Week 64: Catch up week, Dunnottar Castle, Arbroath

Wow!!  It’s Friday and I feel like I’m just taking my first breath.  It has been a crazy week and I’m not sure where it has gone.  I have been sleeping really weird this week as well which doesn’t help.  I am exhausted by the time we leave work and I fall on my bed as soon as we walk in the door and fall sound to sleep with my dress still on.  I’ve done it every day this week.  I wake up about 11:30 at night and then I can’t get back to sleep so I watch something on Netflix and then I talk to one of my kids who might notice I’m awake and then around 2:00 or 3:00 am I am finally in my pajamas and back in bed.  Then my alarm goes off at 6:00 AM and I’m back up and heading off to work again.  Finally I think I’m back on track.  Last night we had a women’s conference which was really nice.  I accompanied a duet so we were there and didn’t get home until just after 9:00.  I went right to bed and slept well.  I woke up ten minutes before my alarm this morning and I feel great.  Just in time for a great weekend.

It’s been cold this week and windy.  Major windy.  The streets and yards (gardens) are covered in leaves and tree limbs.  All the beautiful flowering trees are bare.  My beautiful rhododendron bush that I look out at every day from my office window is in tatters.  Just a couple pink petals hanging on.

We took Sister Lough and Sister Belliston out to dinner on Wednesday to Tony Macaroni’s.  We are finding this is the best place to eat.  We can choose a pizza and a pasta and they split the meals and give each of us half of each.  It tastes wonderful, we get full and it hardly costs anything.  We ran to Five Guys last night before the Women’s Conference and I spent £2.00 less there just on myself than what we spent at Tony Macaroni’s for two of us.  But Five Guys is the one place we can go that is totally the same as at home and you can’t beat that.  The only difference is the potatoes come from England instead of Idaho so they are smaller.  Doesn’t affect the taste though.

I have mostly been working on Ireland problems this week.  I mentioned last week we had a problem getting our missionaries back into Ireland after they were here for meetings.  The laws for volunteer religious ministers and workers have changed in Ireland.  We have been in limbo the last few months while they were sorting out what the new laws were going to be and now we find ourselves in a big mess as the laws have been totally turned on their head.  It used to be we could send missionaries into Ireland and we had 90 days to get them their garda card (basically a VISA to stay in the country for one year).  Now they have to pre-qualify to enter the country and the documentation needed is near impossible for me to gather.  The missionaries that are over there are seeing the police (garda) stopping people and asking for identification.  They are stopping cars randomly and checking ids.  Our four missionaries who had problems at the border last week were given stamps in their passports saying they had 7 days to leave the country and they were not allowed to proselyte during those seven days.  We got them out in three days but during those three days they were in a line of cars that were all being stopped by two teams of garda.  Each car was being stopped.  When they were second in line the garda waved the car in front of them on without stopping them and did the same to the car our girls were in and then stopped the car right behind them.  The girls felt like they had not even been looked at, almost like they were invisible to the garda.

So needless to say, my priority right now is to get this all figured out so we can stay legal in Ireland.  We always want to be sure and follow the rules and laws but it isn’t always an easy thing to do.

Saturday arrived and Sister Gifford and I set out for Dunnottar Castle which has been on my wish list since the day I got here.  It was pouring rain with 80% chance of rain all day long but we have learned to give it a try anyway.  You never know.  As usual, we lucked out and even though we drove home in the most torrential rain storm I have seen here in Scotland, we didn’t get a drop of rain the whole time we were at Dunnottar Castle.

Dunnottar Castle is up towards Aberdeen and so is is just over 2 hours driving for us.  It rained a good part of the time we were driving up to the castle but once we got there the rain stopped and didn’t start up again until we were well on our way home.  Dunnottar Castle is one of the most stunning castles sitting out on a rocky cliff overlooking the North Sea.  There is so much history centered around this castle dating back as far as 1200s.  In the 1600s it was considered the safest place in Scotland and the crown jewels were kept there for some time until in 1651 when Cromwell’s army surrounded the castle.  There were 69 men and 42 guns in the castle and they knew they wouldn’t be able to defend the jewels for long.  Reverend Grainger lived in a nearby

parish and his wife was close friends with a lady inside the castle.

Christine Granger was alsovery pregnant and she went to Dunnottar and spoke to the English commander, General Overton, asking if she might go in and visit her friend.  When she left the castle she was carrying the Scottish crown under her skirts and the orb and sceptre were in her spinning tool.  She smuggled  them to safety and her husband buried them deep beneath the pulpit in their church.  There they lay for 10 years until they were brought up and taken to Edinburgh Castle where they remain today.

After Dunnottar Castle we drove into Stonehaven which is an oceanside town next to Dunnottar Castle.  We found a place for lunch and I had a panini and Sister Gifford had Haddock that was so big it didn’t fit on her plate.  Then we went down the street and found a place that was recommended to us called Aunt Betty’s which had really good ice cream.  You pick a topping for your ice cream as well.  I had Scottish Tablet and Honeycomb with a Praline’s topping.  It was amazing.

We decided we had time for another castle if we could find one so we looked on our GPS and found Crathes Castle which was 25 minutes away so off we went with the anticipation of seeing another castle.  This was when we realized just how many castles we have seen.  We got to the castle, paid 3.00 for parking and walked halfway up a hill before we realized we had already been there.  This is the castle with the really neat painted ceilings.  So we got back in the car and tried one more time.  The only other castle we could find that wasn’t too far away was Drum Castle so we headed over there which was just about 10 minutes away.

Drum Castle was very small and we didn’t even find a gift shop or anything.  They were having some kind of golf event but no one was there but us.  So we took a picture and after again paying 3.00 for parking before we realized we wouldn’t be there for longer than a picture, we started back the way we came.

Last on our list to see today was Arbroath Abbey.  I had no idea what it would be like but I saw it mentioned as I was searching for what was between Dunnottar and Edinburgh.  By now the rain was falling so hard we could hardly see out the window and the water was accumulating so much on the road that I had to slow down so we didn’t hydroplane.  As we entered Arbroath we could see the Abbey in the distance.  But due to the rain, we didn’t spend any time there.  We hopped out of the car and took a quick picture and that was it.  It was almost 5:00 anyway so it was either closed or would be soon.  We may have to go back there.  Arbroath looked like a great town.

Dad, I wish I could be there tomorrow for Father’s Day.  I love you and I’m hoping you are exercising and getting stronger and stronger.  I miss you and will see you in a few months.

Love you all!!


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