"Variety is still the spice of life..." mrbanksuk's Profile
Starting to write these things is always the hardest bit. Once you get into the mind set though, the ideas flow and the words seem to come a lot easier. I'll probably end up talking about lots of different stuff, but they do say that variety is the spice of life.
So, where do I begin....
Let me introduce myself and my family first.
My name is Brian Banks, and I was born in West Yorkshire in England in March 1964. I moved to Scotland in 1980 when I was 16 years old and have lived here ever since. I am now approaching 41 years old.
The attraction of Scotland is hard to pin down. Something about the rolling hills and fishing I guess, although my wife Shirley would have you believe I live here because this is where I found her...
Our two children, (Chris aged 21 and Jennifer aged 18), have lived with us in Dunfermline in the county of Fife in central Scotland since they were born.
Ladies first, and Jennifer is very much the typical modern young adult, heavily into music, fashion, shopping, boys and all the other normal attractions for an 18 year old.
She can be very strong willed, but is secretly quite nervous. She is always willing to offer her opinion, and her way of seeing things from a fresh perspective makes her a wonderful travel companion. I have no doubt that she will have some significant input into my travel tips, photographs and guides once I get round to adding them!
And so on to Christopher.
Our son is very much his own person. At 21 years old, I suppose this is to be expected, but he will always be our boy, no matter how old and wise he gets.
Chris, as he prefers to be called, is into music, football and fitness training, drinking strange alcoholic beverages in seedy nightclubs and a host of other activities I (as his father) would really rather not consider too deeply. He also plays snooker and pool and is always on the look out for the next excuse to go to a party or night out.
I'm suprised he even finds the time to work.....
OK, enough about the family. Let's get on to the travelling bit.
I have travelled around the world quite extensively, (mainly due to my job as a sailor), but also on various breaks for leisure. I started to fill out the VT map thingy, but I can't even remember half of the places I have been!
I think my favourite places to travel are South East Asia, some of the North Eastern European areas and the USA. All of these places are fun to visit, each for their own reasons.
My next family holiday is to Penang in Malaysia in August 2005. It's my second time there, but my family's first visit.
I mentioned earlier that we live in Scotland. For an Englishman I suppose that could be considered quite strange, as the histories of the two countries do not sit very comfortably together. Something to do with the English being a bit expansionist in the past, I suppose. In any case, I choose to consider myself as British rather than English. (A mass of Scots in the background are shouting, "So would we if we were English!")
Seriously, though, Scotland is a truly beautiful country with vast expanses of open land, craggy mountains and picturesque glens. Some of the streams and rivers would grace any tourist guide, and the people are always very friendly.
I will try to build up this site through time, but I will focus on Scotland rather than the various places I have travelled to. That doesn't mean I will ignore the rest of the world, I will always try to provide some comment.
So what has Scotland got to offer?
The first thing to realise is that you don't normally come here for the weather. Although in Summer (June to August inclusive), it is reasonably warm (probably in the 18 to 25 degree C range) with a fair chance of a few hours sun each day, the rest of the year can be summarised as windy, cold and wet Januarys, frosty and snowy Februarys and Marchs, rainy (though temperate) Aprils and Mays, cooler (though reasonably dry) Septembers, and cold and wet Novembers and Decembers. The old enemy rain, however, can crop up at any time of year.
So, if it's not the weather, why do people visit us?
I guess there are a number of reasons. These include (in no particular order): history, architecture, people, tourist attractions, sights and sounds, shopping, theatre, and the old favourite haggis. If you are unfamiliar with the word, "haggis", congratulations.
More on all these subjects will probably be scattered around my pages once I have finished building this mini-site, so you'll have to go digging. To end my homepage, though, I think I'll have a look at Dunfermline. It's a reasonably large town with aspirations towards city status, nestled in the fertile central belt of Scotland. One time capital of the ancient Kingdom of Fife, it is a place of religious history and modern day commercial enterpise. Co-incidentally, it also happens to be the place where I live.
Dunfermline is not a tourist attraction in its own right. I wouldn't really expect anyone to come here for a week's holiday. It is, however, definitely a place to tour or visit for a day as part of a wider "Scottish experience."
The discerning traveller would probably visit our famous Abbey and have a wander down the High Street window shopping. You could even elect to have a meal or a bar lunch here, or take coffee at one of the numerous coffee shops in town. (The "Abbot House" is a National Heritage Trust establishment in the Maygate which combines a coffee shop with a museum and exhibits and is well worth a recommendation.) Who knows, as you watch the world go by you may even see someone wander by in a kilt!
Our glen (or park) is always well kept and pretty. It provides a wonderful opportunity for a walk in the peace and quiet of well manicured parkland. If you are really clever, you could even plan a visit to co-incide with the annual gala day, where marching bands and floats of all descriptions parade through the town centre and park before setting up in the glen's fields to have a day of fun, displays and carnival activities.
We do have several hotels and guest houses in the area, most of which are within easy reach of the town centre (and hence all the activity!). I wouldn't recommend a visit for much more than a day or two, though, unless you are on business.
In summary, although the "auld toon", as it is sometimes called, is a wonderful place to live, there is really only enough here to occupy the inquisitive traveller briefly and provide some momentary interest and distraction. A place to visit, most definitely, but not really a place to come for a holiday.
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