Week 21: Tattoo, moves week beginning, Craigmillar Castle

This week has had some incredibly rainy days and then some amazing summer days.  I think I dressed the wrong way every day.  I was either freezing or roasting and it was usually due to my choice in outfits.

First I got a great picture of my kids and grandkids from the Call Family Reunion that they attended in Star Valley Wyoming this past weekend.

Sunday after church Sister Donaldson invited us to dinner because we had a couple senior couples in town to join us at the Tattoo.  One couple was the Handy’s and he is an archeologist and so the Donaldson’s invited him to share some of his experiences in the Yucatan with us.  They invited a few other people as well so we had a full house for the fireside.  Elder Handy spoke for two hours about his first-hand experience looking for evidence of Christ in the Yucatan and I could have listened for two more hours.  The time went by so fast and I couldn’t write fast enough to take the notes I would have liked to take.  It was either look down and write then miss the slides he was showing or watch the slides and then not write everything I wanted to write.

But here are a few of my notes and if you want to research from my scant notes, you can.  He talked first about a lady named Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner who lived from 1818 – 1917 (I think).  You might know her better as one of the little girls that saved the Book of Covenants when the mob threw the papers out the window.  She and her sister grabbed the papers and ran to the corn fields and hid.  She asked Joseph Smith if she would ever see proof of the things she read in the Book of Mormon and he promised her that yes, she would. That proof would come in time.

He talked about John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood and their travels through the Yucatan in the 1800’s.  How the art work Catherwood did of their travels was given to Wilford Woodruff who in turn gave it to Joseph and Joseph recognized the place as somewhere he had seen in a vision.  We know from Lucy Smith that Joseph was very familiar with the history of the ancient Americans from visions he was having.

A reference to look at is Times & Seasons Oct 1, 1842.  There is an article talking about a large city that was being discovered in the Yucatan.  The explorers stated it was large but the name was lost to us now.  The city is Zarahemla that burned at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and then was later built up again.

Izapa is a place in the Yucatan that was around 600 BC to 100 AD.  They have uncovered 89 stones (called stelae) that have engravings on them.  Most archeologists and scientists can guess at what the engravings mean but Elder Handy was able to show us several of these and match them to scriptures in the Book of Mormon.  You can see these stelae if you google them.  Maybe I can get better information from Elder Handy.  It was so neat to listen about these stones.

He talked about the Hopi Indians who came from the Mayans.  They were brought out from the Mayans around 600AD and told to wait for great happenings. They now know that the time is now for these great happenings.

He talked about Bishop Diego DeLanda who from 1524 – 1579 destroyed 20,000 pictures of the Mayan God and hundreds of books because the pictures they had drawn of their God had holes in his hands and in his feet like the Son of God.

He also talked about the three Nephites or three brothers as they are known there.  He talked about Chichin Itza and Tulum and told the history of these places through our eyes instead of what the people explain who are tour guides there. Both places have proof of the Three Brothers spending time there and actually rebuilding Tulum.  Also in Tulum there are three alcoves. In the first is the only sculpture found of God, the second alcove has a sculpture of Jesus and the third alcove is empty to represent the Holy Ghost who has no form to sculpt.  There is also Jesus descending from heaven (he is carved with his legs up in the air to show he is descending) and he is holding a cup in his hands.  The symbols around him are the symbols of light and life.  Scripture – 3 Nep 11:11  I am the light and life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me…

Monday we went to dinner after work and then took taxi’s up to the castle to see the Tattoo.  The Tattoo is a military band exhibition along with bagpipe, fife and drum bands.  This happens in Edinburgh during the month of August and is part of the month long festival that is happening here.  Every year the Tattoo is different from the one before so it is something that is nice to go to because it won’t be the same each year.  The castle sits at one end of the area the Tattoo is performed in with bleachers lining both sides of the area.  The castle is used as a backdrop for lighting. We saw cannons, muskets, fireworks and light displays.  The first half was wonderful and so was the last half except for the torrential rain that fell during the last half.  We were so soaked afterwards that I literally had to wring my skirt out when I got home.  But it was so worth going.  I loved every minute of it.

The Tattoo opened with a car driving in an American Army General who met the clan chiefs of the two clans represented.  One clan was the Wallace clan but I could never understand what they were saying for the other clan.  Then the general drank from a quach, which is a Scottish shallow bowl or cup with handles on each side.  The clan chiefs drank and a lone piper drank. Then the Tattoo began. Every band was so good and the ending all the bands came out together and performed a few numbers. Then the crowd joined in singing the National Anthem – God Save the Queen and then the Scottish Traditional Song of Auld Lang Syne.  We thought this was a song for New Years but it was written by Robert Burns who is a Scottish poet. The Scots sing the song loud and with gusto as they hold hands together arms crossed over.

I took a bunch of video at the Tattoo so I will post a little movie once I get time to put it together.  That probably won’t happen until later next week since tomorrow is the start of crazy days with moves.

On Tuesday we got a new senior couple to replace Elder and Sister Young who went home to Utah on Monday.  The Miller’s will go to Oban and take over the branch there. Elder Young was the branch president and I think that is what Elder Miller will be now.

Sister Gifford and I plan to go to Oban and visit the Miller’s when they get settled.  We may have to wait until next Spring if it isn’t soon.  The roads are not as good in the winter there.  This is Elder and Sister Miller from West Point, Utah.  I have been emailing Sister Miller for some time now so we already feel like old friends.  I am excited to get to know them.  They are going to be great.


Wednesday Sister Gifford and I went to Costco and a couple other grocery stores trying to get all the ingredients so I could put together a Cafe Rio-style dinner.  I signed up to feed two sets of missionaries this week because I feel bad that the Edinburgh missionaries don’t get many home-cooked meals.  Sister Donaldson was nice enough to offer the mission home kitchen so I decided to cook for the office and the Donaldson’s as well.

Thursday was the night of our dinner and it turned out really well.  The missionaries all went back for seconds and even a few of the office workers had seconds.  It was nice to have a spicy mexican meal after all these months.  One missionary that I fed tonight is Elder Grant.  I knew he was from Utah but I found out tonight that he actually is from Star Valley.  He lived there until he was half way through elementary school and he goes there all the time still to visit his grandparents and other family.  His mom is a Robinson, (sister to Elder Bednar’s wife).

Well, moves week hit us on Friday but with only five going home and 16 coming in I don’t feel near the pressure that I did last month.  We also have 43 missionaries being transferred within the mission when it has always been over 60 transfers the other transfers I have been here for.  So I just put my head down at work and went to town booking flights, trains, buses, ferrys and everything else.  I got my charts all made and reports all done and when I looked up it was 6:30 PM and I was basically done.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had to ask Elder Peacock and Elder Gibb, our two APs to come and check my work because I couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to have to spend a full day in the office on Saturday.  Sister Gifford and I were so tired that we tried a new little Swedish restaurant on our way home and then went to bed.

Saturday I got a call from the APs with just a few little things they needed done so I put on a dress and quietly snuck out of my flat about 8:00 AM trying not to wake up Sister Gifford.  I walked to the office and worked about two hours then walked home.  It was great.  When I got home Sister Gifford was up and dressed so I changed my clothes and we drove to Craigmillar Castle, which is about 15 minutes away from our place.  It’s about two miles away from the big Primark and Five Guys where I have been at least 10 or 20 times and didn’t ever realize there was this great big castle just down the road.  (I knew by today since we did drive to it a few Sunday’s ago but today we went into the castle.)

And what a great castle it is.  It is a league away from Edinburgh Castle.  A league is the distance you can walk in an hour so Craigmillar Castle was used often when the people wanted to get away from the noise of Edinburgh.  Mary Queen of Scots used the castle as a safe haven in 1566.  Of course most castles have some claim to Mary Queen of Scots it seems.  So here is Craigmillar’s claim…  Mary Queen of Scots had a trusted personal secretary.  His name was Rizzio and he was a great friend of hers.  He was with her all the time and she trusted him.  She stayed up late with him playing cards and talking.  In order for anyone to meet with the queen they had to go through Rizzio and he was protective of her.  This caused the people to dislike Rizzio.  They were jealous of him and resented him.  Mary Queen of Scots was married to Lord Darnley and he hated Rizzio.  Lord Darnley wanted to be king and would try to get Mary to give him the crown.  She wouldn’t.  She knew he wasn’t a strong enough man and he was an embarrassment when it came to politics.

Mary was pregnant with James VI and many would  speculate that the baby was really Rizzio’s and not her husbands.  One night she was eating dinner with Rizzio and her husband and a few other men came into the room.  One of the men aimed a pistol at Mary Queen of Scot’s pregnant belly while George Douglas, Lord Darnley’s uncle grabbed Darnley’s dagger and stabbed Rizzio while he was hiding behind Mary.  He was stabbed 56 times.  Mary knew that the men who killed Rizzio really wanted to kill her and she knew her husband was in on the plan but she had to keep her husband in the dark about what she knew until the baby was born and her husband could claim the baby was his.  So two nights after Rizzio’s death she convinced Lord Darnley to escape with her through an underground passage and they got to Dunbar Castle.  Three months later she gave birth to James VI of Scotland and also known as James I of England.  He was born in Edinburgh Castle.

About three months after the baby was born Mary Queen of Scots went to Craigmillar Castle in a state of deep depression.  She was hoping to find some peace in this castle.  It is said that she would cry out that she wished she was dead during this time.  But while she was there a plot was hatched known as the Craigmillar Bond.  By this time her husband was nothing but trouble for her.  Her advisors took this time to devise a plan to do away with Lord Darnley.

Early that next year Mary tried to get her husband to spend some time at Craigmillar but he chose to stay at Kirk o’Field instead which is on the edge of Edinburgh. On Feb 9 – 10, 1567 while Lord Darnley was there, the house was blown apart by gunpowder.  Two barrels of gunpowder exploded.  Darnley’s body was found afterwards near the courtyard but he didn’t die from the explosion.  He had been strangled.

This event was the beginning of the end for Mary Queen of Scots.  She was imprisoned not long after this.  Everyone thought Mary had something to do with his death and she lost her claim to the Scottish throne.  She abdicated in favor of her infant son in July of 1567.

There are levels and levels of exploring to do and intact rooms, chambers and nooks and crannies.  I climbed up to the top and got a great view of Edinburgh Castle all the way over to Holyrood Palace.  This is a great castle to bring families to.  There is a large grassy area inside the castle grounds where you could picnic.  We had a great time.  Then we went shopping for shoes and hit Five Guys. Now I’m sitting at the office because on our way home we got a phone call that two of our missionaries who were moving today due to the old flat having the lease expired and not renewable and they just got into their new flat and they have no electricity.  So here we are again at the office and Sister Gifford is making phone calls to try and get the electricity turned on – on a Saturday.  Good luck Sister Gifford.

Something else funny that happened at the castle today.  We had come to this castle a few weeks ago but it was Sunday and it was closed – two reasons why we didn’t go in but we did walk through a field to get up next to it and took a few pictures.  While we were walking through that field a orange and black cat followed us.  I talked to the cat the entire time we were in that field trying to get him to let me give him a good scratch and finally right at the end he let me approach him and scratch him behind his ears.  The whole time I was talking to him and telling him he was a good kitty.  Well, Sister Gifford and I were just walking out of the gift shop at the castle and I was talking and out of no where this same kitty came running as fast as it could right up to me.  It rubbed up against my legs and let me sit and scratch it behind his ears for a good minute.  He was so happy and responsive to my touch.  When I got up and started walking to the car the cat moved away and looked like it was going to go to Sister Gifford, but no, he ran from her.  It was so funny, it was like he remembered my voice and came to visit me.

Well, it’s been a great week.  I hope it has been for all of you as well.  I love you all.   


One thought on “Week 21: Tattoo, moves week beginning, Craigmillar Castle

  1. Love reading how your mission is progressing. Please give my love to Elder Peacock and Elder Gibb. Both served here in Holywood Road Ward, Belfast.

    Margaret xxxxx

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