“National Leveridge’s European Vacation”

by ESP on August 24, 2015

Scotland_2015

Guppies embarking on a perilous car journey to her Grandparents…

Guppies

…check,

Direct 9 hour flight to London Heathrow,

excitement mounting…

IMG_0053

…check.

over_the_Atlantic

In no time at all we were cruising high over the Atlantic. 

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I adopted my usual in-flight facial expression; a combination of bewilderment and pain accompanied by brief interludes of hysteria (dependent on wine consumption).

Touch down in London.

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Having fun yet kids?

Vacation

London, in August, doing tourist things!

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My daughter has been YouTube researching the locations of the best London Kawaii shops.

shopping

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She found exactly what she was looking for in a China town market…squishies!

IMG_0073Before you could say “Seven pounds for a painted piece of foam?!”

Annanwe were on a train speeding North to Brydekirk, a tiny village on the River Annan in SW Scotland.

Annan

There are great walks available on both banks of the river.

Brydekirk

The pink plant in the foreground was brought to Britain for garden collections in the 19th century, it is the invasive annual, Himalayan Balsam

Impatiens glandulifera

 

Impatiens glandulifera

and it was everywhere. The plant produces large amounts of pollen which attracts bees. Unfortunately the bees love the balsam so much they don’t bother pollinating the native plants, reducing their seed production. An effort is currently being made to remove this plant (along with Japanese Knotwood) from the river banks of the Annan.

walk

The 5 mile walk from Brydekirk to Hoddom Castle led us by huge silver willows,

DSC00014

towering pines,

tree

and moss covered trunks.

tree

We passed tall stands of Elecampane

Inula Helenium

 

Inula Helenium

The name ‘helenium’ derives from Helen of Troy…elecampane is said to have sprung up from where her tears fell.

The plant was also sacred to the ancient Celts and once had the name “elfwort”.

Krech

No trip to Scotland would be complete without mentioning a thistle or three, this Creeping Thistle

Cirsium arvense

 

was busy dispersing seeds from small shaving brushes:

Cirsium arvense

The seed number per plant ranges from 1,600 to 50,000!

William_Wallace_Braveheart_Mel_Gibson

Legend has it that a species of thistle saved the lives of sleeping Scottish Clansmen as a Norse army invaded.

Scotland

In order to move more stealthily under the cover of darkness the Norsemen took off their shoes, but as they crept barefoot…well, you guessed it.

thistle

A soldiers cry alerted the Clansmen who went on to defeat the Norsemen at the Battle of Largs

(2 October 1263),

thus saving Scotland from invasion. 

flag

The critical role that the thistle had played was recognized and the weed was subsequently adopted as Scotland’s national emblem.

Hoddom-Scotland

After our walk it was time for a

belhaven

some…

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then…

river-annan

zzz

I fell into a restless jet-lagged sleep plagued by dreams of strange mythical talking creatures…

head

Meeh, meeh?

Maa, maa?

Meh-eh-eh! Meh-eh-eh?

What sound do they make?

Moving along…

head

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I said moving along…

Brydekirk,Scotland

We made a lot of new friends on this trip,

new_friends

From Sally the dog to

the_dog

the sweet wares of the local bakery:

Scotland

The icing on the cake, (ahem), was once again being reconnected with family.

Thanks for making the journey.

LangholmMy parent’s gardens were packed with plants and color,

garden

garden

Here is another interesting thistle (I said there would be three):

'Veitch's Blue'

Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’

globe thistle.

Echinops ritro

You can see why it attracts a host of pollinators.

A Perennial that adds a tropical flair to northern gardens is the aptly named Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

'Lucifer'

Just standing next to this makes you feel warmer.

Lucifer

“Did you know that Crocosmia is so named because the dried leaves smell of saffron when rubbed ESP?

It is derived from the Greek words, Krokos for saffron and osme for Hell, my mistake, smell.”

Thanks Satan.

Native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa the leaves are a give away that it is in the iris family.

tropical-color

Scotland

A slightly disturbing picture I know, but one that leads me to the non-botanical final thistle of this gargantuan post…

logo

Austin

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The band traveled to Scotland and competed at

North-Berwick

North_Berwick

Perth and the

Glasgow-2015

World-Pipe-Band-Championships-2015on a packed Glasgow Green.

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Last minute tuning before the competition.

Here is a link to Silver Thistle’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Silver-Thistle/444011909007446

and our official website:

http://www.silverthistle.org/

We practice twice a week at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and once a month publicly at Opal Divines Davenport and we are always looking for new pipers and drummers.

Opal Divines Davenport

Hope to see you there.

Here is a video of the new World Champions and their performance:

Back in toasty Austin it was time to retrieve the guppies and head home.

Scotland-Trip

Stay Tuned For:

“King Richard III”

 

All material © 2015 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

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