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Karen: July 07th, 5:30 am: Off to LAX airport headed first for a six hour flight to Newark, a two hour lay-over, then a seven hour flight to Edinburgh, arriving at 8:30 am local time (half past midnight LA time). Then after collecting my newly bought luggage, which has its own wheels!

Tavi: And should be magic luggage for the price she paid!

Karen:The flight attendant admired it and asked who made it! When I told her it was "Briggs and Riley", she said "No wonder, it's nice!"

Tavi: But it's not magic, though! Or Louis Vuitton.

Karen: Then, having being judged worthy to enter Scotland, I went to the Haymarket railway station and just missed the train from London to Aberdeen. I caught the next one 45 minutes later and spent the next two hours looking at green fields, huge skies, some sheep, a couple of horses wearing blankets in July, and the north east coastline. Some of the very few cliff top cottages there had million dollar views. I finally arrived at the Stonehaven station, which has only two platforms, and Tavi was there to meet me.

Teaser Preview Pics:

Karen: Here I am at Tavi's house, having arrived at 13:30 and having not slept for 48 hours. Ranger and Dominique, two of Tavi's cats, are somewhere out of frame.

Tavi: This picture came to you after a week's worth of house cleaning! This house hasn't really ever been cleaned since we moved in. Seriously.

Karen: A thirty minute walk from the house brought us to Stonehaven's shingle (rocky) beach.

Tavi: Stonehaven's beach is a lot less...stoney than it used to be, and now there are signs banning the removal/"theft" of pebbles and stones from the beach. This didn't stop Karen taking at least three!

Karen: Lunch was ice cream bought from a shop fronting the beach. We sat on a bench eating it and enjoying the cool, sunny day.

Tavi: These are pictures of sail boats in the distance in the North Sea. Keep sailing east, and they ought to reach the south of Norway. They were so far away that we thought their sales were black until we used the high power camera zoom.

Karen: We took this picture walking back the way we'd come, on our way to the harbour. On the way, we met a little fluffy dog called Biscuit. I think he'd have liked to come along with us.

Tavi: The little dog went straight for Karen. The owner came back for him three times, and within a couple metres, Biscuit always turned straight back to Karen. The owner had to drag him away by his collar!

Karen: Stonehaven Harbour. These are fishing boats (I think). If you keep walking towards the left, you come to a jetty. There were some people fishing from the top (not catching much from what we could see), and there were three young boys having fun riding a bicycle down the steps and right into the water.

Tavi: Fishing is one of Stonehaven's main industries. At least it was. The boats are also used in some sort of sea battle every summer. Also, on New Year's Eve, we have the "Fireball Ceremony", in which burning bundles are swung about down the main street and eventually thrown into the harbour here. Stonehaven is famous for this, but also for being the birthplace of the inventor of the pneumatic tyre, and the first fish-and-chips shop in the world to invent the Deep-Fried Mars Bar. Guess which of these we are proudest of!

Karen: As we headed back home, most of the shops we passed were already closed for the day. This sweets shop (candy store) was still open, though, so we went in and had a look around. Decisions, decisions....

Tavi: This is Guillanotti's, Stonehaven's chocolate/sweety shop that sells lovely tablet, which we bought. We also have our eye on a huge chocolate kitten in the window.

Karen: This is part of Stonehaven. I told Tavi it looks like something out of The Wind in the Willows. I kept looking for a little house built into the riverbank. (This is the River Carron, btw.)

Karen: There are flowers growing everywhere you look, as well as other unexpected things. Look closely and you'll see a little golden duck and a golden lion's head.

Tavi: A couple of years ago, we used to have ducks here, which we fed with bread. They would come up onto the bank and swarm around you with their scary pecking beaks. Now they've drifted down to where the river meets the sea.

Tavi: These are little baby ferns growing through the top of the stone wall which amazed Karen so much she insisted on photos!

Tavi: The Carron Water stretches from the sea straight into Fetteresso in the country. In tomorrow's account, you'll hear of our misbegotten attempts to reach it there, thwarted by barley, bullocks, and barbed wire.

Karen: Tavi insisted on this photo! So much for taciturn Scots!

Tavi: This is a quaint old church near Keith Lodge, and this poster seemed a little out of place!

Tavi: As did Julius Caesar's (maybe?) bust and a bunny in the porch window of a house we passed on our walk back up.

Karen: Parking in Stonehaven is certainly more casual than in Los Angeles. Anywhere you see an open spot, grab it. Doesn't matter which way you're headed.

Tavi: I have no idea what Karen is talking about! This is perfectly normal here!

Karen: We both agreed the flowers here are beautiful, although Tavi prefers the wild flowers we see in the countryside.

Tavi: We argued about whether these sights constituted countryside. They don't! It's green, but there are houses! Streets! Cars! Karen will certainly learn the difference tomorrow!

Click to read Chapter Two in which we visit Fetteresso and tell you a tale of barley, bullocks, and barbed wire.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 10th, 2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
Lovely pics, thanks for sharing. My favorite is the one with the golden duck and the golden lion head.
Those chocolate/sweets shops in the UK are delightful.
Jul. 11th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC)
I loved the old-fashioned look of the place, with the sweets in glass jars on shelves. In the U.S., you'd find them in plastic bins with scoops attached so you can serve yourself. Somehow it's just not the same!
Jul. 10th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
Beautiful pics, you're making the rest of us jealous!
Jul. 11th, 2008 06:27 am (UTC)
I'm having a lot of fun with the new camera. It seems to know what it's doing, even if I don't! Tavi's the one who did all the work uploading the photos and getting them to a proper size for posting. I watched over her shoulder, though, so hopefully will be able to do it myself by the time I head back home to the industrial wasteland/desert/megalopolis of Los Angeles.
Jul. 11th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
What lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing your holiday. I especially like the ones of the boats on the water and in the harbour. Not to mention the little streams. So glad to see the weather is splendid!
Jul. 11th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC)
The splendid weather turned to a day of solid rain on Thursday. We spent the day inside, watching the BBC (Colin Firth) version of Pride and Prejudice and uploading and organising photos. It's now 7:30 a.m. Friday, and it looks like the rain might be over. Still lots of clouds, but the sun is trying to break through. :-)
Jul. 11th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
Your rainy day activities are splendid too!
Jul. 11th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC)
Beautiful pics. I hope I'll manage to visit Scotland someday. Now I'll just go and envy you so very, very much. :)
Jul. 20th, 2008 08:31 am (UTC)
I'm trying to go back and finally reply to the comments people have left to these posts. It's been hard to find time to do this; we've been out sightseeing almost every day I've been here, and in the evenings Tavi's been doing yeoman's work uploading the (literally) hundreds of pictures we seem to take every time we're out. Scotland really is every bit as beautiful as the photos make it out to be; I still have a week before I have to leave, but I'm already dreaming about my next trip here. I hope you'll be able to come yourself one day; you certainly won't regret it!
Jul. 11th, 2008 10:56 am (UTC)
wow - fantastic photographs. Thanks for sharing them with us.
Jul. 20th, 2008 08:36 am (UTC)
Compliments on the photos mean a lot coming from someone who does the beautiful picture posts you do! I point and shoot, but Tavi's the one who's been doing all the behind-the-scenes work uploading them and creating the framework for me to just drop in commentary.
Jul. 11th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
sweets shop
Oooh do I have sweets from Scotland in my future?
Jul. 20th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
Re: sweets shop
That's a distinct possibility. Anything in particular that you'd like me to look for? It doesn't have to be limited to candy (sweeties, as they say here).
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )