Sunday, 12 August 2012

Holiday in Scotland

[Beach at Ayr]

I've just had an enjoyable week in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the company of some of the scottish part of my family. While I was away, I reached the ripe old age of 38, and it was nice to do it in the presence of my parents, who came up too to stay with my cousin, her husband and their children in the slightly chaotic house they've moved to.

The train journey up went pretty smoothly, though I've never seen such a busy train on a Sunday from Guildford to London. This was presumably due to the olympics. I ended up sitting at a table with a family, while my girlfriend and daughter, Flora, sat together further down the carriage. The little girl opposite me showed great interest in my Saturday prize Independent crossword, which I was trying to finish. I'm not sure that I was really able to give a good answer to her question she asked after some studying of the grid, which was "why haven't you done 16 across yet?"

The holiday was a nice combination of homely relaxation and day trips to fun things. The fun farm just outside Ayr was great. Flora liked feeding the animals and I could hardly peel her away from the "bouncy pillow" trampoline-like thing. This was especially nice as normally she shies away from both physical activity and things crowded with other boisterous children. The Glasgow Science Centre was also really good, easily among the best of such things I've been to, though swimming in the sea in Ayr was just a nice in a different way.

For my birthday itself, my Dad took me to the Ayr Brewing Company's only outlet; a hotel which has the brewery in its garage. Their beer was pretty good, and it was nice to hang out with my Dad, who I don't really see often enough. My girlfriend then took me for a pre-meal glass of champagne in a wine bar, and we then went off to meet everyone else for a meal.

Travelling back yesterday, I learned that alas I yet again failed to win the Saturday prize crossword in the Independent. On the other hand, I'm quite proud of the clue I submitted for the informal competition in the Guardian Crossword Blog this week.

Over all, it was a fairly nuclear-physics free week, though I may have done a little work on a paper about isotope shifts in lead radii - hopefully will submit that one in the next week or so.