Happy Summer Solstice!

“Bed In Summer”

-Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

 

In winter I get up at night 
And dress by yellow candle-light. 
In summer, quite the other way, 
I have to go to bed by day. 

I have to go to bed and see 
The birds still hopping on the tree, 
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet 
Still going past me in the street. 

And does it not seem hard to you, 
When all the sky is clear and blue, 
And I should like so much to play, 
To have to go to bed by day?

-from A Child’s Garden of Verses

Pilrig House

Hello, my friends. A very happy new year to you. I hope your 2019 has gotten off to a jolly good 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 that I feel that way about every place in Scotland! Haha, you know me too well, dear reader. And ’tis true, I suppose. But this place really does put a skip in my plaid heart.

Isn’t is lovely? This is Pilrig House, a historic Scottish townhouse located in Edinburgh, next to the burgh of Leith. It is theorized 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.

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Bass Rock

Hello, my friends.  How are you guys today?  I’ve missed you.  I have been away on holiday with Mr. C and his parents, off the grid and making memories.  But I’m back now, ready to catch up on all the things you’ve been up to and eager to share some of the best moments from our trip.  For today, though, I’d like to show you a tiny island located in the outer part of Scotland’s Firth of Forth, where the river meets the North Sea.  This island is called Bass Rock and it is a beast of a thing!

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Rising to a height of more than 300 feet, the rocky island is a steep-sided volcanic plug that dates to the Carboniferous Age – arising a whopping 300+ million years ago.  At a distance, the surface of the rock can appear white, almost as if covered in a dusting of snow.  This is because of the presence of the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets.  In fact, in the peak of their nesting season, it is estimated that more than 150,000 of these sea birds call Bass Rock home!

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“Autumn Fires”, by Robert Louis Stevenson

“Autumn Fires”

by Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

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A Christmas Prayer, by Robert Louis Stevenson

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To old friends, new friends, and friends I have yet to meet,

I want to sincerely thank you for welcoming me into your blogging community.  It has been great fun to write for you these last few months and you have been so encouraging with all of your likes and kind comments.  I have enjoyed interacting with you and look forward to getting to know you even better through your posts over this next year.

A few weeks ago I came across this Christmas prayer.  It is widely attributed to one of Scotland’s literary sons, Robert Louis Stevenson, although I am unable to find the source in which it was originally published.  Regardless, it is beautiful and it is my personal prayer for you this blessed season.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas,

Wendy

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A Brief History of the Bagpipe

Happy December, Friends!  Is it really just over three weeks until Christmas?  My goodness, where does the time go?  2018 is just a blink away.

I thought today it might be fun to do a little research on the history of the bagpipe.  Santa was more than happy to model his for you today!

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The bagpipe is quite unlike any other instrument in its ability to stir and penetrate so deeply into the soul.  When well-played, bagpipes can evoke a gamut of emotions:  joy, sadness, excitement, determination, and for me personally, a profound longing.  Even a homesickness of sorts.  It’s complicated.  It’s love.

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Deacon Brodie-The Real Jekyll and Hyde?

In the spirit of October and upcoming Halloween festivities, I thought it might be fun to do a few blogs this month that highlight some of the weird, dark, and spooky stories of Edinburgh’s past.  Edinburgh’s history is full of accounts of unsavory characters and macabre tales, each with the ability to intrigue and fascinate even the most incredulous among us.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to research and write about them for you.

To kick things off, I would like to introduce you to a man who was (or who was at least in part) the inspiration behind Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson’s famed 1886 novella,  The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

That man’s name was William Brodie.  Or as he is better known, Deacon Brodie.

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