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:
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]
I was surprised to see the remnants of a medieval castle along my walk:
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.”
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:
And soon I was at the Boogie Woogie shop! It was bedecked with bunting, but of a non-Union-Jack variety:
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.
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:
You see the peak of Bennachie for miles around:
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.)
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!