Category Archives: Dundee

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 23 – Edinburgh Bound!


Sept 23 – Edinburgh Bound!


I booked our return train tickets long before we went to Scotland. When I knew the train and our seats, I immediately contacted my friend, Chris Longmuir, with the carriage and seat numbers so she could book a seat with us.

The bus stop was close to the hotel, so we walked there and boarded the #5 and told the driver we were going to the Dundee Railway Station. Two return tickets in hand, we settled in for the ride.

When we reached the Nethergate (Stop 1), the driver exited his driving compartment and told us this was the best stop for the train station. We were both impressed that he remembered us and our destination.

A short walk to the train station and we redeemed our tickets at one of the self-serve kiosks before heading to the platform to await our Virgin East Coast train to Edinburgh.

Anxious and excited to spend the day in the city with Chris, it was hard to settle on the train. We chatted about publishing print books and ebooks and changes that needed to be made or which version of the document to use. I’d done it before and had no problems but the current (I’ll call it WIP) gave me grief… hence the request for advice.

The Edinburgh train crossed over the Forth Bridge. This has been on my bucket list for a long time. The bridge looks like it was constructed from a Meccano set.

The train windows were dirty so that didn’t help the picture. In the background, you can see the current Forth Road Bridge and the new, still under construction, crossing.

Sept 23
The Forth Bridge from the train

Before we left the station, we stopped at the bathrooms. 30p to use the toilets but they were clean and the attendant made sure the lines of patiently waiting customers moved smoothly.

I had booked us on a tour of “The Real Mary King’s Close” for about an hour after we arrived in Edinburgh. The printed ticket confirmation said we needed to be there about 30 minutes before the tour started.

Having taken the train into Edinburgh Waverley on more than one occasion, I didn’t realize there was a way from there to the Royal Mile that didn’t require walking up a steep hill. Chris took us on an alternate route, although a bit longer and out of the way, required less effort and on reasonably level ground.

After we checked in at the ticket office and were told we had plenty of time, we decided to look in the nearby whisky shop to see if they stocked 18 year-old Cardhu. They did stock a 21 year-old. For a mere £350.00 we could buy it. On this day, the Bank of Canada exchange rate from UK pounds to CAN dollars was $1.7059 so a bottle of whisky would have cost us $597.00!!! Yikes!!! We knew we could get the age we wanted from the distillery and we had free time on the next day (not meeting my cousins until 7:30 for dinner) so decided rather than traipse around Edinburgh all day looking for what we wanted, we’d wait and make a distillery run on Saturday.

While Chris picked up a few Christmas presents in the shop, I went out and took a few pictures.

St Giles Cathedral
St Giles Cathedral

How appropriate… Writers’ Court. Chris and I are both writers – just different genres.

Sept 23
Writers’ Court

And, no the Tattoo Office has nothing to do with marking your skin (permanently or temporarily with henna).

Sept 23
Entrance to “The Real Mary King’s Close”
Sept 22
“The Real Mary King’s Close” sign

Because Mary King’s Close is under the City Chambers, you’re not permitted to take photographs. *sigh*

Our guide, Paula, was a hoot! Knowledgeable, friendly, and funny. Even though I don’t have photographs of my own to remember the tour, I do have a guidebook and a few other mementos.

Back on Princes Street, we waited at the bus for the #22 that would take us to Ocean Terminal (a waterfront mall and ticket office for the Royal Yacht Britannia).

There’s the #29 headed in the opposite direction.

Sept 23
Lothian Buses #29 – and look what’s on the side!

When our bus arrived, we bought two day passes which would also get us on the trams.

Rule Britannia

The tour of the Royal Yacht Britanniais completely self-guided. You’re provided with an audio guide (looks like an overgrown cellphone) which is available in a number of languages. They also have a guide in Braille for visually impaired visitors.

Sept 23
Don in the wheelhouse of the Royal Yacht, Britannia
Sept 23
The Royal Rolls Royce
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Chris and I at the binnacle rescued from the Victoria and Albert III
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Her Majesty the Queen’s bedroom
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Prince Phillip’s bedroom
Setp 23
The only room on the yacht to have a double bed – Charles & Diana’s room
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One side of the State Dining Room
Sept 23
The other side of the State Dining Room

We had a late lunch/snack in the Royal Deck Tea Room. I had coffee and fruit scones, Don had chocolate cake, and Chris had a bowl of Carrot and something soup.

Sept 23
The Royal State Room

Here in the Verge Inn, you have the chance to take “Corgi selfies” (see the wee guy on the left of the photo) or take selfies wearing these hats. No, the beer isn’t real. It’s resin coloured to look like beer with a light foam head on top.

Sept 23
Enjoying a “pint” in the Verge Inn, one of the areas for the officers to unwind.
Sept 23
The Royal “Barge”

After departing the yacht and Ocean Terminal, we boarded the #22 and returned to Princes St where our next adventure began… a ride on the Edinburgh trams!

Sept 23
One of the Edinburgh trams

We had to walk to one of the stations in the middle of Princes St so that Chris could buy a ticket. Her Angus council bus pass didn’t count for nowt here. Now that we were all legal, we boarded the next tram and rode it to Murrayfield Stadium. Out here the main railway line and the tram line aren’t too far apart.

On our way back to the city centre, Don struck up a conversation with a guy stood near where Chris and I sat. Said guy was reading a Stephen Booth novel. Don told him that Chris also wrote crime fiction (embarrassing her) but she pulled our her stash of book postcards and gave them to him.

The tram ride was another thing crossed off a bucket list (not mine). My next thing was a pint at the Oxford Bar, Ian Rankin’s local. Seeing how Chris was with us I hoped he wouldn’t think I was a pyscho Canadian stalker… LOL!

By now, it was getting later in the day. The next train back to Dundee that stopped in the town Chris lives in departed from Edinburgh Waverley at 7:30. We still needed to get a bite to eat to get us through until tomorrow.

The Oxford Bar – Ian Rankin’s local
Me outside The Oxford Bar

I settled for a photo so I could say, “I’ve been there” but I’ll definitely be back again and have an IPA or something before leaving.

Over supper, still thinking we had to be back at Waverley for the 7:30 train, I checked our tickets. We were locked in to a Virgin East Coast return or pay a fee to change it.

Chris checked her train schedule that she carries with her and luckily for us, that happened to be the 8:30 train. We could have stopped for a quick drink before stopping in at TGI Fridays on Castle Street. Oh well. It did give us some more time for evening photo ops.

Sept 23
Edinburgh Castle
Sept 23
Nighttime tram
Sept 23
Heilan’ coo in a shop on Princes Street

When I visited with my cousin, Eric, a few days ago, he mentioned climbing to the top of the Scott Monument with his father back in the day. He claims they carved their initials in the wall at the top level. Must climb up sometime (oh my aching knees) and see if they’re still visible.

Sept 23
The Scott Monument

When we arrived back at the railway station, we still had some time before we needed to be at the platform. Where else does a writer go but a bookstore?

And look who I found! Fellow loveahappyending author, Sheryl Browne, and her novel The Rest of My Life. She’s in some pretty good company there with Stuart MacBride and Kathy Reichs.

Sept 23
Sheryl Browne’s novel – in some good company at WH Smith in Edinburgh Waverley

All too soon, our wonderful day came to an end. We were getting off the train in Dundee and Chris was carrying on up the line to her stop. At least the turnstiles in Dundee were open so I got to keep our tickets as souvenirs.

It finally started to rain and drizzled as we made our way back up to Nethergate and a bus stop to catch our return bus to Broughty Ferry.

After we returned to the hotel and deposited our things in the room, we went to the bar for a drink. Whilst chatting with the young barman, we found out that he’d come to Canada on a hockey scholarship. Then we narrowed it down to Ontario (most people wouldn’t have a clue where our city is in the grand scheme of things). Come to find out, he stayed in Cornwall! That’s only a little over an hour away from us. And he played some hockey in Brockville, too.

Tomorrow, in addition to supper with the clan, we have a “side trip” to the distillery. Another adventure.

#Scotland 2015 Day 10 – Day trip to Dundee

#Scotland 2015 – Sept 20, 2015

Today we were off to Dundee to wander the streets and see the locations my crime-writer friend, Chris Longmuir, used in her novels.

We decided to take the 10:34 train from Broughty Ferry into Dundee so we would have the entire day to see and do things. The only train that stops there on the return trip leaves Dundee at 17:22 so we’d have plenty of time and not feel rushed.

The station in Broughty Ferry is unmanned and not even a machine to buy your tickets before boarding the train. This meant having to purchase them after we got on. We chose the last carriage because that’s usually where the conductor starts coming through to sell tickets. And since you need your ticket to get out of the station, the idea (while somewhat appealing) to ride for free doesn’t work. Since we were only going one stop, it made no sense to try to find a seat so we stood. The conductor started toward the front end of the carriage then stopped, turned and headed back the other way. Hubby followed him and in so doing, found Chris. What were the chances of the three of us meeting on the train instead of trying to find each other somewhere in the station?

Our first stop was at the RRS Discovery. Being Sunday, Discovery Point didn’t open until 11:00 so we had some time to kill before we could purchase our tickets and tour the ship. RRS Discovery is mentioned in Chapter 1 of Night Watcher.

Warning sign on fence by the RRS Discovery

I’m not sure exactly where the underwater hazards are because there was no water. RRS Discovery was in drydock!

RRS Discovery

Once Discovery Point opened, we went in and bought our tickets. We bought the pass that would also give us access to Verdant Works (a former jute mill turned museum).

Before we toured the indoor exhibits, we found a table in the cafe where we could make the exchange… sounds sinister doesn’t it? Not really, I bought print copies of Chris’s books and she’d brought them with her. I got the books, she got the money and hubby got to carry the books in our ‘jute’ Aberdeen bag.

Chris ‘steering’ the ship
Don at the wheel
Dundee Law in the distance from the RRS Discovery

We walked up to the Overgate Shopping Centre where scenes in Chapter 1 of Missing Believed Dead take place.

Before we went inside, we saw the domed building Chris used in Night Watcher and the close across the street that graces the cover of the same book.

The domed building on the right is used in Night Watcher

I’m not sure who dressed the penguins but it looks like a wedding and bridesmaid dresses. Apparently, this happens frequently and their attire chances.

The penguins at Steeple Church

Once inside the Overgate, our first order of business was to find the EE store. I had bought a pay as you go sim card that came with what I was led to believe, a prepaid top up card when we were in Huntly for my unlocked iPhone but could never get the top up card to work. I had followed all the instructions from the packaging and on their website. Come to find out, the £10.00 I paid was only for the sim card and I had to pay another £10.00 to be able to use the card to top up the phone. That wasn’t how it was explained in the shop where I bought it so needless to say, I wasn’t best pleased. At least the kid working in the EE store was helpful but the whole experience left a bad taste.

We finished our tour of the shopping centre and headed off to the Verdant Works. In The Death Game, Kirsty comes here to see her father who worked at the mill.

Don and Chris near Verdant Works
Verdant Works

I was amazed at how soft the jute fibres felt. At one of the displays in the museum, you could feel the softened and combed strands. I thought I was stroking hair!

Chris told us that she worked in one of the jute mills for a time operating a spinning machine. She explained what you had to do if one of the strands broke to us and the interpreter working in this area.

Spinning machine
Sheriff Court

We walked by the Sheriff Court and the police station tucked away behind and made our way to The Howff – a cemetery that was used from 1564-1857. I love a walk through a graveyard and the older the better. This fit that bill perfectly.

Path through the Howff
The monument featured in The Death Game

You can get a feel for Chris’s historic crime novel, The Death Game, from the prologue.

Interesting stone in the Howff

The McManus Galleries were nearby so we wandered through the various galleries. The Making of Modern Dundee, Dundee and the World, and the Pictish sculptured stones were my favourites.

The McManus Galleries
Pictish stone on display at the McManus
Pictish stone on display at the McManus
Pictish stone on display at the McManus

We made a stop at Waterstone’s where I picked up a novel by another one of my favourite crime novelists and one I’d not heard of before returning to the Overgate with a stop for photos at the Dragon Sculpture

The Dragon Sculpture

and further up the High Street with Desparate Dan.

Desperate Dan

There were demonstrations going on in the City Square so we went over. One tent was set up with Raspberry Pi computers connected to weather stations. We had to try it out. Another was reading a weather forecast in front of the green screen which was recorded for the readers but those watching could see it live. It was primarily kids doing this and their performances were priceless.

On the other side of the square, a tent was set up with a display of computers over the years. Two of the ones that stood out to me were the Commodore 64 and the Commodore PET.

In another tent, you could get your photo taken with a Dalek but we didn’t bother, although I did get a photo of said Dalek before we moved on.

A Dalek

By now it was time to walk back to the railway station. On the return trip, we were able to get three seats together so it was nice to be able to chat about the day before having to say our goodbyes at the Broughty Ferry Station.

Book Review: Missing Believed Dead by Chris Longmuir

Book Review

To celebrate Chris Longmuir’s paperback launch of MISSING BELIEVED DEAD at Waterstones, Dundee, I’m posting my book review of this latest book in her Dundee Crime Series here today.



Missing children! Internet predators! Dead bodies!

She crossed his arms over his chest, and placed the jade beads in his eyes. ‘To remind you of me,’ she said.

Jade was 13 when she disappeared, five years ago, and DS Bill Murphy suspects someone from her family is responsible for recent Dundee murders. But is it her mother, Diane, who now suffers from OCD? Or Emma, her twin sister, who was catatonic for a year after Jade’s disappearance. Or Jade’s brother, Ryan, who enjoys dressing in women’s clothes and is going through a sexuality crisis, unsure whether or not he is gay.

What happened to Jade? Is she alive or dead? Or has she returned to wreak a terrible revenge on all male predators?

My Review

Thrilling read that kept me turning the pages!

Chris Longmuir has done it again. In this chapter of her Dundee Crime Series, we travel into the seedy world of Internet predators. DS Bill Murphy has to solve the case of missing girls who have disappeared after being on Internet chat rooms. Will he find them in time? Or are they already dead? In true Longmuir fashion, you never really know who the suspect is and just when you think you’ve figured it out, she twists the plot yet again leaving you with that ‘I was so sure I had it’ feeling.

Missing Believed Dead is a must read for anyone who likes dark, gritty crime.

Author Bio

Chris LongmuirChris Longmuir was born in Wiltshire and now lives in Angus. Her family moved to Scotland when she was two. After leaving school at fifteen, Chris worked in shops, offices, mills and factories, and was a bus conductor for a spell, before working as a social worker for Angus Council (latterly serving as Assistant Principal Officer for Adoption and Fostering).

Chris is an award winning novelist and has published three novels in her Dundee Crime Series. Night Watcher, the first book in the series, won the Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award. Missing Believed Dead is the third book in the series.

Her crime novels are set in Dundee, Scotland, and have been described as scary, atmospheric, page turners. Chris also writes historical sagas, short stories and historical articles which have been published in America and Britain. Writing is like an addiction to me, Chris says, I go into withdrawals without it. She is currently working on a further 2 crime novels.

Chris is a member of the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers Association and the Scottish Association of Writers. She designed her own website and confesses to being a techno-geek who builds computers in her spare time.



Blog: Chris Longmuir, Crime Writer

Amazon Author Page: Amazon author page UK

Amazon Author Page: Amazon author page US