Peebles and the Borders Monday, Jan 5 2009 

5 January 2009
We rose early, had breakfast, bade our friendly hosts goodbye and stepped outside – into a Winter paradise. The sun was shining down, but everything was covered with a glorious layer of beautiful frost. For the next 2-3 hours we were treated to this spectacular, breathtaking display of nature’s glory as we wound our way through the Scottish Borders.
We did stop for a couple of hours in Peebles, placing a well earned break in the middle of the day. It was there that I took this photo of the Church of Scotland’s Old Parish Church of Peebles.
Peebles Kirk
After doing a bit of shopping and a bit of dreaming and a whole lot of wishing, we clambered back into the motorcar and pointed it southward. We were still driving through the borders and still marveling at every twist and turn in the road. The sheer power of the scenery was breathtaking and neither photography nor the greatest eloquence can describe what Mother Nature accomplished with her canvas on this day.
Eventually we wound our way to a major motorway, drove around Manchester, skirted Birmingham and eventually found our way to Kenilworth. We had dinner in an incredible 500 year old pub called the Famous Virgins and Castle (the locals call it the V’s). Now, we are relaxing in the face of the penultimate night of our journey. Tomorrow will be faced with a mixture of dread, fear, despair and a small amount of happiness. We will end the day in a big, probably faceless, corporate hotel just off airport property where we will repack and prepare for our return home. We are sad, but right now we are still here and delighted to be so. Thanks to everyone for following along with our journeys.
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 5 January 2009)

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 80
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Hogmanay Fireworks Thursday, Jan 1 2009 

Midnight Fireworks

31 December 2008

Hogmanay!

It’s been a little bit strange to think about how different this year is right now, from the last sixteen New Year’s Eves. For ten years, on the 31st of December, we hosted one of the few Hogmanay parties in the U.S.  Before that, we hosted a New Year’s Eve Party with a theme. One year it was a pajama party.  Another year it was a hat party.  One year was “black and white.”  It was the year that the theme was “plaid” that we took the turn toward the recurring Scottish theme, did the research and began what we grew into a multi-tiered, annual, tradition and helped make “Hogmanay” a little more worldwide!

This year, instead of scurrying around the house, lighting candles, hanging lights, filling ice chests, and making wassail in preparation for forty or so guests, we are in Edinburgh Scotland making our dreams come true. We are here for the “real” Hogmanay—at the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve Celebration.  From the moment we first learned about this event, we’ve wanted to be here, and now, here we are!

Kyle has already written a beautiful post to the KRuMB about our day, and I truly have nothing to add to his heartfelt and artful essay. He is right when he writes that words cannot describe the raw emotions of the day. I only know that we can check another item off our life’s “must do” list. And that the only thing that would have made today any better, is if we could have had all of our friends and loved ones here with us! How we would love to have shared this evening with all of you!

So, I give to you (one of many) a photo of tonight’s fireworks.  It was one of the most amazing fireworks displays I’ve ever seen.  Afterwards, It was a full ten minutes before the smoke cleared enough that we could once again see the castle on the hill above us. 

Happy Hogmanay!  Happy New Year!

“Antique Rogues Show” at TRF Tuesday, Nov 18 2008 

Antique Rogues Show 10

16 November 2008

After a Saturday at TRF that finally rocked and rolled for us at Pendragon—there was even better music on Sunday!  The Rogues, formerly known as the Scottish Rogues, and more recently, disbanded, reunited on Sunday for four amazing performances during the faire day.  How wonderful to have Bryan, Randy, Jimmy and Lars all in one place, and playing together again!  (Even EJ joined in for a couple of songs.)

I was lucky enough to be able to get out of the booth with Kyle for long enough to catch the third show of the day.  It was almost like old times—except that we’re all so much older!  The original “Rogue Rat”, Erin French, was there with Bobby and Paige!  She’s sixteen, now and her little sisters were the ones dancing in Daddy’s arms and running around.  Bryan had his two pre-teen boys collecting tips!  And, sadly, there wasn’t a lot of lilting going on.  But, the music and the spirit and the fun was certainly not lacking!  What happy memories—what a great performance in the “now.”

Thanks, guys!  We miss you!

~MB

A Boy & His Drum Tuesday, Nov 18 2008 

15 Saturday 2008
Many years ago, we made friends with a “local” Scottish bagpipe group called the Scottish Rogues. Through several name changes and a revolving door of pipers, we stayed friends with the “core” members of that group: Bryan, Jimmy, Randy & Lars. This weekend at the Texas Renaissance Festival, this group of four very talented individuals re-united for a one-weekend “Antique Rogues Show.” Of course, we were on hand for the event.
Brian and his Bodhran
This is Bryan banging away happily on his bodhran as his compatriots played a military tunes medley. His passion and love of his music, his country, his companions and Scotland combine into a very powerful presence. It was great to see them performing again.
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 17 November 2008 )

Listening to:
Wrong Number by Cure
from Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities, 1978-2001

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture: f/5.5
Focal Length: 23.2 mm
ISO Speed: 80
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode

The Cross of St. Andrew Friday, Oct 31 2008 

27 October 2008
I stopped at 7-11 today to fill up with petrol before the drive home. As I was returning to my vehicle, this cover caught my attention. Painted bright blue, it has a white saltire spray-painted on the top. The unofficial, but emotionally powerful, flag of Scotland is a blue flag with a white saltire.
Cross of St. Andrew
The X-shaped cross is known as the Cross of St. Andrew because St. Andrew was crucified in 69 AD in this manner. St. Andrew had begged for this type of crucifixion as he was "not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus Christ."
In the 800s AD, a Pictish King named Angus MacFergus, and a Scots leader named Eochaidh were battling a force of Northumbrians in the Lothian region of Scotland. Legend has it that St. Andrew appeared to King MacFergus the night before battle in a dream. Although the details of that vision don’t seem to have been recorded, it is claimed that the next morning on a bright, sunny day, there appeared a saltire in the blue sky formed by clouds. This was proof of St. Andrew’s visitation and encouraged the Picts and the Scots which in turn led to a rout of the Northumbrians. From that time, the azure field with a saltire of argent became the national symbol of Scotland. After the Act of Union in 1707, a new flag was designed to symbolize the United Kingdom; in that flag you will find the Cross of St. Andrew intertwined with the Cross of St. George.

Personally, I think that King MacFergus saw contrails left by alien ships and just got lucky in battle.:-)
And that is why a cross of St. Andrew is on a fuel tank cover in Ft. Worth, Texas in 2008.
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 30 October 2008 )

Listening to:
The Kiss by the Cure
from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/800)
Aperture: f/5.5
Focal Length: 23.2 mm
ISO Speed: 80
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode

The Pipes are Calling Sunday, Mar 30 2008 

26 March 2008
The pipes, the pipes are calling.
Another one of the Pocket Dragons in the house. I think this one is my favourite.
The Pipes are Calling
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 29 March 2008)

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.5 sec (1/2)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

038? Saturday, Sep 29 2007 

28 September 2007
TGIF. Can it be said too many times? It was quite the week, but the week was over…finally. Knowing, this I slept in a little later than I had been and took a leisurely path to work. On the way, I stopped to take photos of yet another natural gas well. But, I decided on this one of the lock “protecting” the gate instead:
038?
Not that the images of the area aren’t worth the posting, I just liked this one best. I believe I’m becoming a fan of the close-up, the bokeh and extreme depth of field photo. Not that I can’t see the beauty in or even utilize other styles, I just think this is where my personal photographic journey is taking me.
Cheers.

~KR (28 September 2007)

Watching Scotland v Italy (Rugby)
on Setanta Sports (Delayed)
Current Score 18-13
Time: 56:54
(It’s still too close to call, and has been a cracking match. If you’re not watching the Rugby World Cup…shame on you)

 **UPDATE**
Scotland are through to the Quarter Finals with a win over Italy

Camera: Canon PowerShot S1 IS
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode