17th August – Linlithgow Palace (and then some!)

Linlithgow Palace is my favourite place on earth. And despite what I’m about to blog about here, it will forever be my happy place. As you can see from the following video, it is a breathtaking location. The Palace has a neighbour of St. Michael’s Church, which is beautiful in its own right. The Church is what offers the unique silver crown to Linlithgow’s skyline, visible for many miles as you approach the small town of Linlithgow.

Linlithgow Palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, and her father, King James V. Even though the history of the place is inspiring, that is only a small part of why I have come to love it so dearly. I have done a lot of research on Mary Queen of Scots, her son, James VI of Scotland / James I of England, and the Tudor era. My first ever visit to Linlithgow Palace was in 2004, the year I got engaged. Somehow, I had this little niggle in my gut that the place was special. It was to become even more special to me in the next couple of years.

On 5th August, 2006, my husband David and I were married at the Palace in the Undercroft. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day, and as cliche as it sounds, I remember it as vividly as though it was yesterday. It was a truly memorable occasion for us, and not without it’s hilarious moments.

It is hard to believe that day was 10 years ago, considering how every detail is still fresh in my mind. Our 10th wedding anniversary was part of the reason we have taken this trip to Scotland and London this year. So, it went without saying that we would return to Linlithgow Palace for a visit once again. And it hasn’t changed one bit.

Pictures just don’t do this place justice. The day we went, the skies were a sharp blue with bright blue tufts of clouds framing the edges. The grass is so green. That might be an unusual observation to make, but as I said before, I’m finding myself noticing things in a different light. The silhouette the area of the Palace offers is the silver Church crown with a backdrop of sky that meets the horizon, and skirted by the Loch. The sky even overcast and cloudy is painted in various shades of grey and gives a moody feel to the Palace, hiding secrets of the past. In between that, is the beautiful outline of the Palace and the Church.  Scotland might have frequent miserable weather, but it doesn’t take away from the beauty of their landmarks.

Linlithgow is such a peaceful place for me. I was excited walking up the cobbled drive to the entrance (which, conversely, also stars in Outlander – Linlithgow Palace was used in scenes of the prison at the end of Season 1). Cobblestones and full moons are two things that I feel a spiritual connection to. Don’t make me explain why. I think some things in this world and in our lives aren’t meant to be explained. Cobblestones can be a nightmare to walk on, but they signify history and a platform that hundreds of people over hundreds of years have walked and lived upon. You see old cobbles, that usually means you’re surrounded by history – something I will never not love.

David and I once again wandered around the Palace, and whilst David scaled up to the top to get some great shots of the area (you can see in our photos we took pics of each other from the top and the bottom), I sat down in the court yard and just breathed in the feeling, content to be back there once again. We took a lot of photos, and had a smile and a laugh being back where we got married. We might live on the other side of the world in Australia permanently now, but that it why we can treasure the visits back to our second home and appreciate the “touristy” stuff. Linlithgow Palace isn’t just a tourist location to us. It’s where we got married, and where we shared a significant day in our lives. And some magical force must have been at work, because we’re still going strong 10 years later!

In the middle of the court yard of the Palace stands a gorgeous fountain that has just been restored to working order again. It is said that in its hay-day, wine once flowed from this fountain like water. It was built by James V in 1538, and designed to reflect the supreme power of the king. It is the oldest surviving fountain in Britain and covered in intricate carvings that are still in beautiful condition, despite being centuries old. On our visit, we tossed a penny into the fountain for luck, leaving a little piece of us there for good.

Unfortunately, despite having a perfect day for the visit, things took a crap turn when we exited the Palace interior for a walk outside down towards the Loch. There were a group of swans nearby the banks floating casually in the Loch. I wanted to get a bit closer to take some photos of them, and snap some more pictures of outside the Palace because of just how scenic it is. We hoped to get some photos framed for our house back home, and you can’t get a better view than this.

I took a couple of steps off the small path to head across the front of the Palace – and I went down hard. My foot fell into a deep hole concealed by the grass. It wasn’t visible. I fell and David said he heard a crack as I fell. I remember saying to him “I think I broke my ankle”, but it’s a bit hazy to me now because the pain was excruciating, unlike any I had ever felt before. I went into a bit of shock, and alas, the rest of the day we had planned of visiting Hopetoun House and Rosslyn Chapel had to be quickly abandoned so we could get back to Haddington.

The foot swelled up like a balloon and I could weight bear a little on, but walking was almost impossible. Some OTC painkillers didn’t even touch the agony. It all climaxed with a trip to the Accident & Emergency Department at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, where an x-ray confirmed that I had, indeed, broken my left distal fibula, the out ankle bone. I was fitted with a moon boot to isolate the foot, and sent on my way. Thankfully, despite the bad luck, I was ultimately lucky to have not broken the main bone and had the ability to weight bear enough to be able to mobilise slowly with crutches. Needless to say, it really impacted on the many plans we had for our Scotland and London trip, however sheer determination and adrenaline at play, I had no plans of giving up and not seeing at least some of the more important things.

A huge shout-out goes to the staff at the hospital, who were kind and helpful. I was lucky to not have had a huge wait, only about two and a half hours, which is great for a busy city hospital. Also incredibly grateful for the reciprocal healthcare agreement between Australia and the UK. I got all my healthcare for free, including the boot and crutches, which I would need to stay mobile for the rest of our trip. It was a bit of a dampener, and for a few days, I was in so much pain, it was hard to think straight, let alone too much. Eventually, positive mind and determination not to let it ruin our holiday meant we still could have a special time and make memories. That was all that mattered.

Next up – my experience meeting my favourite author, Ian Rankin, and having the chance to hear him talk about his writing career! Definitely a bucket-list cross-off, that one.

Take care,

– Lani

16th August – Doune Castle (+Dunblane & Stirling)

On Tuesday 16th August, we reluctantly departed Loch Lomond. It was such a beautiful break away, it was hard to part with the wonderful place. However, we had a lot planned to look forward to and Loch Lomond was only the start. (Unfortunately, a stroke of bad luck snookered some of it – story on that to come soon).

Doune Castle was the next destination I was desperately keen to visit for a few reasons. 1) It was a filming location in the hilarious Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Who doesn’t remember the infamous Elderberries scene?

2) It is a filming location for the TV show, OutlanderFor those who are fans of Outlander, Doune Castle is Castle Leoch, seen in Season 1. I have been a huge fan out this show since it began, so coupling that with my already fierce love for Scotland and its Castles, discovering Doune Castle was an easy detour on our drive home from Loch Lomond was brilliant.

For those who don’t know me, I’m a writer and I am currently in the process of penning a novel. Actually, I’m in the process of penning four novels, but I am focused on one in particular at the moment that I am aiming to get the first draft completed in the next few months. It was the source of my recent 20,000 word thesis for my Masters of Arts (Writing), which I completed literally just a few days ago and I hope to continue with it for higher research study in the near future.

My protagonist, Zac, is an Aussie and travels to Scotland, and it is his first overseas trip. A lot of Zac’s experiences are drawn from my own travels to Scotland. So, I haven’t just been seeing Scotland through my own eyes this time around; I have been seeing it through a writer’s eyes, a researcher’s eyes, and Zac’s eyes also. This has given me many different perspectives to my sightseeing. I have been taking in all the finer details, drinking in the wonderful views, and soaking up the atmosphere of the places we have been visiting.

Travelling through the Scottish countryside from Loch Lomond, onto Doune Castle, then via Dunblane through Stirling, my mind was tick, tick, ticking over the whole time. Scotland is such a sweet wee country that it offers so much in a compact space. Don’t underestimate what it can offer for its size. As you can see from this comparison map, Scotland is only about the size of Tasmania, the tiny island state of Australia dangling off the bottom of our coast.

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However, it has LOADS of unique character sandwiched into a small space. I’ve said many times that, despite being a writer, I don’t have enough words to explain how much I love Scotland, and why. This is one of the main reasons why it is featured so distinctly in my writing. It is also why Ian Rankin, creator of the Detective Rebus novels, is my favourite author. He manages to bring Edinburgh to life as a character all of its own, and his books are true treasures to the crime fiction and literary world (more about this in the next post, as I got to meet the man himself at the Edinburgh International Book Festival!)

But I digress. Back to our sojourn to Doune Castle. The drive to Doune from Loch Lomond was a little under three hours through the picturesque Scotland countryside. Scotland has this great way of dotting wee towns all over the place, with unusual names (often those you can’t pronounce). Some only have a mere handful of houses, a small store, a post office, a church, and that’s often about it. I find stories evolving in my mind as I take in the sights of characters that could live in these places, and why they might be there. That is a continuous reminder of why I love the location. The inspiration is literally endless.

The town of Doune is this quaint little postcard-perfect British town. The houses are lined up smartly with beautiful gardens and hanging flowering baskets. Unlike Australia, many houses in Scotland are in connected rows, semi-detached, or detached but in reaching distance from the neighbours. Because I’m Aussie, born and bred, I was more accustomed to larger houses on larger blocks of land with wider streets. You can imagine my surprise the first time I was here when I discovered cars were legally allowed to park on either side of the road!

Tucked in behind the town of Doune is Doune Castle. You drive up a small windy lane and – bam, right in front of you, Doune Castle in all its glory. It was breathtaking for me personally. Scottish locals probably don’t have the same impression as I do taking castles in because they are surrounded by them all over. But Australia’s history is new in comparison to anything Britain has to offer. I don’t think I will ever tire of visiting castles or historic sights and drinking in the history and culture they have to offer. It was why we selected an historic Scotland site to get married 10 years ago – Linlithgow Palace (stay tuned for a story of doom with Linlithgow to come…)

We spent a good amount of time raking about Doune Castle. A lot of it is in ruin, but enough of it is still standing to appreciate the statuesque presence it has. I think because I appreciated it as a filming location helped me enjoy the experience even more. It has a vast history, and because we were aware we only had limited time on this trip, I bought a guide book to read the history of the Castle in more depth later. However, we did take many photos, of course! Feel free to peruse at your leisure.

After Doune, we were making our way back to Edinburgh and onto Haddington. We drove home via Dunblane and Stirling. As everyone will know, Dunblane is the location of the terrible Dunblane Massacre in the primary school in 1996. We only drove through, but it was such a sweet little place that it was hard to fathom that such an horrific crime too place there. It can be slotted neatly in with other Scottish towns with its quaint beauty. Just passing through, it was easy to see that despite the past horror, it has a peaceful feel to it now and also has a claim to fame of being the home town of Scottish tennis sensation, Andy Murray.

Beyond Dunblane, we drove through Stirling and planned to stop for a bite to eat. However, the town was so busy that finding parking was a nightmare, so we drove through instead and had lunch in Edinburgh. On the drive-by, we managed to catch the scene of Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument in the distance. These are both landmarks I have visited on previous trips to Scotland. I climbed the Wallace Monument once in my life, but I don’t think my fibromyalgia body would handle that many narrow, windy and uneven steps to the top again! I had a wave of vertigo hitting me from how narrow the walk up the tiny turret was back then. Once was enough! I clocked the scenery and the history in my memory banks.

Here are a couple of the shots we grabbed in the car. We were moving, so the photography skills are pretty shite!

All in all, it was a wonderful trek through some of the lower Scottish lands. Our plan for the next day was to revisit Linlithgow Palace, 10 years on from when we got married. However, what the palace had in store for me would impact on the rest of our planned trip. Maybe we should never have thrown that “lucky” penny into the fountain…

‘Til next time!

Take care,

– Lani x

15th August – Dougie’s 60th Birthday

Monday 15th was Dougie’s big day finally here – 60 years young! It started with presents and balloons, and lovely getting to have the day with family. It had been quite a few months in the making for David and I to get over to Scotland and keep the secret hushed, but so totally worth the wait. Weather was once again a true blessing, and the aim was to spend a relaxed day enjoying the location.

After breakfast, we went along to Loch Lomond Shores. Now, I have to admit, my jury is still out a little on whether I liked this particular part of Loch Lomond or not. It was a nice casual morning, but it failed to secure a little place in my heart like the other places we visited. It dawned on me later why it didn’t really do it for me – it’s a constructed location. It’s shops, eateries, and tourist attractions built up on the edge of the Loch, but it didn’t have any of that true innate beauty because it was simply another tourist place to drop by. And as nice stuff at Jenners/House of Fraser is, it was just way out of our holiday price range!

Having said that, it was still constructed on a beautiful portion of the water, so having a little walk around and getting another perspective of the Loch was special in itself. I much preferred the area where we could see out over the water and watch the boats and water activities going on. The shopping… well, I’ve never been much of a shopper, but I DID find gluten-free Walkers’s Shortbread there, so it was a winner, none the less!

After Loch Lomond Shores, our next adventure was dinner at Cucina in Balloch. It was a sweet little Italian restaurant in Balloch, a town at the foot of Loch Lomond, who had a great choice of menu. It’s not often I tend to have a huge choice from the menu being gluten-free, but a huge shout-out to Cucina for having most things available as a GF option. The garlic/mozzarella bread and pasta bake went down a treat! Dinner was enjoyed by everyone, and the portions generous.

Then it was back to the lodge where we went down to The Boathouse for a drink. That was probably one of my favourite locations of the whole weekend. It was a little mariner at the base of the grounds of Cameron House, with a boathouse restaurant, bar and cafe. You could hear the water lapping softly on the shore, and people were wandering leisurely around the grounds, enjoying the atmosphere.

We ended the amazing weekend with a surprise cake for Dougie, and watching a DVD of Scottish comedian, Kevin Bridges and sharing a bottle of champagne to honour Dougie’s birthday, a gift from Jenny and Mike.

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This was David and my’s first experience with Kevin Bridges, and it was hilarious! Love a great comedian, and considering I’m a huge fan of Billy Connolly and Danny Bhoy, I think it’s easy to say that Scotland exports some fantastic comedic brilliance.

It was a true honour to have seen Loch Lomond again. It is one of my favourite places in Scotland, but over the years, it was easy to lose the memory of how beautiful the place is. If I had the money to buy property over here, that place would be one of the top locations on my list. The whole weekend went without a hitch, and we couldn’t have had a more lovely time if we tried. Many great memories were made for the family, and I feel blessed to live in the age of camera phones where it is so easy to snap photos so now the memories can be kept forever.

Take care,

Lani x

14th August, Luss & Lodge on Loch Lomond

My blog posts had to come to a slight stand-still this week due to that fact I managed to break my ankle – but that story will come in another post!

Sunday 14th August was the second day for us staying at Cameron House Lodges on the banks of Loch Lomond. It became clear there really were not enough words to cover what beauty and tranquillity the place has. It was easy to soak it all up and relax. After a crazy year, I have to admit, the break was just the therapy I needed. What a location to celebrate not only Dougie’s 60th, but also for me to celebrate finishing my Masters of Arts (Writing).

Today, we first visited a little town right on the water’s edge of Loch Lomond called Luss. Luss is famous for being the filming location for long-standing Scottish soap opera, Take the High Road, which ran from 1994 to 2003. As a result, it has turned into quite the tourist location and was absolutely packed with visitors. It is easy to see why it was selected as the filming location. The setting couldn’t be more beautiful. It is nestled right on the shore with an incredible 180 view of the Loch.

I visited here some 16 years ago with David when I was living in Scotland on my working holidaymaker visa from 1999-2001. It’s funny how time can skew memories; I had it pictured differently in my head from back then. Again, I was seeing it in a much different light these days and it was nice to be able to come back for another wee look. It is the epitome of a tiny Scottish country town, and it would probably make a perfect setting for a snowglobe. There are rows of little cottages with beautiful blooming gardens, a cute little church and churhyard, a couple of shops, a trademark red postbox. I could have snapped photos of every little nook and cranny.

We were blessed with amazing weather on our stay in Loch Lomond, so there was no rain marring our expedition. We could walk around Luss without getting wet, and wandered out onto the jetty to take advantage of the amazing views. There were memorial plaques littered across the edge of the jetty for those who have had their ashes scattered in the Loch. I think I could have sat in Luss all day quite content to just soak up the atmosphere.

From Luss, we went on to Lodge on Loch Lomond nearby for afternoon tea. This was yet another surprise for Dougie’s birthday weekend, and another fantastic location to experience. Scottish Tourism has really utilised the location to make it shine. A bit of a glitch in them forgetting that one afternoon tea was ordered gluten-free, but at this point since my Coeliac diagnosis, I’ve had 16 years of errors in meals, so it wasn’t the slighted bother.

There was a small wedding being conducted on the shore below, and we were treated to pipe music by the piper piping the bride in.

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I know the locals here aren’t a fan of the overcast days, but it’s funny, I barely notice the weather here. Everyone knows the endless jokes about Scotland and its weather, but as a “foreigner”, I can see how it adds to the charm. Sure, I don’t live it every day. Living in Australia, I have to battle the horrible, ongoing heat I both can’t tolerate and despise, and I’m sure in the reverse situation, those visiting would love the heat (at least in small bursts).

But as a writer, I feel the creative cogs ticking in my mind, absorbing every little facet Scotland has to offer on this trip. Although a pain in the butt to locals, I love the lingering shadows of an overcast day, and how it serves as a charming backdrop to scenery that no other country in this world can match. The weather here can pass all four seasons in a day, and sometimes I wonder if that’s Mother Nature simply offering those admiring the beauty of the location a wee souvenir to snapshot in their photos for their forever memories.

13th-14th August – Loch Lomond

“On the bonnie, bonnie banks O Loch Lomond.” – Runrig

Billy Connolly said in his World Tour of Scotland documentary that one “Gets all patriotic” when standing on the banks of Loch Lomond. He wasn’t wrong. This is my second time visiting the Loch. The first was in 2000 when David and I drove up one side of Scotland and down the other. Many people think Scotland is all about Loch Ness, and Nessie, but I personally wasn’t all that impressed with Loch Ness. I remember assuming it would be much smaller than it was, but it was huge and went on for many miles. No matter what anyone says, you drive along the banks of Loch Ness, you’re looking for Nessie.

Alas, we didn’t see Nessie (surprise, surprise!) But Loch Lomond back then was one of my favourite places. It’s majestic. There is something so innately beautiful about it that you feel an inner peace and calm when you’re standing by it. This time around, we’re lucky to be staying right on the banks of it in a lodge at Cameron House. This has been Surprise #2 for Dougie’s 60th birthday, but we’re all benefiting this time 😉

I’m here with the Scottish in-laws, having a great time catching up with everyone. It’s so peaceful here, that I can feel the inspiration for my writing sinking in like a breath of fresh air. If I had a recommendation for a place to visit in Scotland, it would be this. We drove from Haddington via Edinburgh and past Stirling to Loch Lomond, which is north of Glasgow. The drive was beautiful, and we were able to take in some of the amazing hilly scenery Scotland has to offer. Dougie had no idea where we were going, so there was much amusement trying to see if he had guessed the pending destination. As we approached, it clicked that Cameron House was where we were headed.

When we arrived, we had a chance to have a wee walk-around, and again, it hit me with how tranquil it was. If I had more time, I would be parking myself on the banks of the Loch with my laptop and churning out a few chapters of my book. Unfortunately, we only have a few nights here, and time seems to be flying. Or is that just me? There was a wedding photographer doing his thing with a bride and groom on the shore (not as good as your work, Nigel Unsworth!) and there were ducks splish-splashing happily around the water’s edge. Here are a few photos I snapped.

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The previous few days were just spent chilling out in Haddington with David’s family. I have to say one thing – the gluten-free food here is incredible! I’ve been Coeliac for 16 years now, and I was diagnosed before needing a gluten-free diet was common. I know today, it has become a bit of a fad diet, but unfortunately, I am one of the poor sods who has a severe allergy to gluten and if I eat it, I get very ill and it can take weeks for me to recover.

Australia’s gluten-free offerings have improved in recent years, but they’re still about 10 years behind the times. Scotland/Britain is so advanced. I’ve caught myself in a state of awe looking at all the GF options. It is literally as easy to get GF food here as it is asking for low-fat for vegetarian. So far, I’ve had battered chicken, fresh made BLT and chicken salad sandwiches, and gotten my hands on a steak pie, pizza, bread, rolls, oat muesli, HobNobs… the list goes on. I’m in my element. Making the most of it while I can! Also, a special shout-out to Marabecca, my mother-in-law, who made us homemade chips with fresh tatties out of Dougie’s veggie garden. Coming soon – Dougie fresh picked peas! Can’t wait!

After enjoying our three nights here in Loch Lomond, we have a few exciting things planned. On Tuesday night, after we get back home to Haddington, David and I are going to meet my favourite author, writer of the Inspector Rebus series, Ian Rankin, at the Edinburgh Book Festival (another bucket list cross-off!). Next week, we will be seeing the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which I know will be incredible. We also hope to do some spur of the moment things, like going back to Linlithgow Palace where we got married, and seeing Rosslyn Chapel again, this time without the erected scaffolding for restoration. Edinburgh is also on the to-do list, but this time I have to visit with different eyes to research for my novel-in-progress.

Finally, last but not least (the most important part), catching up with friends and family! It really doesn’t feel like too long that we have last been here. It has been 10 years for me, and 6 for David. It still feels like a second home to me. I wear my “Honorary Scot” badge with pride. We miss everyone over here, and truly wish we could get back more frequently for visits. However, this time, I hope it’s not as long. As the next step in my writing and study career, I have foundation plans in motion to apply to do my PhD, and if all goes according to plan, I may be able to apply for study grants to come over again soon on a research tour. Even if it will technically be “work”, it will still be coming back to my second home for another visit – and of course, bringing my husband with me as a moral support!

That’s all for now. An exciting couple of days ahead, so I will have plenty to report on in the next post.

Take care,

– Lani x

8th August – Sydney to Edinburgh

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It’s been 10 years since I was last in Scotland, yet the love I have for the country hasn’t waned. The hardest part was keeping a lid on our excitement about going, but surprising David’s dad for his 60th birthday was worth every bit of the wait! After a lot of behind-the-scenes planning and Chinese Whispers, we flew out from Sydney, Edinburgh-bound, on Tuesday. It was a long flight; 7-ish hours from Sydney to Singapore, and then another 13 hours from Singapore to Heathrow, London. We had been due to jump on a connecting flight from London to Edinburgh just a couple of hours after we landed, but Sod’s Law dished us out a delay of two hours at Heathrow. “A truck drove into a plane on the runway, so we’re an aircraft down”, was the excuse we heard in passing. Nothing worse than, at the end of a long-haul flight, being told you need to wait even longer!

Nevertheless, we made it to not-so-sunny Scotland on Wednesday morning. Classic Scottish weather of rain greeted us, and we had a wait throughout the day for Dougie to come home from work so we could surprise him. We spent time with David’s mum, Marabecca, his sister, Linda, her husband, Stuart, and our gorgeous wee nephew, Roman. This was our first time meeting Roman, so it has been an extra-special time.

The surprise went off without a hitch, despite weeks of anxiety that something may let the cat out of the bag! Catching up with David’s family has been incredible, and seeing the first hints of Scotland for the first time in 10 years has been as awesome as I expected.

Today was just spent on more family time with lunch out, including a drive through Athelstaneford, the birthplace of Scotland’s flag, the Saltire, just a stone’s throw from where David grew up in in Haddington. We have a lot planned in the coming weeks. Looking forward to seeing Ian Rankin at the Edinburgh Book Festival and seeing the Edinburgh Military Tattoo again. The first Tattoo I experienced was just days in the wake of our wedding 10 years ago, and it was a truly magical and awe-inspiring night. I have an undying love for bagpipe music, and the Tattoo is spectacular.

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This time around, I find myself taking everything in through writer/researcher’s eyes. My first novel moves from Australia to Sydney, and even though I have a lot of vivid memories from previous trips to Scotland, it’s great to have this chance to absorb much more of the intricate details of the place. Expect plenty of photos to come!

To feel an affinity for a place is a not only a gift of passion, but also vast inspiration. Those who know me are undoubtedly aware that Scotland is this place for me. At its barest minimum, it is a place I spent two years of my life living on a Working Holidaymaker Visa when I was 18 years old. At its most… there are simply not enough words at my disposal to cover it. And this is why I write about it.

Scotland is a regular theme that pops up in my writing. It is one of those amazing places that can truly be a place, or a character, or a time, or a space, or a thing. It is a domain of territory that I not only draw inspiration from, but I enjoy writing about. Why Scotland? Well, why not?

What opened up to me during my stay in Scotland was a country full of fascinating history and a uniqueness quite unlike any other country in the world. When you think of Scotland, images of men in kilts, bagpipes, haggis, and the Loch Ness Monster jump to mind. We’ve all heard the English, Irish and Scotsman jokes. Billy Connolly with his harsh expletives and his Scottish brogue is one of the many figureheads of the country, along with Sean Connery and JK Rowling with her Harry Potter tales.

In these next weeks to come, I plan on revisiting many of the reasons Scotland has become my aesthetic. It is a gift to be able to be here again. It all still feels so familiar, and considering it has been 10 years since my last visit, that tells me the connection to the place is spiritual. This time, rather than keeping all the memories locked away in my brain, they’re going to be fed into my writing, and I already find myself clocking all the finer details that contribute to making a place a character all of its own.

This blog will help me both keep our family and friends up-to-date on what we’re up to on our trip, but also help me record things I want to draw on later in my work. Memories can be a powerful thing, but turning memories into words on a page can be a gift that keeps on giving.

Until next time!

– Lani x