'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Maine, The Way Live Should Be

 These are all pics from at the cottage on the lake.

The clouds were spectacular!

Clear clean water! this about 4 ft. deep here!

"Seriously! You call this camping?" Ian said as he walked between them! And then got on the iPad...

On duck watch.

I guess you can tell we loved this dog!

Dreaming of next summer!

Peggy Ann

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Been Away to Maine!

Isa really does have shorts on. Just really short ones :(
We were away to Maine last week. A cottage on Sebago Lake. The same one we get most every year. This time though my son and his wife met us there. We had their kids with us. We took the kids last year, but this is the first time for Paul and Stephanie. I've been dying for Paul to get to Maine with us, I knew he would love it! He did! Everyone was talking about 'next summer' before we even left this summer.

The kids never wanted to leave the cottage and the lake. They turn into fish when we are there. The water is cold too, to cold for this old gal to get in. Ian's chin was quivering and his lips were blue, but he wasn't getting out! We did pry them away for a day trip to Portland and a trip to Bailey's Island for a little sightseeing.  Mostly I spent my days doing this...
Reading Dead Men's Bones by James Oswald
and this...
This is Miles. The cottage owner's dog. He is a German Short-haired pointer. Butch brought him home as a puppy while we were there last year. His old pointer, Pat, had passed away the previous fall (2013). Miles was great fun and stayed right with us all the time. The kids loved him.

I made my annual run up to the library book sale in Naples. Their basement has an ongoing sale all year round. I got six books there and 4 at the Goodwill store.

Bought the Making Whoopies at the Portland Head Light gift shop. Maine is known for it's Whoopies, yummy! The little store we walk to has huge ones! We have them in Pennsylvania too, but they call them Gobs here. Two books I was especially chuffed about finding...

Arundel by Kenneth Roberts

When Arundel was first published, the New York Times hailed it as 'an achievement-a really fine and stirring historical novel.' The Christian Science Monitor said, 'As a full-blooded, human chronicle of a gallant adventure, and as a memorial of Revolutionary days in Maine, and as a fiscinating story, this is a book of special importance.'
  Kenneth Roberts' rousing tale of colonel Benedict Arnold's doomed march on Quebec in 1775 is as engaging today as when it was first published in 1930. The book tells the story of Steven Nason, a soldier in the Continental Army from fledgling southern Maine settlement of Arundel, who accompanies Arnold's force on the grueling jorney up the Kennebec River and overland through the vast and wild North Woods Through Nason's eyes, we see the hardships endured by Arnold's men, their bravery, and Arnold's own noble character in the when he was still the most brilliant and trusted of George Washington's officers.
  Rich in historical detail, filled with the bold romance of the Revolutionary period, Arundel is now in print for the first time in paperback. It is both a moving story of a boy's passage to manhood and a fascinating chronicle of the native people and fantastic natural abundance of the northern wilderness.

Kenneth Roberts was the author of many best-selling novels, including Northwest Passage, Lydia Bailey, Oliver Wiswell, Rabble in Arms and his famed first novel, Arundel. Renowned for his scrupulous accuracy and unforgettable depictions of past times, he was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize citation in 1957.

Nason is the family name of the old farm where our cottage is located too! They owned most of the land around the lake at one time.

Come Spring by Ben Ames Williams

This book is 866 pages! A really long book for me!

   The historical novel usually concerns itself with persons who have made a major imprint on their times and on the minds of posterity; with generals and statesmen and kings and queens. But for every king there were subjects. An historical novel may as justly deal with the lives of people who were important not individually but in the mass.
  The attempt in this book has been to tell the story of the founding of a small Maine town, by ordinary people, in what was then an ordinary way. It was the way in which towns were founded from the Atlantic seaboard west to the great plains, by stripping off the forest and putting the land to work. The people in this book were not individually as important as George Washington; the town they founded was not as important as New York. But people like them made this country, and towns like this one were and are the soil in which this country's roots are grounded.
  This is an historical novel in the sense that most of the major incidents here related actually happened, and that every person named in this book actually lived and wore the name he here wears.

It looks so good! It's about the settling of Union, Maine. 

The other books I got are:
2 Agatha Christie's Towards Zero and Passenger to Frankfurt
The Road Dance by John MacKay  (a Scottish writer and set in Scotland!)
The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
Away by Jane Urquhart
Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
Free Land by Rose Wilder Lane  (I had bought this one out in South Dakota years ago and then loaned it to a friend before I read it and never got it back)
and The Chimney Sweeper's Boy by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell)

Another thing we look forward to in Maine each year is Moxie. It's a soft drink made and sold in Maine. Some people say it is medicinal tasting, but we all love it. We made Moxie floats several nights! And loaded up on it to bring home...
Scotland has Irn Bru and we have Moxie! Now if only I could find earring of Moxie bottles like I did of Irn Bru in Scotland!

I'll post some pictures from Maine tomorrow! 

Peggy Ann

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Loch Ness and Castle Urquhart

On our way to Inverness we drove along Loch Ness. It's a very long loch, 22.56 miles long! We never saw a spot to be able to pull over and put our feet in :(  The water is very dark and very deep and when the wind is blowing and water is rippling or waving I can see how people think they see 'things' in the water!

FYI: The prefix inver comes from the Gaelic inbhir.  It means mouth of the river and is often followed by the name of a river which in this case is the River Ness. Inverness lies at the mouth of the River Ness. Loch Ness is connected to the sea via River Ness feeding into the Moray Firth.

Loch facts:
22.56 ft. long
1 mile wide
51 ft. above sea level
It has more water in it than all the lakes and rivers of England and Wales combined
It's color is caused by peat particles floating in the water
It never freezes over
ospreys fish the waters of the loch
The loch lays on a fault line
The majority of sightings of Nessie have been from the area around Urquhart Castle
Water speed record (over 200mph) was set by John Cobbs on the Loch in the 1950's

Here are some interesting links about the loch...
Nova: The Legend of Loch Ness
A Livecam on the Loch
The Wellington Bomber Crash from WWII

Looking north

Looking south

My sweet tired chauffeur, Jack. He's a real gem!

Bluebells on the hillside

 This is Castle Urquhart sitting on the shores of Loch Ness. Fascinating history around here! The Picts lived here. The castle dates back to 1230ish! Read about it here.

It is now in the hands of Historic Scotland and there is a charge to go in. We decided not to as it was getting late in the day and we still had some driving to do to get to our hotel in Inverness and we were all tired.

Castle Urquhart on the loch

 Didn't get any of those 'postcard' views of the loch, but it is a beautiful place and I can say I was there!

Peggy Ann

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Birds of Another Feather

Some bird photos from Scotland. I saw birds there I have never seen before.

This is a Jackdaw. I thought I was seeing a hoodie crow and was so excited. I love that name! But when looking it up online discovered it was a Jackdaw. Still in the crow family though.
Moorhen in her nest on the lake in Linlithgow
Moorhen, a chicken like water bird
This is a Robin, totally different than the US Robin! I snapped this at Loch Earn

This is a magpie. We have them in the western US but I've never seen one and they are prolific in Scotland. My favorite bird. They are gorgeous. have a wacky little run and are very hard to photograph! They were in and out of Katrina's garden all day. You just can't 'sneak up' on them. click here to see better images of them and here to read about them. In Scotland the magpie was once believed to carry a drop of the Devil's blood under its tongue which perhaps stems from another belief that the magpie was the only bird not to wear full mourning at the Crucifixion.
Mom and babies
Loads of swans on the lake at the park in Linlithgow.

Swan Babies!

Notice dad swan is in front of mom and the babies and his wings spread to intimidate the dog. Very protective! Was fun watching him maneuver them behind him and spreading out his chest and feathers.

This pair was begging big time from us while we ate our lunch sitting by Loch Earn

They kept flying up at the window to remind us they were there!


This fella was walking/flying on a leash at the Kelpies! His owner walks him there daily.

 Just a cool pic of a crow sitting on a rooftop. All the gadgets and points are to keep witches from sitting on the roof!
 This is a rook which turned his head as I took the pic, darn! We had two of them sitting on fence watching us eat our lunch in the car but they left before I got the pic. Just wasn't in the cards to get a pic of a rook I guess. I was chuffed to see one though! click here for images and here for info on the bird. Make sure and watch the videos! They have a beak I sure wouldn't want to peck me!
Pied Wagtail

A Blue Tit in Katrina's garden!

Saw lots of pigeons and doves. Many different varieties of pigeons there I've never seen here. The castle ruins were good places to see them. Loads of pheasants in the fields too, but I couldn't get a pic. Katrina said they are suicidal by nature, flinging themselves into your car as you drive by!