Posted by: christinelaennec | March 20, 2012

Spring / an t-Earrach

Happy Vernal Equinox, everyone!  We are having some amazing weather here in Aberdeen.  By amazing I mean that you don’t need a hat and gloves, and you might even be tempted, as I was this morning, to take your jacket off after building up a bit of steam walking.  The breeze is oddly soft, and the light is very wonderful.  Aberdeen is lovely in the spring.  Here is some blossom – I’ve always loved the combination of grey and pink:

March blossom against granite. Aberdeen, 2012.

I found this view of St. Nicholas Kirk the other evening at 5 pm very pretty.  I liked the reflected light in the windows, and also the fact that you can still see the church through the bare branches.  In another month they will have filled out.  St. Nicholas Kirk is called the “Mither Kirk” – the mother church.  I believe that years ago, people went to church at their “Mither Kirk” on Mothering Sunday, which in Britain is always the middle Sunday in Lent.

The Mither Kirk (St. Nicholas Kirk) Aberdeen. March 2012.

Lots is starting to happen in the garden:

Buds on the wild roses

And I found this municipal planting so cheerful, I took a photo of it through the bus window.  The backdrop is a common sight these days, an empty shop.

Municipal primroses. Aberdeen, March 2012.

And isn’t this the most lovely display?  I feel so much gratitude towards people who create these pretty sights to share with us passers-by:

Daffodown dillies (or are they narcissi?) Aberdeen, March 2012.

The weather as I say has been oddly balmy.  But I know that we have very often had snow at the end of March and even the first week of April.  A Gaelic-speaking friend reminded me that a late spring snowfall is called “sneachd an uain,” the snow of the lamb.  We’ll see what happens!

I hope you’re all having a good week.



  1. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for continued fine weather, it’s wonderful and so lovely to see all the flowers coming out. The primroses and blossoms are glorious!

  2. I hope you enjoyed your first spring day !!

  3. I’m wondering whether Mothering Sunday customs were around, historically, in churches in Scotland other than the Episcopal and Catholic ones. I’m well out of touch now with the Church of Scotland, but I was brought up in it and had contact with it until the late 1960s, and I never heard Mothering Sunday mentioned there. But it’s certainly true that St NIcholas has been known as the Mother Church of Aberdeen. Now I feel like trying to find out more about this. The photo is brilliant.

  4. Your photos are lovely, and I am happy that you are having nice weather! It seems that you have many of the very same flora we have here in the Pacific NW. I recognize the purple plum with the white viburnum from neighborhoods here, although you are ahead of us in bloom time. I’m afraid we are having a ‘Sneachd an uain’ spring here and I am still wearing my wool sweaters and keeping a fire all day. Enjoy your beautiful weather! xx

  5. Gorgeous photos! i especially am partial to daffodils and just bought some yesterday. they have come right into bloom since yesterday when they were only little buds. it’s almost like they are glad to be here in my house.

    i also like the picture with the postbox on the wall. the red is always so cheerful.

  6. Lovely uplifting photos Christine, I just love spring it makes me feel so jolly and suddenly you see people that you haven’t laid your eyes on all winter. Happy Spring to you and the rest of the Laennec gang xx

  7. Wow! Spring really has sprung with you 🙂 Lovely to see the bursts of colour Christine.

  8. Beautiful colours, Christine. My favourite is the first photograph.

  9. Gorgeous. That red/yellow combo is is so striking. Enjoy the beautiful weather.

  10. Love your photos,the flowers are just beautiful,our daffodils are just peeping through the soil as we have entered Autumn,we have really has very little summer here in Aberdeen N.S.W.Australia,now we are wondering what Mother Nature has in store for us next season as floods and rain has dogged our summer and usually it is so hot we almost expire! Our Mothers day is in May,

  11. Loved the flowers…especially the daffodils! Here we still have rain and fog. I’m ready for Spring.

    Had a hard time posting a comment today for some reason…it wouldn’t let me do it through my self-hosted WordPress. Finally had to log into Facebook to post a comment. Usually don’t have a problem…

  12. everything is so pretty in spring. we call those daffodils…but I like your name much better. everything here is in full bloom as well. we had thunderstorms roll through last night…sounded like summer. Have a great weekend! I hope the snows stay away!

  13. Dear everyone,

    I’m so glad you like the photos, thanks for your lovely comments. No snow so far, but today we have a cold sea mist (‘haar’).

    Flora – I’m not sure whether the Mothering Sunday tradition was in the Church of Scotland as well. Last Sunday’s Songs of Praise mentioned the tradition of allowing servants to go visit their mothers on the 4th Sunday of Lent, and also of people going to the largest church / cathedral near them, their “mother church”. So if St. Nicholas is the Mither Kirk, would that not mean it was a tradition in the Church of Scotland as well? I look forward to hearing more!

    Karen – I hope spring isn’t too very far away from you now. We have a fire this afternoon!

    Carole – from one Aberdeen to another! I do hope you don’t have any floods this autumn. It seems to me you’ve had enough of that during the last few years!

    Dianne – thanks so much for persevering with leaving a comment. I’m sorry it wasn’t working, and I’m glad to hear it usually does. Please let me know if problems come up again and I’ll nag Facebook.

    Lisa – now thunderstorms are something we don’t often have here! Not warm enough, usually.

  14. I’m pretty convinced that although Mothering Sunday figures these days in the Church of Scotland it’s a recent development. And St NIcholas has been the Mither Kirk for centuries, I think we have two different uses of the idea of ‘mother’ here. In Episcopal churches, like the Church of England, and of course the Episcopal churches in Scotland and Ireland and Wales, there is a bishop, who has oversight over the priests (ministers) in his diocese, and his cathedral is the mother church for the churches in that diocese. (Church of Scotland cathedrals like St Machar and St Giles are anomalous, and don’t belong to this system, of course.) The old tradition of servant girls being allowed to go home to their mothers, and people going to the mother church, half way through Lent, is connected with what I believe is or was called laetare Sunday in the Roman Catholic church, and there is an Anglican idea of ‘refreshment Sunday’, when you are let off the fasting that (ideally) one might do in Lent. And so people enjoyed a simnel cake in the middle of Lent. In the Church of Scotland Lent also is a very recent idea; I think a lot of new ideas and practices have been adopted in perhaps the last forty years or so. Going back to the Mither Kirk, which goes back for centuries, I’m surmising that the title comes from the fact that it is the city centre church, which has been connected with civic affairs. There used to be, and maybe still is, a Scottish tradition of the ‘Kirking of the Council’, which meant that all councilors, however unchurched they might be, turned out once a year at a church service at the local church, and I’m pretty sure in Aberdeen the church they went to was St Nicholas.

    • That’s very interesting. I always wondered why there were cathedrals in the Church of Scotland. (Good to know my children have been baptised in an anomaly – very fitting for us!) I’d heard of the Simnel cake tradition, but hadn’t quite worked out that this would be a reprieve from Lent. And yes, I believe there is still the kirking of the city council, as there is a “kirking” service of the Students’ Association every year in the University chapel.

  15. Lovely pictures, as always, and good for reminding us to live in the present. I’ve been catching up on a few recent posts, and so sorry to hear you are having such difficulties, but I know you will all be tough enough to get thru it.
    The warm weather has been extraordinary, hasn’t it? Enjoy!

  16. That church spire picture is just incredible.

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