Lunch at The Hawes Inn

Photograph of the Forth Bridge passing over the Hawes Inn at South Queensferry. Photograph taken with my Nokia 5140i phone camera.

Lunch today was a leisurely affair in the company of my dear friend Dave Gibbs at the highly-recommended Hawes Inn in South Queensferry.

Remarkably, today was the most quiet I’ve ever experienced the Hawes Inn for a meal. Usually the place is heaving and you have to wait half-an-hour for a table to become free. We had one room entirely to ourselves. It was really quite pleasant, sitting at a window table watching (and hearing) trains crossing the Forth Bridge above us, and the RNLI crew washing their lifeboat across the street.

S1Play has this to say about The Hawes Inn:

Not only was the inn the site of a meal between Lovel and Old Buch at the start of Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Antiquary, it also provided the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. Hotel guests can stay in Stevenson’s Room, which looks out across the River Forth, and even read Victorian graffiti.

Drinkers downstairs can enjoy a traditional pub decorated with a ship’s bell, miniature ships’ wheels and an old timetable from when a ferry crossed the Forth. But the bar is most proud of its literary connections. Not only do Stevenson quotes adorn the wall – visitors can eat in the Stevenson Restaurant, where, hopefully, they will be able to raise a more hearty appetite than that of the consumptive writer.

The Hawes isn’t just a tourist trap – there are locals aplenty too. So grab a pint and look across the Forth. Who knows what inspiration may strike you.

I once saw SNP leader Alex Salmond having a meal there. That was quite exciting.

The links between Acrobat 7 and Canon Law

Screenshot of adding bookmark links in Acrobat 7 Professional
Screenshot of adding bookmark links in Acrobat 7 Professional. And yes, it really is as exciting a job as it sounds.

This evening I are been mostly … adding bookmarks to a PDF document in Acrobat 7 Professional. If not an exciting task it is certainly a user-friendly one.

As part of the development of the Scottish Episcopal Church website (www.scotland.anglican.org) I’ve been asked to add the Code of Canons; that is, the book of the laws of the Church.

The SEC Code of Canons is split into two main sections: the Canons, and the Digest of Resolutions. As it says in the introduction to the Digest:

The legal framework of the Scottish Episcopal Church is set out in the Code of Canons…

Canon 52 … authorises the Synod to pass resolutions inter alia, to provide for the implementation of the Canons, for the regulation of the Synod’s own procedure and for the regulation of all matters of property, finance and general administration throughout the Church.

I’m glad I read that, because I’ve never really understood what the Digest of Resolutions was! Anyway, that’s what they are, and there are two main sections. So when I asked for these to be sent to me in PDF format to be added to the website, imagine my surprise when I opened three emails containing 86 files! Eighty-six! That’s one file per canon, plus files for tables of contents, appendices, indices and the Digest (which was split into seven files).

I’m still compiling these into coherent, usable and user-friendly documents, and that’s what I’ve spent much of the afternoon and evening doing. The first task was to compile the first 75 PDF documents into one, then remove the redundant pages. Next I created bookmarks of the main sections allowing users to leap straight to the section that they want. The final task is to add hyperlinks to the PDF document’s index so that a user can simply click on the page reference in the index to take them there, rather than navigate using the more cumbersome method of scrolling through page after page.

But this task takes time. So far I’ve spent about 20 hours on it. I’ve got only 19 pages of the index left to bookmark. And it’s a mind-numbingly dull job that is made bearable only by the knowledge that I’ll be left with a highly usable, user-friendly document of which I’ll be very proud.

I’d love to be further on with the development of the SEC website but these supporting tasks take a lot of time, and it’s important to get these jobs right first time (the various liturgy services took about 4-5 hours per service, for example).

The more that people use professionally-designed documents and user-guides the more they expect all electronic documents to be optimized and organized well. Which is a good thing. I could just throw the Canons up on the site as they are, but I feel that I’d be doing everyone a disservice.

As my granny used to say to me, “If you’re going to do something do it well!”

Where’s the justice?!

Blind justice? (Artwork from Metallica‘s 1988 “…And Justice For All” album.)

So, it would appear that the Police are not interested in the damage to our cottage in Cellardyke, saying that we should have a contract with them and we’d need to pursue any damages through the courts, so get in touch with your lawyer!

What?!

What if we’d visited an hotel and trashed it, rock’n’roll style? Wouldn’t the police have been called? What is the difference here?

And our holiday insurance company, Croft Insurance Services, say that we’re not covered for malicious damage. I’ve just read the small-print in the insurance document which says:

We will pay for:

  • Malicious persons or vandals

We will not pay for:

  • Loss or damage caused by persons lawfully in the Home

What’s the point of that, then?! Why are we paying £40.08 each month for insurance that doesn’t cover this event? We’re between a rock and a hard place: our ‘guests’ paid £550 for two weeks (they were legitimately there) but they caused malicious, criminal damage to our property. And we’re not covered!! Had they broken in and trashed the place our insurers, seemingly, would have been happy.

I’m not happy. I don’t want these people to think that they can easily visit guest countries and run riot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fairly pro-Europe, I’m not saying that nobody should be allowed to visit the UK. I just don’t think that criminals should get away with their crimes. Something about justice here, perhaps? Call me old fashioned.