Sunday, August 31, 2014

Goodbye, CEMC

My last major goodbye in Edinburgh was to my church family here. This morning was my last service at the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, where I have spent a blessed year getting to know and singing with the choir. 
I got called out in service and wished farewell. I did manage not to cry. But when the choir gave me a gorgeous pewter bowl of Scottish design and we all drank from the common cup with well-wishing speeches, I definitely choked up. 
Oh, what a year it has been!!

The train to London leaves at 8am tomorrow morning. :) / :(

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Goodbye...and goodbye...and goodbye...

The trouble with student schedules and being friends with lots of international students is that there are a LOT of goodbyes to be made.

Last Friday night, I threw the "Last Elephant", a final social at the Rooms of Requirement for the LLM cohort. We played the white elephant exchange game with stuff for charity shops - though some good stuff actually showed up and got fought over.

And pretty much every day this week, there have been various meetups and goodbyes all around the city. The Fringe Festival is pretty much over, which is good - we're finally able to actually get table space in our cafes again! The photo below is of Heather's last coffee with the crew at Black Medicine, one of my favourite places near Old College.

Today, a few folks swung by my flat, which is looking increasingly depressing and empty. One by one, off they're flying!! My train to London is Monday morning.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

And so it begins...

My friends, it is the beginning of the end. Or the beginning of the beginning.

I went to London for a day trip yesterday. (I do not, as a general rule, actually recommend day tripping London from Edinburgh. It is possible. But it is rather exhausting, and quite a lot of travel time.)

I went to see a friend from Dorm Room Diplomacy from America who I've never met in real space before. He's doing a long conference at Cambridge on social enterprise and had Saturday off. So we popped to London to meet and show him the city a bit.

Since I was heading down...I took Load 1 of packed items to store at a mate's flat until the actual London move happens. So there I was, almost moving to London!

I toured Zack around for four hours - it was gorgeously sunny! Almost enough to make me excited for the move. ;)

Thursday, August 21, 2014


A shoutout to the very fun Milk Monitors, an improv group who are performing an Austen-style show entirely spontaneously every day at the Fringe. The audience drops slips of paper in their bonnets with a suggestion for a fictional Jane Austen novel title. They pick one at random, and off they go. 
Today, some cheeky audience member gave them "The name is Darcy. Charles Darcy. Agent 007". Cue the absurd, Austenesque, Pink Panther-reminiscent version of James Bond, complete with dashing hero, accent-challenged French villain, and lustful sister-in-law-turned-spy.  
A delightful time was had by all. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


With guests gone and dissertation submitted, it is finally time to actually participate in the insanity taking over my city. A mate of mine from Norwich is up for the Fringe Festival producing a children's fairy tale using puppetry. "The Erl Tree" was grand fun. Laura and I then caught up over Indian buffet lunch and headed to a delightfully enjoyable production of "Potted Sherlock". Comedy duo who is famous for doing entire series in one show via major abridgement did all 60 Sherlock Holmes cases in seventy minutes, complete with the required Cumberbatch puns, amusing sound effects, slapstick humour, and musical finale. Absolutely hilarious and a thoroughly grand way to spend a summer's day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Chorus is in Japan!

There has been a lot of ugly news about Israel and Palestine as of late. And while I know there are a lot of differing opinions about the efficacy of international cooperation and peace groups, today I celebrate the humanity and joy created by The Jerusalem Youth Chorus, an amazing group of young people from many walks of life who sing together. They and their leader Micah Hendler are currently on their first international tour in Japan, and they stories, photos, and videos from their travels are incredible and inspiring. Check out!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Adieu, Farnums!

The Farnums, albeit with a delayed flight, are at the airport and about to be on a plane to Dublin. They'll stay the night at a cheap airport hotel before frolicking off to America once again.
The Summer of Guests has been swell.
And now...I have 10000 words' worth of dissertation to write for Monday. :)
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hairy Coo!!

Today, we frolicked about the Western Highlands via the Hairy Coo, a tour company that does day coach trips for free/on a tip-only basis. We saw:

The Forth Railroad Bridge

Hairy Coos (Cows)!

The Lake of Menteith

Loch Katrine, Loch Lomond, and the Trossachs National Park

Doune Castle (where "Monty Python" was filmed)
Fetchez la vache!!!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Alnwick Castle

We made a foray down south today...all the way into England! Off we popped to Northumberland and Alnwick Castle, family home of the Percys. You've probably seen Alnwick films! "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (Kevin Costner's) and several "Harry Potter" scenes (including Quidditch, the Flying Ford Anglia, and Hagrid's dragging of the Christmas tree) were set at Alnwick.

Our day included broomstick lessons, a falconry demonstration, and a perilous quest through the children's play area.



Friday, August 8, 2014

Howe Farm

"Howe" is my mum's maiden name. We don't think we have any ancestors on that side of the family from Orkney, but it was fun to find a "Howe Road" and "Howe Farm" on the main island!
We also got to see the Standing Stones of Stenness this morning and then the Old Man of Hoy from the ferry.


We're now in Aviemore in Cairngorms National Park for the night - our last before heading back to Edinburgh!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Orkneys

We left Inverness this morning for the ferry from Scrabster to the Orkney Islands. Absolutely gorgeous views on both coasts, with lots of glorious cliffs.
We are staying at the Orkney Hotel in Kirkwall, the Island's capital and largest city. But our day included a jaunt down to another of the islands: Burray, home to some of my maternal ancestors. There was an adorable cemetery in the village of Burray, where we didn't find any Stewarts or O'Hanlans - but we did find Rosies! So I'm not sure whether or not we coincidentally found another family named Rosie and the graveyard just didn't have our family, or we got the wrong branch of the family in our oral histories somehow! In any case, the village was very cute and we had a grand time.
We also had an absolutely phenomenal rainbow appear over the cemetery. The fullest bow I've ever seen, and one of the brightest doubles.
UPDATE: According to an email just received from Granna, I think perhaps someone had the family history wrong, and we did, in fact, find family graves!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Falkland, Pitlochry, and Inverness

The Farnums are happily settled at Glendoune Bed & Breakfast in Inverness. We got up early Tuesday morning and drove to Falkland, a small village in the Kingdom of Fife where a mate of mine lives. The boys climbed twin hills (I only did one in favour of walking back with Ali and in deference to a pulled muscle near my ribcage that is currently making breathing a bit of a challenge). We toured Falkland Palace, a hunting lodge with a *really* old tennis court and lovely grounds. After a delightful Iranian dinner, we drove to Pitlochry and stayed at the Old Mill Inn - where we got to frolick near a turning mill wheel!
This morning, we drove through the Cairngorm National Park to arrive in Inverness. We explored the city and castle a bit, and then took off for Loch Ness. We successfully climbed all over Urquhart Castle, though Kendall was sad not to suddenly be attacked by any giant sea monsters. 
We are off tomorrow to the Orkneys! All is well and delightful thus far. :)
Gregory has a real camera now, so I'm mostly leaving the photos up to him. I'll post what I have as highlights and maybe eventually post a link to his stuff...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Festival Church

The City of Edinburgh Methodist Church is located very centrally at Nicolson Square...making it prime location for the Fringe Festival. Our sanctuary and hall have both been transformed into black box theatres and are hosting a variety of shows over the next month. This makes worship quite an exciting affair to try and arrange - especially on Communion Sunday, given that the space isn't the most flexible!

To commemorate the Festival, work within the space, and acknowledge limited attendance over the summer, we are having a series of "Festival Worship", with each Sunday seeing the theatre set up as a different major holiday/festival in the Judeo-Christian tradition. 

Today, we had a Seder, with readings and reenactments about the Jewish tradition and what we think the Last Supper might have been like. I was cast as a "child" and read one of the Four Questions the young members of a family  will read during a Seder dinner to introduce the elements on the table - including matzoh, horseradish, and haroset. 

After the service, I was gifted with some of the flowers from the altar, as I'll be leaving Edinburgh soon and they wanted me to have some before I moved!