My Sunday Photo... Balmoral Castle

Today, I have an old photograph which I hope you'll forgive me for posting.
I thought it would be appropriate due to this week's celebration of Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday.
Set amongst the magnificent scenery of Royal Deeside, in the shadows of Lochnagar, is the Balmoral Estate which I visited around this time last year. 
It was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848 and the Estate has been the Scottish Home of the British Royal Family ever since.
If you'd like to read my blog post and see more photographs from my visit, then click here.
"Happy Birthday Your Majesty"
Oh yes and "Happy Birthday Son"... it was his birthday yesterday.

As usual I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo
and Wordless (on Tuesday at image-in-ing)
and also with Mersad over at Through my lens.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend everyone and thanks for visiting my place.

Crathes Castle...Blue Monday

When the dawn breaks to a beautiful crisp autumnal day, you can do nothing but head outdoors to appreciate it. And that's exactly what my daughter and I did.
Wrapped in our winter woolies, hats, gloves and boots plus of course our camera we headed along the River Dee towards Banchory. 
Our destination is my favourite local castle. 
Crathes Castle has fairytale turrets, gargoyles and the ancient Horn of Leys given in 1313 by Robert the Bruce are just a few of the features of this historic castle. 
The gardens of Crathes and estate are ideal for walks, picnics, or just to relax and enjoy. There are six separate trails to explore. 
A delight at any time of year, the famous gardens feature great yew hedges which never cease to amaze me. There are also colourful herbaceous borders. 
So are you ready for a walk? 

The Crathes Gate House appears in the background.

This photo is for everyone who visited yesterday for Silent Sunday and wanted to take a further peek through that gate...don't worry I'm going to revisit in the spring, when there will be so much more to see. I hope you don't mind me just showing a fraction of it today. 
Here's another gateway...which has 'Rebuilt in 1810' engraved over the top. 
You can also see the castle in the background. 
It was a perfect day to appreciate the autumn colours.
Still waters...
The metal structure on the right-hand side in the photo below is a fish ladder. This allows salmon to continue swimming upstream to their spawning grounds where they themselves were born. Salmon are capable of swimming against extremely strong currents and leaping up large waterfalls. Autumn is when the salmon are most prolific but unfortunately we didn't see any this time.

And so onto the castle...
Okay, so I've teased you enough... here is the majestic Crathes Castle.
I adore the ancient topiary hedges of Irish yew dating from 1702 which separate the garden's eight themed areas. 
They remind me of Walt Disney's 'Alice in Wonderland' don't you think? 
I wouldn't be surprised to see them dance around. 

Because we were wanting to stay outside, we didn't go into the castle but don't worry I will take you in soon. 
But we did stop for a much needed cuppa and a scone of course
(as one does after walking the forest trails
plus a visit into the art and craft wee shops and gallery.

Here's my daughter perusing all of the fabulous artwork...
(Don't worry the boys were having a great time the pub watching their football team win).  
Just look at that blue sky!
 Wow, it was such a fantastic day and who would think that we're in the middle of November.

Which is why I'll wish you all a Happy Blue Monday.
Don't forget to pop across to see more of the Blue Monday posts at Smiling Sally's blog.

Thelma and Louise....visit to Edinburgh

In true 'Thelma and Louise' style my In-Laws (both Mother and Sister) have taken a road trip up to visit my daughter in Edinburgh, Scotland for the Bank Holiday weekend. This would normally necessitate in a 3 to 4 hour drive from their home in Cheshire. But they haven't driven there before.

After 6 hours we did begin to wonder if they had driven off at Lands true 'Thelma and Louise' style, but after numerous phone calls and redirections they finally made it safely to my daughter - 8 hours travelling in total! The reason for the delay by the way was a truck had lost its load just at the junction they needed to exit. Typical.

Phewph....hopefully it'll all be worth it.
(Photo courtesy of

Just now its Festival time in Edinburgh from 21st August to 3rd September so you'll have to hurry if you want to catch the fun. Here's some information about the Festival

With my daughter able to show my blog to her visitors, I thought I'd send my Mother-in-Law a little surprise today. I know the journey here is just not possible for her now, so I thought I'd send a little reminder of her time spent living in Perth back in the late 1960's. Its the vociferous Magpies and if you have never heard them before it really is a unique sound to Australia.

Unlike the UK magpies these babies are huge, noisy and can be aggressive. They are a favourite of many Aussies and I've know so many people feed them by hand. Personally looking at those beaks makes me think it’s not for me. Apparently they love mince!

My Mother-in-law used to describe to us how she would wear a pan or colander on her head, whilst hanging out the washing, especially at nesting time. The Magpies would swoop and dive making the task hazardous without suitable head gear. I can just visualise when she hears they're song again, she might want to dive for cover. Magpies singing

Still nursing the sick here today, but at least the suns shining.... hopefully it is in Edinburgh too =D
Have fun together everyone XxX