Crossing Paths with Mary, Queen of Scots in Scotland – Photo Essay

We left Dalhousie in the rain and drove to Melville Castle. Finished in 1791, it’s one of the “newer” castles in the area. We inquired in hopes of finding some bit of history about my relative, Mary Melville, but discovered some about another Mary, Queen of Scotts, and her lover, Rizzio. They lived in a manor house previously built on the estate. He planted a chestnut tree in her honor and she reciprocated with five oaks. The trees remain to this day.

Melville Castle 1

Melville Castle entrance

The castle has been remodeled to accommodate guests as a hotel. Danny signs in.

Melville Castle entry

We rested our weary bones in the day room.

Melville Castle Day Room

The back stairs.

Stairway in Melville Castle

The restaurant for hotel guests.

Dinner in the dungeon

On our way out of the castle.

Leaving Melville Castle

From there, we drove to Linlithgow Palace, Mary, Queen of Scotts’ Happy Castle. I could see why it was given that name. Long winding passageways opened up to grand porches for viewing the vast countryside and waterways. I could imagine Mary hanging out on the deck in a sumptuous gown, glass of wine in her delicate hand, while plotting how to hide the Knight’s Templar’s treasures entrusted to her. An enemy of the Roman Catholic Church, cousin, King Henry, would surely help the cause.

From there, we drove to my ancestor’s old stomping grounds in Perth. My great grandmother, Mary Melville, somehow met Ed McCartan of Northern Ireland and they immigrated to Waukesha, Wisconsin. My dad was Ed McCartan, Jr. Mary Melville was his Scottish grandmother.

Funny note made from the County:

“The divorce case of EDWARD and MARY MCCARTAN which appears on the circuit court calendar, may as well be taken off. Just before the session of the court began, it was found that the parties had become reconciled and were living together again in connubial bliss”.

Source: Waukesha Freeman (Waukesha, Wis.) May 24, 1883

Editor Note: Perhaps after bearing 11 children the romance had faded slightly.

In 1900, most of the family has moved to the town of Richfield in Washington County. Edward and wife, Mary, live in separate places; Edward with his daughter Mary, and Mary, Sr. lives by herself but only several houses away. Apparently, the divorce reconciliation didn’t last long.

As we drove past stone and stucco homes, we passed a lovely park and lake. I had expected it to be a quaint and small town, but it was filled with historical significance and interesting architecture. The town dates back to prehistoric times. The Stone of Destiny once rested in the Scone Abbey where the King of Scots was crowned. Later, Perth became the stomping grounds for Jacobite uprisings.

Following signs to the city center, we found ourselves on Melville Street. Brilliant!

Perth City Center

We parked the car and splashed through puddles in search of a café for late lunch and tea. After passing several cute shops, one caught my eye. The windows were filled with tweeds for women with extraordinary pops of color. I stepped inside Blues and Browns and Danny dutifully followed.

We met Karen, a very enthusiastic shop owner, who regaled us with Hollywood connection. As a send off for her daughter’s first college semester, she decided to blow her money on a trip to Paris to visit her great aunt, Olivia De Havilland, (an Academy Award winner, twice!) Being a seamstress, she spent hours sewing fine clothing suitable for someone of that stature. So very excited, the day finally arrived. They coiffed their hair and had their nails done then made their way to her Paris apartment.

But like so many grand laid plans, life has other ideas. While on their way, the skies opened up and it poured. Without rain gear or an umbrella, they soon became soaked to the skin. Water dripped from their hems. They had come too far to turn around now. The maid buzzed them inside and gave them each a plush robe to wear while their clothes dried. They met their prestigious relative and enjoyed the afternoon sipping tea and chatting. Olivia is one hundred years old now and still lives in Paris.

The cute shop owner recommended the cute Rose House café/flower shop around the corner for a snack on a pedestrian mall. We met the owner and staff who told us a bit of history. Situated across from the cafe is St. John’s Kirk, the Church my relatives most likely attended. This historic building dates back to the 1200s where John Knox gave a speech which led to the Scottish Reformation in 1559.

Coffee at the Rose House

After a scrumptious soup and sandwich, we jumped into the car and drove to Inverness. The adventure takes a new twist of fate! Stay tuned. Lots more to come…

Related post:

Scotland – So Far, So Very Good – Photo Essay

Scotland – So far, So Very Good – Photo Essay

So far, our vacation has been spectacular. We started in Glasgow and drove to Edinburgh. I only drove the wrong way once, but immediately rode over the median, much to the amusement of Scottish onlookers. Oopsy!

Since we are already up in Inverness and Nessie is waiting for us to take a peek, I will take you on a photo journey of only a few of the places we have visited in the last few days.

Dalhousie Castle

We stayed in Dalhousie Castle for two nights.  With spectacular history and equally fine appointments, I was ready to move in.

Ready to move into Dalhousie Castle

We took a tour of the Rosslyn Church of Da Vinci Code fame. Legend has it, when the Roman Catholic Church tried to disband the Knights Templar, they hid their treasure somewhere in the church. The tour guide told us of a paver which holds much of the building’s energy. The man is stepping on it in the photo. Not expecting much, I stepped on the stone. A chill traveled up my legs as I broke out in a sweat much to the excitement of the elderly docent.

Rosslyn Church stone

Edinburgh Castle is well worth a look.

Edinburgh Castle

Amusement on the Royal Mile.

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Had a fabulous meal at Maison Bleu.

Maison Bleu - Edinburgh

Stopped by Stirling Castle during a rainstorm.

Stirling Castle Entry

Danny and I seeking shelter under the arch.

Sterling Castle on a rainy day

We have to call the bell hop. It’s a half hour past check out. Got to run! More later…

Going to see Nessie today!

Threats and Warnings – What Would You Do?

So destiny has packed our bags and my husband, Danny, and I will travel to five European countries during the month of June. One of them is England. I had thought it perfect timing that Blogger’s Bash 2017 would be held in London while we traveled from Scotland to France. We made our reservations near Victoria Station and are ready to go. I can’t wait to meet my blogging friends from the UK.

Then the unthinkable happened in Manchester. Prime Minister Theresa May raised the terrorist threat flag from severe to critical adding “an attack is imminent.” She called for police presence on the streets and help from the military. Not exactly the relaxing trip I’d planned.

We stopped in NYC on our way to Europe a few weeks before 9/11. My son, Kelly, wanted to see the World Trade Center, so we taxied down to the financial district. You never know. (I’m behind the camera.)

world trade center 2001

Why so much hatred in the world? Of all concerts, why Ariana Grande? She is queen of the tweens. So many little girls attended. Why would killing little girls be a terrorist’s goal? I imagine a horrific, hellish afterlife where they suffer for eternity. That line of thought ends with me hating them. That’s not the answer. Hate begets hate. Somehow or other, things have got to settle down. We all need to peace the hell out.

World leaders tweeted strong defensive strategies like stopping ISIS before their routine attacks undermine and dismantle the government. That didn’t sit well with me. I’m not a defense kind of gal. I loved the Pope’s message: “Dialogue allows us to plan for a future in common. Through dialogue we build peace, taking care of everyone.” That’s playing offense.

Every day security ramps up. Some British tourist attractions are closed. Worries have extended to France, Belgium and Germany. Great.

It’s no big deal to hunker down in Scotland. I am an Outlander super fan and could find tons of activities to keep me busy. But I visualize terrorists hidden in gloomy alleys who watch my cowardly reaction. They throw up their hands and shout, “We win!” I’m not a coward. I refuse to live my life in fear. Instead, I will be vigilant.

I have no control over others and their hatred. I only have control over myself. But I can make an impact by loving others without judgement and living my wild life. If it means going to Europe in June where terrorism just got real, then the Wild Ride will get a little wilder. I can’t wait! The countdown has begun.

England collage

Would you cancel your trip? What would you do to stay safe? Any travel tips, you’d like to share?

Related posts:

Change Your World

When Destiny Packs Your Bags

And Our Flag Was Still There

A Cosmic Joke After Trauma

Notorious Colorado Weather – A Photo Essay

Colorado weather is notorious for its unpredictability, but I’ve never seen anything like the superstorm that arrived this week. 2017 has been a year of the unpredictable, with the death of my brother and ceiling cave-in. I keep looking for that silver lining. It’s in my nature.

A week ago, I worried about how I would get “everything” done before floor refinishers and painters take over the house for the month of June. Part of my long list included planting annuals. Not only a couple of pots placed on tables, but at least eleven urns and four window boxes. That’s a lot of plant material.

radient flower box

Usually, I check out all of the garden centers before buying in order to save money. This year, I’m under a time crunch, so I was tempted to buy everything at one place. I vibed out and couldn’t motivate. After fighting the crowds over the warm Mother’s Day weekend, I only bought geraniums on Monday. Then I looked at the five day forecast and couldn’t believe my eyes. Tiny flakes of snow were predicted to arrive on Thursday night. I figured the snow would melt before waking.

The beginning of the storm rolled in several days early with huge hail in the form of golf ball-sized snowballs on Monday. It reminded me of a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. I’d never seen anything like it. You’ll have to trust me since they melted before I could take a picture. Thunderstorms rolled through the next two days.

Thursday, 8:30 AM:

After I blogged my Twin Peaks post, I looked up from my computer to the kitchen window. “It’s snowing!” I sprang from my chair and stared at the giant quarter-sized flakes. I figured it was a fluke and it would soon turn to rain.

9:00 AM:

It’s still snowing. Large puddles are forming on my lawn. A great day for ducks. Maybe you can see the duck in this video.

At this point, I wasn’t worried. It was early. The temperature would rise.

The following photographs are blurry from all the snow falling. Check out the size of the flakes in some of them.

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Beginning of the spring snowstorm 2017

3:00 PM:

My fingers froze while knocking down heavy snow from brittle branches. Soaking wet and exhausted, I gave up and came back inside.

Under the apple tree

6:00 PM:

You can’t even tell that I knocked down the snow. The trees look crippled under the heavy weight.

Notorious Colorado Weather - Photo Essay.jpg

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Friday, 8:30 AM:

We woke up to MORE snow and fog. Graduations are being postponed along with most outdoor sports. Can you imagine all the planning and flights, and how people are scrambling to reorganize? We have six inches of snow here in Niwot. Trees are hunched over and frozen like conspiring old men.

The silver lining? Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort is open and has over two feet of champagne powder! I wish I could go… I will return my geraniums and wait until July to plant. Cross one full day of work off my list.

They are predicting another one to four inches of snow today! We didn’t get any in March, usually our snowiest month. What is happening?

winter storm 2017 What is happening?

10:15 AM:

As the sun peaks out from the clouds, the trees shrug off the snow and pull themselves up to their full height. The birds are singing and 70 degree weather is in the forecast. Welcome to Colorado weather.

Are you getting our storm? Do you think the weather is getting crazier?

Response to Daily Post – Notorious

Join The #Blessed Project!

It’s been a Wild month and the holidays are upon us. How did that happen? It can be hard to switch gears from stressed-out to happy guest or entertainer. Compounded by worry and lack of sleep, our usual energy may be zapped. We may feel far from blessed.

I have a solution for you! Sometime between now and December 17th take a break and make a blessed project list. This will remind you of what makes you happy. We can only think about one thing at a time, so this project should hip-check negative thoughts out of your cranium for a while. Endorphins will fill the space. Can you feel it?

Your post can be as long or short as you like. It’s your #Blessed Project.

Time is a commodity and I don’t want to add to your stress level. If you get into it, take as much time as you want. Include photos, videos, artwork. Or keep it simple and only write a list. You can easily jot down the first few things that come to mind. Done.

There is no right or wrong.

Ask your family why they feel blessed. It could be a sparkly distraction if things get tense over Thanksgiving break. Remember, we can only focus one thing at a time.

  1. Write a #Blessed Project article and post it on your blog.
  2. Include a link to this post. Spread the positivity!
  3. Paste your link in the comment section below by Saturday, December 17th.
  4. Stop back anytime to read other posts. You know the drill. Tell them “Susie sent me from the Blessed Project,” and they should click back to your place.

BONUS! On December 19th, I’ll blog the list of #Blessed Projects pasted in the comments, to reach out to more readers.

Don’t have a blog? Write one and post it on Facebook. Reading them is just as heartwarming as the exercise.

Here’s the start of my list. I’m sure it will grow with updates throughout the season.

I felt blessed to ski in Breckenridge with family and friends on opening weekend.

skiing Breckenridge on opening weekend with friends and family

I’m blessed to live in Colorado and

breckenridge-10-mile-range

to have found a physical therapist, so I can do this:

There’s nothing like Thanksgiving! #Blessed

I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family and dogs!

I am blessed for having a partner in adventure

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and for having a sense of humor, which really came in handy this month.

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To walk on moonlit nights. #Blessed

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And I am blessed for all of you!

Think about your own blessings. Make a list, post it and then leave your url in the comments. I’d love to link you up in another post on December 19th.

Need more ideas? There are some great examples in the comments section. They’re rolling in!

First Snow, Finally – Friday Photos

sprinkler snow sculpture

It snowed for the first time yesterday, November 17th, the latest snow on record. I’ve been waiting through dry months more similar to August and September. It was 82 degrees the day before. Yep. We didn’t turn off our sprinklers before the storm. Oopsy. But it made a pretty cool sculpture.

All of these photos taken on my iPhone this morning are unedited. The colors are amazing!

november-snow-2016

I think we can finally take down our wasp traps. In my defense, they were flying around on Thursday and I’m allergic.

first-snow-niwot-2016

The pond has been my muse for years, but I never get tired of this view.

November first snow on the pond

The temperatures are going to bounce back to the 60’s tomorrow. You gotta love Colorado.

I’m so grateful for the change in seasons and my life in Colorado!

Stop back next week for a chance to participate in a fun Thanksgiving party. I’ll give you a hint – Make a list of simple pleasures you are grateful for and I’ll give you a chance to link up.

Have a Wild Weekend!

Is this storm headed your way?

Click for more of my wild adventures.

Happy Halloween, Wild Riders. Let the Wild Rumpus Begin…

Happy Halloween, Wild Riders! Let the Wild Rumpus begin. This is one of my favorite holidays. As I write this, I’m watching The Prophecy with Christopher Walken. So creepy! I love it.

wild-thing

I had to came up with a costume for a Halloween Party. I’ll dress tonight as Morticia Addams, but I wanted to be someone or something different. I laughed when I thought of this. I had to be one of the Wild Things from Maurice Sendak’s popular book Where the Wild Things AreDoing the makeup was the best part.

Wild Thing costume

This has been a fun month of Halloween posts starting with 31 Days. To get in Halloween mood click for all kinds of spookiness including a Wild Blog Party. It’s never too late to drop a link and meet my friends!

What are you doing for Halloween? Are you dressing up?