Thursday, September 28, 2006

Don't mess with this woman

I don't have any new adventures to describe today, but I'm avoiding work so I thought I'd post another pic from my camping trip to the Valley. Just a note: not all the guns at Port Royal are bolted to the wall. Please don't let this get back to park staff!

Jacquie with, erm, . . . a display broomstick.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fancy tools

My new computer arrived yesterday, a brand new MacBook. Silly Apple even puts thought into the packing styrofoam, how delighful! A fancy new computer won't really make my posts any better, but they may make them as-if-not-more-frequent: I can't believe it has been nine days since my last post!

I really like taking night pictures, but that is very difficult to accomplish in a moving vehicle, as the attached picture shows. Still, the variety of colours that were captured and the squiggles are aesthetically pleasing (if not precisely *art*), don't you think?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weekend jaunt

Jacquie and I went camping this weekend. Our main destination was Port Royal, where Jacquie wanted to do research for a Planning class. Really, we just ended up playing around. I could go on and on about Port Royal's significance to Canadian public history, but its also just a great place to dress up when all the elderly tourists aren't looking.

After "hitting" Port Royal, Jacquie and I went to Annapolis Royal, where I finally got to go to the botanical gardens! It was a blast, I really loved the Victorian garden. Those Victorians, such tacky, exuberant taste in plants!

Also saw the most fantastic antique/nautical/hardware/giftshop! Anyone passing through, please pick me up the glass starfish, about 8 inches across, $15. I couldn't justify spending at the time, but I sure can now.

Today after packing up the tent (we stayed in Delap's Cove, on the Fundy Shore) we took a leisurely saunter back along the old #1 to Windsor, where we attended the Hants County Exhibition. Unfortunately it was mostly 4-H competitions this weekend, so I didn't get to see the plethora of befurred and befeathered bunnies and chickens that I did last year (*sigh*), but there were a lot of goats and I scratched their heads. There were also HUGE horses, about 7 feet tall, and I did not like them. Scary.

But the "big" draw, of course, is the giant pumpkins! I'd love to see the pumpkin regatta some day, but for now I will settle for the pumpkin-and-garden-tiller display.

An excellent weekend.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mr. Burro-ito

What did I behold when I exited the ferry to Dartmouth today, but a parking lot, empty of cars and full of animals. There is some kind of country music festival taking place at Alderney Gate this weekend, and half of the parking lot is now a petting zoo. No country music concert is complete without two goats, two llamas, a handful of pigs, a calf, and a burro, of course. The pavement has been covered with straw and the goats and llamas are greedily chomping at the dried corn stalks decorating the fence. Not this delightful Mexican burro, though, he's waiting for handouts of corn cobs from my father. So cute.

Back in the boat

Mom and I went sailing Wednesday for the first time in over a month. It was great, good wind and pleasant weather, but the course was a little, er, brief. Windseeker finished in half an hour, which means we crossed the line at about 6:30 p.m. What do you do when you finish so early? Spend an hour de-cluttering, of course - Andrew took the opportunity to lighten the load for the Convoy Cup, a 24-hour race happening this weekend. Mom didn't get the call to go, though, so she'll be crying her way through the weekend. Just kidding. She can look at these pictures and remember what she'll be missing, although I don't know if that will make her feel better. *looks thoughtfully at ceiling*

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Beach Walk

Mom and I went for a walk along Lawrencetown Beach today, and had tea in the old MacDonald House (should "old" be capitalized?). There was a surfing contest going on, and as the afternoon progressed, some of the waves started to pick up. Here is picture taken during one of the heats, as we were leaving.

Happy Birthday

It's my brother's birthday today, so what better occasion is there to post this adorable picture of my nephew Kamron? I don't want to take away from Kohl's cuteness, who is so manly and serious when you take his picture these days you'd think he was posing circa 1880, but he has had and will have his time in the spotlight. Happy Birthday, Chris!

(This picture was taken Thursday - it's amazing and delightful how much Kam has changed in one month)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Yum, plastic

Jacquie and I went to Boston Pizza last night for dinner, where I bought the perogie pizza (mmm, perogies) and we split a piece of chocolate vinyl cake. I'm sorry, I mean ice cream cake, although, if you've ever asked for the desert menu at Boston Pizza before, you may have been brought this delicious-looking display of the best play-food ever. I would have loved to have these deserts as part of my old kitchen set... the only part of that that looked realistic was the fried egg.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I got home at around 6 pm last night, the flight was uneventful but the combination of traffic and the length of the security line certainly added to the stress of getting to the gate. The meal on the plane was shepard's pie, not very good but I did skim all the mashed potatoes off the top and eat those. It was kind of exciting seeing islands under the plane that I had biked around a week or two earlier - I got an excellent picture of Barra and Vatersay, very cool.

It's so nice to sleep in my own bed again! Naturally, I had to include a picture. Please note kitty-cat on the bed. She apparently spent a lot of time there while I was gone, the bed was absolutely matted in her fur. But I cleaned the entire house today (vacuumed and dusted and cleaned the bathroom, that is) so her presence has been reduced. I can't explain it, but all that time in hostels having to wash up immediately after eating and dealing with grimy bathrooms has made me a bit dirt-phobic. Is this a whole new Sarah? Time will tell.

My garden is doing lovely, and uncle Don took the time to weed it a few times while I was gone (thanks!). The rest of the yard looks a bit bedraggled - its been two years with only basic maintenance - but we'll have it looking snazzy next year.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Heading home

This was the view over Halifax Harbour this morning as the sun rose. And I will be home this time tomorrow! It's still a bit strange to think you can cross the Atlantic in a day. I am glad to be coming home, to have my own bed, my kitty cat, see my friends and family again, and start a new school year (sorry, "uni," my friend Jennifer hates it when I call it school). However, I am also pretty sad. I don't feel like I've seen half as much as I should have, and that makes me feel like I've disappointed myself in travelling. It is hard getting all around Scotland, however, when you only have three weeks and you refuse to do the touristy things. Kind of limits your options in this well-developed tourist haven. Still, it was beautiful, and I can't wait to come back. Maybe with a little tent and a motorcycle, and all the pamphlets I have picked up on this trip. At least I've learned how to get over the conversion rate and just spend... as if that's a good thing, right?

...More Bus Blight, and back to Glasgow

Naturally, my morning tour to Culloden was complicated by the fact that the normal tour bus had broken down, and we had to cram onto a mini bus instead. There almost wasn't room for me! Then, Thursday afternoon, the bus was late getting to Inverness, so we had to wait an extra hour to take the next bus - although it worked out for me, I didn't have to change buses at Perth. But then again it didn't, because I got to talking to a girl named Nicola from outside Inverness, and I missed all the scenery. :(

Went shopping today in Glasgow, bought *way* too much, but I think, I *think* I will be able to pay it off on my next credit statement. I don't feel the horrible panic of overspending, in other words, so let's hope my credit statement confirms my beliefs! I bought three pairs of shoes... when did I become a shoe person? Ooooh, shoes... it's a terrible, terrible sickness.


I booked a Thursday morning tour to Culloden. I don't really know what I expected, but I found myself anticipating the visit with what I think would be a similar sensation if I were to visit Vimy Ridge. Naturally, I started questioning this, asking if it was a reponse to the romance built up around the last stand of the clans, a "Braveheart" kind of creation, or if it was a true response to what I knew about the events of Culloden in April 1746. But in the end, I realized I can't really separate the two, because as much as Tourist Scotland is built upon the image of the rugged highland warrior and his noble failure to put Charles Stuart on the throne, these were men, soldiers, with families, with some kind of code that they lived by, and they did die at Culloden field and they were given no mercy by the English... and Scottish people (the ones who are 50 and older, at least) seem to live with their history (or heritage, troubling complication?) wrapped so closely around them, still.

The practical, quantitative, logical side of my mind wanted to question the emotions I brought with me to Culloden. I think I wrestled with it all so much, though, that I effectively squashed most of the feelings I had anticipating the visit. All the bored Italian women and the quizzical-looking Germans dispelled the rest. All I ended up thinking was "what was Charles Stuart and his military adivsers thinking???" You don't need historical hindsight to figure out that Culloden Moor was a horrible site for a pitched battle between English guns and infantry, and a highlander charge.

Bus Blight and Inverness

I seemed to have terrible luck with buses for two days in a row. Wednesday, I crawled out of Eilidh's flat at the bright and early hour of 10:15 am, to take the bus to Inverness. This had nothing to do with supper the night before, where I had only two glasses of wine, and more to do with needing 8 hours of sleep a night, which I can assure you, staying in hostels and strangers flats, never happens.

I caught the 10:45 bus to Inverness, but was informed by the bus driver that it was the long, boring route. The coastal route. "Oh, that sounds good to me!" I said chipperly, "I'm not in a rush to get anywhere!" And then she spoke too soon. The bus broke down three blocks away from the bus station, and we had to wait another hour for the next. And it really was the slow route, although I have to admit I do not regret being able to see all those neat little coastal towns that I would have missed, like MacDuff and Banff, but I do regret not having access to food or water or a bathroom for seven hours!

Inverness is nice, very busy during the day and absolutely dead once the shops close. Except, from 12 am on the hooligans roam the streets and absolutely scream in all the alleyways until they lose their voices - it takes about 4 hours. I'm sure they must nurse their voices with wool scarves and honey water during the day, just to be ready that night for more screaming fits. Grrrrr... I used to think it was terribly age-ist and overly critical for Scottish and English towns to issue all those curfews and asbos and youth control measures. Now I understand completely. Lock 'em up if they're out past 12 am! Stupid teenagers.

Don't have many pics from Inverness, but the ones I have included are first, a statue of Flora MacDonald (I'll explain who she is to anyone who asks, but won't elaborate right now), and second, a view across the River Ness from Inverness Castle.


I left Monday morning for Aberdeen, and stayed at Eilidh's flat, who is a friend of Jennifer and Susan's. It was a nice flat, although I stayed away for much of the evening waiting for the roomate to move out, and when I did go in, I found clear evidence the place had been lived in by a guy for most of the summer.

I haven't included any pictures of Aberdeen here. It is an attractive enough city, but I didn't altogether "dig the vibe" in the city. It's about the same size as Halifax, and supposedly quite enrichened by the offshore oil and gas industry, but while the harbours were busy enough, there were quite a few hooligans and homeless and down-on-their-luck types milling around...

The first day in Aberdeen I visited the Marischal Museum, a small Victorian collection of Everything in one of Aberdeen's universities. WELL! For a history geek like me, it was a dream. One gallery was rather cheekily organized alphabetically, using artifacts to explain Scottish history. The other was a collection of cultural and archaeological artifacts collected from around the world by the university's alumni. There are plenty of these hodge-podge museums in the country (the Kelvinside being the prima donna of them all), but I always found myself leaving them confused about what I had seen. The Marischal was wonderful because it acknowledged that Victorian aspect and encouraged visitors to view everything as a product of that peculiar cultural era. Fantastic.

Anyway, my second day in Aberdeen I met a girl on the bus to Dunottar Castle from Northern California. She talks more than my friend Sara, if any of you know her, and there wasn't a single pause in our conversation from 12 pm to 12 pm. It was fantastic. I made a friend! I took a picture at the pub we ate at, Ma Cameron's, where I had the Angus beef burger and it was delicious.