Over the Pond 1991

Over the Pond 1991

Living in Edinburgh

In 1991 I was living in Edinburgh. I learned to ski and my first holiday on the piste was at Les Gets in the Portes du Soleil ski area. It was quite a strange experience to be honest. It was quite late in the season and the weather was warm anyway. As a result most of the skiing alternated between hard ice in the morning and soft slush in the afternoon. And it was sunny the whole time so on more than one occasion the skiing was done in just a shirt and jumper rather than in the skiing jacket. I did find it slightly addictive though. After this first trip I’ve been a further 20 times or so.

Across the Pond

In the summer I made my first ever trip to the USA with my brother Phil. We spent a week in New York visiting all the usual Tommy-Tourist sites.

And then a further week in New Orleans, chilling, drinking beer, and generally relaxing with the gators.


Finally, towards the end of the year it was Paris time.

Many Countries 1990

Many Countries 1990

Scene Setting

In 1990 I had a busy year, in which I finished my work in Rotterdam and then moved up to perform a very similar function in Gothenburg over the summer. Towards the end of the year I joined a number of colleagues in Edinburgh for a job at the Grangemouth Oil Refinery, which kept me occupied until the end of 1992. So all in all 1990 was a year of much variety and much travel for me.

Still in the Netherlands

I started the year still living in Brielle, and enjoyed a second Brielle Day, during which I once again consumed considerable quantities of alcohol and somehow managed to avoid falling into a canal. I also took a few photos, though not all of these were on Brielle Day. Unlike last year, though, I got a couple of good shots of the little galleon with the flour-bomb cannon.

Whilst still in Holland one of my old school mates made a visit – his first in a year and a half – and we dashed up to Amsterdam. While we were there, we had a bizarre unexpected encounter with the landlord and landlady from the pub in Southwell that he used to frequent. Here’s a random photo or two to prove I went there.

And while I was at it, I made a trip to the excellent collection of 18th century windmills at Kinderdijk, and a final dash to central Rotterdam.

Going Nordic

And then I moved to Sweden. During which I seem to have been rather busy. It was a rather good summer, which included the 1990 World Cup in Italy, which I watched mainly with commentary in Swedish. I was based in the city of Gothenburg.

And I had a long weekend in Copenhagen

And another weekend in Oslo

And also a long weekend over midsummer up in the sticks alongside Lake Vänern.

And a whacky Sunday afternoon was spent watching the waterfall that gets switched on and off at Trollhättan Falls. It used to be a permanent waterfall until someone had the great idea of building a hydroelectric powerplant there. Now they switch the waterfall on periodically to flush the crud out of the water course.

Off to Scotland

Around October time I moved over to Edinburgh. I think some of the photos below were taken in 1991 rather than 1990, but who cares. Lots of them were taken at our team Christmas do.

We’ll Always have Paris

And obviously there was just time for a dash over to Paris for a weekend in the Autumn.

Holland 1989

Holland 1989

Brielle Day

One of my first jobs involved me working for a number of months at an oil refinery near Rotterdam. This lasted from 1988 until the start of 1990. A few of my experiences whilst working there are captured in the images below.

I was living in the small town of Brielle just south of the Europoort area. And I was at the time what you might call young, free and single.

On the first of April every year Brielle celebrates a battle in which the protestant rebel Watergeuzen defeated the occupying Spanish. It was a major event in the uprisings of the Low Countries against the Spanish and is celebrated in Brielle with much gusto. People dress up in period costume. And they tie up goats in the street. They fire flour bombs out of the cannon of a mock galleon (that spent the rest of the year parked up in the canal on Turfkade, right outside my flat). Finally, being Holland, it involves a disturbingly large amount of drinking.

Here are a few photos I captured at the 1989 event.


During the spring there was the mandatory visit to Paris. I like to pretend I’m a Europhile. The trip was made with workmates (at the time) Swanny, Kirky, Ali, Brewster and Michelle, I think. Here’s a few snaps.

Den Haag & Delft

Also in the spring I made trips over to Den Haag and Delft.

A Long Summer Holiday

In the summer I made a rather epic trip as far as Greece and back, trying out the InterRail concept. It worked well except for a couple of sticky moments where we were a bit behind schedule and needed to either change route, or go a bit quicker. Thinking about it, there was actually nearly as much non-train travel as there was train travel.

To illustrate, we used buses to get from Ljubljana to Zagreb and then on to Split and Dubrovnik. Then we used a ferry to get from Dubrovnik to Corfu, to avoid having to spend 3 more days on buses. Then we flew from Corfu to Athens and caught another ferry to and from Mykonos. And finally another ferry from Patras to Brindisi. The rest of it was by train though.

Here’s some photographic proof of me going. The trip was made with a guy I used to work with in Holland (before he went home) and a couple of others I’d never met before. They came over from the UK by ferry and met us in Rotterdam.


We started in what is now Slovenia and Croatia, although back then it was still all Yugoslavia.


From there we moved over to Greece, visiting Corfu, Athens and Mykonos.


And after we’d done in Greece we travelled by ferry over to Italy, landing at Bari and catching a train up to Rome for several days.


There was a random weekend which involved driving to the Rhine Valley via Luxembourg.


And then in the autumn I made a trip by plane down to Munich. As I remember it, a lot of beer was consumed on this trip. Myself and my old mate Swanny were performing an experiment to determine whether it was possible to absorb enough alcohol from German beer to get very drunk before the volume makes you explode. Let me tell you that it is very possible to absorb enough alcohol from German beer to get very drunk.

We did manage to visit the 1974 Olympic Stadium during the weekend, though, where our national hosts, the Dutch, had won the 1988 UEFA Championship in the previous summer. The final game, against the USSR, contained “that” goal by Marco van Basten. Note the pre-Taylor Report presence of standing terraces at both ends of the stadium.


Towards the end of the year I made my first ever trip to Edinburgh to see a few workmates who had moved there to work on “the next big job”. I seem to remember having a minging cold the whole time I was there, so please excuse the bad photos. Edinburgh is a place I was to become intimately familiar with a couple of years later, not that I knew it at the time.