Monthly Archives: October 2006

sunglare at noon


You all know, I presume, that Aberdeen is about the same latitude as Juneau Alaska and places like that. Warmer, but the sun seems to go down farther nearly every day. It is low enough in the sky that it is inevitably in one's eyes whenever one faces south. That is, of course, when one can see the sun rather than just gray sky or clouds. I am beginning to discern and be happy about lighter shades of gray!

So, today, a beautiful sunny day! I was walking home from church in the beautiful ancient Kings Chapel, listening to a 40 voice college chorale and pipe organ (Aubertin).

Beautiful stained glass windows

The leaves are beginning to turn yellow, brown and reddish. Many trees have large clusters or umbrels of bright red berries. The roses are still blooming all over the parkways.

And at high noon I measured my shadow — 12 feet long. And I am just over 5' tall. So, those of you who are mathematicians can figure out the angle of the sun now.



sunny side of the street


This is one of the streets I walk down everyday. These buildings are typical of Old Aberdeen and line both sides of the cobblestone street that forms the main thoroughfare of the University. The sidewalks are 2 skinny people wide and scarey when a bus blows by.

Saint Machar st

There's a bake shop on the way home too with lovely edibles piled in the windows. Cream donuts are different here, tho! They serve "whipped cream" with desserts and put cream in donuts but it is not sweetened – or not much anyway. It must be lightly whipped butter, basically. So, the one donut I got, I scraped off the rest of the 'cream' when I got home and put jelly on it. THAT was good.

I had lunch with Elspeth at the HUB today, the new student union. It is great. A food court upstairs and coffee bar and other shops downstairs. The HairHub is scarey though! I saw one lady getting her hair trimmed by a young woman and there was a young guy beautician standing around looking potentially useful. He had his hair in 6" spikes — some of which were 'party pink' color. I think I'll let my hair grow and get barrettes.

It has been gray and rainy the last several days. I am beginning to take joy in different shades of gray! OH! It is lighter gray now! The sun must be shining somewhere! Elspeth says there are sunny days during the winter but it does get colder. Right now it is low 50's but because of the humidity (not rain, humidity) it feels considerably warmer — except when the wind blows straight through you. Here you can see the campus and current weather. Just because there is a puddle on the ground doesn't mean it is raining. Sometimes the mist creates puddles on the sidewalks. Trust me. Really. You can also see the trees changing colors in this webcam — if you check on it soon. I think the Autumn here must be about as short as N. IL. The leaves are turning and dropping quite rapidly this week. No month long color journeys here!!

Well, I must go. I am sitting in on a class, watching the film "The Country Priest" by Bernanos. I hear the film is good but not as hopeful the book 🙂


Knox, Kennedy and Opus Dei


Sundays are always interesting here. Such a variety of Churches and people. Not that the vast majority of people go to church here – quite the contrary. The huge cathedrals that would seat 4-500 people have 50-100 regular congregants.

St Andrews Scottish Episcopal This is St Andrews Cathedral, Church of Scotland, Anglican Communion. The first Presbyterian bishop to America was commissioned here. Thus, the ceiling to the left that I did not think to take a picture of has symbols for all the US states that were in existence at that time.

Madonna banner Note the Anglo-Catholic influence by the "Lady Chapel".

And they have wonderful pipe organs Organ This one is on the floor now. The balcony above the choir is still in existence but I guess the organ wanted to be closer to the people or something. I think this is a fairly ordinary pipe organ since there weren't any pamphlets about the builder and rebuilders around.

stained glass Am flag

and stained glass windows. Note the American flag in the center of the photo in memory of the American soldiers who died here in the UK during the World Wars.

 The Presbyterian Church intended to send money to build a bigger cathedral but that was in the 1920's and it ultimately 'fell through.' None the less, they were able to extend the church to the front and place a stone in the floor to commemorate the US-UK relations. Ambassador Kennedy  You might need to adjust your viewer to see the wording: Placed by Joseph Kennedy US Ambassador.

This church was on the way down to St Andrews, just a few blocks away.

John Knox church It didn't look like it was being used by a congregation though.

John Knox church nameNote the sign above the door. There was a cemetary behind this building that was open however. Interesting thought: the cemetary is open but the church is not?

Of course, a couple blocks away is an intersection on which three large churches are standing — and all three have been turned into nightclubs. So, now, anytime a church does remodeling they put out a sign in front: "We are not becoming a nightclub!" or art gallery or etc.

After visiting St Andrew church for their Sung Eucharist, I ate lunch with my supervisor who is a lay Dominican, the Uni Chaplain who is an Irish Dominican priest, and an Irish Opus Dei priest. As I said, Sundays are always interesting here.


Islands of Safety


It is still odd seeing traffic come at you from the wrong side. Sometimes one is sure that vehicles are doomed for a head-on since they are in the wrong lanes. The traffic roundabouts can be nice but for a pedestrian, you have to get far enough away from the circle that you can see which direction the ones in the circle are going to head off. If you step into the street will the next one round decide that since you are in the road, they will take that road too? Fortunately, there are islands of safety. Little traffic medians. Small concrete trapezoids with yellow pillars at both ends. Thus, one may cross the easy lane first and stand in this safe little place in the midst of the road and wait until one is Nearly Certain that all the traffic has left the circle and isn't headed in your direction.

Freshers Flu


I asked the secretary – the fount of all knowledge and wisdom here — about my cough. "Oh," she says, "You have Freshers Flu! It'll go away in about a week and everybody gets it. Since students come here from all over the world they bring their germs and pass them around the first week. Meanwhile, sign up at the Health Service so that if you get sick you can see a dr. No one gets to see a dr. no matter how sick one is, unless you have signed up with one first."  And she called, found out where the student health service is (they've moved it) and told me to go tomorrow to sign up — so that I won't get bronchitis! Because you know of course that if you sign up to see a dr. you won't need one.