Posted by: christinelaennec | June 3, 2012

A happy day out!

I had such a fun time yesterday.  Tina, of The Quiet Home blog, had suggested having a Bloggers’ Tea Party somewhere in the North-East of Scotland.  Jill of Land of the Big Sky was also keen to come along, and the date was set for the 2nd of June at the Boogie Woogie shop in Keith.  Since the Dafter has been so ill, I haven’t been out and about much, so this was a great treat for me.  I took the train, and it was so beautiful, as always at this time of year:

On the train between Aberdeen and Keith, 2nd June 2012.

It reminded me of the many times I have taken the Dafter to compete in the Inverness Mod in June.  My greatest challenge was remembering to get off the train at Keith and not go all the way to Inverness!   The road from the train station to the Boogie Woogie shop was very pretty.  I’m not quite sure what the significance of the Scottie Dog sign is, though: [Edit:  Kenny has left a comment saying it is from the days of the Kynoch Woollen Mill – see below for link]

Walking from the station into Keith. Note the Scottie sign!

I was surprised to see the remnants of a medieval castle along my walk:

Milton Tower, Keith

The plaque says:  “Milton Tower.  Surviving portion of ancient castle of Miltoun, circa 1480.  Home of Royalist Ogilvie family for 200 years.  John Ogilvie of Miltoun, slain at Battle of Alford 1645.  Blessed John Ogilvie, Jesuit priest martyred Glasgow Cross 1615.  Castle passed by marriage to Jacobite Oliphant family 1707.  Fell into ruin after 1715.  ‘Fortiter et suaviter'”  And the smaller plaque added below says:  “St. John Ogilvie.  The blessed John Ogilvie was canonised in 1976 by Pope Paul VI in Rome.”

Door to the Castle, Keith

The subtext to the phrase “fell into ruin after 1715” is that 1715 was the date of a failed Jacobite rebellion.  The Jacobites were Scottish Catholics who opposed English rule, and so the Jacobite Olgilvy/Oliphant families were on the losing side.  I wondered whether they continued to live in their castle while it “fell into ruin” or whether they were banished from it completely?   (Jacobites was the name given to supporters of the Catholic King James, who was deposed by the Protestant William of Orange in 1688.  Of course, that is an extremely over-simplified version of history – the BBC gives a more nuanced account if you’re interested.)  I walked on, feeling grateful to live in a peaceful time and place, with problems that are relatively manageable.  I passed one of the distilleries in Keith, currently undergoing some serious renovation:

Glen Keith Distillery

And soon I was at the Boogie Woogie shop!  It was bedecked with bunting, but of a non-Union-Jack variety:

The Boogie Woogie shop, Keith. 2nd June, 2012.

I had a perfectly wonderful time meeting Jill and Tina.  They’re just like their blogs!  Funny thing, that.  I felt as if I’d known them for a long time.  Jill is just as ascerbically witty as her blog, and Tina is just as quiet and peaceful as her blog.  It was great talking to these two funny and intelligent women.  We covered a lot of territory, including Scotland vs. England, being “incomers”, art (Jill is an artist), families and – I can’t remember what else!  The cakes were very yummy too, but we scoffed the lot before remembering to take photos.

Bloggers’ Tea Party at the Boogie Woogie Shop. (from left to right) Jill of Land of the Big Sky; me; Tina of The Quiet Home.

Afterwards Tina and I had a “mooch” around the charity shops in Keith, and also the wool shop.  My two most favy things to do!  I really was in hog heaven, as my Granny would say.  All too soon it was time to say goodbye and head home to Aberdeen.  The green of early summer was so vivid.  I knitted and listened to my Paul Mealor CD (a sublime combination for me) and watched the beautiful countryside roll past:

Returning to Aberdeen on the train, 2nd June 2012.  Gorse and hawthorn in bloom.

You see the peak of Bennachie for miles around:

Bennachie, Aberdeenshire. 2 June 2012.

And before I knew it, I was back home.  I found that the rest of my little family had survived just fine in my absence.  Michael had collaborated with the Dafter on making a large cartoon, and he was as usual working.  (He has not had a single day off work since we returned from England seven weeks ago – just in case anyone thinks that academics live the life of Riley.)

Back home: marking exams and collaborating on a cartoon.

I was completely exhilarated by my excursion to the countryside and by meeting Tina and Jill.  Michael and the Dafter were happy for me too.  Thank you again, Tina!



  1. Looks and sounds as though you had a wonderful day out. That will have recharged your batteries!

    Anyone who thinks academics live the life of Riley, are truly mistaken. I can’t think of any among my former colleagues, who fall into that category. My son-in-law is a senior lecturer, and he barely has time to breathe.

  2. Fun! I just returned from Scotland and LOVED it! It was so beautiful! If you want to see pictures I posted three blogs at: and

  3. It was a tonic for me too Christine, and I hope we can all do it again soon! 🙂 I love how you notice every detail of your days out….the views, the architecture, the history, etc. It’s as if you drink in every tiny part of each day, how wonderful. xx

    • Christine, I’m sorry to hijack your comments on this post but I am trying to get a message to Tina and hope you don’t mind. Tina – I am wondering if you would consider inviting me to read your blog – I see it is invitation only now – I love reading it and have tried to sign up to follow it but am not sure if that has worked. If it helps in your decision making, my blogs are:, and and I can be contacted through any of them. Thanks for considering and thank you Christine if you let this comment go through!

  4. oh happy heart! what a marvelous day out. I enjoyed your day so very much. I’m glad for you that you had that little break. it sounds perfect! thanks for sharing it with us. (i think trains are so relaxing … i was happy i got to take a couple when i was in Scotland this year).

  5. This looks like such a perfect afternoon!

    Stumbled across your blog on the hunt for people writing about the Aberdeenshire area and must say I’m enjoying what i’ve read – kudos =]

  6. I came to your blog from The Quiet Home–and I’ve been here for nearly two hours reading. It happened that on Friday a notice popped into my email with a bonus points offer that could be used at amazon. I had no idea what to do with it until I read about “No Place of My Own” which is now on its way to me.
    Family stories and photos intrigue even when I don’t know the people involved.
    I’ve interspersed some of my own family tales on my blog–need to collect them in one spot–which sounds daunting in the techy sense.
    My heart goes out to The Dafter–I’ve had fibromyalgia for about 15 years–CFS–and for a young person—has to be far more disheartening.

  7. What a wonderful day you had- wish I had been there too. I would love to see the country out the window and hear the history. And of course, the fellowship with friends is so important too.

    My mother used to talk about someone so happy over a delicious spread they were in “hog heaven.” I always get queer looks when I’ve used the expression.

  8. Looks like you’ve had a wonderful and relaxing day..

  9. What fun! Well done for taking “a day off”!

  10. How wonderful, Christine! I loved your photos (of course!) and reading about your delightful day. I’ve had the lovely experience of meeting in person women I’d only known online and found it to be just as you described. I felt like I’d known them for years — and turns out, I had!

  11. Lovely blog – thankyou. I enjoyed it. And I’m so glad you had such a good day.

  12. What a lovely time you had, with wonderful company and beautiful scenery! The countryside is so green! Amazingly green! Your tea and shopping must have been such a joy – to meet fellow bloggers in such a pretty countryside. I do hope someday I can meet my blogger friends. 🙂

  13. Not being a knitter I had no idea about the Keith shop. But that’s ‘my’ train journey – the one I would take home from university. Just seeing those landscapes makes me so homesick!
    I could tell those were exam scripts before I read your description!
    Sorry about your comments – I’ve been elsewhere recently.

  14. What a neat day! That landscape is gorgeous. I agree that reflecting on conflicts of days gone by can make our troubles seem smaller.

  15. I’m so glad you had such an enjoyable day out, it sounded wonderful, from the ruined castle to the Boogie Woogie cafe, to blogger chums and knitting on the train. I felt as if I’d enjoyed the day out with you, what a lovely post.

  16. Dear everyone,

    Thanks so much for your comments and for sharing my day out!

    Martin – I think anyone who knows an academic well will see that it is a hard job.

    sarahsjoys – I’m so glad you had such a great time in Scotland! Thanks for sharing your posts, and I hope you can come back again soon.

    Tina – ha ha, I’m the one taking photos of lamp-posts and the like! Thank you so much again.

    ajb – thanks, and yes I really love trains. Even when they have rather loud people celebrating birthdays on them, as both of mine did!

    Laura – welcome to my little bit of blogland, I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it, thank you very much.

    mimacat – you’re very kind! I really hope you enjoy May’s Diaries as much as I enjoyed editing them. Certainly when I have a hard day, all I need to do to cheer myself up is to think of May! Thanks also for your sympathy about the Dafter’s ME. We’re focusing on being positive, and on continuing to enjoy life together no matter what.

    Linda – how funny, I’m glad that expression was in your family too! Pay no attention to people who haven’t heard of the phrase. 🙂

    Erna – thank you!

    Roobeedoo – yes it was really good to have a break and come back recharged.

    Ellen – I used to look askance at talk of people meeting online. How silly was I! Jill’s daughters had teased her by saying she’d show up only to meet two teenage boys. I hope she wasn’t disappointed. 🙂

    Flora – thanks it was great.

    Karen – the green was amazingly vibrant. Perhaps you can organise a Tea Party of your own with some bloggers from your part of the world!

    Linda – so sorry to cause you homesickness. And yes, the unmistakable gaudy colour of the Examination Booklet. They are all anonymised now so I haven’t unwittingly revealed anyone’s marks! No worries about the comments – I’m never quite sure if they go through or not as often there’s no wee message to say “will appear after moderation” or the like. ?

    Kelly – yes indeed, and sadly right at this very minute other people are living in warzones. We have so much to be thankful for.

    Lorna – I’m so pleased you were able to come along!

  17. What a marvelous adventure you had! I LOVE classic movies set on a train traveling through the Scottish/English/Irish countryside! (Walking across that bridge into Keith looked like a step back in time.) Your train trip reminded me of those movies. What fun it must have been meeting blog friends!

    • It was a bit like stepping back into time, as you say! Yes the train is dreamy. And my blog friends a great discovery.

  18. The black Scottie dog sign was for Kynoch Woolen mills which closed in the 1980’s .

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