'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



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kelpies

Stunning is the word that comes to mind when you round the corner and get your first glimpse of these horses! Breathtaking is another.










The Kelpies were built as a gateway to The Helix, a land transformation project to improve the connections between and around 16 communities in Falkirk District, Scotland, including the eastern end of the Forth and Clyde Canal, and to regenerate the area near where the canal joins the River Carron.

These sculptures are 30 metres/98 1/2 ft. in height and weigh 300 tonnes each. They are made of structural steel with stainless steel cladding.

The original concept was of the mythical water creatures called Kelpies, possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses, but the artist moved more towards an equine and contemporary concept to celebrate lineage of the heavy horse of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the wagons, ploughs, barges and coalships that shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area. Another inspiration was Carnera, a Clydesdale horse that pulled a wagon for a local soft drink company. Carnera was the world's largest working horse standing at 19 hands high. He pulled 3 ton wagons full of Irn Bru!

You can read the history of these great sculptures at The Kelpies.

This artist Andy Scott, just finished another great sculpture honoring those who lost their lives in the iron and  steel industry of Scotland. You can see it at Ravenscraig steelworks site in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. Read about it here.

One of my favorites things I saw in Scotland!

Peggy Ann



Monday, June 29, 2015

Fields of Gold

Because corn will not grow in the Scottish climate they grow rapeseed and use the oil extracted from its seed. As you drive around Scotland the landscape is dotted with gorgeous fields of bright yellow Rape. Gorgeous! Katrina said on hot days as you pass a field the smell is overwhelming and a little sickening. We never had a day hot enough to experience this while I was there. But I so enjoyed the lovely spots of yellow everywhere as we drove all over!





It's definitely a taste you have to acquire. Totally different from corn oil.

here are some links to learn about Rapeseed Oil

What is Rapeseed?
Facts and Info
Scottish Rapeseed Oil
The Rise of Rapeseed Oil

Peggy Ann

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Highland Gazette Series

Just found out there is a sixth book coming out in October in the wonderful Highland Gazette series by A.D. Scott! I thought maybe the last one The Low Road was the final book.

Can't wait!  Check it out at the publisher's page.












Also Poison Pen Press in the USA seems to be publishing British Library Crime Classics here! Yea! Two new J. Farjeon books are coming out Sept. 1st!


Check out their library of books available here
at Poison Pen Press

Friday, June 26, 2015

Robert the Bruce

One of the highlights for me was seeing Robert the Bruce's grave-site. He is buried in the Abbey Church in Dunfermline.  Still in use today the Abbey is one part medieval church and a newer portion added in the 1800's.

Bruce was buried in Dunfermline Abbey in 1329 and as the centuries passed, the exact spot became obscure. In 1818, when the ground was being cleared for the building of the new Abbey Church, they came across a vault which contained the King's remains.  Within the vault was an oak coffin covered with two sheets of lead. Inside the coffin lay a skeleton wrapped in a shroud of cloth of gold. On a second official inspection the following year it was found that the breastbone had been severed in order that the heart might be removed in compliance with the King's expressed wish that it should be taken to the Holy Land.

In 1819 amid a great upsurge of Scottish national feeling, his remains were ceremoniously re-interred in the newer portion. In 1889 it was covered by a magnificent rectangular memorial brass in medieval form and embedded in a slab of marble. The Latin inscription on the brass is translated: 'The tomb of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, fortunately discovered among the ruins in 1818, has been anew marked by this brass in the 560th year after his death'.

His embalmed heart is said to be buried at Melrose Abbey.









 The tower spells out on all four sides
King Robert the Bruce.
Cast of Robert the Bruce's skull


Peggy Ann

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dumbarton and Glasgow

We took an overnight trip to Dumbarton and then on to Glasgow. Katrina and Jack grew up in Dumbarton. We went by the houses they lived in and saw the school and shopped the high street. Walked around outside Dumbarton Castle. Mary Queen of Scots stayed there while running and hiding for her life. We didn't go inside. There was some kind of construction going on. There was a whisky distillery in Dumbarton but has been closed down. The empty building is quite lovely I think. There are still storage barns around town with the whisky aging in them.





We stayed overnight near Dumbarton and then moved on to Glasgow the next day...

Streets and streets of tenement bldgs.

Glasgow University peeking above the bridge

Old Old fountain honoring Queen Victoria. Dismantled and moved 3 times as the city grew

Top of the fountain. Queen Victoria

Famous Duke Wellington statue with the cone hat!

Mural on a wall in the shopping district

Pedestrian street, lots of shops
This is the Tolbooth Clock Tower. The oldest structure in Glasgow. Dating back to medieval Glasgow. Check out this wonderful post about it here!

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Front entrance

Back entrance revolving door. Isn't it gorgeous? That's Katrina going in!


This beautiful organ sits in the lobby and they have someone play it periodically.          Going to Glasgow? Be sure and make this one of your stops. Find out what's going on at the Art Gallery and Museum here
 


A lovely WWII memorial next to the art gallery

  
For all you Doctor Who fans... A Tardis box! These police boxes were originally red in Glasgow and painted blue at a later date. They pre-date mobile communications and were used by police like a mini police station. The telephone is located behind a hinged door so it could be accessed from outside. They could easily call for back-up or transport. They would use the inside to write and fill out reports, take meal breaks and even hold prisoners until transport could arrive. Today you might find a coffee kiosk or something in one! I'm so glad they are still there, great local color!

The highlight of the trip to Glasgow was meeting up with my good friend, author Alan Jones, and meeting in person for the first time after a couple of years of email, instant chats and facetime. Because he is writing under a pen-name I can't show his face and it's a shame because he is a beautiful man!  And just as lovely a person. We met up at the art gallery and went to lunch and then drove around Glasgow a bit checking out the area's where his books are set.



 To end the day Jack and Katrina made sure I had fish and chips take out, a pure Scottish experience! We found a parking spot with a river view and dug into the best fish and chips I've ever had and we ate it with our fingers!

Peggy Ann


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Stirling Castle

The first documented mention of Stirling Castle was around 1107-1115! Alexander I endowed a chapel in the castle. It has such a rich history. I'll add links at the bottom of the post if you want to know more about it.

It was a lovely day although quite windy!



Check out my hair! I told you it was windy!

 Robert the Bruce won Scotland's freedom from the English at Bannockburn in 1314 within sight of the castle. The English had occupied the castle for 10 years. After the victory Bruce ordered the castles defences smashed to prevent the castle being held against him again. Future kings would rebuild and enlarge.

The Battle of Bannockburn was amazing. Bruce's men numbered 8,000 to Edward II's 17,000 men army and yet they defeated the English army!






view from the castle with William Wallace Monument in the background

Our excellent tour guide

This statue lost his head by a cannon ball in battle!

Courtyard



 Mary Queen of Scots was crowned to the right in this photo. The bldg. to the right is the chapel. The original stood just in front of where this one stands and she was crowned at 9 months old there.
Many fascinating statues adorn the castle

Probably rapeseed growing here.

James V

Castle walls. Would be hard to scale!

When the yellow building to the right is viewed from far off it looks like pure gold.

The Kings Knot, a formal garden at one time.

The kings hunting grounds at one time. The bright yellow in the distance is Rapeseed fields

  Too many pics to post. I'll do another post with pics from inside the royal apartments later.

Links:
Castle Timeline
Did You Know?
Stirling Castle Guide



Peggy Ann