Monday, 31 December 2012

Radioactive Beach!

Up north, in Thurso and Reay, they are so close to the ocean. I may have mentioned this before (in the summer when I visited Thurso & Reay before) that you can see Orkney from Thurso. Not as a dim, wee spot on the horizon (as I had imagined), but as a substantial bit of land comparatively close at hand. Well, there's a beach in Reay.

It's radioactive. No big deal, as my niece Katie would say. There's a nuclear power something-or-other hard-by (where Shonaidh works) and subsequently, the beach is radioactive. I tried to pretend it wasn't, so I didn't take a picture of any of the signs. Now I'm wishing I had! The signs warned about picking things up. Suffice it to say, I didn't pick anything up, which is a shame, as I've been able to collect shells and pebbles from all the other coastal spots I've visited in Scotland so far. Oh well!

We all went, and we took Waggy with us. Waggy is a jolly dog belonging to Rachel's grandparents.

On the way to the beach. Rachel & I were trying to figure out what these trees are - hazel?

The sand-dunes! And the ocean beyond. 

Atop the sand dune. It has a name, I'll have to ask & add it later Cnoc-something.

Despite the fact that I'm plumper than I should be, I am NOT as large as this puffy coat makes me out to be!

The path to the waves.

James & Waggy forging on ahead.

The joyful Waggy (she totally disregarded the signs about radioactive particles).

Se the wind blowing the waves as they come in? 

This was a first for me: wearing Wellies on the beach! I always associate sandals & bare-feet with the beach. But not in December (never mind about radioactive!). It was quite odd, but fun.

A ruined building - ice shed? Something of the sort. Course, I was thrilled. 

Sunday, 30 December 2012

We've traveled many miles over hedges and stiles...

On boxing day, after work, I took a bus up to Inverness. From there, Rachel & her dad picked me up and we drove the rest of the way to Thurso, and thence to Reay, where Rachel's mother Shonaidh and her sister Alice live. I was only able to stay for a couple of days, but I had a delightful time. It was so cozy and relaxing. We played a lot of games, watched films, and Alice persuaded Rachel & I to make a music video with her. It was grand! I had a fabulous time.

They have three cats. This time I was able to meet Meg, who was AWOL last time I visited them. And I tried, I really tried not to take TOO many pictures of the cats!

Jess lolling on top of the cupboard.

Molly (my favourite) napping on the chair.

Meeting the illusive Meg at last!

Meg on top of the computer - a favourite spot!

Shonaidh, Alice & Rachel. I think everyone looks more becoming in Christmas Cracker Hats!

Rachel & Meg. 

Meg played "Noah's Ark" with us.

Here is a link to the music video we did. Alice very cleverly edited it and put it on Youtube and everything! Enjoy!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

O he did whistle and she did sing on Christmas Day in the Morning!

Well, no one was whistling or singing, I admit. But it's such a cheerful line from the Christmas carol "As I sat on a Sunny Bank" that I thought I'd use it for my title. "As I sat on a Sunny Bank" is an alternate version of "I saw three ships". I like to think of it as an earlier & more authentic version. It certainly is jollier!

In any case, I had a lovely Christmas Day. In the morning, after getting up and eating some cereal, I called mother on Skype (who got herself up at an ungodly hour) in order to open my Christmas gifts in company. I was not originally going to do this, but Spring, when she found out about mother's offer, insisted that I take her up on it so that I wasn't alone!

My lovely gifts!

After this, I settled down to watch "A Child's Christmas in Wales" which is such a wonderful Christmas film, and which, I feel, MUST be watched on Christmas Day. It just has that feeling to it.

'Like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.'

Then, at about 2:00 Mercy came over to the flat, and called her Indian friend (Shalom) to join us, and at about half past, Brother Couper picked us up and we went to their house, in Dumbarton, for Christmas.

And it was a wonderful Christmas! We had a delicious and fancy meal, set on lovely plates, with Shloer (a non-alcoholic drink very popular with Mormons) and Christmas crackers. We began with soup, then had a traditional British Christmas meal, which included: mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, roast carrots & parsnips, brussel sprouts, ham, turkey, yorkshire pudding, pigs-in-a-blanket, stuffing and gravy. It was delicious! After the meal, we just relaxed and hung out, watching things on the TV (a Snowman sequel, of which no one exactly approved, the end of Tangled, and the 1st Lord of the Rings film), played games, talked and laughed. We were there till about 9:30!

There were gingerbread houses as table decorations as well (note the shloer to the left of the picture).

The Christmas feast!

Mercy and I enjoying our meal.

All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Leading up to Christmas!

On the Sunday before Christmas, I dressed up quite fancily for Christmas. I also sang a new Christmas song that my mother wrote (and for which Michael Moody wrote the music). The young women & young men did the readings for the Christmas programme, which was really nice.
Outside my flat. My door is the one to the right. Also, I put a garland on the railing - can you see it?

A pot of mulligatawny soup I made! It looks sort-of Christmassy!
On Christmas Eve, the YSA went to the city centre to sing carols. The missionaries always do this every year, but they wanted the YSA to spell them for a little while.

The missionaries singing in the very posh shopping centre Princes Square.

Then, later on Christmas eve, we had a nice dinner. We had two sets of elders, the Whitney's, Spring & Lars, and Mercy with two or her flatmates.

My centre-piece: candle, jar of swedish fish, Poinsettia & a pitcher of my hand-made eggnog! 

A group picture with everyone at the Christmas feast! 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Glasgow Cathedral & environs at Christmastime

I went into the city centre to run some errands, and thought I'd walk up to the cathedral and see it decked out for Christmas.

The large nativity set.

How have I never noticed this before? Part of a 13th C. shrine base for St Mungo,  possibly housed behind the high alter. 

Also, this was inside the Blacadar Aisle, which I'd never gone inside before.

Looking up from the Blacadar aisle into the rest of the cathedral.

Then I trotted across the street to go visit the Provand's Lordship. I was trying (unsuccessfully) to get a picture of myself in the doorway, all of which are very low.

That's a little better! 

Sitting in the window-seat. The St Mungo Museum can be glimpsed on the other side of the road.

And then, before going home, I took a peek at George Square, bedecked with thousands of lights!