26th to 30th August

Monday

This week was a week of reunion with family and friends

I had arranged to meet an old buddy, one of my longest mates from the snap-on days: Eric ‘Addie’ Addison. He has had one hell of a life, but now is suffering for it with his health.

I walked from my cousin’s house towards the Morgan Academy, I wanted to take some cool photo’s of this school’s beautiful building. I had heard it had been on fire, but they had managed to rebuild it to it it’s former glory.

I then moved passed the school to the bicycle shop. I had visited here many years ago with my bike and the man remembered me. I was inquiring about getting a ‘City of Dundee’ cycling top, but they are not made and I was given information about a company that specialises in making cycling shirts. Which is cool.

After I went into a bakery and bought a pie and 2 rhubarb cakes (for with the coffee), I passed the funeral parlour where my mother had lain in 1994, before she was cremated. It was an airy passing because all the memories of that horrible time started flooding back. But again I continued on to Baxter Park. This is a beautiful park and I just love the buildings of the surrounding areas.

After making many photos of the building and the beautiful plants, I made my way to my mate’s house. He has had one hell of a life. Back in Dundee after living in America for a while. He got involved in the Porn industry, editing the films and also got involved in heavy drinking and drug abuse. Luckily he survived that time and although still alive today, he admits his health has suffered for it

We talked for about two and a half hours, reminiscing about the brilliant times we had when we lived in Dundee. We were blessed that we had an amazing group of friends and I promise one day, I will write a book about that time. We also talked about lost friends. Andy Mac, Stu Livie and Jon-boy Sexton. Gone but never forgotten.

We said our goodbyes, I hope he fairs well and I headed to the town to meet another mate. Dougie Ramsey. Dougie had lived in Alkmaar round 1980 and we moved into the apartment he had rented in Alkmaar when he and Rosemary moved back to Dundee. We met at the Brewdog bar in the centre, it is situated across from the McManus Museum, so as we sat outside in the warm sunshine, the few was well diverse, the beautiful museum and the occasional junkie passing.

I received a nice compliment from the young barmaid when she asked. “You must hear all the time that you look really cool.” Well, what must I say, my modest ego…..no wait that is not right, hahaha? it was a very nice compliment and all the more super as I was wearing my ZEEKtheFREAK T-shirt at the time. LOL.

Dougie and I also talked of times gone by and after we parted our ways. I headed up to Groucho’s, the famous second record shop in Dundee. I am always on the lookout for locals bands and I got a CD from ‘Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies’. I haven’t heard the CD but did check out their music on YouTube (or YaTube as we say in Dundee).

Well, I headed home, but not before I had bought ‘Fritters’. They are just potato in chip batter, but man they are brilliant. I finally arrived home tired but happy after another nice day. The evening was just chill mode, so not much to write home about. Tomorrow I will be heading up our famous volcano………….


Tuesday

Awa up the La’

Well, today is the day I would climb the famous Law, an extinct volcano that can tell many stories during its time in Dundee, from tunnels to murders, it had witnessed everything, but if you ever want to view Dundee in one go, then that is the place to go.

I walked up the road which coils around its body, it is very steep and very hard to climb, but when you reach the top the view is breathtaking and a must form every returning Dundonian who wants to view on this beautiful city. From Fife, the River Tay and the bridges to the Sidlaw Hills behind the city, from Broughty Ferry and the North Sea to the River Tay and Perth. The views are amazing and worth that climb.

the Rockie

Walking down from the La’ I decided I would visit my old secondary school, The Rockwell High (or Rocky to the locals). I seriously hated this place as it has crap memories, but since it is part of my history I always seem to visit it. The place has fallen derelict and only part of it is still used as a study centre, I think.

the journey continues down towards Coldside and further down to The Hilltown clock. Right across from the clock there is a sweet shop that has been there since the beginning of time and although the ownership of the shop has probably changed hands, it still has the sweets of years gone by and I spent 1o pound to take lots back to Holland. LOL

I started off back towards home via the Dundee United shop. I wanted to get the brother a birthday pressie, but since I couldn’t decide, I texted him and phoned him, but I didn’t get an answer, so I bought nothing. I arrived home and he finally gave me an answer, so I went back to the shop. It is only a five-minute walk, so I didn’t mind.

The evening was one of nothingness and I was in bed early. Tomorrow I was heading up to Perth for a few days to visit family


Wednesday

Off to the Fair City

Wednesday morning up early and a walk down to the bus station to catch the bus to the fair city of Perth. Perth is a beautiful city steeped in History and nicknamed, the gateway to the Highlands, Perth was once the Capitol of Scotland and it is always a pleasure to visit and it makes it even nicer as I am visiting family.

The journey between the two cities is normally 30 minutes, but because the bus takes in a bit of the West end of Dundee, including Menzieshill and Ninewells Hospital, the journey takes 50 minutes to an hour but I don’t care, I am on holiday and I have no rush

I arrived in Perth, around 12 o’clock and contacted my cousin Kenneth, who is a taxi driver in the town, but wanted to take the afternoon off to take me places. we arranged to meet around 13.30, so had a walk around the town, taking photos as I walked.

If anyone is thinking of visiting Scotland, I think Perth has to be a must to visit, before you visit the Highlands.

I met Kenneth and we headed off towards something called the Queens View. It is difficult to explain this view, even with a photo you can not capture the exact beauty of it.

We had some tea and a cake in the cafe and after a half-an-hour of photo-snapping, we headed to the beautiful town of Pitlochry, although we didn’t actually have time to visit the Dam and the fish ladder due to dinner commitments, I still recommend Pitlochry for a visit.

So we headed back to Perth and our dinner date with Lorraine (Ken’s daughter) and her husband Omar. We had Steak pie, potatoes and veg which was very tasty and to top it off we had sticky toffee pudding and ice cream

After dinner, Ken headed home and Lorraine asked if I would like to have an after-dinner stroll around this beautiful city. Well, I say walk, but she is used to power walking and I was virtually half running and she even said she has slowed down for me. LOL

And so we returned to their home and sat and talked and had a few beers and around 11.30, it was time to lay my tired head down. Night night

A new morning. I had slept like a log, only waking up twice wondering where the hell I was. LOL, but the clean fresh Perth air helped me sleep like a log.


Thursday

Heading back down the road

I talked with the family as they got ready for work/school and after coffee, I headed back into town on the same road Lorraine had shown me the previous evening. It was another beautiful warm day, hard to believe I am in Scotland.

I passed the swans and shot a few great photos with my camera (those I will add to the photo page of this blog when I get back to Holland).

I toured the town again before heading for my return bus journey around 11.30.

On the bus journey home, we passed many places that brought happy memories, none more so than the bar where I visited for my first pint, so many years ago, when I was 15

My first ever pub

Back in the Royal Burgh, I decided I would climb about the steepest road in Dundee. Constitution Road. (the Conshie to the locals), but before that time I visited one of the Cathedrals’ in Dundee. I love to see the inside of these beautiful buildings and always want to light candles for loved ones lost

(left to right): The inside of the Cathedral, the Old D.R.I., the view looking down the Conshie

I also promised Sol I would take photos of the Sherrif’s Courts and the University building of Dundee. also, I promised her a photo of the Penguins on the High street. So I whizzed around shooting these and slowly making my way to the climb of the Constitution Road

And so it was to one of the steepest roads in Dundee and one we used to climb every week after a night of alcohol or drugs, but we were young and fitter and lighter then LOL.

I did the Hilltown last week and if I have to be honest, although the Constitution Road is steeper, the Hilltown is probably harder because it is much longer.

The advantage of climbing both these roads is the prize at the end of the climb, namely famous bakery Rough and Frazers. Needed for recovery food

Well, those pies went down a treat and I headed off home, walking past Tannadice Park, Joe past in his taxi and took me the rest of the way home.

The afternoon was spent having a nap and working on this blog. The evening I sat behind the laptop watching my Dutch team AZ Alkmaar play and beat the cheating, dirty b@st@rds team Royal Antwerp, they had 2 sent off but should have been more. A few beers were downed in celebrations.

And so another busy day comes to an end. Tomorrow is the day, the derby Dundee United versus Dundee (or the Fun as we call them)


Friday

It’s Derby Day, c’mon United

Well, finally this day has come. I am back in Dundee and I have a ticket for the Dundee derby and I am in the Shed, where we always used to stand. Really buzzing and ultra-confident for it. I have said from the start I think we are too strong for them and my prediction is 4-0 United.

The morning was spent, going to the post office, walking around in the rain, trying to find things to do, just so speed up the time till I go for a wee drink before the match.

I really don’t have much to write about most of the day, except while walking a wee Dundee ned passed me on his bike and looked at my Dundee United raincoat, he waited until he was a good distance away from me, before hurling abuse at my support for Dundee United…I couldn’t stop laughing. When I got home I watched Ice Age 2 on TV, just before getting home I spotted the best-ever name for a Dundee take away shops

…and so finally around 16.15, I decided I would take the walk to the pub, I have been waiting on. Weather was not good, it was actually pissing down. My cousin offered to bring me, but I wanted to walk and feel the atmosphere that always surrounds derby day. Linda also wanted me to avoid walking past certain bars as they were Dundee supporters bars, but I have to be honest, there is very rarely trouble between the two supporters groups.

Finally, in the bar and soaking wet, I had to have a beer to steady my excitement for the game. I met up with friends and we had a few beers and then we headed to the stadium. The atmosphere was electric. The stadium was sold out and everyone was buzzing. I took my place in the Shed, a place I always stood when I was a young lad.

All I can really say about the game is, United didn’t play great and that Dundee should take up swimming because their diving was worthy Olympic Gold.

They scored first and their fans went apeshit, but it was short-lived because the goal was ruled offside, but I have seen a film of that goal and I must admit I am not sure it was.

Then United scored and we went apeshit, as you do in that situation, they equalised and then we went ahead again, it was end to end stuff, not great football, but really exciting.

Then I am not sure what happened but by half-time, we were 4-1 up and heading for a monster score. The 2nd half was moments old and we scored again, they pulled one back and just before the end we scored again…6-2 for Dundee United. To say I and the massive United support was happy is an understatement.

The plans were to head to the bar after the game with friends, but although I was soaking wet, I was happy and content and decided I would call it a day, but not before I had stopped off at the chip shop to take some food home with me.

When I got home Linda was still awake and we ate and chatted, but after a bit, I think the adrenaline finally took a breather and I could feel myself slowly tire and so it was bedtime for this very happy Arab.


Week conclusion

Well, the 2nd week of my visit has come to a close, only a few more days and I will be flying back to reality in the Netherlands.

It was a wonderful week, I walked and talked a lot and totally had a brilliant time, but this story is not over, more to follow in the coming days………..