I’m temporarily suspending Monday Progress Reports which is a great sign that life is slowing down. My to-do list this week does contain some moving related items such as getting signed up for National Health Service and hopefully unpacking our air shipment, but mainly it just includes things like laundry and vacuuming. Rumor has it that our air shipment arrived in Aberdeen on Thursday. We’ve heard it takes about 2 days to clear customs so I’m optimistically awaiting a phone call to set up a delivery time for today or tomorrow. I said that last Monday as well though, so we’ll see...
Mainly I want
my Vonage equipment so that I can hear the sweet voices of my family and
friends back home. I can’t believe I’ve gone three weeks without talking to my
Mom. I’ve been getting by with scraps of information via email, but I’m
definitely ready for some phone dates.
For the past week, the weather in Aberdeen
has been perfect. Pure sunshine and warm temperatures. I’m a little
disheartened because the locals assure us that this is a fluke and never
happens. I was hoping that summer would come to visit a few weeks out of the
year, but evidence is pointing to the contrary. We’ve felt a lot of pressure to
get out there and enjoy the weather while it lasts, so we spent the weekend
exploring the outdoors and increasing our chances of contracting skin cancer.
Friday we headed up to Cruden Bay to do a hike around the coast and to see
Slains castle. I found this hiking website, Walking Highlands, which has already become a dear
friend to me. It was hard to pick just one hike for the weekend, but since Jon’s
a sucker for coastlines and I’ve been hankering to see Slains castle ever since
reading The Winter Sea, we decided
that this would be a great choice for our inaugural Scotland hike. It took us
about 45 minutes to make the drive to Cruden Bay, and about 2 hours to make the
hike, which included a picnic lunch midway.
We started off from a parking lot
across from a famous and beautiful golf course in town and followed a wooded
trail beside a stream. We ascended a hill which lead us to a clear view of the
ocean and our first glimpse of the castle.
The seascape is full of majestic
cliffs which is why we decided to leave Bailey behind. I have nightmares of her
chasing a bird or a rabbit straight off of a cliff face. There was actually a
story of a dog that did just that and somehow managed to survive the plunge
into the ocean. I bet you can’t guess what kind of dog it was. I’ll give you a
hint: spotted spaniel. I’m just saying…for now, we are excluding Bailey from
any hikes near cliffs.
Slains Castle is a bit rundown and appears to have been
abandoned by the Scottish Tourism board. It’s fenced off, but with a gate for
easy access. The inside of the castle is full of litter and graffiti which is
really sad to see. It definitely took away from the atmosphere, but we enjoyed
a look around anyway.
It’s easy to imagine that in its day, the castle was
quite a fortress. The plot of real estate alone is incredible (Jon wants to buy
it and rename it Laine’s CastleJ).
At certain points, it appears that the castle is built right into the cliff
wall, and from the windows you look straight out onto the ocean.
guide encouraged us to keep walking along the coast beyond the castle, and we
were rewarded with spectacular ocean scenery including natural arches and
We stopped in an especially picturesque place to have a picnic in the
sunshine, before making our way back to the car. It was a nice, romantic outing
and a good start to the weekend.
We spent Saturday and Sunday exploring the
city and found more great shopping and parks. I also spent quite a lot of time
I never imagined I’d be able to work on my tan in Aberdeen, but the
temperatures in the high 60s were ideal for reading a good book in the sun.
Today is our last day of a perfect forecast, so I may put off vacuuming and doing laundry
until the clouds roll in tomorrow. I hope Jonathan doesn’t fire me for
being the worst house wife ever. Hopefully my nice tan will distract from the
fact that there are no clean towels in the house. Oops.