Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Old and New

For this week’s challenge, Amy is looking for our photo interpretations of ‘old and new.’ I immediately thought about these photos that Mr. C and I took last year, of the Royal Air Force practicing touch-and-go maneuvers at RAF Lossiemouth, the military airfield located just four and a half miles from Duffus Castle. To see and hear the sleek, loud, fast jets flying past the 14-century castle ruin was quite an extraordinary sight!

Royal Air Force Lossiemouth is one of the largest and busiest military air stations in Scotland. The base is located in the northeast part of the country, on the western edge of the town of Lossiemouth, along the Moray Firth coast.

A RAF fighter jet flying past Duffus Castle.
A RAF fighter jet flying past Duffus Castle.
A RAF fighter jet flying past Duffus Castle.

St. Talorgan’s (a.k.a. Old Fordyce Church) – Fordyce, Scotland

Hey, friends! A few weeks ago, I wrote about Fordyce, Scotland, and the sixteenth-century fairy tale castle that graces the center of that charming village. Mr. C and I were so delighted to come across the castle on our visit and were equally thrilled when we saw St. Talorgan’s, the old medieval church ruins and cemetery right next door. Of course, we just had to wander over for a closer look.

Old Fordyce Church sign.
A stone wall and a celtic cross in front of Fordyce Castle.
Standing in the kirkyard looking toward Fordyce Castle.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Delicate Colours

I love this week’s Photo Challenge. Ann-Christine has asked for photos with delicate colors.

One of my favorite things about Scotland’s scenery is the way it looks in the ever-changing light. There is something so magical and lovely about it. Sometimes everything is bright, crisp, and clear. Often, it’s moody. And sometimes the light casts the land in perfect, soft, almost pastel hues.

Here are three selections I chose from my archives for today’s challenge.

The ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel in Edinburgh, Scotland.

After the rain: the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel, located in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.

A rugged coastal hill and the Stonehaven War Memorial in Scotland.

Stonehaven War Memorial as viewed from Dunnottar Castle near the town of Stonehaven.

A stone wall, green grass, and the Firth of Forth.

Looking at the Firth of Forth from inside the grounds at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh.

Have a great Sunday!

Canceled Plans

Sadness permeates my heart this morning as I sit in my den, sipping my coffee in the quiet and the dark. Mr. C and I were supposed to be on our way to Washington D.C. in a few hours where we were to have caught an evening flight to London and then another to Glasgow. This time tomorrow, we would have been in our little rental car, traveling north on the A9, our stomachs fluttering with the excitement and anticipation of arriving at Muckrach Castle, our very own Highland home-away-from-home for two full weeks.

Instead, like most of you, my day will be spent at my own home – just another day in the Great Pandemic of 2020.

We are extremely fortunate that we didn’t lose any money in this whole situation. Savills, the agent that represents the castle, was kind enough to let us push our reservation out a year. Our travel insurance company gave us a voucher, and after two calls and (only) about two and a half hours of phone time, I was able to secure a full refund from British Airways.

Still, here it is. Friday, May 15. The day I have looked forward to for a year. I can’t help it if I feel a bit melancholy.

So to console myself, I think that later today I will spend some time in my garden. Drink a little whisky. Maybe listen to some Celtic tunes. And dream of next spring, when I will once again be free to be back in the place that I love.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cropping the Shot

Hey guys! Happy Sunday to you.

For this week’s photo challenge, Patti asks us to show how we crop our shots to “improve an image and create a desired effect.” I like the quote she shared:

There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.

– Robert Heinecken

I’m sure most of us have a selection of photos that we are quite proud of – the ones that require little or no editing – taken in that moment of magic when every photographic element fell into place. But what about all the others? All the other crummy shots that we hardly look at twice. And let’s face it. If we’re honest, we all have loads of “the others” in our files.

Something that challenges me is to take a photo that isn’t good and try and improve it. Or to take a REALLY horrible picture and try to find something – anything – within it that is salvageable. For today’s exercise, I looked through my Scotland photo archives for just those sorts of shots. Here are my examples of “cropping the shot”.


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Fordyce, Scotland and Its Fairy Tale Castle

Hey, everyone. How are you today? I hope you all are staying well.

What sorts of things have been occupying your days? I have been teaching myself how to bake bread – along with the rest of the world, it seems -ha! I’m getting pretty good at it if I may say so myself!

Today, I’d like to give you a quick peek at Fordyce, Scotland, and the fairy tale castle that graces the center of the village. This utterly charming and (as locals would say) “chocolate box” town is located in Aberdeenshire, in the northeast section of the country, set among scenic rolling hills and only about a mile from the sea.

Google Maps image of Scotland.

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Culloden House and the Bonnie Prince Charlie Connection

Hello, friends! I hope you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy during this crazy pandemic. How is everyone weathering the quarantine? Has the place where you live begun to reopen?

Today I would like to show you Culloden House, a stately Georgian-style mansion set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Last year, Mr. C and I visited for afternoon tea, before exploring the house and grounds and then heading over to see nearby Clava Cairns.

Front view of Culloden House. Green Virginia Creeper growing all over the  front of the mansion.

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Day 30: Words of Encouragement

And last but not least…

One of my favorites.

Friends, thank you for tagging along with me these last thirty days as I diverged from my regular blogging routine in an attempt to provide a little hope and inspiration. I hope I wasn’t too cheesy. Eh, who the hell cares even if I was.

When I began these “encouragement” posts thirty days ago – on March 20 – there were (according to WHO) 266,097 cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 11,000 deaths. Italy’s death toll alone had topped 4,000, and Spain was close to surpassing the number of deaths in China. Numbers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Iran, and Turkey were all beginning to climb rapidly. Fires were being lit all over the world.

Here in the U.S., the virus had already spread to each of the fifty states and 255 people had died. President Trump had declared a national emergency, and California became the first state to set mandatory stay-at-home restrictions. March 20 was also the day that New York City was deemed the United States outbreak epicenter.

Today, just one month later, the worldwide Coronavirus total stands at 2,160,207, and the number of deaths is at 146,088. In the U.S., there are currently 665,330 cases and 30,384 deaths. Ghastly, horrific numbers.

The fire continues to rage. However, there does seem to be a glimmer of hope now that many nations may have reached their peak. God willing, we will start to see a significant decline in numbers of new cases and deaths in the days and weeks to come.

Now that I have reached the end of these thirty days, I feel that I’m ready to get back to normal blogging. It’s time to live in the happy and not constantly dwell on the sad. We may not be able to travel right now (sob), but we can still see and share the world together through our computer screens. I think that’s an amazing thing.

I will continue to pray for those afflicted and their families. I will pray that you stay safe too.

Love y’all. x