I went with a friend and her 4 young children to Stirling Castle this past week. This castle was huge compared to some of the others we have gone to. The castle had so much history. We have noticed that Mary, Queen of Scots is a huge figure as well as a controversial figure in the history of Scotland. She became the Queen when she was only 6 days old when her father died. She had 2 older brothers but they had both died before she was born. The guide told us that she was officially made queen there at the castle when she was 9 months old. Mary was a die hard Catholic and this caused lots of issues for her back at this time in the 1500’s.
She ended up leaving Scotland for England to try to protect herself. Her cousin was the queen of England, Queen Elizabeth 1, and Mary thought there would be some comraderie between them as family members and both being royalty. However, Queen Elizabeth did not trust her and imprisoned her in castles in England. There were plots to kill Elizabeth by the Catholics but they could never prove that Mary was part of it and so Elizabeth was hesitant to act against her cousin. But, Elizabeth’s spy master eventually found out that Mary had been corresponding with a man that was trying to kill Elizabeth. The spy master convinced Elizabeth that she would never be safe as long as her cousin was alive. Queen Elizabeth 1 had Queen Mary executed at the age of 44.
Mary’s father, James V, was politically astute. He also wanted to show his wealth. He had 250 different sized and shapes of statues on the front of the castle. They have been worn down by time and weather, but they showed a short film on what it probably looked like. He liked bright colors which back then would have cost a lot of money to have so much of the castle painted inside and outside.
They also had a tapestry room where there were 3 ladies working who were professionals. They were working on the final tapestry of the 6-7 they had done to put in the castle. They had researched and found what they think would have been in the castle. This art is dying but there is a school in England that still teaches it. The workers can do on average about 1 square inch a day! The colors were beautiful and the results amazing. We ended up going back to the queen’s rooms to look at the tapestries they had finished and hung up.
Guess what?! Another castle! You may be glad to know that many of these castles close down for the winter at the end of October so we’ll have to find other places to visit while we are here.
Kent and I went last weekend to Kellie Castle. We bought a yearly pass that gets you in to select places so this castle was only about 20 miles from our house. It was smaller than the others we have been to. They said it started with two of the towers being built opposite of each other. One tower for her and one tower for him. Then they started building everything in between. Another reason the husband built the tower for her was to actually take care of her if he died. Typically, if the husband died he left the castle to his son. So to make sure the wife didn’t get kicked out with no where to go, he built the tower for her to live in.
After we left there we decided to go see another coastal town we had heard about. It is Anstruther and is bigger than the first one we went to, Crail. It has a few more shops and “chippy’s” (fish and chips restaurants).
A few more words….telly is television, chap or mate is friend, ripping “ripping good time”, loon is a young boy, cracking “We’re studying John 3, a cracking passage,
> so hopefully it will be good fun!” (This was part of an email from the pastor.) rubbish is trash. I told Kent we use good and great so much that it’s nice to hear delightful, brilliant, and lovely.
I forgot to include in the post that our lady friend that invited us to lunch gave us some good cultural advice. She said they had had several American friends before and she noticed that normally when we (Americans) leave someone’s home we just get in the car and leave. They thought that was unusual. She said they prefer to stay in the driveway and wave to you as you leave and that when we are in the car we should roll down the windows and wave back. I guess they’re more proper. (another word they use a lot).
Until next time….
As many times as I have moved you would think that I would have it down. I must be one very impatient person because each time I move I’m ready to get on with it. I want to already have friends and a life like I am used to. I have to admit I have been discouraged lately. I asked the Lord the other day if He would let us go back home, and if not, would He encourage me? So, of course, He did. I got a call to go visit another castle (which pictures are coming soon) with a friend, and I got invited to a bible study. My mom bought me a little painted tile when we had first moved to Texas that said “Bloom where you are planted”. I need to remember that. I feel like the Israelites when they were in the desert begging to return to Egypt even though they had been slaves there and God’s will was for them to be free. I want to be obedient and not romanticize the past more than I enjoy the present.
Another thing I saw this week is this.
This was actually a double rainbow, and we see these quite often. We were trying to come up with a number since we’ve been here but couldn’t be accurate so we decided to start counting fresh this week. Already 3! No matter how many times you see a rainbow you still love it!
We also got a visit from some neat new friends. We met Robert and Joan in Santiago when we were there. They were missionaries in South America for 48 years! They are from the UK so they have returned and live very close to us. They are still very active and are continually on the go. Their son was visiting from the US and they stopped by the other day to see how we were doing.
We were also invited to lunch at a lady from our church’s house. She is a widow and is new to the church like us. She has several grown children and 2 of her sons are there with her. Her oldest son (below) is an ornithologist (spelling?) which my Dad will be glad to meet since he loves birds and carries around his bird book with him! We really enjoyed having a delicious leek and potato soup, salad, bread, fresh raspberry yogurt-delicious!
Lastly, we made the boys go to youth group even though the kids are younger than them. I went with them and we had a good time. Here are some pictures playing crab football. It’s a small group, but the kids are nice and well behaved.
So, reading this post, it seems like things are going better than I see them……
Last weekend we decided to go to Glamis Castle. The way they pronounce it is “Glamz” Castle. I said “Glam-is” and the tour guide told me the way they said it was without the i. This castle had an amazing driveway on to the property. The driveway was long and the castle stood tall at the end of it. This has been the biggest castle we’ve visited so far.
This picture was taken closer in to the castle so I could a “decent” picture from inside the car with my iphone. The driveway was a lot longer than this picture shows.
The interesting reason we went to see this castle is because it was the home of the Queen Mother. For those of you non-royal types, the Queen Mother is now deceased but was the mother of the queen now-Queen Elizabeth. This home was enormous. The funny thing is that some of the rooms are large with high ceilings. The dining room for instance had a table that could seat 36 comfortably. But, on the other hand, the Queen Mother’s bedroom and sitting room were more normal sized. They didn’t allow any photographs inside but here are a few from the outside.
Not sure where we’re going this weekend. Most of the castles close at the end of October for the winter so we don’t have much more time to go.
Tonight I thought I would just put a few things from my pictures on my phone. The Sunday after we went to Falkland Castle a family from church invited us to lunch. They are from Tennessee and have 4 kids. She is a family doctor and he is beginning his studies for the PhD in history. They have been here for a year longer than us. She actually was born here in Dundee which is just a few miles from our house. So, even though she grew up in the US (her Dad is American) she has relatives here. She has been very helpful to me. They also invited another man to eat as well. He is French and the boys enjoyed listening to him talk. He has an Oxford PhD in law and is a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. He actually became a Christian during his PhD studies and he has a neat story about that.
The boys have gradually taken up golf. We live on a golf course and there is a driving range at the end of the neighborhood. We found a used set of golf clubs so they have been walking down there to practice. Kent is going to take them to actually play soon. They really push golf here for kids and offer free golf lessons to St. Andrew school students and a discount to play on the courses. Here is Timothy at the range.
When we were at Matt and Ashley’s house for lunch they introduced us to our new favorite drink. It’s much cheaper than diet coke which is too high. It’s called Ribena or squash. It’s a concentrated juice (w/o sugar) that you add regular or carbonated water to. I’m drinking a lot of it. The carbonated water is cheaper here. I can get a liter bottle for 17 pence which is about 30 cents.
I am trying to keep up with the new words I hear. Hob is the stove. Lorry is a big truck. Pudding is any type of dessert. Biscuits are cookies. They are big on tea here. They drink coffee but mostly espresso and I can’t find any flavored creamers! I’m making my own which is not the same. I haven’t seen one Keurig anywhere.
Andrew has been to school twice for an hour each day. He has really liked it and I have too. The teacher has been very helpful and we finally figured out the process. The resource teacher has to get an OK from this government committee to assess Andrew. Then after the assessment Andrew has to be approved to receive these special services at the school. If he is approved then he will mainly be in one classroom and then be included in some other classes like computer, PE, etc. If he doesn’t get approved we will have to figure out what classes he can be in with some help. We also have gone to the doctor to find out about the ADHD medicine. We are in the NHS (national health care) and the doctor said she had to send a letter to the government committee for getting that medicine. The principal told me today he heard that it is a 6 month waiting list to get that taken care of! Is this what we have coming at home?
Write again soon……………
Well, I am so behind in my blogging. I dropped my computer last week and had to take it in to the computer store to have the screen fixed. It was quick and got fixed in a day. Later that night I started working on my pictures and something was very wrong with this machine. So, back into the store for a new hard drive. So, including the new keyboard I had to get because Fader our parrot picked most of the keys off, I probably should have just bought a new computer.
The weekend before last we went to Falkland Castle. It was in a little quaint town and was open to the public. It actually has a family living there which we are finding isn’t that unusual. The castle had beautiful gardens attached to it and the oldest tennis court in the UK.
The pictures above are some homes in the little town and the church. The flowers are still really pretty in the gardens.
The next pictures are the castle. I really didn’t get very good pictures of it. These homes are so big that I can’t do a great job with my iphone camera. This home had been badly burned and a very rich man came in and restored the castle. It was a place Mary, Queen of Scots, came and enjoyed visiting. She is a legendary figure here.
The tennis courts were not at all what I thought they would look like. It was one court and very small.
Before we left we walked through the gardens. It’s so amazing thinking about how the people lived and took care of these places. I guess they had many servants. It also reminds me of Downton Abbey which we are hoping to go to before we leave.
I have lots more to write so check back soon. School update- We decided to start home-schooling Timothy because the school was taking so long and he had to get started. They emailed last week and Andrew is going for 3 one hour sessions this week for them to assess him. Then they go on a 2 week fall break. I have had him doing a modified home school schedule with reading, math, writing, etc. so his brain can start working. I am disappointed because I wanted Timothy to meet the kids here and now it will be harder, but I had to start. If not, he would have started in November and that would not have been good.
We are all adjusting but it still doesn’t feel like home. Guess that takes a while. We are meeting a lot of neat people though. Hope you all are doing well!