April 10, 2014

week thirteen.

 Our second to last week in Edinburgh -- a week of several "lasts"! Another climb up Calton Hill, another photo taken of Waverly Station and Old Town -- just can't get over this skyline!

Last session of silly posing on the National Monument;

Enjoying the last of our walks through Princes Street Gardens on a drizzly afternoon --

 And another walk down along the sea (which you can't see) in  Musselburgh.

Enjoying our last Sunday in Edinburgh with some church family in the back garden. So lovely, so close to being finished with our adventuring! ...For now, at least. :)

April 08, 2014

i know not how it is with you.

In a very atypical fashion I drew this very much person-less drawing while in Edinburgh. I rarely draw any pictures without people in it -- people are the most interesting part to pictures and I therefore make sure to include them because secretly I think drawing water and leaves and grass and trees is sometimes a little boring.

Saw this lovely RL Stevenson poem painted on a wall in New Town Edinburgh and just got this feeling in my gut that it ought to be drawn, so I sat down that night and drew something. A bit mixy-uppy but interesting nonetheless. Mixy-uppy is not a word. Or term. Or anything.

It's just a bit like a mishmash of everything that I saw in my mind while reading the poem, which is the sweetest little poem, and I am not necessarily a poem person so it is quite a thing that it instilled in me a desire to illustrate it. The poem reads:

I know not how it is with you --
I love the first and last,
The whole field of the present view,
The whole flow of the past.

One tittle of the things that are, 
Nor you should change nor I --
One pebble in our path -- one star
In all our heaven of sky.

Our lives, and every day and hour,
One sympathy appear:
One road, one garden -- every flower
And every bramble dear.

- R.L. Stevenson

April 02, 2014

week twelve.

During our twelfth week in Edinburgh we realized time was running short and we had a few things we needed to fit in before packing up and heading back to the US of A. Our activities this week included:

Taking self-portraits with our camera timer in front of Salisbury Crags (note our layers of clothing even in mid-August... fall's a-comin');

Trying out a new cafe;

Catching a twilight view of downtown from Calton Hill;

Finally getting to try our all-time fave beer on tap -- Innis & Gunn, brewed in Edinburgh itself. And apparently looking sullen while drinking it;

Standing in the middle of South Bridge to take a picture (don't worry mum, I checked both ways);

And trying a bacon roll! The breakfast of a true Scot. Fried bacon and egg slapped on a bap (otherwise known as a morning roll) -- the classic breakfast of Scotland. They put anything on these buns for breakfast, but bacon and egg is the most deliciously unhealthy kind you can have. We got up early to get to the Saturday morning Farmer's Market on time -- they typically run out even before the Market officially opens. We learned that the hard way the week before this. I was disappointed. More disappointed than necessary, probably.

March 31, 2014


As someone who gleans most of her inspiration for art and writing from her surroundings, I find it fascinating when I can catch glimpses of what it was that inspired other artists and authors. As mentioned in an earlier post, Edinburgh was the city in which the famous Harry Potter was written -- the first couple books in a variety of cafes around the city, the rest of them in the safety of JK Rowlings' writing room.

It's easy to see that Edinburgh played a fairly big part in inspiring particular details from the Harry Potter series -- either that, or there's a whole lotta coincidences going on. JK Rowling wrote the first few books at a table that had a view of this:

That's right, a massive centuries-old castle on a cliff. Hogwarts? Perhaps in part. Below is another view of Edinburgh castle taken from the yard of George Heriot's School, established and opened in the 1600s as a school for orphaned boys. 

George Heriot's School can also be seen from that famous cafe's window -- not the whole thing, but certainly the four towers of the main building. 

The four towers that represent the four different houses of the school. 

The school that looks like a castle that sits under a castle that looks like Hogwarts.

Does no one else think this is weird?

It's me! This is inside the courtyard of the school -- they had an open house week where they were open to the public before fall term started. We took ourselves on a tour.

One of the school's bulletin boards. Four houses?!? Four house colours and crests?? HOUSE POINTS!? It's so Hogwartian I can't even handle it.

Greyfriars Kirkyard and Cemetery also sits right below JKR's favourite writing spot and holds a few more curious proofs of inspiration -- 

First, there's the grave of McGonagall -- yes, a man, but still! And then:

This guy's grave is in the cemetery too. I wonder if he knew his name would be borrowed by an author 200 years later to create an evil wizard character. And yes, JKR could've come up with it on her own... but you've got to admit it's a little weird. 

 And then we saw Hedwig! 

{This post written July 2013}

March 25, 2014

first set of wings.

I have a cousin who spent her youth flying over horse jumps. Is that what they're called? Jumps. Yes, I think so. For anyone who thinks horse jumping is something you can just do without really knowing how to do it... wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. While visiting one summer I was having a leisurely walk-about on a calm old horse in said cousin's pasture when Calm Old Horse caught sight of a jump and had a sudden inspiration to be Brisk Sprightly Horse. Moving up from a walking speed to a trotting speed is a big change. Trotting is terrifying. I have no horseback riding rhythm and then that dang horse jumped over the jump and I thought my teeth had fallen out and been left behind in the grass.

You must realize that the jump was only about 2 feet off the ground -- this is monumentally high to someone who does not regularly ride horses.

So anyway, this cousin o' mine who rides horses into a flying gallop decided that the highest horse jumps weren't high enough and took to the skies as a pilot. This was a very late congratulatory yay-you-got-your-pilot's-license drawing that I managed to finally do this past summer while in Scotland. Cute!

March 20, 2014

week eleven.

If you've been following along with our archived Scottish adventures, you'll know how much we loved climbing up Salisbury Crags. No surprise then that we took another sunset hike this week (this time with beer and doritos... classy).

 How cool are these jets? They passed right over us! They would actually fly over Edinburgh almost every night at around 7PM, following the path of The Royal Mile -- it was part of the Royal Military Tattoo show. So loud!

 We caught a bus to St. Andrews on one sunny Tuesday -- spent the day amongst old cathedral ruins, ancient golf courses, and sandy beaches. Cold beaches -- but still nice.

 This is me on Swilcan Bridge -- apparently at least 700 years old, it's been incorporated into St. Andrews' Old Course (oldest golf course in the world!) and all the famous golf pros pose here with their trophies. I probably don't deserve to stand here as I am pretty terrible at miniature golf but that is besides the point. 
St. Andrews University residence hall where Will and Kate stayed their first year in uni! They probably flirted on that bench there behind me.  

Wayne looks dapper everywhere, even in a centuries-old cemetery. 

As I've mentioned before, during the month of August the military tattoo runs six nights per week and  included in that is a fireworks show! And I'm not talking wimpy little piddly fireworks -- I'm talking intense explosive HUGE fireworks almost every single night for a month. We could set our clocks by them when we weren't popping down to Waverly Bridge to actually watch the show. We went a lot -- probably more than we needed to -- but seriously. Fireworks every night? Way too fun to miss.