Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Time to go Home

May 31 2023

After living in Ontario, for fifty seven years, I still call Scotland home.

I decided this was the year I'd visit some old haunts and spend time with family. The week before I was to leave I tripped on a carpet and fractured three bones in my foot. Wearing a large boot to hobble around in a city with cobblestones and lots of hills was daunting. 

Flying into Heathrow Airport to catch a train to Peterborough to visit my sister and family was a breeze, as the airline staff ferried me about in a wheelchair and picked up my bags. Then took me to the tube to catch the train. Good service.

Three days with my English relatives.


Rosemary, Cara, Pam with Norman and Elsa

My niece Claire and I out for lunch.
                                                         This was a theme for the entire trip.

My brother Raymond met my sister Rosemary and me at Waverly Station in Edinburgh -  one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it's never a disappointment. Cherry blossoms were everywhere and the yellow gorse was on Arthur's Seat when my brother took us for a drive around the city.

Edinburgh is the world's first UNESCO City of Literature. Designated in 2004, the capital of Scotland has a population of almost 500,000. It is the birthplace and home to world-famous writers, poets and playwrights including Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), Walter Scott (Waverley), and JK Rowling (Harry Potter). And so many others.

A view of the castle and Walter Scott monument from Arthur's Seat

Beautiful Gorse
Learn more about Edinburgh Castle here.

A mingling of the old and the new.


Rosemary and I had lots of catching up to do but we could have done without the hail when we were out walking. So we retired to a lovely Steak House and bar, as one does, to drown our sorrows. On another day we visited with the cousins Anne and Eleanor at The Dome restaurant for lunch. So much fun catching up.

Capturing the beautiful Dome
Another view. So beautiful.

Sunday evening we taxied to the “Dockers Club”. Raymond, was playing drums with the band he has played with since the sixties.  “The Hipple People”. This was the first time I had ever seen him play as I left for Canada in ’66. I even got up to dance with my big black boot. Well, I moved sort of. No pictures of this world shaking event!

Rosemary, Raymond and Pam at the Dockers club

Raymond letting loose with the drums


A laughter-filled four days with my sister Rosemary was just what I needed. A life spent apart in different parts of the world. Stories to be told and shared, Magic!

We also visited the Caledonia Hotel, now owned by the Waldorf Astoria for a coffee and... what else,a scone and jam but also to visit the plaque on the pavement outside, dedicated to our grandad, Sandy James who was the doorman there for forty years.

Pam admiring the paving stone outside the 'Caley'. Caledonia Hotel


After Rosemary left to return home to Peterborough, Raymond and I sought out a childhood place where we, and our siblings camped in a small hut with an outside toilet. We were only eight or nine at the time so we were not aware of the significance of this site as it was in the Glen (valley) of Roslin Chapel. Dan Brown’s novel, the  ‘Di Vinci Code’ put Roslin Chapel on the map but its been around since 1446. Also spelt Rosslyn. They have done a wonderful job preserving the building and it’s still a working chapel. It's surrounded by the Pentland Hills.


Magnificent masonry at Roslin Chapel
Entrance to Roslin Chapel

Pam and Lynda
My lovely niece Lara O'Brien
Raymond and Lynda at their home.


A visit to Chirnside in the Border country to spend time with my friend Glynis was more of the same. Eating, drinking and visiting old country houses. Friends for sixty years we had much to talk about. A visit to Berwick on Tweed for some shopping and Paxton House. One of the many houses open as a tourist attraction with many original furnishings. They needed to add central heating  for me or light the many fireplaces. It was a damp rainy day we visited but the grounds were glorious with fields of daffodils surrounding the buildings. Of course they had a tea shop waiting for my daily scone and jam to warm me up!

Paxton House
Glynis and Pam. We met at sixteen in our first jobs.
 We haven't changed a bit. She keeps reminding me I'm older than her!


I was now back in Edinburgh with my fifth sleeping arrangement. This time with the Blance clan. So good to relax and visit with my nephew and his wife and to have a long chat with my brother-in-law and his lovely wife of sixty eight years.
Robert and Elma are now in their 90’s and were a sight for sore eyes. Enjoyed my visit immensely.

Robert, Pam and Elma Blance
A view of the lit up ski slopes from my bedroom window. '      .





Margaret , Pam, and Peter Blance














This was taken at Greywalls Hotel, Gullane, near Muirfield golf course. 

The most wonderful afternoon tea. Spectacular!

When I was not eating scones with jam and clotted cream, or having my favourite, Black Pudding (Blood Pudding)on a bun, YUM, I was eating fish and chips. Diet is starting any day now.

Not many cities boast a castle in the middle of town and the largest monument to an author, Sir Walter Scott stands on the main street, Princes Street. I had the pleasure of a trip to his home, Abbotsford, near Melrose. Built in the Baronial style,1817, it houses a collection of 10,000 artifacts. The library was my favourite but was fascinated to find Lord Nelson's, and Bonnie Prince Charlie's  locks of hair and Flora McDonald's small purse.

Outside Scott's house in  Abbotsford. We were lucky with the weather that day.

Peter and Pam outside Abbotsford
A bust of Sir Walter Scott
The library at Abbotsford

This home is the extraordinary home of Sir Walter Scott, the 19th century writer of Rob Roy and Waverley; the 'Great Scott' who popularized tartan, saved the Scottish banknote and rediscovered his country's Crown jewels. ( This from their pamphlet)

My photographs didn't do it justice. 

The Waverley Novels

The inscription inside
 Cherished possessions.
The inscription says, From Ma and Pa, Xmas 1889. 

 On my last day, Peter, my husbands nephew and his wife Margaret asked if I wanted to see some alpacas that were in a field near where they live. If you know me at all you know my fascination with all things alpaca. My favorite animal and their yarn is the best to knit with. Arriving at BobCat Alpacas, with a big boot or not I was going to climb the hill to see them. A herd of sixty spied us and they raised their heads and down they came to say howdy. I was in heaven. There were a few crias (babies) and most were hoping to be fed pellets from my hand to supplement the grass.

Shall I buy some yarn?

                A championship herd with loads of awards.  I couldn't resist buying some!


Having a lesson on Alpaca care.

He's not listening to me!                                              












This trip was long overdue and no, one does not go to Edinburgh for the weather. Chilly and wet was the order of the day but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment seeing family and friends and the joy that is Edinburgh.

Until the next time, without the boot!




Anonymous said...

Pam, so delighted you were able to travel and enjoy all that you could! Very heartwarming to see you with family and friends. You sure covered a great deal. And your photos are outstanding! Thank you for sharing. ❤️

Kathleen Kaska said...

I'm so happy for you, Pam. What a heartwarming journey.

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