I keep my blog as a personal record of what I'm up to, which might be seen as working towards "An elegant sufficiency, content, retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, ease and alternate labour, useful life"

I'm certainly not there yet.  There is quite some way to go!










Entries in Scotland (2)


Keep up at the back!


We think we pack in plenty of activity when we’re travelling, but spending time with Edward reminds us that actually, a 27 year old works at an altogether different pace.  Here’s a snapshot of our two days in the city.




Leaving St Giles, we paid a visit to the Castle, finding our English Heritage membership gained us access to Historic Scotland properties too – what a bargain!




Hot chocolate and Tunnocks Teacakes in the cafe hit the spot!




First thing Saturday, we headed out to Rosslyn chapel which was fascinating (and none of us are Dan Brown afficionados at all)




Next, Blackness Castle on the Forth, with stunning views.




Back into the city, to the other end of the Royal Mile and the Scottish Parliament




to see both inside and out




and then over the road to Holyrood Palace.




Still with me?











To the newly refurbished Stirling Castle on Sunday morning




which was rather surprising, even if we had no idea what to expect.







Visiting places like this in January is great – we usually were the only visitors in any particular place at one time, and in the case of these newly reopened Kings Palace it meant we could get up close and see the remarkable new tapestries in detail.




Having seen the originals whilst with Jordi in New York, we really enjoyed learning more about these newly made masterpieces, made with colourfast wool this time. 




The highly decorated rooms, painted with bold and colourful patterns gave a great impression of how the castle would have looked when new and if you get the chance to visit, then we would all agree that it should be top of the list.




Even the kitchens have been well interpreted, presenting the information and historical background in an attractive and accessible format, even for non-historians like me!




Back in Edinburgh, late Sunday afternoon, the birthday boy decided he wanted to explore the area around Calton Hill whereas we, his weary parents favoured the Portrait Gallery

Rounding off our time in the city with a supper of haggis, neeps and tatties, we all agreed, Edinburgh had been a great choice for a January weekend.  Thanks Edward!!


Black Pudding and Angels


Given his choice of a European city in which to celebrate his birthday, Edward was in no doubt – it was to be Edinburgh.

Well, that was easy, wasn’t it?

We drove up on Thursday, spending a night half way at The Star – well, any excuse to visit one of our favourite places, we thought.




We (almost) had the place to ourselves, settling in for a cosy afternoon by the fire, followed by a waistband-testing supper that night and a hearty breakfast the following morning.  Oh my, how do people come here for a whole week?!




We did think that perhaps next time, we should bring a few friends with us – that table seats at least 16.




Driving north on Friday morning was bliss – the weather was perfect and the countryside full of colour and texture.  We’re lucky to live in a beautiful landscape, but this magnificent scenery is truly breathtaking.

We were heading up the A1 when one or other of us muttered something about the Angel of the North – no sooner had we said it than the sign appeared.  Oooh…we’ve wanted to see that!







We’ve both seen photographs of the figure and had clear impressions in our mind of it standing high on a hillside, looking down from a lofty place upon the world below.  Sadly, we were disappointed.




OK, I’ll admit, it’s a dreadful photograph, snapped through the windscreen at who knows how many miles per hour.  But even so, I was sad to see the Angel didn’t quite live up to my expectations.  Next time, perhaps we’ll be better prepared and take a detour to the vantage point and take time to get a more considered view.




In no time, we were in Edinburgh then.  I’d planned to be there first, to greet the birthday boy with a helium balloon or two as he got off his train, but it wasn’t to be.  We’d kept in touch throughout the morning and it was clear from fairly early on that his train from London was going to outpace our shorter, slower journey slightly.  Never mind, we all arrived in plenty of time to enjoy an afternoon in the city.




We started with the Royal Mile and headed uphill to begin with.




Of course, being with an historian, I got to see things like this stool, which apparently was instrumental in the start of the civil war – or so I learned from the birthday boy himself, who chose to go immediately to St Giles Cathedral.  He’s working on Civil War-related things right now, so was keen to see some of these things for himself.  Whilst he and his father discussed such things, I meandered about taking photographs and nodding in agreement here




admiring beautifully designed and made chairs











and simply stunning stained glass windows.




In the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle, we marvelled at the ceiling and stood for a while, spotting one of the Angels with Bagpipes up there.





Just as we were about to leave, we spotted the second one, there in the carved panel by the door




Quite appropriate that, because we had a table booked for supper at the restaurant of the same name!