2010 Journal – Chapter 31


June 10, 2010 at 4:47 AM

Thursday June 10th 2010
North Berwick, Scotland

Not too much has happened lately but I will write about what actually has for some of it is rather funny if you think about it! I will say I do continue to love Scotland, it’s essentially summer and so having a bit of warm weather has been nice to lay out in. However as it tends to do in this part of the world it gets cold and rainy just as fast if not faster and sticks around quite a bit longer. Therefore the last few days have been wet and cold and rainy resulting in not much happening. Stuart and I did go to see Iron Man 2 the other night which was a rather enjoyable film, for a sequel it was wonderful and I still must say Iron Man is my favorite superhero; though I’m not really a superhero fan.

Things I am enjoying on my third visit to the Edinburgh area are getting to see the old buildings that I adore. The sea is also the other thing that makes me exceedingly happy and it’s great when it’s sunny and bright. But the unexpected beauty and chaos during a storm is equally as beautiful if not more so. I think this is due to more of the details you pick up because of it. I think when something is seen in the sort of idealized perfection we hope for so say a sunny day at the beach it all sort of blends together as one uniform happy thought. However as I noticed the other day or maybe because the ocean is such a rare gem for me was that on a cloudy or rainy day I noted the variety of detail visible in the water; the array of colors and depth in the clouds. It’s an interesting and fascinating sight sort of sucking you into the mystique of it and I think now I understand where many a dramatic sea painting came from. Honestly I don’t think one can capture the chaos and pure unadulterated beauty of it in a photograph; it has to be painted whether in a tragic image or in as something of interest.

Monday night was a fun evening for dinner with a large part of the Watters family. This took place at the golf club which is attached to the subdivision Stuart and his parents live in. I had a very yummy mushroom risotto and blue cheese salad along with some very good red wine. Which I’ll be honest I think Mrs. Watters was trying to be nice but almost gave me the entire bottle. To be completely honest this good 3.5 rather large glasses of wine and then going back to the house where I was given a dram of Scotch from Mr. Watters, I was honestly trying to be nice and take the liquor! To dispel some of the lovely things people have been saying at home; the culture is very different here and drinking is what people do! Believe me you won’t understand until you’ve been here! Anyway I ended up so effected I essentially had to hide away upstairs with Stuart to avoid major embarrassment. I also have to say Stuart is not letting me live it down how I acted around him Monday night and thus he has many a new one liner to torment me with at least until I go home.

Tuesday was extremely uneventful, more or less laying around the house watching films I wasn’t feeling well, thank you allergies that get worse when it rains!

As far as yesterday went it was a bit more fun I dragged the poor bored Stuart to see a pretty famous and important house in a town called “Haddington”. Part of the house was built in the 14th century which was it’s initial appeal to me, in my mind old house equals interesting day. So I talked him into going with me on a tour for some education! I paid our entrance fee and for about an hour we were taken around a large part of the house by our lovely guide. She was a rather well informed and sweet woman with a sense of humor and curiosity that still exists after who knows how many years of giving tours.

We started in the part of the house that was built in the 17th century and refurbished about a100 years ago. It had kept all of it’s design from the 17th century and obviously there was a lot of time and care taken on preserving this home for not a bit of it looked as if it were 400+ years old. This house or more or less museum had a great assortment of items relating to the “Hamilton’s” which are the family that own the house today and have for centuries dating back to the 1600’s. So on we wound through about half of two stories chronicling the history of the family from the 1600’s to present. It had such a vast amount of portraits of many of the family and our well informed guide went into the intriguing history of just about every person that was posted on the walls. I think the only people she didn’t talk about were these two wives of one of the dukes that there was no record on which was which because both of them looked alike and were painted by the same artist.

Other great novelties of the place was this amazing and intricate ebony, ivory and tortoise shell bed, intricately carved with sea like creatures. It also wasn’t just a bed but the entire canopy was completely inlaid and craved as well.

I think the most interesting person I learned about and for whatever was most attracted to her painting to begin with was a Frances Teresa Stuart. She caught the eye of not one but two kings of Europe, starting with Louis XIV of France as a young teen of about 14 or so and was then sent to the court of Charles II in England. He of course tried many ways to make her his mistress which she refused but she kept good friends with for many years. I think the best part though at about 16 she married the Duke of Lennox who was actually very poor and didn’t have much to his name, therefore my theory is that it was a marriage for love instead of money and power. Though with her connection to Charles II her husband was made an ambassador and even when she was taken ill with small pox and horribly scared the King continued to send her gifts including a beautiful writing desk which we saw. The desk had many hidden compartments and drawers and was so nicely done with hearts and brass figurines. After her death she had the property renamed Lennoxlove.

After getting our fill on exploring the 17th century part of the home we went into the oldest part of the home. Which first off had a great cabinet of Mary Queen of Scots items including her death mask! The older part of the house wasn’t exactly like it once was but was a nice touch and is commonly used for weddings. In the basement we also saw the small chapel that has been created from the original storage room, it even had a small well for fresh water in case of having to hide in the house for extended amounts of time.

Well there you are the events of the last four days, I’m having a great time still and though it’s not been overly exciting I still really love this area. I think today we’re going into the city to find the “Jekyll and Hyde” pub and to go up Arthur’s seat. So I must be going!

Peace and Love,

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