Wednesday, 27 June 2012

UK Adventure -- Edinburgh

On May 15 my wonderful friend Trudy Bender and I left Sioux Falls for an eight day adventure in Scotland and England.  Our husbands stayed home with the kids and all the other house-keeping (and house-selling) duties, and off we went!  The official reason for going was so I could present a paper at a Harry Potter conference taking place at St. Andrew's University.  The unofficial reason was to see as much of the United Kingdom as is humanly possible in a one week period!  The trip was too full of excitement to capture with one post, so I'm doing it by days.  Most of the pictures were taken by Trudy, and the script in italics is taken from e-mails sent home by me to Nathan.

I'm sitting in the St. Andrews public library after just having lunch at The Doll's House. Joan was right -- it was delicious and affordable. Now I feel a sense of closure from our last visit here!

Our lunch at The Doll's House. 
This had been recommended to Nathan and I when we lived in Edinburgh, but we hadn't been able to find it when we visited St. Andrew's.

We got to Edinburgh at 11:00 yesterday morning and got the bus to city centre, which was just as easy as you said it would be. From there we stowed our backpacks at Waverly Station and went to the castle. It was just as amazing as I remembered it, and Trudy loved it! The neck pillow helped a little, so I think I did get about 3 hours of sleep on the plane, which isn't too bad and so I was feeling pretty good. After the castle we took a quick peek at St. Giles and then had a bowl of soup at Cafe Musa (right beside New College). I have to say, it was very weird being back in Edinburgh -- felt kind of surreal, like when something you thought was a dream is proven to be reality. Strange, but fun.

Standing in the entrance of New College, Nathan's old stomping grounds.

A pretty little street behind New College.

On the Royal Mile

Edinburgh Castle

More castle

The view from the castle.  Trudy's camera had a miniaturizing effect -- pretty cool!

Castle canon

St. Margaret's Chapel, inside the castle.  This is the oldest building in Edinburgh.

St. Margaret herself.

Taking a short rest inside St. Margaret's Chapel.

An overcast morning turned into a beautiful day, at least briefly!

Graffiti on one of the dungeon doors. 
 The American flag in the upper left corner was carved by a POW during the American Revolution.

Dungeon quarters

Cloudy skies return.

We got our train to St. Andrews, and by then we were feeling the need for sleep. But after checking into the B&B we had supper at a little pub and then finally went to bed about 8:30, and slept till 8:30 this morning.

Our view from the train.  The little white specks are sheep.

 I gave my paper and talked to a couple of interesting fellows, including one who is a ph.d candidate at the University of Durham in Christian ethics. He's a graduate of both Biola (2003) and Talbot. I told him that he's exactly the kind of guy we're looking for in our department right now! He's only a year into his ph.d., but still, by the time we actually hired someone he'd be in his 3rd year. He asked for my e-mail and so maybe we'll keep in touch. Wouldn't it be funny if we found Kimlyn's replacement at the Harry Potter conference??

Monday, 4 June 2012

"Tell Me a Story!"

When I got back from St. Andrews and London (more blogs to follow about that trip!), Z asked me to tell him some stories about what I'd done.  These stories led to him requesting more stories.  The most common request now, usually at supper time, is almost always directed at Nathan, "Tell me a story of when you met Mama!"  He's learned enough now that when Nathan is done, Z turns to me and says, "Now tell me your part," meaning I should tell the story from my perspective.

This, plus a few other conversations, has got me thinking about good stories for children.  I've compiled a list, which is by no means complete.  I love all these books, but some of my particular favorites are in bold.  Looking at the list, it's clear it should be longer, since I know there are many more wonderful stories out there!

The Railway Children – Edith Nesbitt

Understood Betsy – Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Betsy-Tacy series – Maude Hart Lovelace

Emily of Deep Valley -- Maude Hart Lovelace

Carney's House Party -- Maude Hart Lovelace

Sarah Plain and Tall – Patricia MacLachlan

Skylark – Patricia MacLachlan

Baby – Patricia MacLachlan

The Tale of Despereaux – Kate DiCamillo

A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

Caddie Woodlawn – Carol Ryrie Brink

Little House series – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Stuart Little – E.B. White

Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

The Trumpet of the Swan – E.B. White

Maybe a Mole – Julia Cunningham

Anne of Green Gables series – Lucy Maud Montgomery (the best in this series are Anne of Green Gables, Anne's House of Dreams, and Rilla of Ingleside)

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

The Slave Dancer – Paula Fox

The Iceberg Hermit – Arthur Roth

I, Juan de Pareja – Elizabeth Borton de Trevino

Jane Addams: Little Lame Girl – Jean Brown Wagoner

Pollyanna – Eleanor Hodgman

The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth Speare

The Bronze Bow – Elizabeth Speare

The Sign of the Beaver – Elizabeth Speare

Calico Captive – Elizabeth Speare

The Black Cauldron – Lloyd Alexander

Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell

Old Yeller – Fred Gipson