Monthly Archives: July 2008

dawn comes early here

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I thought one day that I should stay up to see it get dark around here in Aberdeen Scotland. at 57 degrees North. It is only warm enough to live here because of the Gulf Stream Current. But I gave up and went to bed before it got dark. The next night I took pictures out my east and west windows at 10 pm.

ten oclock east ten oclock west

And then again at 11 pm.

eleven oclock east 

and midnight. The bright spot is the street light.

midnite    midnite

I didn't take pictures when I woke up in the a.m. — often around 5 a.m. when the sun has been up for goodness knows how long and it is blaring in my front window. In fact, if I want to sit on my sofa and read or work, I have to close the blinds. At 5 and 6 a.m.!!

So, the conclusion is, it isn't very dark here during the summer. Someone at the cartie races relayed a story about one of the teams taking their mountain bikes up on one of the Munroes and riding down the mountain road at night without lights. They got up to 50 mph. Coasting down the road. And I was thinking, In the dark? without lights? down a mountain road? Oh, yes. Scotland. Where the sky is deep blue at midnight.

the queen's chickens

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It was a lovely day in Scotland. The sun was shining; the sky was BLUE. I've never seen sky so blue anywhere else in the world – and I've been soooo many places, ya know. Just one day after the joy of the Cartie Race festival, another friend took me out to Balmoral Castle, the royal residence in Scotland. castle sign

 

 

 

You can find out anything you want to know about it here.  I Balmoral Castlewill show you pictures of the things I found interesting!

 

 

 

 

It was a lovely day. Did I say that before? It is always worth celebrating a lovely sunny day in Scotland! We drove along the river Dee and stopped in a little town to walk the dog and have tea. black ewe tea shop jodie, elspeth

 

 

 

One must be fortified with tea and scones to go for a walk along the Dee.river dee  river dee

It was a lovely day. So, we actually never went inside the castle. We walked around the grounds, through the gardens and the compost heaps and the pony stalls. We talked to the chickens. There were different varieties. Some of them were probably Rhode Island Reds. I guess they aren't native Scots chickens.

chicken waterer   hen  rooster

 

henhouse  rooster

The growing season tends to be rather short here, as you can see from the gardegreenhousen. The only way anyone can grow tomatoes or peppers is by putting up a greenhouse.

Here, the gardeners actually start their runner beans in cold frames.

beans in coldframes  netted brassicas 

And have plenty of fences around – at least for keeping the cold wind down a little.fences

Well, Scotland is rather far north 57 degrees — close enough to the arctic circle to have a very short night. I'll show you pictures in another blog later on. Here are some other things they did with their vegs:

veggies  veggies

We saw the ponds. duck pond snake bench

I sat on a bench that the queens have surely sat on!

 and saw lovely rhodendrons madly blooming in June.

rhodies

 Then we had a lovely picnic at the side of the Dee, with the river gurgling along and Jodie  attempting to beg food from me, thinking I'd be an easier mark than her vet mom. [Wrong.]

picnic  picnic

We visited the Queen's Kirk across the street where I bought a tea towel. Every big cathedral and little kirk ha
s a little shop with their own tea towels.

braemor kirk  kirk sign  craithie kirk

And visited another little Deeside town where we wandered through the heritage and tourist trap souvenir stores. And then had a scrumptious tea a the hotel. At which time it decided to rain. So, we went home. Rested and happy.

 

Cartie Races

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I did make it to the Catterline Cartie Challenge 2008. It was great fun. The weather was amazingly cooperative: I shed my raincoat and one sweater. The locals explained to me that it was definitely summer. They were down wearing to one polar fleece which is the sure sign of summer! And, although it kept looking like it was going to pour rain any moment, the clouds kept going out to sea and sun kept coming through. People were asking for sunscreen. Not even the GP had it in her pack! My face got a little pink so now I'm tanned enough to not get sunburned as soon as I step off the plane at home.

 Here you can see the Cove that has a cliff road that is the site of the racescatterline cove.cartie road Great fun.

 

 

 

 Click to biggify and actually see the course. Oh, and please note the changing sky in every picture!

seal rock

There is a rock off to the south where seals gather to sun themselves. It is creatively named "Seal Rock."

Someone couldn't resist correcting the road sign. It made the t-shirts, too. 

100 grade    grade tshirts

Here you can see up towards the beginning of the course. There are a couple curves before one gets this far. We stode at the curve that held the tent for the announcer, the dj, and the timer. There were a lot of tires and straw bales to protect participants and spectators.up road   bales and tires

 kirk   There were plenty of creative carties and prizes for st marys kirkthe best. St. Mary's Church got the first place for creativity, I think. These pictures are from returning the carties to the starting line to take the second and third runs down.

 That also explains the very young ages of some of the apparent drivers. The actual downhill drivers had to be 16 yrs or older. And some spectators were chomping at the bit to get their carties in next year.

 

stage coach

The Knitting Club won a prize for their covered wagon even though they tumbled at the big curve. They even had a horse in front! The theme of the weekend was The Wild West, so there was another stage coach as well. stage coach

 

 

Some of the carties were just plain serious business and no fluffy frills.

no frills cartie

   carties  halls  red carti Every cartie team chose a theme song which the DJ played as they raced down the course. That was seriously good fun and added to the festival atmosphere.

 Anything more you want to see can be found at the official website. Maybe they even have the Cartie Challenge Song. Every year the local poet  immortalizes another one of the contestants by adding a verse about some spectacular feat worthy of memory. This is how folk songs are born, legends created, communities fortified, embarrassments celebrated. So, my question now is, does the Creston Booster Club have a song? Or even an official poet laureate? Do their garden tractor pulls rate legendary status?