The Pineapple

My previous post mentioned The Pineapple, an eccentric example of architecture commissioned by Lord Dunmore. It’s worth visiting if you are ever in the area (Falkirk, Scotland), and we visited often when we lived in the area – it’s a peaceful place and has a large walled garden, which is perfect for a picnic.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

We savoured Scottish summers – both because they were so short, but are also a magical time when you live so far north. The scenery is bursting with life – the grass lush and thick, the trees hanging with fruit and the flowers in bloom. The nights can stay light past 10pm, and occasionally we would catch sight of the northern lights.

What better way to enjoy a Sunday than to pack a picnic and seek out and architectural gem – the Pineapple. The Pineapple is a wonderful testament to British eccentricity. A summer house that has beautiful sloping lawns and fruit trees surrounded by a huge walled garden, it originally looked quite unassuming when first built in 1761 by the 4th Earl of Dunmore. When he was forcibly brought back from serving as the Governor of Virginia in 1771, it was common practice for returning sailors there to put a pineapple on the gatepost to let everyone know they had returned home. A bit of a wag, the 4th Earl built a huge stone pineapple on the roof of the house!

Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, the Pineapple is a secret gem – we would often be the only ones there, and spread out our refreshments beneath the trees, running and throwing a ball to each other on the well-kept lawns, returning for fresh strawberries, Scottish smoked salmon and iced water. If you ever fancy visiting, you can even stay in the house as a guest. Good times!

This is my submission for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’.

Summer Lovin' (1)

Summer Lovin' (2)

Summer Lovin' (3)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

Bangour Village Hospital

Bangour Village Hospital is an abandoned mental hospital in Scotland, near Livingstone. It has it’s own church, and many buildings which lie abandoned, boarded up. It would have been prime development land, and was purchased by a large development company, but with the GFC, wasn’t considered worth developing.

I am not usually keen on the over-cooked HDR look, but for the mood I wanted to bring out, I pushed things a bit further.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Just a few short months after we met, my wife-to-be and I escaped for a week on the Isle of Skye. Skye is as beautiful as you might imagine, although if you are planning a trip around September, make sure you take plenty of spare clothes and waterproofs.

We took the ferry to Raasay, a small island between Skye and the mainland one Sunday. It seemed…quiet. Which was wonderful. We seemed to have the whole place to ourselves. What I hadn’t realised, was the religious traditionalism that is woven into everyday life on the west coast islands included shutting everything on a Sunday. We did eventually find a hotel to get some food at, but if we’d wanted a go on the swings…

No Playing on a Sunday

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Love)

Heart of Midlothian

On the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, lies the Heart of Midlothian.

From Wikipedia:-

Visitors to Edinburgh will often notice people spitting on the Heart. A tolbooth (prison) stood on the site, where executions used to take place. The heart marks its doorway: the point of public execution. Some people spit on the Heart. Although it now said to be done for good luck, it was originally done as a sign of disdain for the former prison. The spot lay directly outside the prison entrance, so the custom may have been begun by debtors on their release.

Fare Thee Well, Edinburgh

Just before we left Scotland, I purchased an old Olympus OM-2N, keen to see if I would enjoy the simplicity of a film camera once again. As soon as I unpacked it, and held it, I knew it would be a joy to use. It felt solid, despite its small size, and loading in a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 and winding the film on brought back some wonderful memories. Click, click, click.

What better way to try it out than in my final days in Scotland. We’d sold the car, so I was back to taking the train in, and walking through the city to the Mayfield area, where I worked. Past the familiar sights, sounds and smells that have accompanied me every working day for the previous six years.

I had no time to get the film developed before I left. That small plastic canister has travelled with us to Canada and on to Australia, nestling in my luggage. I had no idea if the camera was still functional, or if the film would survive, until I finally found a shop in a local mall that could process and scan in an hour.

It was all worth it, if only for the sense of anticipation that digital photography denies.

Of all the cities I have visited, Edinburgh is the one that calls me back.

Fare thee well my own true love
And farewell for a while.
I’m going away, but I’ll be back
If I go ten thousand miles.
Ten thousand miles, my own true love,
Ten thousand miles or more,
And the rocks may melt and the seas may burn,
If I should not return.
Oh don’t you see that lonesome dove,
Sitting on an ivy tree,
She’s weeping for her own true love
Just as I shall weep for mine.
Oh come back my own true love
And stay a while with me
For if I had a friend all on this earth,
You’ve been a friend to me.
And fare thee well my own true love
And farewell for a while.
I’m going away, but I’ll be back
If I go ten thousand miles.