Not feeling it at the moment…

While things seem to be getting a bit better in terms of the state of the world vs. the virus/viruses, the long term effects of living under its cloud has gotten to all of us in one way or another; mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and more. The price of everything has gone up and it has made us all adjust how we do certain things like even planning a meal.

Going to the grocery store to find out just how much something is now (that is if it even is on the shelf, which a lot of times it isn’t) has become a game of chance with just how much that final amount is after you’ve scanned your 10 items and get sticker shock! We won’t even discuss the price of gasoline – ugh!

But we keep on keeping on.

I was blessed to have been able to go see my family in early December when the weather was incredibly above average. I hadn’t seen the kids in over two years and that is a lifetime with grandchildren. Grandchildren who had grown and changed and I didn’t get to see any of it.

But we keep on keeping on.

The old year left, the new year dawned and then things went not so good. Since the beginning of January I have had one in-law and five close relatives all contract the virus. One family member had to ship their baby off to live with their in-laws to keep her from getting infected (hopefully) while they quarantined. As of this post all but two are out of quarantine but they all still have lingering coughs.

But we keep on keeping on.

Photography and going anywhere to do any photography has been a bit sketchy as the weather has been playing fast and loose with us here. Cold, colder and *&^% cold with wind and snow has frozen my zeal (and my fingers) to get out to take photos many a day. And when the weather was being nice, I just didn’t feel like getting out. Lately I’ve just wanted to immerse myself in comfort food and keeping my cold fingers around a hot mug of something.

So I was on a roll there with Billy and his adventures and then for some reason I came to an abrupt halt and have been unable to get myself to finish his travel journal. He is sorely cross at me and I don’t blame him but then he too has been feeling the blahs.

But we keep on trying to keep on.

And today we are under a winter storm warning. As I am typing this, I can barely see out of my front windows because they are coated in ice! Nobody is leaving the house today. High winds and possible heavy snow are still in the forecast. Snow I can deal with, ice can be deadly. Are we having fun yet?

Tired of trying to keep on keeping on.

I hope that wherever you are you are safe and warm and healthy. Maybe I can push myself gently out of these doldrums and work some on Billy’s journal. His next section is going to be a bit brief as he did not like where we were and only came out once. By the way, I just saw the mailman slowly creep along my street delivering the mail. I might go get it in a day or two.

Teri 🧊 ❄️

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Billy Visits Scotland – Dunnottar Castle

This was one of those “the best laid plans of mice and coos oft times go astray” moments with visiting this castle. We had a lovely breakfast at our BnB with the plans for the day being to visit Dunnottar Castle which is (taken from their webpage)

Perched atop a 160 foot rock and surrounded on three sides by the North Sea, these dramatic and evocative cliff-top ruins were once an impregnable fortress of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Steeped in history, this romantic and haunting ruin is a photographer’s paradise, a history lover’s dream and an iconic tourist destination for visitors the world over.

I was hyped and had everything set in my backpack (besides Billy of course) to photograph my heart out. Then Murphy’s law kicked in! As we drew nearer to the castle fog set in…really really set in. I was still optimistic about the trip though. We arrived, we parked and then we saw – this!

Scotland, Castle Dunnottar

We heard the sea and just barely made out the shoreline but the fog was not going anywhere that day. So onward and upward! There were times, depending on where we stood on the long 200 steps down trek that the castle seemed to fade away.

I was beginning to wonder if we would see any of what we first saw as a shadowy outline any clearer. While our entire visit was shrouded in fog, things did get better once we were in. They designed this castle to be difficult to storm… this tunnel in had irregular steps and because of the stone work, there were warning signs posted about how it was slippery when wet; please hold on to the hand rails!

We emerged from the tunnel and entered the castle grounds – even though it was still draped in fog – it was amazing! This is a view of the gallery which housed some living rooms, the kitchen, stores and brew house. On the far right is the chapel.

The chapel on the right and in the center is the water tank.

There is just so much amazing history attached to this castle that I couldn’t even begin to tell you all about it. Here are just a couple of highlights: William Wallace in 1297 attacked an English garrison here and took the castle back under Scottish control. In 1562, Mary Queen of Scots paid the castle a visit. After 400 years of Dunnottar being the seat of Clan Keith, it was sold by the Government to the York Mining Company. Everything of any value was removed including, floors, ceilings and all furniture leaving just a shell.

Billy was not impressed with the history of the castle, he was more interested in the green grass, the yellow flowers that were growing everywhere (including in the stone walls) and pretending he was king.

Billy T. Bull at Castle Dunnottar, Scotland, fog

Fortunately for all of us, in 1919 Lord and Lady Cowdray purchased the Castle and began an extensive program of conservation and restoration, protecting it from further damage and deterioration. The Castle was then re-opened to the public. It remains in the same family to this day.

This is Waterton’s Lodging next to the garden. Still haven’t figured out who Waterton was; I’m guessing if he had his own lodgings then he must have had some high position.

The view from part of the garden of the stables on the left and the smithy/forge on the right.

The smithy.

It was through the tunnel again and up the 200 steps to head off to the next stop. I asked Billy if he had seen my missing earring which had probably fallen off when I put my back pack on, he hadn’t. I lost an earring at this castle so I guess you could say a piece of me remains in Scotland.

Next – Billy wasn’t fond of St. Andrews

Teri and Billy 📷

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Billy Visits Scotland – Crathes Castle and Gardens

Happy place! Happy place! Happy place! If you ever visit Scotland and find yourself in Aberdeenshire when it’s the growing season then this is the castle and gardens you must visit! Crathes Castle is a 16th century tower house with beautiful walled gardens containing yew hedges planted as early as 1702.  I went inside of this castle for a moment and saw the amazing ceilings and oak everywhere but it was the gardens that grabbed and held my attention and had Billy frolicking like a spring calf.

The castle estate contains close to four acres of walled gardens separated into eight themed areas. While I wasn’t sure of some of the themes without reading the posted signs, they were all absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see all of them and that’s partially because I had two other castles I wanted to see that day (which in hindsight I could’ve missed in order to spend more time here) and we knew we needed to be somewhere for lunch before places closed. Restaurants in Scotland are not open at the hours we Americans are used to.

The map here of the gardens show how they are arranged. We walked through five of them: the Golden, Red, Trough, Camel and the Croquet Lawn. The last three I could not quite figure out how to get to them; I’m sure I probably just strolled past an entry point while being entranced by a flower or chatting with one of the gardeners who were busy keeping things beautiful.

Four of the gardens converged here with the well trimmed tree in the middle of them.

Our wee coo was having the time of his life in the gardens, especially in the lovely flowers that were in bloom in May when we were there. I told him not to eat any of the flowers; the gardeners worked very hard tending to them. He did manage to get a few to munch on after giving one of the gardeners his best pretty please look.

Billy would’ve been quite content to stay here for the rest of the day but I told him I needed to visit the gift shop, another castle or two and that I was sure there would be more lemon cake with tea that afternoon we did not want to miss.

Before he could protest – although he did pause over the thought of cake again – it began to sprinkle and I had to put him back in my backpack and put on my raincoat. In this photo you can just see the tip of his tail in the lower left hand corner where he was saying farewell to the gardens before I tucked him away.

Next – Billy is King of a foggy castle

Teri and Billy 📷

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Driving in Scotland

Let me first admit to the facts of life here…I do not know how to drive a stick and did all of about two minutes worth of driving in Scotland. DH did 99.9% of the driving in our automatic rental. This is me slowly pulling out of the driveway at the Lys-Na-Greyne BnB we were staying at. Very slowly!

Don’t recall what kind of car it was; just know it was one not found here in the states. I drove it from the guest parking spot to the main lane and down that for a bit before my anxiety over driving on the opposite side of the road got to to me and I gave the vehicle back to DH.

Billy was too busy looking for the neighborhood red squirrels to pay any attention to my “driving” thank goodness.

Teri 🚗

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Billy visits Scotland – Lys-Na-Greyne B&B

We all thought we had a little slice of heaven when we stayed at this BnB in Aboyne, Scotland. A quick recap as I have written about it before, this Edwardian granite house was built in 1912 and is nestled in a conservation area that over looks the Dee river and valley. The home sits in over three acres of mature gardens that are so peaceful and beautiful.

Billy and I both fell in love with our room; he of course had to try out everything before he would let dad take a nap after that long drive.

Little coos do not sleep in the big bed, Billy.

No, this is not your private swimming pool.

Afternoon tea with lemon cake on the terrace overlooking the River Dee was the perfect way to end a day of exploring. Billy wasn’t much of a tea drinker but we did tussle over the last slice of cake one time.

After walking into town for dinner (Billy stayed at the BnB and grazed) our day ended with watching the sun set before retiring for the evening.

Next – Billy in the gardens of a castle

Teri and Billy 📷

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Billy Visits Scotland – Eilean Donan Castle

After we had quite a lovely (and filling) breakfast at our BnB on the Isle of Skye we were on the road again. There was an option to take a bit of a detour to head to the famous Urquhart Castle and the Loch Ness monster (Billy wanted to say hello to Nessie) but as time was a bit tight we opted to just make a dash across the mainland through the highlands to get to our next stop in Aboyne.

Note: I’ve learned the hard way from this trip to plan stops and what I wish to see better because there were some things I wished I had seen or taken more time with and others that I thought would be great to visit that could’ve been skipped. Live and learn…

But before Aboyne, we stopped at Eilean Donan Castle. Scotland is filled with castles and Eilean Donan is probably one of the most visited and photographed ones.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt that Highlander and a James Bond film were filmed here.

Billy opted to just hang around the parking lot and wait while I explored the castle as they do not allow backpacks (and in my backpack with his head sticking out is how he mostly traveled with me) inside of the grounds.

He did his usual meandering about talking to people like this tour guide that had just dropped off a group of tourists who were at the time in line getting their entry tickets for the castle. He wanted a kilt for himself after this. I told him they didn’t come in his size.

And then just as we were heading back to our car to drive through the highlands to our rather posh BnB he became quite excited over a group of motorcyclists. Before I could stop him he had run off and was asking them if he could go for a ride with them. Such a rambunctious wee coo!

He really wanted a jacket like they were wearing but I didn’t dare tell him what they were probably made of. From there it was a three hours long – but scenic – drive to our next stop with Billy in the back seat singing Born to be Wild.

Next stop – Lys-Na-Greyne BnB in Aboyne.

Teri and Billy 📷

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Returning to 2018 with Billy

I have angered my sweet wee coo (who has lost all patience with me) for not finishing his travel blog about visiting his roots in Scotland from our trip there in 2018. I was in no uncertain terms told by William “Billy” T. Bull that I needed to finish his series or else he was going to head butt my ankles until I did.

I have apologized profusely and gotten back to work on his saga. So starting this week, I shall continue his epic journey through his homeland… must save my ankles, ya ken?

Highland Cow, Hairy Coo, Scotland, Isle of Skye
This isn’t Billy; this is one of his cousins on the Isle of Skye.
This is Billy taking a break near the Sligachan Old Bridge on the Isle of Skye

To catch you up on our wee coo’s journey, we had taken a ferry from Malliag to the Isle of Skye and after a day there were on our way back to the mainland with a stop at a very famous castle, where that fiesty coo tried to join a biker group. If you’d like read about his adventures up to to now then just type Billy into the search box on the right and you’ll be good to go.

Teri and Billy 📷

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Angry Bird

Whilst photographing a duck I had never seen before, this quite forward Mallard got right in my face demanding snacks. I told him to shoo, no snacks for you! He gave me this stern look and then swam away quacking something harsh under his breath about hoomans.

Teri 📷

Male Mallard duck, Ohio  nature
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Come Visit the Art Museum

The Columbus Museum of Art here in Ohio. They currently have a special exhibit that leaves in a month. And just what is this special exhibit? It’s called Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources. It’s the exact opposite of the Immersive Van Gogh show that is traveling the country presently. It features over fifteen paintings and drawings by the artist along with works from his impressionist and post-impressionist contemporaries.

Here is just a sampling of what is in the exhibit. To see more, I invite you to stop by my other blog What’s Happening Ohio here.


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Friends Fog Fishing

Teri 🌫️

Alum creek lake, fishing, fog. Ohio
Posted in nature photography, Ohio, photography, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments