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Scotland - April to October 2004

 

We arrived at Glasgow airport on 8th April and were met by some of Tom's family. It felt nice to be cool again! We bought an old car and after a few days resting and catching up with family and friends, we drove to Oban on Scotland's west coast. We spent the next 6 weeks there, helping put together a marina on the Island of Kererra, on the other side of Oban Bay. It felt good to be working hard in wide open spaces after so much confinement on a boat.

 

Sue working at the top of a mast.

 

Tom grinding.

 

We even tried our hand at tree felling in John's garden.

 

Scotland in spring is beautiful and fresh and we were lucky to have weeks of good weather, mainly working outside.

 

Loch Lomond.

Castle Stalker.
 

However, our house was between tenants and Tom had the offer of a job back in Aberdeen, so off we went back home to Kemnay to make some money.

Our house in Kemnay, Aberdeenshire.

 

Spring in our back garden.

For the next few months Tom worked at Honeywell, a former employer, while Sue repaired and redecorated the house and worked in the garden.

But, it wasn't all work - we climbed a couple of hills, helped a friend with the electrics on his boat and helped other friends thistle-howking and spraying in their newly-planted forest. It was good just to see folk again.

 

All set to go thistle-howkin' with the Lazy Dogs. (Picture courtesy of Anne Taylor)

Entering the ramparts of the iron age hill fort on Bennachie.

 

On top of Mither Tap, Bennachie (Kemnay is in the distance).

Ben Rinnes.

 

Tom and Mr Percival's electrics.

 

Sue and Eleanor helped out at the archaeological dig which takes place every summer at the Bishops Palace, Fetternear, beside Kemnay. We didn't find a lot of exciting stuff, but sure moved a mountain of dirt!

 

Look out China, here we come!

 

Animal bones, glass, pipe stem and pottery - one day's worth of finds.

 

The Bishops Palace, Fetternear.

 

 

The summer in Scotland turned out to be quite a wet one this year and we had so much rain that there were floods. However there was still enough good weather to be able to make lots of jam and summer puddings from our own garden's delicious raspberries and strawberries.

 

Port Elphinstone, Inverurie, with the rubbish bin and river-side picnic table barely showing above the water.

 

Put out that BBQ fire!

Summer Pudding ... mmmm!

 

We also joined Inverurie Pipe Band, where Sue changed from snare drumming to tenor drumming and Tom got some much-needed tuition.

 

 

Inverurie Pipe Band about to compete at the Mintlaw Competition.

 

 

An unexpected bonus was a last-minute all-expenses-paid trip with the band to Calella, near Barcelona, to perform at a fair for a week. As Tom says, "I much prefer being lucky to being smart!".

We learned to play the Catalan national anthem "Els Segadors" on the pipes and this went down really well with the locals - first standing ovation we've ever had!

 

SCENES FROM THE FAIR AND CALELLA, SPAIN

 

Monument to La Sardana, the national dance of Catalonia.

 

 

Just before playing through the streets in Calella.

 

Lace making demo.

 

 

Making pastries.

 

Locally made Vermouth (yummy!), with a wee snack.

 

 

The pipers playing the Catalan national anthem, Els Segadors, in the posh (note the chandelier!) marquee.

Parade of the Giants.

 

 

Some of the big giants weigh in at 80 kg.

 

Catalan pipers.

 

A wee giant taking a rest!

 

Spanish crusaders.

 

 

Drummers and "grallers" (pipers).

Giant paella.

 

 

Cutting the ham in our favourite bar.

 

SCENES FROM BARCELONA

 

Barcelona Cathedral.

 

A fountain in the cloisters of the medieval cathedral in Barcelona.

 

Tom with a friend...

 

...and another friend?

Seafood stall in the market.

 

 

Bird seller on Las Ramblas.

 

La Sagrada Familia.

 

 

 

Inside La Sagrada Familia.

Barcelona was an interesting place with architecture from Carthaginian, Roman, medieval, all the way through to modern times, of which the most outstanding is the iconic Gaudi-designed cathedral of "La Sagrada Familia". This building, started about a hundred years ago, is due to be finished in another twenty years. We found the design disturbing in that, unlike more traditional designs, it's not obvious how it's all supported. It was also a bit of a hotch-potch due to other architects having to design the bits that Gaudi did not get finished before his death.

 

 

A great wee bar that served cured ham and tostadas ... oh, and beer!

 

 

Last night of the fair - fireworks!

 

 

The Costa Brava at Calella.

 

 

 

When we got home, we had a week to arrange things for the new tenant, pack up the house and pack our bags for Venezuela. We flew out of Glasgow on 5th October, ready for some more sailing...

 

 



Contact us:  tomandsue@mcnaughtan.net