My Travels Abroad Part 2 – Singapore


When working at Strainstall, I  had the opportunity to travel to Singapore, working at the Keppal ship yard near Jurong Island. I have been a couple of times both staying near Singapore city by the Singapore river. I was working for our customer, who had a shuttle bus from the hotel. Working yard times, it was an early start leaving at about 06:30 to the morning alarm call of the Asian Koel and returning back to the hotel by 17:00 allowed some time to explore.

My first trip to Singapore was my first long haul flight in business class and was flying with Singapore Airlines, revered to be up there with the best and no complaints from me, certainly well looked after but then so can be said for the second time when it was back to traveling with the masses. Personally, I don’t mind either way to travel and being a short arse don’t have much problem with leg room but hey when the opportunity is there how could I refuse especially when it is being paid by the customer.

After work, I would generally walk along the riverside to Clarke Quay or Boat Quay where there are plenty of places to eat with all sorts of different cuisines, it was about a fifteen to twenty-minute amble along the river, too hot for much more than an amble but pleasant to wander about or just hang out and with a book and watch the world go by. A slightly longer walk but still just about thirty minutes took me to China town, here one night I was in a small restaurant in that served Chinese and European cuisine, I had Chinese with chop sticks and a Chinese couple at the table next to me had European with a knife and fork, how bizarre! If I was feeling a bit tired I would jump into a taxi, a great service in and around the city with reasonable prices. Lots of taxi ranks dotted about and drivers all seemed very friendly and didn’t mind short trips. I never ventured onto other public transport, didn’t really have the need but I understand from talking to others that it is also a very good service.

On my first visit, there was a large landmark building being created with three towers and what looked like a ship along the top, lots of cranes round about so it wasn’t that clear to see, on my return visit it was completed and I learnt that it is the Marina Bay Sands hotel, a luxury hotel with infinity pool on the roof that yep looks like a ship. It also has an observation deck costing about £10 to visit. I was asking a taxi driver if it was worth the visit and he said it was and that the best time is sunset, yep it certainly was worth the £10 to view a spectacular sunset across the marina and Singapore.

As it turned out both visits to Singapore coincided with the Chinese or if you prefer Lunar New Year, you would think it was planned. On the first trip, I headed into China Town where the main street was closed off and there was lots of entertainment. There was lots of jostling about in the night market, narrow streets with small shops and market stalls, a very busy place but not sure if this is due to it being new year or if it is always busy. Worth a visit and as a single female wandering about even when busy felt completely safe and was able to enjoy the atmosphere and purchase a wooden spoon for Emma. On my second visit, I ventured down to the festivities at the marina, lots of paper lanterns, flowers and lights of all sorts and a wonderful firework display.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately just before midnight it started to rain, I say fortunately as it was quite refreshing and possibly the most pleasant walk back to the hotel. Earlier in that same evening before venturing out, it was a bit grey and dull and with the air conditioning on had the feeling of a cold Scottish dreich afternoon, that is until stepping out the hotel and it was like stepping into a sauna.

On my first visit my return flight was a late-night flight, I finished at the yard on New Year’s Eve early in the afternoon and as it was holiday there was a mad rush to get away but then next day my flight wasn’t until 11pm so time to explore a bit further, naturally a visit to Singapore is not complete without a visit to Raffles for a Singapore sling, well maybe not the sling at Raffles but a visit there all the same. It now looks completely out of place, where a once country hotel has been swamped by the surrounding city, still a piece of sanctuary in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. I did have a Singapore Sling elsewhere, at Changi beach, it would have been rude not to after all.

The latest I managed to book out my hotel was 14:00 so I headed to the airport, dropped my luggage of and headed to the beach to relax before my flight. Returning to the airport early in the evening, the business lounge was a welcome retreat with some wonderful food.

On my second visit, I managed to get finished a day early and rather than change flight spent the day at Sentosa Island, touring about the attractions and soaking up the history. Singapore has certainly seen its fair share of troubles throughout the years and been pulled back and forth with ownership battles, gaining independence in 1965.

Singapore is a vibrant multicultural place with very low levels of crime. It is extremely clean and chewing gum is illegal which gets my vote. I have found wandering about the city, at all times, relaxed and easy going, it is a small place but has plenty to see and lots of good places to eat out. A place I would enjoy going back to visit especially without having to work.

Looking forward to more travel for personal reasons and getting into the Arctic circle.

Continuing to live my dreams

Bren x


Spring has sprung….

Spring is one of my favourite seasons.   I have to say I love all the seasons but spring is up there in my top 4!  It is all about new life, light and love, it is the sunshine after the rain.

Winter is a great season but can feel quite long because of the darkness and keeping cosy and comfort eating and parties and get-togethers, and then spring comes along and is like a breath of fresh air filled with new beginnings.

Apart from the longer days and more sunlight, I am always waiting for the first lambs, when I see my first lamb it is SPRING!  I love lamb watching, they are such good fun and soo cute.  I got a chance to feed some lambs a few years ago and it was the best fun.  It great to be able to hang out with all the lambs and their mothers, it was noisy and smelly but I still grinned for hours afterwards and years on I still have the happiest memories.


I also love the emerging colours in all the gardens and the countryside.  It is great to see little buds forming on the plants in our garden, we don’t have much colour, at the moment, so I have taken a note and will hopefully remember to plant more bulbs in the autumn.  New life starting to grow has spurred me on to make plans for the garden this year and start putting in some groundwork.  More colour is definitely on the cards and less work…..can that work?

Spring also brings about ‘spring cleaning’, yippee!  I Love Spring Cleaning.  I have been known to be a bit of a hoarder before and I can still stash quite a lot of rubbish, especially now that we have a garage and I don’t have to wait to ask Brenda to put something in the attic for me…..I don’t do attics.  I hate going into the garage at the moment because it is a bit of a disgrace so it is on the cards to be spring cleaned next week….will post in a few weeks.  I have become less of a hoarder and love nothing better than getting rid of all the clutter in the house., I think, moving, house, 4 times in 10 years helps, ‘I am not moving that box of junk again’!  It feels so good when there is no clutter to be seen in the house and before and after pics are always a great incentive. Will post some when we are done.

Spring is a great time for new beginnings and fresh starts and I want to start as I intend to go on.

It is also a time we start to look properly at the months ahead and what we can achieve.  I feel more optimistic in the spring as everything seems possible.  The longer days makes it easier to fit everything into and getting up and getting on is not as depressing as in the winter months.

Here’s to living the dream,



Our Rugby Dream


Our Rugby Dream

Obviously, my big rugby dream is for Scotland to win the rugby world cup, or a Grand slam or just winning the six nations…Ah I can dream but we did win three games this year and the Centenary Quaich by beating Ireland. There isn’t anything that I can do to release this dream, it is clearly out of my hands but I can enjoy the dream.

As long as I can remember I have enjoyed following the Five Nations and in the new millennium the Six Nation. I remember 1990 being a good year, the last time Scotland won a Grand Slam then taking the last Five Nations championship in 1999. I don’t really know how I got into following the championships, I don’t follow club games other than catching the odd one here and there. My all time favourite player has got to be Gavin Hastings, such a great ambassador for the sport and seemed to be able to kick for goal from
anywhere, well apart from that time that he missed from in front of the posts but we can forgive him for that now…

Following the Five and Six Nations it has always been a dream to be able to attend a game and experience the atmosphere as the pipes play the alternative national anthem and the crowd sing along and now when the pipes stop and the crowd continue to sing Flower of Scotland, what a fantastic sound.

Emma grew up with a rugby playing brother and was often  tackled to the ground. It wasn’t until she started watching with me that she appreciated the great game and is now hooked and following the dream to visit the six nations stadiums to support Scotland.

Emma and I dream of visiting all of the Six Nations stadiums to watch Scotland play in the championships, it is on our bucket list not to be confused with Emma’s list of 50 things to do or our annual list of things to do, Twickenham has been ticked off and eventually each game will be moved to our annual to do list and we will achieve something on our bucket list.

We have both been to Murrayfield to see Tonga but we want to go for a Six Nations game. I have been to a Six Nations game at Murrayfield against Ireland, taking my step son to his first rugby game at the tender age of thirteen. He was quite blown away, well a wee tad apprehensive at first when he realised there was a lot of Irish supporters around us, his previous experience of going to matches was football so this was quite a revelation to him….

Emma and I went to Twickenham a few years back, we were staying on the Isle of Wight so rather than trying to drive or battle the trains, we got the coach from Southampton. Again, something that is great about rugby, not a care getting on a coach to Twickenham from a town in Englandshire wearing a Scotland top. The coach started in Bournemouth and there was one other chap with a Scotland top so he was happy to get some extra support with the banter. It was great getting the coach, straight to the ground and there waiting for us to return. Yep Scotland lost but it was a fab day out and although a lose not a disgrace and some good banter on the way home.

I have been to Stade de France in the middle of the Six Nations but alas no rugby, I was there with the Royal Burgh of Stirling pipe band playing at an inter-celtic concert. It was a packed stadium and fab atmosphere but not quite a game of rugby. I can at least say that I have come out through the tunnel at the Stade de Paris.

Next year Scotland play in Italy so maybe we will check out some deals to get to the Stadio Olimpico…and Scotland will build on their great achievement of this years tournament.

Continuing to follow the dream,

Bren x