Saturday, August 21, 2010

Culloden Battle Field

1745 April 16th, two massive armies gathered in Culloden Battle Field.

The Jacobites hadn't lost a war yet, and Prince Charles thought they were invincible.

The British, were outnumbered by the Jacobites, but were well-armed and strategically set up.

George Hanover wanted part monarchy part parliament, while Prince Charles wanted absolute monarchy.

They fought for this reason.

A Jacobite cannon fires, signaling the start of the war!

Cannons duel for a minute or so, while both armies stand and await orders.

Suddenly the Jacobites start charging!

The British haven’t ever heard of a strategy like this, so they’re’n’t prepared for it!

With ¾ of a mile to run, the Jacobites are slowed by a bog, giving the British time to prepare, and counter them, crippling the Jacobite army.

Then, a mob of Jacobites crashes into the British army.

Hacking and slashing their way through the Brits, Jacobites annihilated part of the British army.

The second row of Brits move foreword and encircle the mob of Jacobites.

They receive command to open fire, and in under 3 minutes, 700 Jacobites are killed.

This is the turning point in the war, and the Jacobites who could flee, did so.

Disgustingly, the British followed on horseback, killed and robbed fleeing Jacobites, and put to death those who were injured.

In the end, 1500 Jacobites died and 50 Brits died too.

Looking for Nessie

We are in Inverness, Scotland today. The weather has been wonderful and for the first time I feel like I could live here. Inverness is in the Scottish highlands. To get here we drove through hills covered in purple heather in full bloom. It was foreign and quite lovely. On arrival however, it just felt like home. Finally, there are conifers with some height and density. The town is not huge but large enough. The hostel is up a hill again. What is it about hostels and hills, anyway? The walk back to town is not as lovely as the one in Bath but we are in a very high end area so the houses are spectacular. We walk along Crown Street, which may I say, lives up to its name. Each house is a mini-castle and kind of reminds me of Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. There is just something about the houses, the air, the plant life or whatever that is reminiscent of home.

We drove out to Urqhart Castle yesterday. The drive was beautiful along the Loch Ness but it was the lake itself that made us all gasp. It could have been Shuswap! We ate our lunch on the grounds of the castle ruins overlooking the lake exclaiming again and again at how similar it felt…except of course, the castle part. A piper piped us in as we arrived at the castle. Actually, I think he was piping a boat in to the dock but as we were walking towards the castle entrance at the same time, I like to think it was for us. It was beautiful. I got all teary…again. I am a bit of a wet mop these days.

Interestingly, a piper piped us into the hostel as well but that didn’t seem to have the same emotional pull. My family was joking about the sound being abysmal but I don’t mind the pipes. I actually find them quite stirring. Tom felt that was probably why men started playing the pipes in the first place: to get the girls.

So as we ate our picnic lunch we looked in vain for that darn monster. You’d think with all the media coverage, the thing would pop out every so often. Although we were not lucky enough to see Nessie, we did notice that no one was water-skiing, tubing, swimming or engaging in any water sports of any kind. Obviously, after the first few people go missing each summer, only the foolhardy would enter the water unprotected. It would drive the monster crazy all those tasty morsels zooming around. Kind of like a cheeseburger floating in the air around your head all the time.

Our first Scottish meal was at the Castle Tavern, a cutesy typically pub-like place. Tom had the Haggis, neeps and tatties. I had the Cullen skink. The kids both enjoyed an Irn Bru. Sound perfectly foreign, eh? We all LOVED it. Haggis is what most people describe to each other when trying to gross the other out. It was fabulous. It may be cooked in a sheep’s stomach but we all thought it tasted great. Neeps are mashed turnips which go surprisingly well with Haggis, and tatties are mashed potatoes. Cullen skink is actually a Haddock chowder. As I love clam chowder, the skink was marvelous. Irn Bru, pronounced Iron Brew, is their version of cream soda. It isn’t as sweet, though, and I think it tastes better. It is bright orange looking pop. We may have to import it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rhys is a new man.

Rhys deserves a little time on the blog. In Conwy he ordered a Pasty (meat filled pastry) with steak, ale and MUSHROOMS in it, and ate it AND enjoyed it. A couple days ago his dad took him to a shop to buy some new pants since his were getting too short. I picked out some hip jeans, he TRIED THEM ON, and LIKED THEM. IF anyone has met Rhys these are pobably the two most signifigant life changing experiences in the last two years, in the same week too.

We went on the Beatles MagicalMystery Tour bus yesterday in Liverpool. I liked it, Rhys liked it , Holly enjoyed it, Julia slept. We were at all the fab four's haunts and houses. It was pretty cool in the bus when Penny Lane was cranked up as we were in the roundabout of penny lane. Liverpool was not a dirty working town as I had imadgined. It was fairly fixed up with nice shops and cultural centre at Albert Dock. People here must be sick to death of the Beatles.

Hadrian's Wall Photo

Julia ~ Haidrian's Wall

We went to Haidrian's wall today. It was a good break from castles ;P. We took a Path to a big field. There were black cows in the feild (the field was walled with Hadrian's Wall.)You had to climb a short ladder to the cows, i personaly didn't think cows were aloud to be that big! Anyway i the field right at the very front was a HUGE bull. A very scary one :\. So me and mom went around, walked to a place with no scary bulls and jumped the fence. There was some damn poison prikle stuff. Obviously i got scratched and it hurt SO bad!!! Then it was a long walk, to an AMAZING place with a cool view i loved it. It was so windy but thats what made it really fun :). It was so windy that you could lean on the wind and it would hold you up!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Great picture of Julia

I was sorting pictures tonight and found this of Julia at Kensington Palace garden.

Driving in the UK.

We rented a car to drive from Salisbury to Wales. Actually it is ours for the next 21 days. The first day was not too fun. The roads are very skinny and the English drivers are confident in the narrow streets. Always someone is over the centerline, half way into the center of the road crowding your already tight space. These tight wire acts are done on the wrong side of the road, with tall hedges right up to the side of the car and stone walls to crash into at every turn, all at high speed. A few days later we took the M4, a motorway, this was a lot better. I now know that we spent the first day on the worst roads. Nice start. The people here know to stay in the slow lane when they are not passing, which is very pleasing. I am no longer looking the wrong way into the roundabouts. I am so confident now that the roundabouts annoy me at their frequency. We have navigated the most advanced roundabouts, even double three lane roundabouts; I am a crack UK driver now. We drove to Wales today. The drive is slow as far as miles driven but is seems fast as the accuracy of driving required is at level 11. I can’t gawk out the window at all the greenery, castle ruins and pubs.

On the first day we were on a very small road into Avesbury. One lane, high shrubbery and curvy. We met a car suddenly around a corner. Boy was he surprized when I veered to the right. I wish I had a picture of his face.

The car is a Ford something, I feel like a non car guy because if someone asked what I was driving I would say a black car. It is a 6 speed manual full size car, this I like. The shift pattern is like a Canadian car, the foot pedals are Canadian too. The Shifter is on the left of course, this is fine. The major irritants are the mirrors. The rear view mirror is on the left side of you and that is wrong, wrong, wrong. The car is much like the old brown Taurus we owned that blew up on me during one of our previous family vacations. That kind of event only comes in ones, doesn’t it? I some times still walk to the left side of the car to get in. I try to hide it by checking the mirror or dusting off a leaf but Rhys catches it right away, damn.

Driving on the left is ok, now. Holly flinches less and less and the kids are lulled into car sickness by the relentless roundabouts.