29 August 2009

Bullshit corner in Stirling

I like traditional pubs or bars where no music is played. Maybe nowadays people just fancy something that would split their ears, but head-banging music is definitely not my cup of tea. I don't wish to shout at each other against the ever bombarding loud music to make the conversation audible.

Moreover, people in the traditional pub are more friendly. Barmen or barmaids always remember your name and favourite drink; sometimes before you actually order, a pint is ready for you.

Port Customs Bar used to be my local when I studied in Stirling. During my short visit in Stirling, I managed to spend a Saturday afternoon to have several pints of my favourite Balhaven and to catch up with old friends there.

Everything looks pretty much the same as before, except a few interesting plates added. I discovered the BULLSHIT CORNER when Sandy, a Scottish gentleman who took me to the wonderful world of Glenmorangie four years ago, told me that I was allowed to bullshit at the BULLSHIT CORNER.

Fanne has just bought a flat and we are hoping to move in in early October. It may be a good idea to have such a plate on one corner of the kitchen island.

28 August 2009

The falling green man in Stirling

I've been back in Taiwan for two weeks. Although there is certainly so much to say about the short visit to Britain, I'm just too busy, as well as too lazy, to write down everything again on my blog. How can I manage to copy to this blog everything I have recorded in my handwritten diary? Tough.

Anyway, there are still some interesting stories worthy of writing down. The first would be a pedestrian crossing signal in Stirling. Before getting to the point, I shall begin with the walking green man in Taiwan.

Like those in many cities in the world, a set of pedestrian crossing signals in Taiwan consists of two panels, showing a standing red man and a walking green man respectively.

However, instead of being a still depiction, the green walking man on the signal panel in Taiwan does walk. It is animated. The device was designed by a team led by Ms Lin Liyu (林麗玉), the then Dep Commissioner of Taipei City Dept of Transportation, in 1999.

Moreover, when the green man starts walking, the top panel becomes a countdown timer displaying the seconds remaining until the next 'stop' signal comes on. In the last 10 seconds, the green man even speeds up to remind the pedestrians to do the same.

(Note how the green man speeds up in the last 10 seconds.)

In Stirling, as in other places in Britain, a lot of crossings are equipped with ordinary 'red man/green man' signals, but the one in front of Stirling Railway Station is absolutely hilarious. The illuminated green symbol is in some way tilted and looks as if the green man is about to slip and fall over.

I believe the falling green man has been there since I went to Stirling for my doctoral study in 2002. It was there when I left for Taiwan in summer 2007 and it is still there today. It really brings to my mind the little falling man in the yellow 'slippery floor' warning sign.