Thursday, 26 April 2018

Book Feature: THE BROTHERHOOD OF MERLIN by Rory D Nelson

About the Book:

Merlin returns to Lycenea a hero, victorious over the Visi-Gauls in a gruesome and exhaustive campaign that claimed the life of one of his men and saw the annihilation of the Visi-Gauls’ Southern Army.

Merlin’s peaceful reprieve is cut short however, as he must now find and expose the corrupt Senator who initiated the war in the first place and plots to subvert the Empire for himself. He is aided by the powerful sorceress, Morgana and Felinius, a former disgraced and condemned knight who knows the inner workings of the Brotherhood.

Merlin must also protect two of the captives he rescued during the war with the Visi-Gauls, one of whom is a boy named Dante, whose power has been prophesized to defeat Herod Antipaz, the corrupt Senator, and his deadly allies who threaten to destroy Gilleon.

Herod makes plans of his own for eliminating Dante. The boy’s problems continue to mount precipitously- for not only is he being ruthlessly hunted down by Herod’s minions, but he must also face down a brutal training program in Round Table Academy, where he faces elimination on a daily basis. Should he be eliminated, he will no longer be under the protection of Merlin and his Brotherhood and his death almost a foregone conclusion.

His only hope, his only salvation is Merlin- as is the country of Gilleon.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Check Out Book One: Gilleon

Five hundred years after the death of King Arthur, a sadistic tyrant of Visi-Galia, attacks unprotected and vulnerable townships in Gilleon, igniting a deadly chain of events. Because he was unfairly denied a proper chance to compete for valuable mine rights and outbid by a Councilman from Gilleon, he reasons that he can invade Gilleon's vulnerable townships and force the Council to negotiate with him.

Merlin, the lead knight in Lycenea, has foreseen just such a predicament. With the gifts of premonition, telepathy and intelligence, he and 9 of his most formidable knights go into battle against Jason and his force of nine thousand.

At stake is everything. The fate of the prisoners who are awaiting to be sold into slavery rests in the hands of the deadly knights. Specifically, two girls who were attacked in Missalia and are now orphaned, are at the mercy of the sadistic King. Will Merlin and his band of knights be able to rescue them in time?

Adele, the older sister, has plans of her own for escape. Will she prove successful or will her plans be foiled? If she is caught, what will become of her and her sister, Sylvia?

Dante, a boy from Coifen, is also now orphaned. He is the sole survivor of a brutal attack on his family. An unlikely heroine has come to his rescue- a mysterious white wolf. Unfortunately, the attack has left him blind. He and his guardian make their refuge in a remote cave. He clings desperately to the hope that God has spared him for a reason. Every night he goes to bed, he says a prayer to his talisman, the Merlin, a game piece that his father gave him before he was forced to abandon him. It was the last gift he received before all hell broke loose. Will he be rescued? Will he find a permanent haven? His fate also lies in the hands of the Merlin.

Merlin and his troupe lead the Visi-Gauls in a high stakes game of cat and mouse. Jason, though capricious, is not stupid. He uses every means at his disposal to eliminate Merlin. Who will prove the victor? Fighting a severe war of attrition, it seems at times that Jason will inevitably win; but don't count the Merlin out. He is beyond slippery. Every time it seems that Jason has the gifted knight, he is thwarted yet again.

Get Your Copy of Book One: Gilleon for FREE!

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Character Study - Renault

     Deadly. Volatile. Vengeful. Sadistic. Cruel. Compassionate. Courageous. Heroic. He is a dedicated and loyal brother to the Merlin and a champion to the innocent and defenseless, but he also enjoys killing and watching his targets suffer as he inflicts agony on them before he finishes them off.  He is a walking contradiction and the right hand of the Merlin. When faced with an impossible mission, Merlin knows that he count on Renault to achieve his goals.
  Like Merlin, he is cunning, calculating, manipulative, resourceful and a master at strategy and logistics. He is also a telepath and can glean information from his targets. He should be a Godsend to Merlin but nothing is so simple.
     Living in the relatively peaceful town of Helganon with his family, Renault clings to his peaceful reprieve in between his deadly missions for the Merlin. But with his volatile temper and his urge to protect the innocent at all costs, his demons push him closer to the brink, alienating himself in the process.
     When Renault’s temper pushes him past the threshold of composure, he lashes out and makes enemies not only among his own trusted brethren but also on both sides of a dangerous feud between the Ostra-Gauls and the Sene-Gauls. And so he finds himself in a desperate circumstance with the walls beginning to close around him.
     Will Renault’s demons push him too far, making him a liability among his brethren? Will his dire circumstances invade his own peaceful refuge at home with his beloved family? When Merlin’s own dire circumstances necessitate the need for Renault and his skill set, will he be ready?

About the Author:

Author Rory D Nelson is an accomplished actor and has been seen in several high school productions of “Oedipus Rex,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” He owns a window cleaning business in the Sacramento area, enjoys wine tasting, snowboarding, traveling and working out. Rory D Nelson is an eclectic and prolific writer, having written numerous comedy skits, commercial parodies, and ghost-written many humorous t-shirts. He has the most unusual imagination of any fantasy author, since he also brings his deranged sense of humor into play in his books.

Contact the Author:

Website * The Brotherhood of Merlin * Facebook * Twitter 

Friday, 20 April 2018

Book Feature: FORSAKEN NORSE WIND by Ciara Lake

About the Book:

A troll, a mortal, and a love hot enough to melt ice.
Trapped in a vicious life, Breanna Devion survives only by the strength of her heart. Determined to have more than what her abusive stepfather has planned for her, she's willing to risk everything to be free.
Axel Venrick is a troll who has spent centuries alone, isolated in his castle in Iceland. At the insistence of others, Axel crafts the ultimate tool to find his soul mate. He creates a beautiful ring which is bespelled, blessed by a god, and sent forth to locate Axel's other half.
The ring finds Breanna just in time to prevent her stepfather's disastrous plan from taking place. But angry gods, vengeful parents, and an evil lurking in the immortal world all conspire to destroy the love of the jaded troll and his innocent mortal. Can their love free them or will the evil spreading from the bowels of the earth destroy them first?

Book Links:

Read an Excerpt:

“It’s going to be ugly if they get here. I may have to kill some of them. I’d prefer not to, at least this day. But they may leave me no choice.” He shrugged. “So, let’s go to avoid this problem. I didn’t come here to make war on these humans. I came to fetch my mate.” He stepped closer to the porch. “Trust me, Breanna. Let your heart guide you. If you listen to it, you will know what to do.”
“My mother’s in her room sleeping. I need help with her. She’s ill, and she can be difficult.”
“Let me inside, I’ll talk to her.”
“Okay.” She stood aside. “I’m your mate?”
“Yes, you’re my mate.” In a few quick steps, he stood inside the house. He had to duck as he entered, and once inside he hunched not to hit the ceiling. “Gather what you would like to take with us. Get the coat I gave you.”
Breanna picked up the coat to put it on. She took him to her mother.
“Mother, this is Axel. We need to leave with him. Hugh’s upset with us. He’s coming back to… hurt us. We have to go.” Breanna tapped her mother’s arm. “Mother, please wake up.”
Fiona rolled over to look at Breanna. Her eyes were crazed. “What is it, child?” Her voice sounded weak. “I was dreaming of Hema taking me to his realm.”
“We need to leave. This is Axel.” Breanna pointed at him. “Umm, he’s a friend of mine. We need to go with him, now.”
“No.” Her mother sat up in the bed, shaking her head. Her hair looked wild all over her head. “I must wait for Hema to return. If I’m gone he may not find me.”
“Mother, we have to go. Hugh’s not happy, and he’s bringing others to start trouble.” 
“You leave, I’m staying here. I’m not worried about Hugh.” She lay back down, rolling to the other side. “I cannot leave. Hema may come to get me.”
Axel patted Breanna on her shoulder. “They’re almost here. Stand back with me. Lay the coat down then give me your hand. We’ll watch to make sure your mother’s safe.”
He reached for her hand, and Breanna allowed him to hold it.
“No one can see us now. It takes less power if you hold my hand to make you invisible with me. We’ll wait and watch. They cannot hear us either.”
Breanna followed Axel out into the front room of the house. They stood to the right of the fireplace out of the way. The front door burst open, and Breanna jumped.
“It’s okay. They don’t see or hear us. You’ll be safe.” He gently squeezed her hand. “Relax.”
Hugh, along with two other men, entered the house. The door banged against the wall, and they pushed the chairs to the floor as they stomped inside. Others were outside the house calling loudly for her.
“Where’s the bastard? The damn girl’s in league with him."

About the Author:
Welcome to Ciara Lake's World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.

Contact the Author:

Friday, 13 April 2018

Follow Me: Mar sin leat na h-Alba (Goodbye Scotland)...we will miss you!

Friday, 13 April 😀

Johannesburg here we go! There is nothing like the sounds, smells, and sights of home, but we will always remember Scotland with fondness.
Fare thee well!

Find the two of us for a wave goodbye @ Instagram
There will be one last post with a selection of our photographs from our whole trip. Look out for that coming soon!
Until our next venture across the borders of South Africa (in whichever direction that may be), thank you for traveling with us!

PS: Remember to subscribe, the competition is only open to my mailing list!

💜 Linzé

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Follow Me: Scotland - Balloch (2)

Thursday, 12 April, 21h43, UK time

Today has been another day with loads of stories happening. And as is the case with life, you cannot plan these things to happen, but you have to be open to spotting them and make the most of the experience. Well, tonight's post is about a dog, a tree, a coffee shop, and a camera.
Our first stop this morning was the Balloch castle with its beautiful woodland gardens. We didn't expect the woodlands and had a lovely walk through all those trees. After the requisite pictures of the castle, we set off on the walkways picking a tree here and a lake view there to capture with our respective cameras.
At one point Francois meandered closer to the water while I remained walking on the path, just enjoying the peaceful albeit cool morning. There were many dogs about, taking their owners for a stroll and a few ball games to exercise their legs.
One dog however, make me laugh. His owner, a lady, would throw his ball down the path and he would set off after it. Unlike other dogs who returned the ball to be thrown again, this black labrador ran after the ball, collected it, and then promptly put it down on the path. The woman would then walk to the ball, it was exactly on her way, collect it and throw it again, while the dog patiently waited for his human companion to catch up. Not your normal way of doing things, but it clearly works for them.
When Francois and I caught up again, we were both at the kiosk where a jetty is also constructed to launch a boat from. Two swans swan up to him, an adult, and a younger bird. The adult had no hesitation to come out of the water prancing around to show off his gorgeous wings. Had to be a male bird, if you ask me. When he returned to the water, he kept his wings posed high. I am no swan expert, but I looked at Francois with an arched eyebrow: "with a come-on like that, you would expect at least a dinner and a movie." He just shook his head at me.
After a visit to Dumbarton castle, we went shopping for glue tape. Weird, but I use them with my journal and travel journal, and yesterday the one I brought from home ran out. We found a craft store that stocked them, to my greatest delight since these things are scarce and expensive at home. I bought one, and two refills. Despite the exchange rate, it was well worth the expense.
After a light lunch at a nursery coffee shop (we sniff them out) we made a quick stop back at the Inn to try and figure out where the tree is everyone was egging us on to find. I mean, a tree? Seriously? We're in Scotland for crying out loud, there is hardly a mile where you don't fall over a whole forrest. But we found the tree, and got into the car.
And half an hour later, we found the culprit on the shore of Loch Lomond. And not in the water as people said it would be. Well, the lake was clearly not as full as the last time someone else took that 'tree' picture.
I cannot tell you which kind of tree it is, but I can tell you it was well and seemingly healthy. Judguing by the buds on the branches, it is preparing for spring that's for sure.
While Francois set up and took his next award winning photographs, I walked around trying to look useful. I found a pinhole camera stuck in another tree looking directly at 'the tree'. The question I asked myself is why would someone be recording the goings on of a tree, or are they rather observing the things that people do with and around 'the tree'. There was a note attached to the camera with an email address to get hold of the owner, if required for some reason. My first thought when I saw that: well, I hope you don't have to fly halfway around the world to fix the camera, because it will be a long trip. Here is to you, Simon Robertson, your camera recorded me taking a picture of it, and here I am putting your story on my blog. High five!

My story of my tour of Scotland is about to end, so if you haven't subscribed to my newsletter yet, you should hurry. The competition will run next week, and you are only eligible if you are a subscriber.
Find more pictures of our story @ Instagram

💜 Linzé 

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Follow Me: Scotland - Balloch (1)

11 April 2018, 16h58 (UK time)

My post today is early, since the WiFi connection seemed to be constrained to certain websites, like Facebook. I am writing this in the hope that I will be able to post, otherwise our last three days will have to wait until we get home, or until we get back to Heathrow airport. I will however, try from the pub connected to this Inn. Maybe the connection there will be more forgiving.
We are in Loch Lomond - if you look at a map, Balloch is right at the southern tip of the famous Scottish lake.
After a few more pictures in Ballachulish, we made our way here past some incredible (although freezing) sceneries. At one point we shared the lookout point with three bikers and a couple (and their dog) traveling with a motorhome. The bikers were trying to make a selfie that included their bikes, so they put one phone a distance away, and activated the timer on the camera. Unfortunately, the phone kept being pushed over by the cold wind. It was quite funny. In the end the man (and his dog) popped over to take their picture for them. So they got their picture and we all shared a laugh, despite the nasty weather.
After a stop for coffee, and some shopping, we decided to skip booking-in and shot straight through to Glasgow. It wasn't a willy nilly visit, since I had a destination in mind: the Hard Rock cafe. The usual t-shirts and teddybear acquired, we stopped for a few pictures (and selfies) at this very atmospheric place. The rock music that characterises this establishment playing over the speakers, made us both smile and tap along for a moment or two. Something we didn't experience in Edinburgh. Francois was the first to mention this, and I had to agree with him that the Glasgow Hard Rock was more of what we expected at a Hard Rock.
Glasgow itself reminded us of Johannesburg - it has an industrial feel to it, although there are some really beautiful buildings. Of course, we saw but a small part of this big city, so please forgive us if we got it wrong.

We will be spending tomorrow doing things in Balloch and surrounds, so there is more to come then.

Find the two of us @ Instagram

💜 Linzé 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Follow Me: Scotland - Ballachulish

10 April 2018 @ 21h11 (UK time)

A quiet day since we spent most of it traveling back to the mainland. Since we wanted to avoid using a ferry across the sea, we retraced our steps via the town of Kyle of Lochash.
We went back to Eilean Donan castle too (it was on our way) to see if we could get a few more shots with better light this morning. But good light or not, good shots were not on, thanks to a guy named Jack. We don't know who Jack is, but one of his vans was parked right next to the castle, ruining any photographs from almost any angle. Thanks for nothing, Jack!
We did have a very nice lunch at an honest to goodness tearoom in Onich, just a mile or so away from the hotel Ballachulish, our home tonight. Our dinner at the bistro in the hotel was very good too. I had a Scottish pheasant with the nicest dessert ever. The lemon meringue was presented in a glass (like fancy chefs like to do these days) but it was the blackberry sorbet that made me want to lick the plate afterwards. Yum! Times 2!
I mentioned that I took over a 1000 photographs so far. I asked Francois and he had clocked over 2000 already. Of course, his photograph count excludes the odd selfie he does of me. Okay, technically not a selfie, but you get the idea.

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? I don't spam people, but if you don't subscribe you cannot win in the competition coming about my Scotland trip.
Tomorrow we will make our way to Balloch.
Find the two of us @ Instagram

Always 💜 Linzé 

Monday, 9 April 2018

Follow Me: Scotland - Portree (2)

Portree - Day 2 (21h30 local time)

Monday. As far as Mondays go, it was probably not a bad way to spend it. After a breakfast of salmon with scrambled eggs and blueberries (we thought it odd too, although the blueberries were a nice 'dessert') we set off north on the east coast of Skye. At a lookout point we had incredible views of the Sound (sea) of Raasay. We spent a long time taking photographs and just gaping at the beauty of nature. Of course, the grazing sheep thought we were nuts, but at least we didn't eat their food!
Our next stop north was the Kilt Rock where the rock formations look like the folds of a kilt (duh!). But the views were just as beautiful. We again spent some time there, doing the picture taking thing like idiots (okay, that would just be me).
After a quick visit back to the guesthouse, we went the castle of Dunvegan, the longest inhabited castle in the British Isles. It has been inhabited by the McLeod family for more than 800 years. Make that 30 generations. No, I didn't count, they have the family tree of the direct descendants in one of the public rooms of the castle. It is still their home, so all tourists were watched with eagle eyes so we didn't take off with one of those life sized paintings.
It is truly an impressive home, I have to say, but grateful that it isn't my responsibility to look after.
We also spent a lot of time in the gardens of the castle, and they alone are worth the money and effort. Although structured and walled, and planted within an inch of every foot, there are wild areas too. Everywhere something to appreciate and photograph, of course.
I spent the afternoon sorting all the info I collected for my travel journal. Cutting up pamphlets and brochures, discarding what I don't want, and sorting everything in the timeline of our visit. It is already becoming a bit of a blur, and I had to use the pictures on my phone to keep everything straight in my mind. Note to self: once back home, get the journal sorted as a first priority (after the laundry) before the memories fade.
Tonight we went to the same place for dinner, that we did last night- The Lower Deck. We gorged ourselves on simple, but excellent seafood, and struggled the uphill back to the guesthouse. Uphill walking after a good dinner doesn't seem like such a good idea, even the second time around.

Tomorrow we will make our way to Ballachulish.
Find the two of us and lot of the beautiful views @ Instagram

As always 💜 Linzé 
PS: Remember to subscribe, the competition is coming closer!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Follow Me: Scotland - Portree (1)

8 April 2018 @ 22h16 (UK time)

Today was a day of stories. Not the kind of story perpetuated by the history books of centuries, but by the happenings of our modern world. I didn't plan these stories, nor are they ones I sought out. They happened on our journey today, and while what I saw where purely the observations of evidence that crossed my path today.
While we stopped on the side of the road to take photographs of a waterfall (and the surrounding landscape), I noticed a lock (a padlock) hanging from the side of the metal barrier at the edge of the road. The barrier had holes in its structure (not unusual) in some places for positioning or mounting, and the lock was locked into position in one of these unused holes. It was not holding anything closed or in position, so I took a closer look.
It had two names, Graeme and Gareth, written on it along with a date, 29-08-17. Two lovers committing themselves to each other? Two friends traveling together and stopping here to take a break? Who knows the real story behind this oddly placed lock on the side of the road between Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye?
The second story is one of tragedy and it too happened in this exact same place. While I walked back to the car, after noticing the lock, I happened to look down towards the river below. I spotted something that looked out of place: a piece of blue-gray plastic. A rather large item that took a moment to register, especially since I saw a second piece a few meters away. It suddenly explained the reason for the metal barrier next to the road, something we hadn't seen many of in Scotland. They were pieces of a car that went down that very steep embankment to the rocks and river below. Did the occupants survive the accident? Was that the reason for the lock I had seen earlier? No answers at the site, but somehow I sensed a story here too.
A third story came to mind as we drove off, away from the waterfall, onwards to our destination. A young man was sitting at the edge of the cliffs playing a beautiful copper red guitar. Was he composing a song, inspired by the loch in the distance? Did he know the people in the car that went over the edge? Was he Graeme or Gareth, returning to relive a memory with a friend?

We went from Tomintoul to see Urquhart castle a the shore of Loch Ness. After the encounter with the waterfall mentioned above, our next stop was Eilean Donan castle, and then on to our destination in Portree, on the Isle of Skye. We will explore the surrounds tomorrow, and who knows how many stories we will encounter?

PS: Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter today, since I will be running a competition about my Scotland experiences in the second half of April. There are Amazon giftcards to win, but only if you subscribe. 

Until tomorrow!
Find more pictures of our journey through Scotland @ Instagram

💜 Linzé 

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Follow Me: Scotland - Tomintoul

7 April 2018 @ 21h58 (local time)

Not a long post today although we did a lot of things.
After the miserable weather yesterday, we went back to castle Dunnottar this morning and it was definitely worth the effort and money. We spent about two and a half hours there, walking around, exploring the past and of course, taking loads of pictures. You can see some of mine on Instagram, posted today.
After leaving the castle, we stopped on a high look out point from some more pictures of Stonehaven town and harbour, before taking the road inland.
And the Highlands greeted us with beautiful country roads (winding and narrow in some places!) until we got to the mountains. And loads of snow still left over from the winter. We stopped in places to take more pictures, and in one place I stuck my hand in the snow and got my picture taken for my trouble. LOL! Fortunately, Francois was too late catching me stepping one foot almost ankle deep in the slush. No damage though. I was also quick enough to escape without getting my shoe wet.
We also stopped at the ski slopes, for a picture or two. I looked at the GPS, we were 2052 feet above sea level. Not bad for a drive just over an hour!
In Tomintoul we were surprised to learn that our hosts at the Argyle Guesthouse, are ex-South Africans. The B&B is in the main street, and within walking distance everything you could possibly need. So if you are visiting the Highlands of Scotland, book a room at the Argyle Guesthouse, and say hi to Diane for me. 
The B&B is also about three doors down from the Whisky Castle, where you find about 500 whiskys available. After  a walk through the town, and the cemeteries (lots of history/stories there) we went shopping. Ha, and you thought we were going to visit the Highlands and not go and taste a single malt? Well, I did the tasting, Francois is not a fan of whisky. I may not drink alcohol, but when it comes to a good whisky, it is hard not to have a taste when the opportunity arises.
We also had an excellent dinner at the Clock Tower, and have since chilled out in our room at the B&B listening to the pitter-patter of the rain drops against our windows.
It had been a long day, but definitely a beautiful one. Thank you, Scotland!
Tomorrow we will be traveling to the Isle of Skye.
Find the two of us having fun @ Instagram

💜 Linzé 

Friday, 6 April 2018

Follow Me: Scotland - Stonehaven

Day 3: St. Andrews and Stonehaven

After the punishment I put my poor body through yesterday, you would think that I was not going to do it again, and soon. I though exactly that, but here are th!e stats for today (as at 20h30): 12824 steps, coming to 8.8km. The majority of this was accumulated in two hours; what we had in terms of paid parking. And we made it with a minute to spare. Now that is what I call efficient use of time and money. So where did this miracle of efficiency happen? St. Andrews.
No, we didn't play a round of gholf. We drove past the course, but we spent our time at the castle and cathedral ruins. We took pictures (including one or two incriminating selfies!) and walked everywhere in the centre of town. At the castle (which is looking more like a cemetary than a garden with all the gravestones) I was eminently surprised when I found a grave stone (or a commemorative plaque to be more exact) dated 20 January 2017. I didn't think it was allowed any more for recent burials in historic sites. To my thinking the person buried there must be a direct descendant from one of the original families of that castle. Mind boggling to think you can trace your family history back for 500 years (or even more). I can barely trace my family across the country, let alone millenia!
After St. Andrews we tackled the long road to Stonehaven, approximately 120 miles. Yes, in Scotland they measure distance along roadways in miles. A little weird for a country that is using the metric system, but we knew that before we landed, so it wasn't a problem at all. Only pain was it took us a while to realise that we forgot to set the GPS to this timezone. It constantly made us wonder how far the guesthouse was from Stonehaven that it would take another hour to get there! Luckily we got that fixed, and practically arrived 5 minutes later.
It is a really nice guesthouse (Crawfield Grange) and we are both already half-asleep on our beds despite the early hour. Francois mentioned that the house would make a very nice drawing, so I had a look outside, and in agreement took a few pictures for exactly that purpose.
Using what daylight we had we went to see Dunnottar castle, but dammit it was cold and windy. We decided the temperature gauge in the car was wrong. After a few pictures we left, but decided to return tomorrow morning if the weather is less unforgiving. My nose still aches from the windchill and freezing temperatures.
Before dinner we made our way to Stonehaven beach and harbour to take another stack of pictures. When we got tired of that, it was time to think of food again. The Ship Inn looked good, and we had a very meal of sea bass for me while Francois ordered a beef and Guiness pie. Man, I missed my veggies (always a problem when one relies on cafe food during travels) so I was doubly appreciative of the stack of green on my plate. The fish was good too!

Tomorrow we will be traveling to the Argyle area.

Find the two of us having fun @ Instagram

Always, Linzé 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Follow Me: Scotland - Edinburgh

5 April 2018 (22h06, UK time)
Edinburgh was an experience today that I had not planned on. Yes, we went to see the castle and the Old Town, we did some shopping and had lunch. Sound normal, doesn't it? The unplanned part came in because we did the whole thing on foot. Yep, it took in the order of 5 hours, the majority of which we spent walking.
Here are my stats of that exercise: 22700 (plus a few more) steps, covering in the order of 16.5km.
Yes, I was tired. My legs are still a touch stiff (6 odd hours later), but I could not have done this last year. No way! I can ascribe my stamina and fitness level to the personal trainers that I have been whining about in recent months. But here is clear evidence that their programmes are working. My weight-loss efforts may not be on par (I am 4 kilos behind my target at this point) but right now, I could not be happier that I signed up to the Body20 program at the Moreleta Village shopping center. Desiree, your people are doing an excellent job with this 49 year and 4 month old body!
Our walk started with a visit to an art shop that I found thanks to Google (who else?). They had two of the pencils I was looking for, at a hideous price I might add, but no sets of the 6 I was hoping to find. So I paid the price, because hideous still beat unable to find back home - online shops included. Trust me, I tried them all.
Pencils acquired, so we set off to see the castle. On the way we stopped at the church and took a few pictures in the graveyard. The gravestones are amazing, and while they represent history that I can only wonder at, it was still an incredible experience just being there.
But the weather was clearly so nice that the whole world rocked up to see the historical buildings in the Old Town, including Edinburgh castle. We decided against seeing the castle (the queue to enter was at least a hundred meters in length and growing by the second) and set off to explore the Old Town instead. That is after taking a bag full of pictures, including the snow covered mountains in the distance.
The Old Town is still a bustling place, with shops (aimed at tourists obviously), bars, restaurants, and the odd bank or other business thrown in. I love shopping, but the crowds make me jittery, so I spent only enough time in each one I entered, to see what they sell and gathered some intel on the prices of items that interested me. Aside from a sticker (for my travel journal) and a pin for Francois, we didn't buy anything. Since we will return to Edinburgh to catch the train back to London, we decided that a second visit might be in order, depending on our schedule.
It does help a lot to do research of a place before visiting, because I knew the Hard Rock cafe isn't far away from the castle. After taking a quick stop in the Waverley mall for lunch, and to buy some bottled water, we set off for the Hard Rock.
The only choices were which design we both wanted on our t-shirts and what sizes to get. The soft toy was not left behind either. Several pounds poorer, we started our journey back to the guesthouse. I love Hard Rock t-shirts and hope to get more from the Glasgow branch on the last day of our visit.
We had dinner in the Fountain Games mall, at the Italian diner. Food was good, and their prices acceptable for two poor South Africans on a budget. We saw people with kids inside, and decided that it was good enough for the two of us.
Another walkabout ensued to take pictures of the canal, before we went back to the mall and Starbucks. Another few pounds out of pocket, we returned to the guesthouse. Francois set off again tot take some night pictures, and I hope he will give me one or two to share with you later.
Tomorrow we will be traveling to the Stonehaven area.
Find the two of us having fun @ Instagram

💜 As always, Linzé 

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Follow Me: Travelling from South Africa to Scotland

3 April 2018 @ 19h29 (SA time)
The time has come! At the airport In Johannesburg, taking a breather in the Slow Lounge. Long queues, lots of people rushing because they are almost too late for their flights. When will they learn? Okay, enough whining.
There was a bout of rain on our way to the airport (thanks, Pa Piet for dropping us) and according to my weather app, it is still pouring outside. Fun and games ahead during take-off if this storm continues.
I took a picture of Francois (he returned the favour) and you can see it at the Instagram link below.
Our next stop is Heathrow in thirteen hours, give or take. More pictures and words from a creative traveller then.

4 April 2018 @ 21h16 (UK time) Planes,trains and automobiles. Things that made our world very small, and yet creates all kinds of havoc when one travels to another country. Our plane was really noisy (I measured it to 85.5dB with an app on my phone) and even Francois remarked that the new A380 from Airbus, is a much quiter experience. Since I have yet to fly with an A380, I have to his word for it.
The train from King's Cross station to Edinburgh, while noisy, was a much easier and relaxing experience at only 79dB. While the difference may seem small, for my non-technical friends,  for every 3dB increase in noise level measured you have to double the noise produced. It is not an insignificant amount of noise when you understand what it means.
Aside from a problem with our train reservations, costing us an irrecoverable $40, the gentleman at the Virgin ticket office was quick to sort out our tickets, but the $40 we spent online, could not be fixed. Oh well, it was not that we like wasting money, but I suppose it could have been worse,
With snow, and sleet, drenching us to the bone (I mean who takes a brollie on an overseas holiday anyway?) it was a long and stressful drive for Francois through a city we have never been to before, and in such horrible conditions too. No wonder he is already fast asleep @ 9pm tonight.
Although the weather prediction is for sunny skies tomorrow (with the day temperature double of what it was today--a whole 6 deg C!, it is no wonder Francois calls the prediction of 12 deg C for Friday, a heatwave. LOL!), we have no definite plans, other than to play it by ear. Or is it by sunny skies?

Anyway, thank you for reading and don't forget to watch the pictures and video's of our shenanigans in Scotland on @ Instagram

When we see each other again, there will be more from Edinburgh!

Until then,
💜 Linzé 

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Follow Me: T-zero is!

Scotland, travel journal, Linzé Brandon, 2018
Linzé's travel journal
It is a matter of hours before we leave for the airport for our holiday. Our boarding passes have taken up residence on our mobile phones. I love this new way of doing things; it saves time and a few trees. Although I have to mention that applying for our visas we had to generate a tree-load of paper. Definitely counteracting the attempt to save paper by the airlines, that's for sure.
We are remarkably relaxed, I have to say. Francois had to sort out a problem with our forex (they did the transaction twice!), and I had to sort a few last things in the house. Right now he is sitting in front of the TV watching the cricket match between SA and Australia.
I am writing this post to you. As I write this, my computer is busy making a backup, because computers being what they are, it is always a good idea.
Our bags are 99.9% packed. The last thing I need to pack is my watch's charger. I am delaying that as long as possible, to ensure I leave with a watch that is operational for the next 48 hours.
And I have just been informed that SA won the test match. Well done, guys!

And now I will love and leave you, until Scotland!
💜 Linzé

Sunday, 1 April 2018

It is a matter a days before we leave home for a well-deserved vacation in the land of kilts and whiskey, and to be frank I can barely sleep with the anticipation blasting through my veins. I weighed my suitcase this morning. With wide eyes I eyeballed the scale, 13 kg. I was like, seriously? The thing is stuffed to the gills with warm clothes and the necessaries, and it weighs only 13 kg?
Well, that leaves me with another 10 kg available for shopping. LOL! If only the space will magically appear where I can put said shopping.
We will take a car trip around Scotland, and you can share in our experiences as we explore one of the loveliest countries (in my opinion, of course) in the world.
I will not take a computer with me so my trusty little iPad will be bringer of the news of our trip. Since I am not that skilled in adding pictures to these posts on a mobile device, you can check out the graphic evidence of what we are up to on Instagram.
journal pages, Scotland travel journal, Linzé Brandon
My travel journal's first pages
Since it is fairly obvious what Francois will be doing on our trip (he is the photographer in this family), I decided to make a travel journal to record our trip with art, photographs, and words. It is after all the number one destination on my bucket list, and I truly want to make the most of our short time visiting.
Follow us around Scotland as we travel by car. You might even enjoy the shenanigans of two South Africans traipsing through a foreign country on their first holiday abroad.
Until Scotland!


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