My dear friend Gay is here visiting – it’s very exciting! We’ve been friends since we were 10, and having her here has been great. One day last week I played hooky and we took a trip out to the country. We went south of Aberdeen, to several places I’d never been to. The sun came out – it was beautiful.
The Aberlemno Stones
These Pictish / Christian “cross-slabs” (from about the 8th century) are to be found in the churchyard, and also along the side of the road that runs through the village. Typically, they have Pictish carvings on one side, and a Celtic cross on the other.
The Celtic carvings fascinated Gay and me. One group of intertwining creatures seems to depict two “water-horses”. There are Gaelic stories from the early 20th century of supernatural horses that live in the water and come out to cause mischief or even abduct children (so the water horse predates the 2007 movie by about a millenium).
We had a wee picnic by one of the stones that stands alongside the road. We particularly liked the reading angels that flank the middle of the cross. The angel on the right is the easiest to make out: her head is bent over her book, and one of her wings is spread behind her to the right. Her other wing is behind her head and her book.
The wheat-fields were nearly as beautiful as the stones. You have to imagine the field dancing in the wind:
We next went to Kinneff church, nestled right down by the North Sea.
This church is where, during the time that Cromwell was ransacking Scotland trying to find and destroy the Scottish crown jewels (1651 – 1660), the minister and his wife at Kinneff hid them under the church floorboards at great risk to their lives. Every few months they would take the crown and sceptre out and dry them by a fire to prevent damage from the damp salt air.
Gay and I were amazed and impressed by a reacreation of the Scottish crown jewels, made entirely from dried flowers and petals.
We spent a happy hour gathering limpet shells (and two cowries) on the far side of the beach at Catterline, a bit further up the coast. The colours of the stones there amazed us.
We returned to Aberdeen in time for tea – very happy indeed.