North of the Wall: Edinburgh 2015

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Edinburgh architecture

The train rattled through Carlisle station, stopping briefly for a few passengers to alight with their luggage, chatting on mobile phones, then carried on North. North past the wall.


Although Hadrian’s Wall no longer stands (in full) there is definitely a sense of entering another world once you get towards the north of the Lake District. We traveled from Liverpool, so watched as cities turned into suburbs, then into technology parks and industrial estates before decivilising into lumbering green hills dotted sparsely with empty eyed sheep chewing the cud.

It wasn’t the first time I had been to Scotland, in fact, I spent a lot of time when I was younger there, even traveling up to the northern island of Mull about ten years ago, but I had never visited the Scottish Capitol. Although my description of its location North of the Wall is a bit Game Of Thrones, you can certainly feel (it’s freezing) and see the change in the land as your train rocks and clatters North of the English border. England is a fantastically beautiful place once you get past the mundane grey city walls (though even some of those look great).

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The journey was the start of our annual pilgrimage to cities far and wide as a group of friends. 10 of us in total, heading to a far-flung state to experience a new part of the world for ourselves. I love it, as a hobby, it’s not a bad one to have and we have previously been to places such as Amsterdam (loved it) and Brussels (though I wasn’t there). I hope it’s something that we continue as I see it as a way to see the world with a fantastic bunch of people by my side.

And, that’s exactly what they are. I couldn’t ask for a better group of friends. Everyone adds their own skills, personalities and opinions to make a solid core of friends that have stuck together since (someone of us) school.

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Edinburgh is a fantastic city, historical, beautiful and expansive. We probably only visited about 50% of it over the two days we were there, but had to steer clear of the extortionate tourist sites. I mean, twenty quid to go into the castle is far too much in my opinion. But it was still great to clamber the Royal Mile and see the walls of the castle and it’s view across Scotland. We walked and ate, walked and drank, then ate some more. The perfect concoction of greedy indulgence and calorie burning hill climbs to make sure we didn’t all feel guilty about what we were eating.

Little can be said, however, for the activities of the evening as we ventured to our rented apartment only to find it was basically a mansion crammed in the middle of Edinburgh! To get the most use out of it we undertook a game of beer pong and for the first time in my brief history of beer pong tournaments I managed to get the ball in the cup. (Cue much raucous celebration and stripping off of clothes). Victory for the boys, Huzzah! Though at one point I went to the bathroom and upon my return found the hallway rammed with embattled seats from the kitchen due to a heated game of musical chairs. ]

Which, you might think is a kids game, but it can get very brutal.

We made it to at least one of Edinburgh’s bars that night, but the early morning, the amount of penalties from beer pong and the physical excursions from musical chairs and spoons, meant that it was a short trip before we headed back to the house with chips slathered in gravy and Jonny with his battered mars bar  (link for none UK residents).

Some of the gang on the second day. From left to right: Faye, Jonny, Sarah, Laura, Carl
Some of the gang on the second day. From left to right: Faye, Jonny, Sarah, Laura, Carl

The second day of trip started late, as you could probably guess, due to recovering from the previous nights endeavors. But we closed the book on our suffering by scoffing down a disappointing breakfast from a local Frankie & Benny’s. Following up from a conversation the day before and indulging in our insatiable lust for escape rooms, we found that afternoons activity in the middle of Edinburgh Old Town and fairly close to our next destination for food.

Dr. Knox’s Enigma was the game we tried and by gum was it a good one! We have done a few across the North West, some of group have even done International games, but this was by far the best quality game I have been to. It told the story of Burke & Hare, two men who found a profitable business in Edinburgh by murdering the tenants of their Doss House and selling their bodies to the medical school to be dissected. It’s rumoured they murdered up to 30 people before they were caught. The game takes place after the execution of William Burke (after being ratted out by his accomplice) and you have to try to link the murders to Dr. Knox, the surgeon who used the bodies in his experiments and lectures. After all, he must have known where they were coming from right?

Burke and Hare with one of their unfortunate victims.
Burke and Hare with one of their unfortunate victims.

The story of Burke and Hare is a great one, so you should check it out here.

Having such a set story gave the game real feeling and the quality of the set that we were in added two-fold to the drama. If you want to find out more about Dr. Knox, you’ll have to go yourself and complete the game!

We enjoyed a tired, but quiet journey home to Liverpool until Amy left her bag on a train, starting a surreal conversation over Twitter with Virgin Trains customer services who we couldn’t even get hold of on the phone! But all in all it was a great, great trip and I am sincerely looking forward to our next one.

Check out our group video below that I filmed as we wandered the streets.

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Edinburgh Trip 2015

If you read my last post then you will know that myself and my friends went up to Edinburgh for a short weekend trip. There will be a post coming about it with photographs, but for now I will leave you with this to give you an idea of what went on…

Our Trip: Edinburgh from matthewjdaniels on Vimeo.

Five steps to become the perfect adult: Growing up made easy!

Charlie Brown, eternally relevant.
Charlie Brown, eternally relevant.

I wish that this was a book that someone had written.


That way, through my meandering browsing of amazon and other book sites, blogs and reviews, I may have stumbled across it and been able to handle the situation that I am in now.

Or rather was in.

You see, as I sit here on my lunch break in the midst of a video format situation in work, the bell has tolled and we have escaped unscathed. I had written around 300 words of foreboding, talking about adult responsibility and how the stress of this situation was pretty crushing. However, and interesting enough I have learnt a lesson within the last 15 minutes and it is one that I am eager to share on my first blog post to this site.


I work as a Video Production Assistant for a goods company (selling microwaves, fridges, freezers). We film product videos and how to videos and recipe videos. It’s enjoyable work, and I love the editing side of it. We also take on projects for external clients – and this is the part where the elephant eats your picnic. We had huge issues with formatting when trying to submit a piece of work for television broadcast. This was an area that is completely new to us and even more so to me being pretty fresh-faced out of university.

As the problems arose and clients became flustered the pressure was mounting until this morning, then it peaked at an insane amount of foreboding. We had one last chance – once more into the breach. We had tried everything and my extensive research into formatting was well and truly at a dead-end. The fork in the road lead to two dead ends and we had no where else to go.

My previous post was about realising my responsibility as an adult and an employee in this mess. I was going to write about how I now realised what it means to have responsibility, in the face of the company losing a significant amount of money on this project. Not to mention the time the team has taken to complete this task.  We were worried. I’m not gonna lie. And, they really pushed it to the limit in sending us the feedback.

This time, we survived.

Our last battle had routed the enemy, through sheer will power we persevered and we were victorious!

There was a collective in take of breath, then – elation.

So, now I propose a new angle on responsibility.

Maybe, unknown to me, I had become responsible. Maybe the time spent researching formatting options and trawling through video tech geeks forums was  me being responsible? However it happened – I have grown up. This experience has shown me that if you want something enough then you can get it. Responsibility it something that you are given, whether you want it or not, it’s how you deal with it that is going to show people who you really are.

Now, I feel confident. I feel confident in my ability to knuckle down and solve the problem. Even with no knowledge – and to interject for a moment, I don’t believe I have any more knowledge of formatting for television – you can grapple and scrap and grit your teeth and persevere.

The proverbial they say “Rome wasn’t built in a day” when talking about persevering and creating great work.

What they fail to mention is a lesson that I believe is more fundamental to this story. If you take anything from this blog, it should be this.

Rome began with the laying of a single stone.

This message follows the idea of getting your foot in the door. Having that first step, that first idea of “I’m here, what the hell am I going to do” and just going with it. Building upon the foundations of your character and letting yourself grow. If you are in a situation where you think everything if getting too much or you are inexperienced – afraid even. Understand that no matter how long you feel out of your depth, eventually you will rise. Then one day you will look back and realise that all those hours spent worrying and searching endless places for solutions to problems you can’t comprehend are not wasted. They are the building blocks to your life. Your tools in taking on your responsibility.

That’s my story for today. A little heavy, but it reflects the atmosphere that I have been engulfed in for the past week. I hope you enjoyed it and will be back for future posts which will be happier, light-hearted, young adult word splurge.