Thursday, 16 October 2014
A new road bridge is taking shape across the River Forth. Lots of word play about it being the 'second fo(u)rth bridge'. We don't cross the Forth all that often - about once a month perhaps - so each time we do there's quite a bit of progress to be seen. This past weekend we could see the support for what will be the carriageway taking shape. And the pillars grow ever higher.
Down at water level there is a great bustle of supply boats, and at night the work continues and the pillars are lit up like purposeful Christmas trees.
A national competition was held to choose the name of the bridge. From a selection that included the St Margaret crossing, the Saltire crossing and the Queensferry crossing, the Queensferry crossing was the most popular. I am old enough to remember a time before the current bridge was built, when cars crossed the Forth by actual ferry. I'm only in my mid 50s, and it seems quite incredible that in my lifetime we have gone from a manageable queue of cars on a small stone slipway, to two bridges to cope with the weight of traffic.
I would be able to bring you a much clearer view of the new bridge's progress if I could bear to take photos from the footpath on the old bridge. People merrily jog across the bridge, families take Sunday strolls across it, but such is my fear of heights that I wouldn't put myself through that suffering for the sake of a blog photo!
Sunday, 5 October 2014
Streaming clouds provide the backdrop to an Edinburgh landmark, the Balmoral Hotel. I've lived in Edinburgh long enough now to slip up occasionally and call it by its former name, the North British. It was built in 1902 as the railway hotel for the North British Railway Company, and sits beside Waverley Station. Apart from the useful information that it has a very nice cocktail bar, I can tell you two things about it:
- the clock is set fast to help travellers going for a train hurry up and get there on time. There's some debate as to whether it's 2 or 3 minutes fast. I suppose I should check for myself by looking at it when the 1 o'clock gun is fired from Edinburgh Castle.
- JK Rowling finished the final chapter of the last Harry Potter book in a suite in the hotel. The suite has now been named after her, contains her writing desk and a bust of Hermes, the Greek god of travel, signed by JKR, and you can stay there for around £1,000 a night.