian, she laughed and then I said, what about Dutch. Well, would you believe that she had family in Holland and even an Auntie who lived in Alkmaar, proving that the world is a small place?

I left the ruins and decided to head into town for something to eat. A small quaint cafe, where I had a pot of tea and a homemade roll with black pudding. God that was lovely. It is just a pity the number of wasps around at this time of year and I had an argument with one little bugger.

It was then that I decided it might be nice to head back to Dundee, well after 4 hours of tamping around my legs were knackered. So I headed back to the bus (which is every 8 minutes) and we set off back to the Royal Burgh.

It was only half-past one, so I thought I would visit the shops to look for another shirt. Well, I didn’t get a shirt I got something I have been searching for many years, A light blue suit and for only 50 pounds.

I was seriously in a good mood after this purchase and headed to the bus stop to get the bus home. No hill climbing home today. I got home and decided to rest my poor legs.

That evening I was treated to one of Joe’s specialities, a mild curry. It was brilliant

I knew Joe was working in the club that night and so I decided to go up for a beer. Linda brought me up to the club, she wasn’t feeling great so she just stayed home. It was bloody warm and very sweaty in my new suit. It was a very nice evening, no I decided against playing bingo, but the band were fine and the beer was nice. I just realised though watching a game from the Scottish football championships, that Scottish football is crap, what a boring game. But anyway, that did not dampen my spirits and I had a nice evening to top of another fantastic day and when I got home I was a happy chappy.


Conclusion

What a fantastic week in Dundee and the surrounding areas.

I am really proud of what has happened to the city, the only problems are the number of young junkies hanging around, very sad. And I cannot believe the obesity of lots of people. But after all that is said and done and apart from that, I was really happy to be home after nearly 10 years.