Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Please accept my apologies for the silence of the last three days; I went away for a much-needed wee holiday, and it was wonderful. I did take the computer, but decided to leave it switched off in favour of long walks through unexpected snow, beautiful scenery, and good food. Because I bought myself a humble abode earlier this year, I didn’t have a long holiday, so decided to treat myself. Now suddenly it’s Hogmanay. I’ve not done much today, just a bit of cooking, of one of my favourite dishes, a red cabbage-based delight. (more…)


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….. ok, not really, but I wonder how that would go. A story for another time!

Today is doubly important to me, it being the feast of Scotland’s national saint, St Andrew, and the birthday of L. M. Montgomery, author of the Anne Shirley and Emily Byrd Starr series of books.  (more…)

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Andrew Jack’s blue sheep for St Andrew’s Day (Image via BBC)

Happy Saint Andrew’s Day! What are you doing today? Haggis is of course on the menu for tonight’s dinner, but there are other ways to celebrate. You could follow in farmer Andrew Jack’s footsteps by temporarily dying your pets blue. You could dye yourself blue as well, but with that may come unfortunate Mel Gibson associations.

There are various stories as to how St Andrew became Scotland’s patron saint, and how some of his relics came to Scotland. Although most of his remains were taken by his disciple the Emperor Constantine to Constantinople, there is a legend that the Bishop of Patrae, St Rule (also known as St Regulus), was directed in a divine vision to take the relics, and founded a church in Fife, where his ship was wrecked upon the Scottish coast. Unfortunately, these relics were destroyed in the Reformation. Perhaps, if you’ve been organised this year, you may have created your own pilgrimage route to follow the path taken by the Scottish relics, to arrive at the town of St Andrews today. It’s actually an interesting idea; there are relics of St Andrew throughout Europe, including Amalfi in Italy, Patros in Greece, and our own St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral in Edinburgh. I would add Istanbul, once Constantinople, for historical reasons and in order to see the Hagia Sophia, which I have long wished to visit. Perhaps another year. It’s an interesting idea, and would still incorporate the traditional meal of haggis, neeps, and tatties, at the end of the adventure. Great journeys needs must end with great feasting. It’s one of the rules of questing.

However you spend today, enjoy. Seek out companions, good food, and hearty grog. Happy Saint Andrew’s Day!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Readers mine, I live in Scotland once again! Life since May began has been decidedly hectic, when I handed in my notice to Sotheby’s Institute of Art, where I have been the Assistant Librarian since January 2008, within a week of returning from France (the two events are not causally related, merely temporally adjacent). Since leaving work at the end of June, I was packing up and saying “Cheerio, not goodbye!” to the six and half years of my London life, and for just over a week now I have since been living in Scotland once again. I didn’t leave the Institute to work elsewhere in London; I left it as part of a larger change in lifestyle. Having been asking myself the question “where do I want my life to be, in the main?”, for a couple of years now, and the obvious follow-up question, “what then must I do to achieve that?”, moving to Scotland was the first part of the answer. It’s about life, not just about work. London was never a permanent move, I always knew that, and I cannot express how strongly I disagree with Samuel Johnson’s famous quote as given below

when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

There is a significant difference between not wanting to live in London and being tired of it. It’s always accessible, always there, and I’ll never stop visiting it. I’ll never stop missing my friends who live there. But there is so much to do, so much to see, here in Scotland. Besides, I needed to get back before September 18, after which the borders will of course be closed :). I jest, of course, but it’s definitely an interesting year to be in Scotland, and I want to be able to have a say in the future of my country. (more…)

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