Annika. BBC IPlayer.

Written by Nick Walker and starring Nicola Walker Annika is a Scottish crime drama television series, based on the BBC Radio 4 drama Annika Stranded.

Sharp, witty, enigmatic. DI Strandhed takes on unfathomable murders washed up in Scotland’s waterways – confiding in the audience as she hunts the killers. (BBC)

Unusual and innovative with a very talented cast this was my new obsession. I am a huge fan of Nicola Walker and this is different again from her other roles. I liked the historical references tied up with the cases. I liked the subtle humour. I also liked the fact that each episode is 47 minutes long. It is brilliant!

Newmarket Holidays.

Following on from my EasyJet post a couple of months ago, another of my favourite holiday agents is Newmarket Holidays- escorted tours, cruises and holidays.

Their blurb states: ‘Discover and explore the world’s must-see, must-do destinations on a vast range of carefully crafted, tremendous value holidays with one of the UK’s most respected, independent escorted tour operators. The best travel stories – yours – begin when you choose Newmarket Holidays.’

I cannot fault them for the quality of their tours, their efficiency and above all their destinations. And I have done a few now:

India Tigers and the Taj Mahal

Scottish Highland Railways

The Cairngorms

Elvis Presley’s Memphis, New Orleans and Nashville

The Ring of Kerry and South West Ireland.

Hollywood, Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

Paris ,Vegas
The Grand Canyon.

The thing I really like about Newmarket Holidays is all the little extra trips they slot in, not always in the itinerary, like the Peabody Ducks in Memphis- these world-famous, five resident Mallard ducks, who march daily through the lobby of the Peabody hotel at 11am and 5pm.

I also like the unexpected things that can happen, usually as a result of having local guides: the day we picked up some Indian ladies in our jeep coming down from a hike to a fort on our Golden Triangle travels. It was dusk and they sang to us in the journey down. It was magical. Or the guides excitement on Safari in rural Rajasthan when we spotted and drew close to tigers and then being part of the debrief when we got back to camp.

Truly some of the best holidays of my life.

Saint Andrew’s Day.

Today (30 November) is Saint Andrew’s Day- the feast day of Andrew the Apostle and Scotland’s national day.

Saint Andrew the patron saint of Scotland,was born between the years 5 AD and 10 AD in a place that is now part of Israel. According to Christianity, he went on to become one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. Andrew’s brother, Simon Peter, was also one of the disciples. They both lived in Galilee, where they were fishermen.

St Andrew never actually stepped foot in Scotland his whole life! So why is he their Patron Saint? One story says that in the 9th Century, King Angus in Scotland was preparing for a battle against the English. St Andrew appeared to King Angus in a dream promising him victory and on the day of the battle, an X symbol appeared in the sky, which was the symbol of St Andrew. He vowed that if they won, St Andrew would be made the patron saint of Scotland – and that is exactly what happened.This is why the Scottish flag has the X-shaped cross on it, as it is St Andrew’s symbol.

Happy Saint Andrew’s Day Scotland.

Burns Night.

Dust off your tartan for a Scottish Burns Night Supper, a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796).

Tonight (25 January) is Burns night and prior to my celebrations this evening I did an internet search for a few Robert Burns facts:

J.D. Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ based its title on the Robert

Burns poem, ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’.

Bob Dylan said that Burns’ A Red Red Rose was his greatest ever inspiration

Astronaut Nick Patrick took a book of Burns poetry with him on his 2020 space mission.

‘Auld Lang Syne’ is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the top three most popular songs in the entire English language.

Tommy Hilfiger claims to be a direct descendant if Burns.

In 2009 Burns became the first person to appear on a commemorative bottle of Coca Cola.

Abraham Lincoln was a huge fan of the poets work.

The work of Robert Burns has appeared in hundreds of films and TV programmes, including Holly ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946), ‘When Harry Met Sally’ (1989) and ‘Forrest Gump’ (1994).

So for those celebrating with a Burns supper tonight, enjoy a Haggis and a glass or two of good single malt 🥃 . It’s obligatory!