Hi friends. I have a case of the glooomies. I can think of no other reason except that it’s the end of February, which here in Virginia feels like the purgatory of months. It may be the shortest month, but somehow it feels like the longest! Hurry up, spring!
Today we’re going to take a look at one of Edinburgh’s most iconic structures – the Scott Monument. Read more →
O were my love yon Lilac fair, Wi’ purple blossoms to the Spring, And I, a bird to shelter there, When wearied on my little wing! How I wad mourn when it was torn By Autumn wild, and Winter rude! But I wad sing on wanton wing, When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d.
O gin my love were yon red rose, That grows upon the castle wa’; And I myself a drap o’ dew, Into her bonie breast to fa’! O there, beyond expression blest, I’d feast on beauty a’ the night; Seal’d on her silk-saft faulds to rest, Till fley’d awa by Phoebus’ light!
Every year on January 25, Scots (and those who have plaid hearts), come together to celebrate the life and literary works of Scotland’s beloved poet, Robert Burns. Burns Night is a night for making merry. Though celebrations vary among its participants, generally it’s a night to gather with family and friends to eat traditional Scottish fare, to be entertained by all things Burns, and of course, to drink whisky! At more formal occasions, the evening commences with the joining of hands as everyone sings ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ Mr. C and I celebrate our own version of Burns Night, but to celebrate this event IN Scotland is one of my bucket list dreams.
The traditional fare on Burns Night is usually some sort of soup (such as cock-a-leekie), haggis, neeps, tatties, and something sweet (like cranachan or clootie dumpling). Today, I would like to share with you my recipe for cock-a-leekie soup. I know it sounds funny, but it’s just chicken soup with leeks. The addition of allspice really takes the taste up a notch. Enjoy it on Burns Night or any other occasion. It’s utterly delicious!
Hello, my friends. A very happy new year to you. I hope your 2019 has gotten off to a great start!
Today I would like to take you to a place in Scotland that is extra special to me. I know, I know…you think I always say that. Haha, you know me too well, dear reader. And it’s true, I suppose. But this place really does put a skip in my plaid heart.
Isn’t it lovely? This is Pilrig House, a historic Scottish townhouse located in Edinburgh, next to the burgh of Leith. It is believed that the name ‘Pilrig’ may have derived from the former ‘Peilrig’ and ‘Pellryge’ (rig=ridge), where a peel tower stood in the 15thcentury. According to pilrighouse.com, “stonework in the basement walls suggests the remains of a peel tower”. For a newby history geek like me, that is fascinating.
In typical fashion, Mr. C and I were late to the game. A few weeks ago, on a lazy vacation day in Kentucky, we discovered the comedy series “Parks and Recreation” produced by and starring Amy Poehler. Never mind that the show ended like three and a half years ago, but hey. We’re not big television watchers, and it takes a lot in a show to impress me and hold my attention, but boy, when I find a show that does both, I’m ALL in. Smart, witty, hilarious, and occasionally quite poignant and touching, I think “Parks and Rec” knocked it out of said park.
The show’s characters are an extremely eclectic bunch, and I get such a kick out of them all! But it’s Ron Swanson – that deadpan, highly private, masculine, meat-eating, whisky-loving, mustache of a man who I adore the most.
“Mary, Queen of Scots entered the room where she would be executed. She told her friends and servants to ‘rejoice rather than weep for that the end of Mary Stuart’s troubles is now come … tell my friends that I die a true woman to my religion, and like a true Scottish woman and a true French woman.’
Mary was disrobed; her black garments were removed, revealing an outfit of deep red – the Catholic colour of martyrdom. She knelt down on a cushion, resting her head on the block, before stretching out her arms and crying in Latin “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” The axe came down, but landed on the back of her head rather than her neck. A second blow cut into her neck but a third was required to sever the head completely.
When the executioner lifted Mary’s head it tumbled onto the stage, leaving him holding her wig. Her hair was short and completely grey due to years of stress as a prisoner. A final surprise was waiting for the executioner – Mary’s little Skye terrier had been hiding under her skirts, soaked in blood.” –Laura Brown, Historic Environment Scotland
Hello again, friends. I hope this day finds you well. Today we are going to pick up where we left off in my previous post about the life of Mary Queen of Scots.
Greetings, everyone! Today, my blog topic is by special request from my friend and faithful reader, Paige. About to embark on a honeymoon trip to Scotland (fab decision), she asked if I would mind writing an article on the fascinating and controversial Mary Queen of Scots. My friend has a similar interest in history, so I am thrilled to oblige. Paige, dear, this one’s for you.
If there is one takeaway from my research on Mary Queen of Scots, it is that the relationship between Scotland and England is a complicated one. Always has been. May always be.
The story of Mary is also complicated. As with any events that took place half a millennia ago, sometimes that which separates fact from fiction is not crystal clear. I imagine there will always be scholarly debate and political and religious bias that informs individual opinions. Still, I think most people would agree upon the major points of Mary’s life. As for the finer, cloudier points, well, they are fodder for the imagination. With that said, let’s dig in.
Welcome back! Today I would like to pick up where I left off in my previous post about Scottish poet Robert Burns and the annual Burns Night celebration. I promised you I would go a little deeper into the life of the man who penned “Auld Lang Syne” and who, some 222 years later, is regarded as the national poet of Scotland. So let’s dig in!
Ol’ Rabbie was a handsome chap, eh?
The eldest of seven children, Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759, in a small town in Ayrshire, Scotland. His father, William Burnes (the family later dropped the ‘e’), and mother, Agnes Brown, were poor tenant farmers. Because of the family’s impoverished situation, young Robert spent his formative years engaged in hard, manual labor on the family farm. This facet of his life would shape his world view and inform his writing throughout the years.