Saturday, September 28, 2013

Searching for Sarah...

Today was a “Family Search Day.”  We decided to be adventuresome and ride the bus to the South Leith area in Midlothian.  This area is on the other side of Edinburgh.  We took one of our “normal” buses downtown and then took the #22 to South Leith.  It goes down the “Leith Walk” which is one of the longest roads in Edinburgh.  The road connects Edinburgh to the South Leith area.  (One of the advantages of being over age 60 and being here for over 12 months is that we get to ride the bus for free – a “Concession fare”.  We have a bus pass and can ride all over town at no cost.  Oh, the joy of living in a welfare state…riding the bus is “free”.  – I won’t get on that soapbox today however.)

Looking down "Leith Walk" - Yes, we do drive on the left side of the road over here!!

From Wikipedia – “Leith Walk owes its existence to a defensible rampart which was constructed between Calton Hill and Leith. The northern march of Cromwell's army, in 1650, was halted at this line by the Scots, under David Leslie (who was subsequently defeated at the Battle of Dunbar). The rampart was then developed into a footpath described by Daniel Defoe in 1725 as "a very handsome Gravel-walk, 20 Feet broad, continued to the Town of Leith, which is kept in good repair at the public Charge, and no Horse suffered to come upon it."  which explains why the street became known as Leith Walk.  At the time of its creation it provided an alternative (and shorter) route to Edinburgh to the pre-existing Easter Road and its then counterpart Wester Road (now called Bonnington Road/Broughton Road) although it did not supplant these routes as the main road to Leith until after the building of the North Bridge in 1769.”

The "Water of Leith" is a river that empties into the Firth of Forth at the town of Leith.

I have been looking at some Family History records and found that some of my ancestors were born and also died in the South Leith area.  I looked up on the intranet and found the South Leith Parish Church which was established in 1483 and saw that there was a cemetery at the church.  We decided to go look for Sarah Richardson.  Sarah was born in 1767 and died in 1833.  Sarah was my grandmother Boden’s great-grandmother.   She was the wife of Robert Rutherford.  Sarah’s father, John Richardson, and her mother Helen Vincent, also died in South Leith.  It was a long shot that we could find anything as there are churches everywhere in many of the older neighborhoods, and many have cemeteries in the church yard.

We found the South Leith Parish Church with the cemetery and went inside and talked to a lady who pulled out a book of the burial records…at least one book that she had of records in the late 1700 to mid-1800s.  We could not find the names of the individuals we were looking for.  We wondered through the cemetery and found some Richardsons and Rutherfords, but don’t know if they were our relatives.  Most of the headstones in these old cemeteries are really hard to read.  The material used was often like a sandstone and the weather has worn many of them smooth.
This is the church in South Leith.

We did find some Rutherford names but I don't know if they are related.

We stopped at four other churches in the area but none of them had cemeteries.  We decided that we needed to go the Scottish Archives to look up some records.  We went back to Edinburgh to the Archive building, but it was closed.  We will need to go down during the week.

In reviewing my family records, I have found that I have a number of relatives who lived in South Leith, Edinburgh, Dunfremline, Kinross, and Kincardine – all of which are within 15 – 20 miles of where we are living.  We will do some checking in the Archives, and maybe go on another family history excursion another day.



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Today was Stake Conference for the Edinburgh Stake.  Last week we attended the Stake Conference for the Glasgow Stake.  We met 4-5 people in Glasgow that would like to work with us so that was a profitable day.  Both the Conferences were very good meetings.  Lots of good counsel and reminders of what we should be doing in living closer to the Savior's teachings.  The Edinburgh Stake President today gave a very powerful talk about the importance of the Atonement of Christ in our lives and how we must remember what he has done for us.

Last Monday we spent the morning in East Kilbride, Hamilton, and Motherwell doing "Flat inspections".  We go visit the flats of the younger missionaries to see how well they are doing the housekeeping.  For many, this is the first time they have been away from home and they need reminders of how to keep things that Mom isn't around to pickup after them.  The two flats have young sister missionaries and they always have neat and tidy flats.  The elders sometimes need encouragement...Carolyn loves to do it and she reminds them how she raised five boys and boys can be clean. 

In the afternoon on Monday I had my first opportunity to play golf with one of the members from the Dalkeith Ward.  He belongs to the Pitreavie Golf Club in Dunfermline.  The club was about 9-10 miles from our flat.  I put the address of the golf club into the SatNav (the GPS) and found there were 9 other golf courses between our flat and Pitreavie.  You really don't notice the number of courses because most of the courses are hidden with high bushes/hedges alongside the road.

I was prepared for wet weather but as it turned out, the sun was out and no rain.  It was so warm, I didn't even need to wear my jumper (a jumper is a sweater).  I was able to borrow a set of clubs so I didn't need to hire a set (One "hires" a set of clubs rather than rent a set)  I decided that I am not as young as I used to be.  I was OK walking the course, but the challenge was carrying my clubs.  The course did not have any golf cars but I could have used a "trolley".  (a trolley is a pull-cart to carry the bag)  The course was much more hilly than I had expected.  There were 5-6 holes that were blind tee shots.  They would have a marker at the top of the hill to show the direction you should hit.  A ways out after your second shot, there was a pole with a "cowbell".  You would hit the bell to let the people behind you that it was clear for them to tee off.  All in all it was great fun and I look forward to my next round...

This was the first tee - a par 5.  The fairway leveled off at the top.  The second hole was another par 5

Most greens were guarded by deep bunkers...the kind you don't see in the States.  The front wall of these bunkers was straight up and down.

This was a 190 yard par 3 with a stream running across the front.

This was the 11th hole which was a huge dog-leg left with a sloping fairway that went off to the right.

Looking back from the green to the fairway.  in the middle of the picture you can see a post.  That is one of the "cowbells.  As you crossed the stream you would hit the bell to let the golfers behind you that it was clear to hit

A fun course to play.  The paths between some holes looked like a hiking trail.  It was dirt and only wide enough for one golfer at a time to go through the trees to the next hole.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We Attended the "Gathering"…with the Queen

Saturday we attended the Braemar Gathering with twelve other senior missionaries.  The “Gathering” is the premier Highland Games in Scotland and features the finest pipe bands, Highland dancers and athletes in a beautiful setting in the village of Braemar.  Thousands of people attend each year.  Because of the unusually warm summer the heather was nearly gone so the hills were not as beautiful as normal.

The Braemar Gathering has a rich history, dating back 900 years but its modern roots can be traced to 1832 when the Braemar Royal Highland Society took responsibility for organizing the Highland Games. Royal patronage began with Queen Victoria in 1848 and continues today with regular attendance by many of the Royal Family and Her Majesty the Queen.  This year, the event was attended by Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles.  Traditionally, members of the Royal Family attend a church service at nearby Crathie Kirk the day after the Games.  This year the Queen took up residence at Balmoral Castle (her summer residence) at the beginning of August and is expected to stay until October before returning to London. 
The Royal Family drove onto the field.  We were about 30 yards away as she drove by.

The Queen, Prince Philip on her right, and Prince Charles on her left.  They stay for about an hour to watch some of the games.
The “Gathering” was originally the gathering of the clans to compete in various events.  Today the events include competing pipe & drum bands all in varying colors of tartans.  The games are essentially a “track & field” event.  Athletes take part in various races (100 meter, 440 meter, mile, and two mile runs) on a grass track and the day also includes the arduous “hill-run” – a run ascending up a hill rising in altitude of 1,000 feet and back down.  There were 65 individuals - men and women - competing this year. 
One of the races...below is a high jumper

 In addition to the races, the events include the Scottish games which are tied to the Highland tradition.   The athletes also demonstrate their prowess in “tossing the caber”, “putting the stone”, and “throwing the hammer”.  The Inter-Service Units of Her Majesty’s Forces compete in the tug of war.  This was fierce competition between the military unites.  Throughout the day there is also a competition to find the best Highland Dancers.
The tug of war - teams of 8 men pulling to win the "tug".  These were all difference military units competing against each other and you could tell they take this completion very serious.  The "officer" is out there coaching his team to "pull".

Tossing the Caber comes from the historical need to lay a log across a stream to allow the clan members to cross.  In this completion, the caber is a tree trunk about 18-19 feet long and weighing about 145 - 165 pounds.  The competitor picks up the small end of the log and balances it and then runs forward and tosses it to allow the big end to hit the ground and the entire log to fall forward. - end over end with the small end pointing away from the competitor.  The perfect "toss" is to have the log land at the 12 o'clock direction.  If it doesn't fall forward there is no score.  Points are deducted if the log lands to the right or left of the 12 o'clock direction.

The weight toss is to "toss" a 56 pound weight with one hand over the bar.  The bar is raised until a winner is declared.  The bar reached a height of 16 feet on Saturday.
Tossing the hammer is a big ball on the end of a stick and they see how far it can be thrown.  There is also "tossing the stone"...this is tossing a big rock weighing 16 pounds to see how far it can be tossed.
There were 15 different pipe & drum bands competing throughout the day so the sound of bagpipes was nearly continuous.  When played well, they are enjoyable to hear.  Twice during the day they “massed” the bands together and they all marched around the field.  It was quite a sight.
A pipe band preparing to perform

Another band performing on the field - I love the sound of a good pipe band

They "massed" the bands together - all 15 of them to march around the field.  The Drum Majors lead out the procession.

Followed by the was quite a sight to see and to hear.  15 bands all playing the same thing and the drums all playing together to keep them all in step.

A drummer

A piper

Another band marching off the field

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A fun weekend with family...

We ended up a very busy month with a fun weekend.  Our oldest son Steve and three of his kids came up from England to visit.  Darcy, his wife was in Provo, Utah with his oldest daughter.  Nicole was beginning her freshman year at BYU.  She was very excited but it would have been fun to have her and Darcy here with us for the weekend.  Steve is in the Air Force and is stationed at Lakenheath Air Base.  On Saturday we took Steve and the kids to Glamis Castle.  It was a fun day. 

The "heather on the hill" is nearly bloomed out.  Next year for sure we are taking a trip farther up in the highlands to see the heather.

This the entrance to the Glamis Castle.  This is the childhood home of the Queen Mother.  Princess Margret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth was born here.  It is still lived in by the Strathmore family.  Tourists are able to tour the old original part of the Castle.  The Castle is available for weddings and private parties...if you have enough money.  One can go to Glamis and go pheasant hunting with the 14th Earl of Strathmore for only $3,500 for the day

Jessie, James, and McKayla

A Highland "coo".  This breed of cow is common in the highlands.

McKayla & James in front of the Castle

Our son Steve in the Italian Garden which is part of the Castle grounds.  The Castle grounds includes 17,000 acres...a wee bit to mow on a Saturday