Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


So many things to feel thankful for - too many to name.

I hope you feel the same way.

Have a wonderful gathering with family and/or friends on this holiday of Thanksgiving.

We are joining my youngest sister's family for the big meal but first we are meeting up in Washington to walk in the Trot for Hunger.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Scotland - Outside Dunblane Cathedral

I had a request for photos of the cemetery outside the Dunblane Cathedral by Anne of Annes Creative Cornucopia

And since I see I haven't posted in over a week, thank you Anne for the suggestion.  Life has been so very busy that's about all the reason I can give for so few postings.

Enjoy these scenes on different days of the  lichen covered headstones in the cemetery that completely surrounds the cathedral.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Scotland - Dunblane Cathedral

It has been almost a month since we returned from Scotland.  Lots of photographs still to share.  This post will be a long one to share photos of Dunblane Cathedral.  We had lots of opportunities to visit  there since we were based in Dunblane for our two weeks.

I am quoting from the Dunblane Cathedral booklet given to us by our guide for the Cathedral and published by The Society of Friends of Dunblane Cathedral, 1987.

"Scotland was once served by many fine medieval churches.  Sadly and for a variety of historical reasons, many of these, including the great border abbeys and the cathedrals of St. Andrews and Elgin, now lie in ruins.

Dunblane Cathedral is one of several medieval cathedrals which happily still house living congregations.

"The fabric of the building is maintained by Historic Scotland as a church of the Church of Scotland.

A cathedral in the Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian in constitution, is simply a parish church like any other.

But the Church of Scotland continues to refer to Dunblane, like its other medieval cathedral churches, as a 'Cathedral' thus honoring their role in the development of the Christian witness throughout Scotland's history.

"Today Dunblane Cathedral is the church for a congregation of more than one thousand members and welcomes visitors from all over the world."

"Christianity was first established here by St. Blane around the year 600, if the old tradition is to believed."

"The oldest object to be seen in the Cathedral today is the standing stone cross...It dates perhaps from the 9th century and carries Pictish designs similar to those on many fine stones in other parts of Pictland.  It was found in 1873 under the floor of the chapter house."

"The woodwork is one of the glories of Dunblane Cathedral and include particularly fine examples of late 19th and early 20th century craftsmanship... The front pews of the nave ... are decorated with carved animals..."

Carved figures around the pulpit reflect the history of the Cathedral.

"A stone church was built here in the 12th century; only small traces of it now remain.  But the fine tower surviving today was in its lower four stories, built around David's time (not sure who David was) ...it was probably detached from the church, and served for defense as well as for a belfry.  Its upper stories were added in about 1500."

"The tower houses nine change ringing bells, the largest almost 25 cwt.  Change-ringing is not common in Scotland and Dunblane has one of only eighteen such towers."

"In 1233 Clement, a Dominican friar, became bishop.... As a Dominican, Clement knew the importance of preaching and so gave us the magnificent nave with its aisles though he probably did not live to see it completed.  He died in 1258 and the effigy on what is believed to be his tomb is in the choir."

"For the next 300 years, until the Reformation, the cathedral was filled with more and more elaborate furnishings."

"In 1560 the Church of Scotland became reformed or protestant.  The reformers swept away furnishings and decoration which they considered to be signs of idolatry....no attempt was made to keep up the whole building.  By about 1600 the roof of the nave had fallen in; its walls and pillars stood roofless for 300 years.  But the choir was maintained and used continuously over the centuries."

"In 1889 a great restoration of the whole church was begun... the nave was reroofed and the whole church brought back into use..."

Here is is on a Sunday morning after the service.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Scotland - Over the Southern Border to Hadrian's Wall

When I knew we were headed to Scotland and I could see how close we would be to Hadrian's Wall, I put that on the list as a "must see".

We drove south from Dunblane on a rainy day, one of the few all rain days, to Carlisle then headed east to Birdoswald Roman Fort.

The visitor center was under construction because we were in the off season by this time, but the grounds were open once we paid our admission.

The wall isn't nearly as high as it once was.  Erosion and the scavenging of stone over the millennia have taken a toll.

It still was impressive though.

"For 300 years, from the second to the fifth centuries, Birdoswald was one of 16 forts built as part of the Hadrian's Wall frontier system.  Today, its defenses are the best preserved of any along the Wall."
[source: "Birdoswald Roman Fort by Tony Wilmott/English Heritage Guidebooks]

You can see the outlines of the fort.

Part of the fort became this farm/manor house in the late 17th century.  There is also evidence that the area was occupied in the Dark Ages after the Romans left.

Huge granary building once occupied this area, elevated off the ground.

A sheep stand on remnants of a wall.

One of the gates with the corners still straight.

The outside of the wall is dressed stone and the interior rubble.

It was worth the trip despite the rain.  It is quite an engineering marvel.  
The guidebook we purchased (quoted above) was a fascinating read for the history of this place.  It's something I'll likely reread too.

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