Every morning lately we wake up to a foggy morning and a bit of crisp chill to the air but by the afternoon it is warm and sunny. One thing I love about Scotland is the beauty we see every day as we drive around. It is amazing how green and open the land is. It’s a small country and yet we see so much vast open valleys and hills. I think it is funny that we are so obsessed with cows. We can’t drive by a herd of cows without slowing down and looking at them. I don’t think I do that at home. Of course we are always wondering if they are the shaggy Highland Coos but even when they aren’t we just look at them. I’m thinking I need to learn the types of cows so at least I can say – oh look, there is a Black Angus or there is a Jersey. That’s my knowledge of cows at the moment.
Monday was Memorial Day of course in the US and here it was another bank holiday. I wonder how many bank holidays there are in a year. Several. We have always worked on bank holidays but lately the President has told us to take the day off. We love to follow his advice. Actually the days off make us work harder and better when we are in the office. Sometimes you just need a break. Of course I know by looking at my blog you might think that is all we ever do is take breaks. But the truth is, even though we jam pack our Saturday’s full of sightseeing, we work very long hours and work very hard all the other days.
So Monday I had a goal to see several castles. I had looked at the map and found an area I knew we had never driven to before and then looked up what castles were in that area. There were several, so I wrote down all the postal codes and we headed off.
We were going to the Border’s area but a different part than we have been before. We love the borders. They are green and beautiful. They are called the Borders because they run along the edge of Scotland and England. We first went to Dun’s. There we planned on seeing
Dun’s Castle. As we were driving through Lauder, just before we got to Dun’s we saw a sign for another castle that I didn’t have on my list so I veer
ed off and we followed that road to Thirlestane Castle. It was beautiful and seemed more like a palace to me. It was built in the 1500’s and is still home to the Duke of Lauderdale.
Then we headed to Dun’s as planned. As we neared the castle we saw a sign saying no one could drive in so we parked and started walking. It was a beautiful walk down a country road and we thought we could see the castle up ahead. But when we got there it was just the gate into the castle grounds and we were not allowed any further. It sure would have been nice to know it was a private castle. But it was a nice walk anyway. After Dun’s Castle we tried to see two other castles but basically had the same success. Wedderburn Castle was a private road and we couldn’t see anything at all. And Ayton Castle also seemed to be a private road. That one we saw as we drove down the road but I wasn’t able to pull over and get a picture. I did get a picture of the gate leading into the grounds.
What we did get accomplished though was to take some good pictures of the Rape Seed fields. These were out last year in April but I guess it has been colder this year so they are just now coming out all over the country. The brilliant yellow is so beautiful against the deep green. I wanted a picture in the field and we tried but it was so windy so my picture isn’t the greatest. But I did get some beautiful scenery shots.
Finally we did have one castle success. Again it was a castle we just saw a sign for and went for it. We didn’t walk up to it. It looks pretty much like just the outside walls although who knows, there may have been something really neat in there. But this is Hume Castle. We were in a small town named Kelso. Hume Castle sits atop the only hill in sight and is quite formidable looking.
We then headed over to the coast of the North Sea to Coldingham and St Abb’s Head. It was misty and foggy as we drove up to the beach but decided it was worth the walk down to the beach anyway. We stuck around for about an hour and by the time we left it was bright and clear. I took my shoes off and waded out into the water just a bit and the temperature wasn’t too bad. I wouldn’t want to get in and swim but it was a nice beach. I even found a dog to play fetch with for a bit.
Then of course since we were in the borders we once again ventured to Melrose and stopped into our favorite clothing store. I didn’t buy anything for myself, just a few gifts to bring home. But we did finally take the time to stop at a spot I’ve been eyeing every time I drive by it. It was beautiful. I could have stayed right here for awhile as well but we were tired and wanting to get home. This is the Leaderfoot Viaduct and it was built between 1862 and 1865 for the Berwickshire Railroad. It spans the Tweed River. Each arch is 43 feet high and is over 900 feet long. The highest point of the bridge is 126 feet above the river.
As usual move’s planning week becomes a bit of a blur. I put my head down to work at 7:00 AM and often don’t even look up until about 3:00 to see if it is lunchtime yet. That’s the way this week has gone. And we haven’t had hot water this whole week so we have just gone out for dinner after work every night.
Wednesday we had a baptism with Elder Gedlaman and Elder Butler. Another cute girl from China named Cindy.
Thursday a repairman came to work on the men’s bathroom in the office. There have been some issues in there. Not sure what but he tore the entire room apart and the smell was horrible so we left the front door leading outside open all day Thursday and Friday. Of course President and the APs have been behind closed doors most the week but they did venture into my office and the President asked me if I could hurry and make two crowns. I had no idea what for until I saw him usher the APs out the door. Then I realized just where they were going. Photo opportunity.
Everyone needs a bit of a break now and then.
Thursday night we took a few Elders out for dinner to my favorite Zizzi’s. These boy’s – there are three things for certain when it comes to missionaries according to my friend Elder Miller. And I agree. One – they are always late. Two – they will eat you out of house and home if you let them. Three – they will steal your hearts. Here we have Elder Hinckley from Clinton, Utah (I will go home with him in October);
Elder Crowley from Bountiful; and Elder Allen from Thatcher, Arizona.
I got moves on Thursday afternoon so it was work, work, work from that point on. It’s summer so when trying to purchase 13 tickets from Scotland to Ireland I could only get 6. So I had to be creative to figure out how to get the other 7 there. That’s about how it goes in the summer. It’s a big moves this time. 91 moving missionaries. But that’s the way I like it. It’s like doing a puzzle.
Saturday I went into the office early and worked the morning then came home and ran a few errands with Sister Gifford. We also had to meet up with a couple from California that are from Elder Dunn’s ward who are here on a trip and brought a package for him. I took this picture as we were waiting at a red light on Princess Street after we got the package.
Then we met up with the Miller’s and drove to Portobello Beach which isn’t very far away from Edinburgh. They happened to be having a volleyball tournament there so that was kind of fun. We found a little place to have lunch and walked the boardwalk then came back to the office to finish up some work. Pictured here is the beach with a lot of volleyball nets going down the beach. Another picture of the water. A beautiful purple tree – I’ve never seen anything like it. And a door I really thought looked nice on our walk once we were back on a regular street,
That’s itfor this week. It’s been a big, long week. I hope the next few go a little faster. I feel like time slowed down a bit and even though I love it here and I love the work I’m doing and the playing that I’m doing – I’m still anxious to come home. I’m not sure if I put this out here already but I have my date for coming home now. I should have been coming home on Sep 27 but I am going to stay long enough to get the next transfer done before I leave. So I am coming home October 8th. I’m actually leaving with the missionaries which isn’t what the senior missionaries usually do. So that will be fun.
Enjoy the summer. Do lots of fun things. Start reading your Grandma’s Summer Book Club books and let me know when you get each one read – Avery, Kaden, Cal and Kaylee.
Love you all.