Sunday, June 24, 2018

Stirling Castle

Today I'd like to take you to Scotland.  I am posting our travels as I have recorded in my journal of our wonderful trip to Britain to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary taken last fall. If you follow Susan Branch you know that she is just finishing up her wonderful journey to England, Ireland and Wales. In fact she is on the Queen Mary 2 sailing back home.  It's a wonderful way to travel across the pond and we did the same on both of our journeys to Britain.  Susan's book, A Fine Romance, inspired Grayden and I to first go to England in 2015.  If you love Britain as I do, you must read her book.  She will be writing another one about her current journey.  I just saw her video of the most gorgeous views and it made me cry.  I'm not sure about that reaction, but I love Britain so much!  I'm a very sensitive one and feel everything from the bottom of my heart.  I make no apologies for my sensitivity as I believe God made me that way for a reason.  So let's go see the beautiful Castle Stirling in Stirling, Scotland.

We started our day early so we would arrive at Castle Stirling in a timely manner.  Our drive was lovely as we traveled along the way to Scotland from the Lake District.

It didn't take long to take the road to Glasgow and follow our GPS right up to the front of the Castle Stirling.

As you can see the dark clouds began to roll in and give Stirling Castle an air of foreboding!  I'm imagining how folks would have felt if they wanted to approach this castle back when it was a fortress!  You can see it sitting up on Castle Hill from miles away.

Unlike Edinburgh Castle we were able to drive right up to the entrance and park.  

Just like in Edinburgh Castle, many men were wearing their tartan kilts.

Walking through the Inner Gate I'm realizing the ancient stones I'm walking on and how very special Castle Stirling was in Scottish history.

King Robert the Bruce stands on the castle esplanade.  Stirling Castle's long history begins before Robert the Bruce.  The volcanic rock the castle sits on is Scotland's symbol of independence and national pride. Stirling Castle was mentioned in the 10th century and has been home to most monarchs that have either lived here or crowned here or born here or died here.  If you want to read more about its history you can go to The Stirling Castle Website to learn more.

I am immediately drawn to the Queen Anne garden in front of the Prince's tower.  Looking so lovely this September morning.

Moving into the Inner Close and Royal Buildings we view the collection of Stirling Heads.  This area was added by James V.  A lot of what we are viewing is attributed to him.  Located inside the Royal Palace is the Stirling Heads Gallery.  These wooden heads depict the images of kings and queens and biblical figures as well as mythological ones.  They decorated the palace ceilings until the collapse of 1777.  The figures we viewed in the gallery were oak and unpainted reproductions that Historic Scotland commissioned to show how they were during James V's reign.  We then viewed the ceiling with the ornately painted figures.

You can get a slight glimpse of the ceiling in the upper left corner of this photo.

This is the ceiling with the painted heads depicting the royal ancestors of James V.

The Palace is ornately decorated in the style that James V saw when in France.  

The tapestries in the palace were added by Historic Scotland.  Their research showed that James V and Mary of Guise owned more than 100 tapestries.  Historic Scotland had reproduction tapestries made of James V's lost pieces.

The views from Stirling Castle are  spectacular!  Even on a cloudy day it took my breath away.

This is the view of the King and Queens Knot.  This was once part of the formal gardens of Stirling Castle.  Queen Victoria ordered it to be restored in 1842.  As you can see the octagonal mound rises to 3 meters ( about 9.5 ft ) high and a rectangular parterre is to its south east. 

We are standing in the Lady's Lookout in the castle viewing the gardens below.

The Palace and the Great Hall had lovely gardens in bloom.

The Royal Palace bought renaissance architecture to Stirling Castle ordered by James V.  

As you know a castle is a city in itself.  

There was a mock up scene preparing for a great feast for the royals of the day in the Great Kitchens. 

Seeing Stirling Castle and visiting buildings that date between 1490 and 1600 gave me chills.  These buildings were built before my ancestor came to the New World. 

Join us next time as we visit another lovely place in Scotland. ♥


Monday, June 18, 2018

A Little of This and That

We've had a busy week starting with getting a new shower installed in our master bath.  Our home is 45 years old and the original tile wasn't holding up.  We're happy with the new shower and it certainly looks a lot better than the old tiles that I frankly could never keep clean.  There is always something that needs to be done when you own a home, isn't it?  We try to get a major project done each year to keep things up to date.  It's easier on the pocketbook that way for us. 

The silkworm moth fell to his demise among the moss in the side yard.

Our daughter came for a short visit this week as well.  We enjoyed being with her and she took us all out to dinner to celebrate Father's Day while she was here.  Living so far apart makes it difficult for us all to get together, but we make the most of it when we can.

While she was here we were able to enjoy some time on the patio and a game of bocce ball.

Have you had your eyes checked lately?  I'm told we should do that every year, but we never do.  I guess we're at the age where we really should.  As we are aging I find there are many things we "should" do!  Soon we both need to take our prescriptions and get new glasses. 

It doesn't take new glasses to see we need to do some edging in this bed.  The shrubbery needs a haircut as well.

We did get to the pruning of the shrubbery out front.  There are azaleas that we prune out there that must be done before the middle of June or we are sacrificing buds for next year.

Our son and grands are coming for a visit this weekend, so I've planned our menu and baked a pan of brownies.  I can now find a tablecloth easily without having to iron.

I've been ironing all the linens that have been in a pile on my laundry table downstairs.  Being one who doesn't particularly like ironing, I've been quite lazy about that job.  Recently, Cheryl at Thinking About Home, wrote a post about ironing her linens.  That made me do some serious thinking about getting that task done.  I'm so happy that chore is almost done.  I even got Grayden to give up a few shelves in the chifferobe to store my large collection of linens.  I used to have them in a few drawers in the guest room.  This was not a good place as there were too many tablecloths along with napkins.  Having done this job really makes me happy.  Thank you Cheryl for the inspiration.

Summer will be here soon and I can already tell by the flowers that are in pots that they now require frequent watering.  We have had quite a bit of rain this June so far--5.2 inches--unheard of for us!  It's been a lovely Spring and now we're looking forward to a happy Summer.  Do you have plans?  The beach?  The pool?  A vacation or staycation?  Whatever you have planned, I hope you find joy in your days. ♥ 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Levens Hall and Gardens and Warton Old Rectory in England

I'm continuing to post about our visit to Britain last fall to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.  Come along with us today as we visit a very interesting garden and home.

Levens Hall is the family home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bagot.  This fine Elizabethan home has fine oak paneling, and Cordova leather wall coverings.  Though there is no photography allowed inside we enjoyed our time visiting the inside that is full of early furnishings and wonderful objects that have been collected through the years. 

I first learned about Levens Hall from one of my blogging friends, Cathy.  She wrote a story about Gabriel and his adventure to Scotland.  On his journey he stopped at Levens Hall.  When I checked out the information I knew we wanted to stop here on our visit to England.  If you want to read about Gabriel's adventure you can go to The Adventures of Poetry and Gabriel  In this chapter Gabriel stops at Levens Hall.
Cathy wrote and illustrated this charming story.

Levens Hall is known for its topiary gardens.  There is a rose garden and herbaceous borders and huge beech hedges.  Let's go take a look.

The topiary gardens are enormous!  When you need this kind of machinery to keep your topiary shaped, you know you mean business.

This garden requires quite a landscaping force.

I was in awe at the size and the beauty of this garden.

I couldn't help but take a lot of photos of this lovely garden.  

You can see the pruners have more work ahead of them, so we'll leave them to do that.  Let's go visit the Warton Old Rectory ruins before we call it a day.

Can you believe the beauty?  I want to always remember.

Warton Old Rectory is not too far along this hedgerow road.

As you can see from the information this place is quite ancient.  Built in the 1300's!

This rectory was not directly affected by the Suppression of the Monasteries in the 16th century.  It was in ruins by 1721.

This property is kept up by the English Heritage.  We are the only ones looking about today.

The north end of the building used to have a cottage that was inhabited until the 20th century.  It was then turned over to the state in 1971 when they removed all the later additions and kept only the medieval structures intact.

You can read about Warton Old Rectory above.  Remember that you can enlarge any photo by clicking on it.

We can see clearly why these old stone walls are still standing!  The thickness of them assures that they will be standing for many more years.

This is the rental car that took us all over Britain.  Traveling on the left and enjoying every minute.  Join us again soon as we are going back to Scotland!