Monthly Archives: June 2007

wind carties


one blowcartie

In Scotland these are called blow carties. You take them to the beach and sail along the sand in little three wheeled carts with a sail on it. I've seen boys doing this on the dunes at Aberdeen beach, too. But these were 'dedult' toys here.

blowcartieMy friend has a friend who brought them up for the ladies to play with. I watched. And knit. And rested my feet.

 The ladies were having a great time. I enjoyed watching them having a great time. I can't think of anything more stressful that running around on a beach trying to keep a sail going the right way. And I was on holiday. That means, No Stress.




It was a gorgeous day, though. Back home, the beaches would've been packed with bodies and blankets lying in the sun. So I commented how unusual it was to see an empty beach. Which my friends thought was a very odd comment. Why would the beaches be crowded? Well, of course, it wasn't warm enough to lay out on blankets on the beach.

And probably never is. instructions







Bad news, Tina. You remember how nice your sweater looked?

Athena's sweater againWell, I added sleeves. which was the right thing to do. You wanted sleeves.At least that was my assumption.


So, I tried the sweater on AND realized that the sleeves were too bulky at the shoulders. So, here's the question: Do I wait until Tina tries it on and asks — or tries very hard NOT to ask — if that is something I could fix? with sleeves

Now, I have sweaters that bulky at the armholes. That's the glory of norwegian sweaters. They fit over everything. Well, and it is also the oversized quality of sweaters in the eighties. Or was it the nineties. I don't remember. But it isn't the eighties. It isn't the nineties. And it isn't for me. So! The next thing to do is . . .  frog-it. rippit. rippit. rippit.

one sleeveLooks very sad doesn't she. Oh, well. In other circles it is called Unknitting. I've got another 4" reknit and she is coming along quite well. You'll be happy. I'll be happy. She'll be done for your birthday.

Old Stones


 The Scot asked me what I wanted to see when we went on holiday and I mentioned I'd like to see the old stones and ruins. So, we looked up the pictish stone routes and hunted a few of them down. Since they happen to be quite prolific in the NE of Scotland, the big ones were easy to find. And many of them are found in old kirkyards.

Dyce Kirk Dyce sign

Dyce Stone2 Dyce stone 1

You should be able to see the inscriptions if you biggy size them.


  The Brandsbutt stones are in the middle of a housing development now. Originally, of course, a farmers field.

 brandsbutt stoneSomeone broke this stone up and put it in a stone wall once upon a time. Archeologists had to put it back together again.

stone circleAnd way in the back you can see the few stones left of the old stone circle.

  field stone

This stone circle is still in the middle of a field. Deceptively like a field in PA. We'll have to do something about the lack of stone circles though.


maiden stone signHere we have the very famous Maiden Stone, on the side of the road. Legend says a young woman was running away from the devil when she looked back. You can see where his claw grabbed her by the shoulder, too.


maiden stone 

It wasn't enough, though, to have an ancient stone beside the road. Someone decided to place a new icon on their property on the other side of the road. But, apparently too many people started trampling on the field to view the modern maiden so they fenced it off.modern maiden



But it looks like the Rescuers made a trip to visit her too!

maiden boat

This is the also famous Sueno Stone. It was weathering too quickly so now it has its own glass house!

sueno stone sueno sign

Here's another elgin stonestone in the middle of Elgin Cathedral. As you might notice, there is not a lot left of the Cathedral.

Inside Elgin Cathedral looking at the front door from the altar.

elgin cathedral It got burned down once too oft
en. And then, what with the Reformation. . . You can't just let good stone go to waste. Houses and barns need building!

It is still very impressive and there were actors practicing for a show in a few weeks. They're putting on MacBeth in the roofless cathedral. THAT would be quite brilliant, I'm sure.

celtic crossAnd here's the other side with a celtic cross. That places it about the ninth century or somewhere thereabouts.

bishop elspeth

And here we see the bishops. Impressive, eh?


picnics in Scotland


It is June. Therefore, it must be summer. Summer has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with the calendar. But, picnics are still eaten. Especially if one is holidaying with walkers and cyclists. Which I was. My friend didn't happen to mention that beforehand. She DID say that she would use me as an excuse to not be as active as her former college roommates tend to be. They've been having holidays together for the last 5 years. Usually they go biking or on a walking tour. It's a really big thing to do walking tours over here. You can buy whole books full of walking or cycling trails. You can walk along the whole coast of Scotland. You can walk from sea to sea! It only takes nine days. The whole coast takes a wee bit longer. Nevertheless, we were staying in a cottage with a view of the Firth. straight down         cliff view

Here's the view from the top of the cliff. Below is the cottage.

firth view        cottage

The others would go for a walk to scope out the next restaurant or the next cycle. My friend drove me around since I can't do long walks. And she slept in the car 🙂 while I did the touristy things that non-natives do. First year of undergrad is really stressful as I know so well. However, I did go on a couple walks with the women. And, we took our own lunches. And walked to the top of a cliff. We walked to the picnic clifftop of this cliff and ate up there. I didn't go anywhere near the edge. In case anyone was silly enough to wonder!picnic

You can see how warm it is – only one has shorts and she still kept her polar fleece on. The rest of us kept our jackets and long jeans on.

That was Monday. On Wednesday we ate here:

dunes picnic

The sky was a wee bit bluer and the sun a wee bit more friendly. On the other side of the dunes, a wee manny was sunbathing in the warmth. Mind you, wee manny doesn't mean little kid. He was there with his wife and dog and minus his t-shirt. One can't get too close to nature out there. I doubt he got sunburned either.

beach walkWe walked along the beach for about a mile til we got to a labyrinth and then we walked over the dunes to a warm spot. The skies were not so promising on the walk down but they cleared up during the picnic.

labyrinthI learned that the shortest distance between point A and point B is not a straight line. That a labyrinth is not a game to see who gets to the middle first. (well, I knew that; others didn't) No pushing, no shoving. And if you pick something up on your way, you have to deposit it in the middle. No taking it back out with you. And no picking up another one after you finish. Profound thoughts on labyrinths.

Another view of the picnic.view from the dune Did you know that they use heather to hold the sand in place?





 What will they think of next?

eating with the natives


haggisYumm! HAGGIS! with chumpered tatties and bashed neeps. The neeps are yellow turnips. They were good as were the mashed potatoes. AND the haggis was lovely, too. The wee bit of haggis in the bottom left was vegan haggis. The regular was spicier but we all tried the vegan anyway. It made for interesting dining experiences to eat with a vegan. The whole meal was made by a dairy farm wife. She made soup one night too which was just as good.

indian tea on patio This was Tea on Wed eve. My last meal. Our patio faced the Firth so it was just warm enough to sit outside and eat that night. We had Indian food from Bucky – the next town over. I assume the owner was Indian but everyone was finding it highly entertaining to think we had bought an Indian curry from a Scot in Bucky. The curries on our side of the table were rather hot. Since the farm wife sitting next to me had never had Indian before, I think they thought we were just being wimpy…. until the Irish gentleman took a bite and got knocked back a bit. Since he's in The Oil (business) he travels a lot and eats just about anything. I'm just saying.

I'm afraid I neglected to take pictures of every tea we had. Let's see, there was the Tea at Spey Bay that had lots of books and pictures of dolphins. I had hot chocolate and a piece of cake that was just scrummy. Sponge cake layers with jam and cream and a cherry on top. And the Tea in Elgin. We had errands to do at the Big Town Nearby, so we went to Elgin. I had a toasted tea cake which was quite lovely, too. It wasn't a cake, though. It was a nice biscuit (as in American style biscuit) with currants in it, split and toasted. With jam.

 And then had to disperse to find the proper shops. We asked the waitress the directions to the optician, the camera shop, the health food store, the food store, the yarn shop, etc. So, she was very nice and gave us directions to all the places. Then she says, you aren't coming back before 4:00, are you? (It was 3:30.) Well, we didn't intend to, why? Because I get off at 4! 🙂

traveling socks


The sock is back home. But here is where it has been.

traveling sock portknockie 10 pm, outside on our patio in Portknockie, if you look carefully you can see a line of light at the horizon between ocean/firth and cloudy sky. Riight.

The sock also watched the blow carties playing on the beach at Findhorn Bay.blowcarties They are little three wheeled frames with sails on them.

And someone conveniently caught the sock in action. Yes, it is cold; yes, I am dressed warm enough – note, I am not wearing gloves and I had them along. I did think though that I should have brought the half mitts as I would have worn them had I brought them along.


And here we have souvenir socks from Elgin. Lovely sunset colors from the far north. We I did see sunset colors one evening.elgin socks

and here's the traveling sock home again. Yes, that is my fireplace.home again sockoh, ok. It isn't really on – it just makes a really life-like coal fire but it does put out heat too when the heater is turned on.