Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Time to catch up

Well, it has definitely been a while since my last update, so there are plenty of things to talk about. Of course the most pressing item on everyone's mind is the holiday season.  How did ol' Andrew spend the holidays in Scotland? I will get into that later in the post, but for now let me give you a quick update.

My first semester at Stirling is over and although it was nice, I am happy it is over.  The last few weeks were very trying.  My computer crashed and I lost all my work, so I had to scramble to finish two big assignments in only a few days.  I would bore you with the details of what the assignments were, but since I had to do them twice I would rather not think about it again.  Well thats all the schooling I am going to talk about in this post.


So this is from about half-way up Dumyat.  The Wallace Monument is in the distance on the right. This was part of a class field trip, and I must say- it was better than those ones in elementary school.  We climbed a hill, walked through an old church and graveyard and had afternoon tea at a local farmer's market. This trip was two or three days before the big snow storm.
It is tough to see them, but those are sheep in the background. This was on the hill walk up Dumyat. (That is me in the foreground)
So here is the old church and graveyard. The site is normally closed to the public, but we were let in to tour the place for our PR assignment.  This site is called the Old Logie Kirk.  This is the spirtual home of this part of Scotland.  This would be where locals would go for weddings, funerals, and other important events.  This site has been the location of the church for 900 years.  The ruins on this site date back some 500 years and the graves 200-400 years old. 
Here I am again at the back of the church.  Over to the right sit the ruins of the old school house.
Some of the tombstones at the Old Logie Kirk.
This is the current location of the Logie Kirk.  This is the front of the church and in the back is a big cemetery.   This building was built in the early 19th century.  It is the parrish church of  Causewayhead, Cambuskenneth and some of Bridge of Allan. We also visited this church for a wonderful midnight Christmas Eve service.  We sang tradtional Christmas hymns-Still the Night, Hark the Herald, etc.  This was my first midnight Christmas service that I can remember; it was a great way to celebrate.
This is the edge of the Ochil Hills behind the church. 
The following weekend was our Thanksgiving celebration.  Now for those of you who are curious, Scotland does not celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is an American holiday.  You will all be happy to know that we did Thanksgiving right.  We had turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and many more holiday dishes.  For some reason though, none of us thought to bring a camera along, so I do not know of any pictures that exist from the occasion.  That's okay though because memories last a lifetime.  And the one memory most of us will recall when we think back to this particular Thanksgiving will most certainly be the winter weather.  Snow covered the city and much of Scotland for the rest of the month and most of December.  Apparently, the snow forgot to let the government know it was coming into town so it kind of closed everything down for a few days.  I don't really know how severe the storm actually was, all I know is that the Scottish Minister of Transport resigned shortly after news came out that people were stuck in their cars for 2-3 days.  Here are a few memories of the snow.
The Wallace Monument with a bit of snow.
This is my backyard a few days after the second snow.
Stirling with a few inches of snow.
Our first snowman of the season--Horace.
One thing I have learned about myself with all of the snow that fell is, that I am not very good at staying on my feet when walking across ice and snow. 

So what did I do for Christmas?  Well, I decided to spend some money on myself. That's right-new jeans, new shirt, and a new rucksack-- along with a Christmas stocking by the fireplace.  I went to Edinburgh the weekend before Christmas to visit a friend from NC.  It was a nice trip and nice to see a bit of Edinburgh during the holidays.  Christmas eve started with a trip to Stirling castle with Amanda and Bridget. There was a pub stop at the Settle Inn-the oldest pub in Stirling- and we capped off the night at the Logie Kirk.  Christmas day was spent with Vaishali.  We enjoyed a roasted duck with homemade cranberry sauce and, of course, it would not have been Christmas if we did not watch It's a Wonderful Life.  Monday the 27th we set out to Glasgow for some great post-Christmas deals. Although the weather was a bit soggy and it was really crowded, it was nice to be in the big city. It was a great Christmas! Here are some photos from our castle visit and Glasgow.
At the base of the castle, current structures built circa 1500-1600.  As you can see, there is still some snow on the ground.  I recall this day being rather cold.  Somewhere around -4 and -7 Centigrade.
Looking back at the Ochil Hills with the monument in the distance.

Entrance to the Castle.
Handmade tapestries in the Chapel Royal. These tapestries are of the Hunt of the Unicorn series that is still being worked on.  One of these tapestries will take four years to complete.   
Playing a sweet card game in the Great Hall.
The Great Kitchens.  I have noticed everything in a castle complex is called 'great' or 'royal' if I start referring to my living quarters as the Great Flat or something will it be considered a castle?
Looking out over the city.
Yeah, so I went to Glasgow and ended up being my jeans from GAP. No there is no irony here.
Our first picture in Glasgow--the irony here is that Waxy O'Connor's is an Irish pub. Did not realize that until after the picture was taken.   
I like the lights.
Vaishali and I have a slight unintentional obsession with tartan--it's a long story.

    Well that wraps up 2010.  I know I did not talk about Hogmanay and the New Year, you will just have to come over next year to experience it for yourself.

Song of the Week

Happy New Year
Sincerely,
Andrew

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