Archive for August 2007

14. weekend adventures


Between chasing each other around, banging on pots, eating sausages and coffee (okay that was the adults), and exploring each other’s tents, Millie and Duncan had a great time this weekend. Thanks to Uncle Keith and Auntie Rochelle for the awesome hat! And check out the difference a year makes! I especially love how I was talking about getting out for adventures this time last year – and now we’re actually living it. But Duncan’s still not in Millie’s good books, even if he is just annoying now instead of absolutely unbearable!

Poor Duncan had a rough night though, up for two hours between 3:30 and 5:30 (but I still think it was worth it, although I realize the rest of the campground may have a different opinion). A new tooth + allergies + no medication + maybe a wee bit cold = hard to sleep? It’s the only reason we can think of – and then he just got freaked out about what was going on.

And happy 14 months Duncan! You’re a bundle of fun these days….

when the light hits it

Scottish light streaming in from a low angle, whether in the early morning or a midwinter noon, makes the greens and browns of the hills swell with a richness than leaves you breathless. Or at least leaves me breathless and aching for more. We’re off camping for the weekend, Duncan’s third time in a tent (we’ll make an outdoor man of him yet).

I’m sure I’d be better looking if I kept my eyes open. Aberlemno Stones, Angus, Photo by Michelle.

(Hey, anyone from VisitScotland reading this? How cool would it be to get a freebie or two – or even just a pencil or keyring – I’m easily pleased).

Ruined Church, House of Dun (photo by Michelle)

a letter from Duncan


Dear Friends and Family,
See this statue I’m sitting on? It’s wet. So am I. So are my feet. On the rainiest Saturday of the year, when every other kid is at Codona’s, my parents take me to a formal garden. Sure Pitmedden is like really old (1675) and has five miles of teeny tiny me-sized hedges, but my parents didn’t let me do anything fun there! There’s two fountains and I wasn’t allowed in either of them. (They watched me really carefully everytime I got near so I couldn’t give them the slip.) Then in the tea room they purposefully ate really fast so I only got a little bit of their scones. Meanies!

But no need to call child services, I got them back! I waited until mum was playing hide and seek behind a hedge and then I pushed her over. She had a wet bum. I felt better.

Lots of Love,



Vicki and Andrew are getting married in a few days, which in an entirely self-absorbed way means that I’m going to wear a dress in public – with very pasty white legs. On the advice of pretty much everyone at her hen party (who all looked perfectly normal) I picked up fake tan makeup (washes off, no really scary chemicals) and tried it on my legs. I seriously looked about the same colour as the above flower. And while it’s a gorgeous flower – me, not so much. Michelle was kind enough to hold Duncan while I scrubbed my legs…


Blown Away

The wind is a constant presence in Aberdeen, and a new thing in my life. From the wind that blows my son over, to the headwind that turns my cycle commute into a slog; wind is ever present in Scotland. It whips my hair into lank tangles and fills my eyes with tears – but it also pushes the clouds out of the way in minutes and makes the weather forecast irrelevant.

Of course a physicist and an engineer aren’t the type to just sit and watch the wind in the bushes. We have a weather station in our garden, mounted on a hockey stick attached to one of the poles for the drying green (with duct tape). The anemometer spins constantly, catching bits of sunlight off grey matte plastic and reflecting it into the living room (currently 6.8 km/hr from the west). It’s not an accurate station for anywhere outside of our yard, falling 7 meters short of the recommended height and caught in the eddies of the surrounding houses and slope of the hill, but it’s an accurate reflection of our weather and it makes us smile.

Hanging out in the Highlands

drinking in the atmosphere

Visitors are the best excuse to play tourist. We spent yesterday introducing Michelle to the wonders of Glenlivet. No, not the liquid kind (with Mortlach nearby, Glenlivet starts to seem rather dull) but the fabulous world of the Glenlivet estate. It can be hard to amaze guests from British Columbia, but in many ways the Scottish highlands are slow seducers. At first they look lovely, but when you stop and look deeper (thistles, heather, peat, old stumps from the Caledonian forest, small trickly black streams, and a wind that keeps the midgies away), lovely turns into something enchanting.

And when Aberdeen starts to feel isolated (2 1/2 hours to the closest IKEA or Habitat stores, 57 degrees north, a bizillion hours to the closest sushi restaurant (okay, an easy jet flight to Bedford), a five hour time diffference to family) it’s good to get out into the hills. Because when we’re out there on the trail, away from the crowded hikes of Vancouver, I start to enjoy isolation. And really it’s all about loving where you are right now – not where you wish you could be.


([ mjznnznz bvh n ) -Duncan’s first attempt at an internet post…. He’s better at eating puddings.
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