Off to a great start

Pub 1 Feb 1 2016
The Cafe Royal

One of the many great watering holes in the city the Cafe Royal is also justly renowned for it’s food. It celebrated it’s 150th anniversary last year. A classic brass and wood central serving area. Comfortable booths in the bar and restaurant adjoining.

Recently bought over by Greene- King – leaders in pub retailing and brewing in the u k they tell us- so here’s hoping they don’t muck it around!  Expect more promotion of their own beer brands but if they retain what up ’til now has been a wide selection from other breweries then should still be worth a visit. A major incongruity is the fruit machine. Totally out of place and time with the overall ambience. Naff really.  Staff are extremely friendly and efficient and it’s a great venue to get together with a few friends. A regular.





Back home

Post prandial
Sails Bar, Baros, Maldives



Above, me with post prandial backed by the somewhat over the top gantry in Sails Bar.

Impressions of Sri Lanka: A young country trying to get it’s governance on a stable footing. Known as Dominion of Ceylon from ’48 to ’72 following independence from G.B. and has been a democratic socialist republic ever since. The civil war ended in 2009 and I got the idea that a lot of time and effort was being put into improving the constitution. Quite a large area is out of bounds due to uncleared land mines but we travelled extensively in the middle and south of the country visiting three national parks in the company of Sampath our Buddhist guide. A wildlife photographer and all round nature guy we were very fortunate to land up with.( can just hear my old English teacher saying don’t finish a sentence with a preposition boy!) We were in last chance saloon and about to leave the final National Park when we got a sighting of the elusive leopard. Highlight.

Would we go back? Absolutely love to but —-

More and more after returning from a foreign trip I feel pangs of guilt re the eco footprint. However, hopefully Sri Lanka will follow the example of the Seychelles and limit tourist numbers but still reap the economic benefit.

A people story to finish with. Ok, with which to finish.

One morning I had loaded up the toaster in the hotel breakfast bar with 4 slices of bread and a European woman puts a slice in along with mine. The machine gets jammed and a waiter goes round the back to unblock it. The woman goes round to see what’s happening and after clearing the blockage he offers the woman the toast and the the bitch just buggers  off with every single last bit of my toast – which I already had had to put through three times!  (Did you know that you can make a sentence with eleven had’s in a row and it makes perfect sense?  You don’t?  Well if you’re good I might remember to let you know one day)  A couple of days later in the Maldives I’m making our breakfast toast and once more having to put the bread through several times. There is a Japanese lad close by and he hovers around and waits for me to finish before loading the toaster up for himself!  Made me think about differences in cultures and how we can learn from each other.

Artificial Reef Baros 


You may well know that coral reefs, like many other ecosystems, have suffered due to the changes that the planet is, depending on your point of view, either going through naturally or is suffering from due to human activity. A subject for us to explore in a future blog?

In 2014  the dive centre on Baros had come up with the idea of putting metal frames in the sea bed and getting guests to sponsor them so that over time new reefs could develop. We fell for it and the photo above in proof was taken in 2016

Anyway, now that I’m home the plan is to visit a different pub every week for the rest of the year. All to be within 30 minutes walk from my home. Yes we do have a lot of hostelries in Edinburgh. More so even, surprisingly,  than Glasgow per head of population. Feel free to join me.


Another day, another airport lounge. Colombo.

Wildlife experience in Sri Lanka was brilliant and now off to Baros, Maldives to chill for a few days.

Thought provoking last few days with Bowie, Rickman and Frey gone. Glenn same age as me. Ghandi said (excuse if paraphrased) “Live as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever”

Bitterly disapointing that the Guardian have jumped into bed with Shell. Another example of the primacy of big business and the untouchable power of plutocracy.

“Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity”

Sri Lanka is a very religious country, primarily Buddhist so maybe I have absorbed some karma of mysticism whilst here-?


Wild in the Country

Ayubowan lowa wesiyani.

Hello world from Sri Lanka. Well it appears that there are not really any stand alone pubs here – ( that is places built to dispense alcohol rather than places where only one person at a time can have a drink ) so that is a great start for my theme of reviewing a pub a week for a year isn’t it? Yesterday whilst travelling to our  present hotel we stopped for lunch at a lakeside restaurant and with the temperature about 30 degrees higher than back home in Edinburgh I was really looking forward to quenching my thirst. It was a big holiday for the Tamil population in particular but it seemed like the Sinhalese and whatever the faith, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus were not about to miss the opportunity to have a day off. No one working in the tea plantations. Turns out that no alcohol is served on that holiday. We had a good laugh once over the disappointment.

Really enjoying the wildlife. Off on leopard safari tomorrow at 5.20!

Since I’m on holiday have decided to save gogisms ’til we get back home. Phil O Sofar probably not getting into print ’til then either.

Featured image of jungle wildcat taken at an animal rescue centre.

Below, me as a shadow of my former self and on line ( ha!)  but whether right or wrong track is a moot point-?

Here endeth my first post.