Flag Waving, Chanting, and Honking!

The air in Old Town Edinburgh is electric this afternoon and evening. Holyrood Park is decorated with HUGE banners – one a big white ‘YES’ and just around the bend, a massive Union Jack flag. The park next to the Parliament Building is packed with vans topped with satellite dishes and all sorts of press packing cameras and microphones, interviewing person after person! As Dallas and I walked down the hill towards Holyrood, we met fit young men sporting Scottish kilts and tight-fitting shirts with “YES’ emblazoned on the front, all wrapped in the Scottish Saltire Flag.

Today was spent touring the National Museum of Scotland. While we only perused the Scottish end of the museum, it still took about 2 1/2 hours! To view it all would definitely take all day. This is a great venue and it’s FREE admission. Most spectacular were the views from the rooftop level. Incredibly, we just happened to be on the roof, just as the sun TRIED to burn through the clouds. Before we descended, the sun had given up – however, the views and skies in Edinburgh somehow always seem to photograph well.

We crossed the road to tour Greyfriar’s Kirk , passing the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby, and while the church itself has had many changes, including several very recently, the history of the location is fascinating. I asked one of the attendants about finding a specific gravestone and while she could show me in a book that the fellow I was searching was buried there, there is little to no chance that the stone still exists, so Nathan took a photo of the page in the book.  And there it is, the listing of interment of my 8th great-grandfather, Sir John Falconer, Master of the Scottish Mint under Charles I.  However, it seems that he may have signed a contract with the Covenanters and was minting coins for them for 22 months as they sought to overthrow the king.  Apparently, auditors were assigned and audits made, but apart from 1632-33, no audits for the 17th century have been published.

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On this small plot of real estate, there are at least 75000 people buried. Through the years, stones have been broken or thrown away, some are buried, some graves experience total upheaval when an old tree falls over. In those cases, the curator discretely reburies the bones and finds someplace to stash the stones which is why some of the headstones are placed in a wall or other locations.

After supper cooked in, we were relaxing and planning the next day’s activities, when about 8:30 a loud ruckus chanted its way down the Royal Mile.  Nathan joked, ‘they must be having a riot.’  ‘Oh my goodness!  you are right!’  and with that, i threw on my shoes, grabbed my camera and room keys and dashed out the door.  The boys could not keep up.   As the parade waved the Scottish Saltire and  the Lion Rampant – Royal Flag,  horns honking, and people chanting “Scotland Says Yes!  Scotland Says Yes!”  exchanged for “Power to the People!  Power to the People!”   After having followed them to Holyrood and watched as another parade of demonstrators joined them at the front of the Parliament Building, I decided to rejoin the boys back in the apartment, though now I was nearly a mile away and uphill this time!  No worries, what an exciting evening!

Streets were packed with onlookers and supporters ignited by the anticipation of a possible change in sovereignty, choosing whether or not to throw off the 307 years of British rule.    The polls still show a 50/50 divide between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes.

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Edinburgh March 030

Slow Start Ending with Sunshine

Once we dragged our lazy hineys out of bed about 11 am, Dallas and Nathan prepared a delicious breakfast of eggs from free range Scottish hens, sliced baguette, oat biscuit, toasted haggis, and tea.

Eggs, Haggis, Toast, Biscuit

We started the day with a jaunt to Waverly Railway station to enquire about a rail and sail ticket from Edinburgh to Lerwick, Shetland.  Although, she was unable to book that route (apparently it’s new, the agent didn’t know about it), her advice helped us come back to our rooms and map out more of our trip.  Since learning from Allen’s cousin that some of my husband’s family  (6th great grandfather) lived in or around Thurso, we are trying to incorporate that into our plans.  SInce a lot of the travel will require the use of the Northlink Ferries – it will depend a lot on the weather.

Quickly,  I booked cheaper online tickets to Edinburgh Dungeon to catch the last tour of the day and we quickly descended the steep steps through  Warriston’s Close– a short cut from the Royal Mile to the show.  Unfortunately, the dungeon tour was disappointing and a waste of funds.

When we stepped out of the dungeon the sun was shining and the sky a patchy blue!  Hooray.  Perfect weather.  We had more daylight, so we found the National Museum of Scotland and Greyfriar’s Kirkyard.  Not surprisingly, both were closed, although the Kirkyard was open to strolling about.  We’ll go back tomorrow.

On the way back, we enjoyed street performances and took more photos.  Nathan returned to the room to start supper from our leftovers whilst Dallas and I went to the grocer for more food.  With deepening shadows and a bit of nip in the air, the streets grew quieter as locals and tourists alike began to either go home or gather in the many cafes and pubs lining the Royal Mile and side streets of Old Town.

Enduring Edinburgh!

At last the day arrived for our flight to Scotland.  We deliberately scheduled our stay to include being in Edinburgh for the big vote!  On September 18,  citizens of Scotland will vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a referendum that will give them the opportunity to become independent from England.

Edinburgh has endured through the ages, with archaeologists really not able to establish the exact date of the famous castle of the same name which serves as the anchor for the town.  Some references to the castle exist from 600 AD.  However, it is certain that the castle became a royal principality under King Malcom III with his youngest son having died here in 1107 AD.  Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since 1437,  but under English rule since 1707.

Allen drove us to the Kansas City airport for our first and uneventful flight to Chicago, however, mechanical failures on our trans-Atlantic 757, caused 2 hours of delay as the plane sat at the gate with every seat booked.  Once underway, however, the flight was excellent.  Thankfully, I slept a good deal of the way, but the boys stayed awake watching movies until our break through the clouds to a dark and misty Edinburgh – the weatherman describes it as ‘murky.’

Since we had no checked luggage and most of the passengers were locals, we proceeded quickly through customs due to a short line and the late arrival.  After exchanging a few dollars into pounds, we found a call booth to ring Dave Stewart, our ‘meet and greet’ guy for the apartment.  What a treat to discover that he arranged for us to check in 2 1/2 hours earlier than the 2pm standard checkin time!

Both boys took long naps, then whilst Nathan continued sleeping, Dallas and I found a grocery store only seven minutes walk away.  After a snack of Scottish-made butter, cheese, and freshly baked bread, we toured the John Knox House and a made a quick run through the Museum of Edinburgh, both a short stroll east of our 1 Parliament Square apartment.

Nathan’s knee was beginning to bother him, so he headed back to the room – taking fine photos along the way; Dallas and i stopped by the grocer again and selected some meat (including a chub of haggis, and chips, all made in Scotland to augment our snacks, as well as eggs and biscuits for brecky.  We have found this to be a tremendous savings to prepare our meals in the full kitchen versus eating meals out.

Haggis, Beef, Chips

As the terrified screams from participants of the Edinburgh ghost tours wafts away in the late hours,our eyes grow heavy and we drift off to sleep.

Ragweed and Weather Reign!

This week our area received up to 10 inches of rain in one night! Flood waters raged in the night and next day.   After two days, the waters are starting to recede back to their banks, but a lot is trapped in sloughs, oxbows, and drainage ditches.   ALL of our water gaps are gone – not just mangled – but gone!  The boys and I are leaving for Scotland on Sunday, so I’m thankful that husband Allen and right-hand man, Christian, will be hard at repair and rebuild.  They will have at least two weeks dedicated to repairing and rebuilding the water gaps, interior paddock fences and posts, cutting up trapped logs and trees and removing from culverts and fences. They’ll put up temporary fence up until they can get to all of the perimeter water gaps to keep cattle and sheep from getting out onto the roads and neighbour’s fields.  Many have compared this flash flood to one which occurred in 1946 – yes, this one is worse than the 1993 flooding!

My allergy prick test resulting in.. several grasses, trees, cattle, cats, molds, and, of course , ragweed stood far and away the worst.  After the prick testing, I could take Benadryl which I could not do for these previous five days which has resulted in being trapped in the house and sleeping very little due to such discomfort. Once my appointment was over, Allen (who had thankfully driven me to and from Columbia), took me out to the Olive Garden at which I took two old Benadryls I found in an obscure pocket of my purse. Within a few minutes, relief was on its way, and despite drinking three cups of coffee with lunch,  drowsiness crept in.   Allen took the wheel and within five minutes of leaving the restaurant, I was sawing logs and what seemed like two minutes later I awoke to us pulling into the Orscheln’s parking lot in Brookfield (2 hours actually). We had stopped in to pick up my script for a steroid to help get me caught up. I plan to sleep some more tonight because I feel pretty daggone good now! I won’t start the oral immunotherapy drops until after we return from our month in ragweed free Scotland.  How a healthy person can be so miserable for weeks on end is beyond me!

The Law & Righteousness

And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Deut 6:25

3By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6

Shabbat Shalom!

Debilitated by ragweed allergies keeps me busy inside!

If there is any good to be had by this allergy, it is that every nook and cranny of our house is dusted, vacuumed, and scrubbed (we have hardwood floors).  Furniture is moved and wiped down from behind and underneath.  Every chair spindle and nightstand leg. Even the deep, dark recesses of the wardrobes.  Not my favourite of tasks, but a rewarding one nonetheless.   And my favourite travel agent, fam (familiarization) trip, hotel site inspect check – wipe clean the top of every door.   You know, the kind of cleaning you can’t hire anyone to do well.   Clean everything you say – then they ask, ‘do you want me to clean that?’  Quizzically, you wonder if the assignment is unclear or is it a trick question!?

Deep down cleaning beats giving the tops a quick swipe at least twice a year.   However, the windows – the outside anyway – cannot be washed because letting outside air, heavy with the yellow dust of ragweed pollen, will set me off with non-stop sneezing, wheezing, itching skin, eyes, ears, watering red eyes, scratchy throat, and, in some cases, difficulty in breathing, resulting in not being able to talk for several hours.   Being inside with air conditioning is my only relief with Benadryl able to manage only the mildest attack, which may occur when i’m inside.

Some people fortunate enough to find natural ‘cures’ for their seasonal allergies have willingly shared their findings  and though I try most,  unfortunately,  none have put the slam-dunk on my nemesis. I’m headed next week to another allergist for consultation and prick testing; perhaps this time a magic potion can be developed for me.  What kinds of allergies, if any, do you have, and what works to control them!?

Faith, Family, Farm

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