Tag Archives: london

Hacked By Shade

View from the bridge in York, 13 July 2016
Hacked By Shade

Hacked By Shade

 




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Sub-Titling A Regular Feature (or The Great Scotland Problem)

Sub-Titling
Never, ever comment on the title of a blog post without having read the full blog post. You run the risk of looking like an idiot if the blog isn’t at all what you thought it was, or you make an erroneous assumption. 

How does this relate to sub-titles, you might ask?

If you run a regular feature on your blog, it makes sense to ‘sub-title’ those blogs so it’s readily apparent it belongs to that feature. It may not always be clear from a main title that a post fits within a regular feature, so this acts as an immediate flag. 

Of course, on blogs you can’t actually use a ‘sub-title’ as they don’t have that functionality, and even if they did, the distinction would be lost on Twitter anyway. So I signify a sub-title by writing the main title first, then the sub-title after a colon. I have a number of these, including my medieval weapons series and my touring Scotland series. 


The Great Scotland Problem



Just to be clear – Yes, London is still where I
always thought it was in relation to Scotland
My ‘touring Scotland’ feature is a series of posts about planning for my trip to Scotland. Of course, I don’t live in Scotland, so there is some necessary and incidental travel to get there – about 5 days or so, probably, of a 6-7 week round trip. I dearly wish I had a teleporter so I could instantly step from my living room to Scotland, but alas, I have misplaced it.


Now all the posts in the series are sub-titled ‘Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne’ – including those incidental travelling posts in which I’m not actually in Scotland yet. Some of the early posts had titles where it was more readily apparent we were travelling, but I found I couldn’t keep doing that because the titles not only became repetitive but unwieldy if they were to give any sense of what the post itself was about.

And someone took exception to this and assumed that I was stating that London is in Scotland because of the use of the sub-title. Sure, it may not be readily apparent from the title how it works, but reading the post would quickly clear this up. Many of us know from reading the news that the headline is not the whole story – if it were, why would we read it? It behooves us to be informed before we pass judgement. 

Eilean Donan Castle – in Scotland
Instead, I was essentially called an idiot for believing that London is in Scotland – when that’s not what I said – and continued to be told I thought London was in Scotland when in fact I do not and never have thought that and even explained why the post was titled the way it is. It would have sufficed for the commenter to state that she didn’t agree with my analysis rather than to continue misrepresenting and belittling me. Instead, she has taken the view that there is some ‘error’ in my post title. 

The only error is in the inference drawn, and as anyone who writes knows, there will always be someone who misinterprets it. If I called the series ‘Touring Britain’, someone would later complain that I spent too much time on Scotland. You might also complain if I had a post titled ‘Sydney Airport: Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne’, but this is also a post that legitimately relates to my trip.

I have no issue with someone bringing a misinterpretation to my attention. I won’t necessarily agree, but I’m open to a rational discussion and swapping of explanations. However, over 24 hours this situation quickly deteriorated into a series of snide and cruel jokes at my expense for something I never said at a level that can only be called bullying. 

At the end of it (or possibly in the middle of it, but I am resolved not to reply any further), I sat down and re-assessed my reasons for using the sub-title – and I still think they are sound. 

So here’s why I chose to sub-title ‘Touring Scotland’ even on posts where I had not yet arrived in Scotland.


London is On The Way to Scotland For Most of the World


For six billion nine hundred and thirty million people, London is the gateway to Britain. For most, it’s not only the gateway, but literally on the way to Scotland. While Glasgow is an international airport, relatively few flights go there directly without a layover at London. From Australia, you can only fly to Glasgow without a layover at London if you fly Emirates – and then it’s a 39 hour flight! No thank you…

If you layover at London, you will disembark an international flight and board a domestic flight. This means you must clear immigration and then pass back through security for the domestic flight – it’s a major pain in the rear, especially if your first flight runs late – they won’t hold that plane for you! It’s even more an issue if you have kids in tow and have been travelling for 24 hours already from somewhere like, say, Australia. The alternative, of course, is to stop in London for a few days of sight-seeing. 

So, it seems reasonable that most people would understand that a post title including the words ‘London’ and ‘Scotland’ is probably referring to travel on the way to Scotland – since for 99.1% of the population, they will nearly always travel to Scotland via London.


You Were In London and Didn’t See It?


London – NOT in Scotland, but relatively close by compared 
to that part of the world OUTSIDE Britain
(i.e. most of the world).
I did this on my first trip. I flew into London twice and out once. I even drove in and out of London. But we didn’t stop. And I still remember the aghast looks I received from people. 

Apparently it is inconceivable to be anywhere in the vicinity of London and not see it and its sights. I kind of understand this, although for me I like Scotland a lot more. But since I encountered this attitude so much last time, I figured I would stop this time to see what the fuss was about.

Also, I figured that given the prevalence of this attitude, it would be readily understandable that I would stop in London on my way to Scotland. 

I still think these are valid reasons to sub-title the post that way, even if one particular person took a different inference from the title – an inference that would have been resolved quickly if she’d just read the blog post, instead of relentlessly misrepresenting me on a public forum. To continue stating that I said London is in Scotland, when I never said that at all, and after I have explained why the post is titled the way it is, just makes you look like a bully and an idiot. By all means, disagree with my reasoning – but don’t misrepresent me.

In any case, it’s now redundant as in the next post in the series we will be leaving London and on our way for Scotland. 

Side note: Be careful of misrepresenting people. You can actually defame someone by doing this. It’s not really my thing, but if you did it to the wrong person, or in the wrong circumstances, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit

Madame Tussauds, St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and the London Eye: Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne


It must be our second day in London by now. We’re leaving for York on a train around 2pm, so until then we’ll be squeezing in a few more sightseeing experiences.

Madame Tussauds


I’m undecided about this. We have one in Sydney now, although I haven’t been, and I’m still considering whether the original London wax museum really offers anything over and above the Sydney one. I’ll have to do more research. If you have an opinion, chime in!


St Paul’s Cathedral


We saw a few cathedrals in Rome, but St Paul’s seems to be offering a few features not available anywhere we’ve been previously! 


Climb the dome – you can climb up the dome to the Whispering Gallery, where a whisper can be heard clearly 100 feet away. Perhaps not the best location for clandestine meetings. A mere 271 steps will take you up to the Golden Gallery and views across London.

The crypt – once you’ve gone all the way to the top you can go down to the bottom, where lies the cathedral’s architect Sir Christopher Wren together with Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington in the cathedral’s crypts.


The cathedral also offers a touchscreen tour and an immersive film experience. Feeling peckish? You can eat at ‘The Restaurant at St Paul’s’.


The London Eye


This one’s probably considered totally touristy, but this was hubby’s pick and I can’t have it all my way. I concede you do get an excellent view across London, and since we’re not going to be in town long, this probably isn’t a bad idea.


Big Ben


When I think of Big Ben, I always think of the clock tower, and although the name is apparently applied to the tower, the clock and the bell, it properly only refers to the Great Bell.


It was also news to me to learn that the clock tower is actually attached to the UK houses of Parliament. Why didn’t I know this? It seems like something I should have known.


The tower in question is the Elizabeth Tower, and stands at the north end of the Houses of Parliament. You can tour the clock tower, but I’m unsure if we’ll want to go that far or just see it – it may well end up being a question of time. What do you think?


Fun fact: Big Ben first tolled on 11 July 1859.


About Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne


Ciara Ballintyne is visiting Scotland in 2016 – join her on a virtual tour of Scotland and other parts of Great Britain as she plans her trip. Where do you think she should visit?


If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my May Newsletter if you missed it.


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Buckingham Palace: Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne



Let’s hit the Palace! Because you can’t pass through London and not see the Palace, right?

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what Buckingham Palace is, given that the official residence of the Queen of England is fairly well-known. While the palace isn’t the seat of government in the United Kingdom, it is the headquarters of the monarchy, and the location from which The Queen carries out her official and ceremonial duties as Head of State.


Buckingham Palace viewed from the gardens
The Queen also lives in private apartments on the north side of the Palace, with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Other members of the Royal Family have rooms on the upper floors of the north and east sides, and the ground floor and south wing is used by household staff. The State Rooms used for court ceremonies and official entertaining occupy the main west block.

Here’s some royal trivia:


  • If you are received privately by The Queen, you have been granted an Audience. The Prime Minister has a weekly Audience with The Queen, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer always has an Audience before presenting a Budget;
  • Over 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as invited guests;
  • The Queen’s Garden Parties are held three times each summer and are attended by roughly 30,000 guests;
  • The Diplomatic Reception is the main diplomatic social event of the year in London and the the largest reception held at the Palace, with over 1,500 invited guests from 130 countries;

You can’t visit all of the palace, but you can visit the State Rooms – although only at certain times of the year. As this is generally when The Queen departs the Palace to holiday at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands, these dates vary from year to year, and are announced only a few months in advance. 

This year the State Rooms are open all through August and September, which is a long season. Some years it is as little as 6 weeks – and is likely to begin after we leave London, and possibly end before we return. Balmoral Castle will be closed to the public at the same time (this year it closes on 31 July), meaning we won’t be able to go there either while in Scotland.

We won’t know until 2016 if we can go to the State Rooms, but if we can’t we’ll be sure to see the changing of the guard and go to the 



The Royal Mews


A pair of Windsor Greys drawing The Queen’s carriage

As I mentioned in my first post in this series, I had some bizarre notion that a mews was where you keep falcons (you know, for hawking…) but it’s actually where you keep horses!

Yes, it’s a stable.

At least that’s how I interpreted it. The British government will tell you that the Royal Mews is an important branch of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office and provides road transport for The Queen and members of the Royal Family by horse-drawn carriage and car.

But that’s really just a fancy way of saying stable.

The Royal Mews are responsible for the training of the Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays, the horses that pull the royal carriages – because if you’re a member of the Royal Family you can legitimately still travel by carriage without being laughed at.

The State vehicles are also housed at the Royal Mews, including the carriages used for Royal and State occasions. These carriages are used 50 times a year just to convey newly appointed High Commissioners and Ambassadors from their official residence to Buckingham Palace to present their credentials to The Queen – that number doesn’t even include royal usage


If you visit the Royal Mews, you can see the Gold State Coach used at every coronation since that of George IV in 1821.

The Gold State Coach

Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne


Ciara Ballintyne is visiting Scotland in 2016 – join her on a virtual tour of Scotland and other parts of Great Britain as she plans her trip.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my May Newsletter if you missed it.

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Shakespeare’s Globe and the London Bridge Experience: Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne

Still Day One, and more sight-seeing around London!

Shakespeare’s Globe

 

My initial reaction to The Globe, venue for the original performances of Shakespeare’s plays, was surprise that it was still standing. Then I found out that in fact it has been rebuilt which, while disappointing, makes more sense. In any case, I have added The Globe to my list of must-sees.

The Globe is currently used for theatre performances! It also houses an exhibition exploring the life of Shakespeare and his contemporary London in addition to the theatre itself.


The London Bridge Experience


I read somewhere that this was one of the best tourist experiences in London, and so I thought we should definitely go, and now I find myself reconsidering…



The London Bridge Experience explores London’s ‘gruesome history’, and purports to take you back in time with the Romans, the Vikings and even an odd pickpocket or two. The bit about Queen Boudicca certainly sounds interesting, and while I’m absolutely interested in William Wallace I wonder how suitable his fate is for small children… Well, the London Bridge Experience looks a little creepy, but while they don’t allow children on the optional London Tours tour (which I am definitely not interested in) they don’t exclude or warn them off the London Bridge Experience, so maybe it will be OK…

The Experience also covers Viking King Olaf’s rule, the shops of old London Bridge, the Great Fire of London, Jack the Ripper and Hell’s Portal. It certainly looks like an action-packed 45 minutes!

About Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne


Ciara Ballintyne is visiting Scotland in 2016 – join her on a virtual tour Scotland and other parts of Great Britain as she plans her trip. Tell her where you think she should visit!


If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my May Newsletter if you missed it. 


Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.  


Thanks for stopping by and visiting!