Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 55: The Ocean

I love the ocean.

I love the crash of waves, and the music of pebbles washing up on the sand. I love the sun bursting out of the ocean in the morning and lighting it red in the evening. I love the breeze as I walk down the pier and the salt smell in the air by the beach.

I suppose, to be completely technical, I’m an inland girl. Hamilton Ontario is pretty landlocked (no—the great lakes don’t count). But, for as long as I can properly remember, I’ve lived by the sea.

On PEI, you’re never more than half an hour from the ocean, and we lived much closer. I loved growing up on a tidal river, watching the water flow in an out. We were also five minutes from one of PEI’s lovely red sand beaches, a favourite summer destination.

Now, in St. Andrew’s, the ocean is a reminder of home. When I look out over the North Sea, I know that it’s connected to the Northumberland Straight back in Canada. Maybe, over the years, some of the waves have made the same journey that I did, all the way across the ocean.

(Alright, I’m overly romanizing this a little. Waves probably don’t travel quite that far. But, it’s a nice thought)

The ocean has been a constant in my life. And now, there’s nothing that de-stresses me more than a short (or, to be honest, a really-not-short-at-all) walk down the beach. On a gorgeous day like today, I could have spent hours just sitting on the rocks, watching the waves, or collecting sea glass.

Now, just in case you’re not quite convinced about how gorgeous the ocean is… photographic evidence shall be supplied. The first half of these photos are from an impromptu post-prayer-meeting photoshoot with a few friends at West Sands, and the second half are from my study-break walk late yesterday afternoon at East Sands. Because, of course, the only thing better than the ocean is the ocean at sunrise or sunset.
The pier, with the lovely crashing waves.

The shoreline going south

The town! Isn't it just sooooo lovely?

Scottish flag above the town. So patriotic. :)

Pier and the edge of the town with the harbour and cathedral.

Scottish flag against the clouds

Rocks! They're fantastic for rock scrambling, and amazing for sea glass collecting!

(n.b. the random thing in the top of the picture is a windsurfing kite, or something of that sort...)

Waves... :)

Sunrise near West Sands as we head off to early morning prayer meeting.

After the meeting-- all bundled up!

Ocean... <3

"The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning..."
More rocks! There're rocks basically everywhere here. ALL the rock scrambling!

One of my friends had the idea to stand on the rocks and take sunrise silhouettes. 
Just slightly edited... :P
(but it's purple, so it's justified)

After showing you all these pictures, I am now going to present the gracious offer of a couch in my living room for you to sleep on... Anyone want to take me up on that?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 53: O, The People You'll Meet!

There’s something about travel that makes people open up to each other. I don’t know if it’s the boredom, or the close proximity, or simply the feeling of newness that comes from changing location, but it suddenly becomes okay to strike up a conversation with complete strangers.

This past weekend, when I went to visit Hannah, I met a man on the bus from Glasgow to Dumfries. He was Glasgow born and bred, middle aged and married, owned his own mechanic shop, and was about as different from me as you could imagine. But, for the hour and a half down to Moffat, we chatted about basically everything, from books to busses to Scottish separatism to religion.

It was fascinating to meet someone from such a different background from me, who had so many different ideas—especially about Scottish Nationalism! So often I tend to get caught up in my little bubble of university friends that I forget there’s a whole world out there of people who don’t spend their life in the library.

On the way back from my visit, on the short-ish bus to Dumfries, I rather inadvertently met an older lady. There was a small child on the bus, using his finger to draw in the steam on the windows. The older lady was sitting nearby, and she started drawing with the boy. It was so cute: they gave each other suggestions for what to draw, or guessed what the other person had just drawn.

Eventually, however, they ran out of room on the window. I was sitting right behind them, and when the little boy turned around and suggested they start on my window, I didn’t say anything, I just started drawing. They both enjoyed this immensely, and before long we were all covering our windows in little pictures.

When the bus finally reached Dumfries, I got off with the older lady and chatted to her for a bit as we walked down the street, since my next bus didn’t leave for another hour. Once again, it was a fascinating conversation because this woman broke so many stereotypes. I expected her to be a sort of small-town grandma, but instead she was a feminist, with distinctly sharp words for anyone who looked down on her for being old! She was also the great-niece of the first woman to be granted a degree from Edinburgh University, which I thought was pretty neat.

In one journey, I met two people so very different from myself. It seems like every time I travel, I meet more people who continue to break stereotypes and expand my horizons. While I may not be a huge fan of busses, the people I meet definitely make it worthwhile.

Tardis in Glasgow! Not the best pic, but I just asked a random passer-by.
I should go back at some point. :)

Interesting art at the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art

A pedestrian street in Glasgow

Part of the Modern Art Gallery.
(I caught the attendant singing, and she was rather embarrassed. I thought it was lovely that she was singing)

Atrium ceiling

Main hall. It was full of interesting forms of art all inspired (or in reaction to) war.

It's not just a stereotype...
For all my fandom friends, I present: the Town of Moffat.

The bus just dropped me off by the side of the road...

Inside of Kircudbright parish church, celebrating its 175th anniversary.
(Kircudbright is pronounced Ker-coo-bree)

Hannah at the piano

Outside of the church 
Random street in Kircudbright

Another church: they're EVERYWHERE here


I enjoy this sign far more than I really should


And more boatses! (well, the same boats. But in landscape, not portrait)

Every small town has to have their own castle.

So many empty windows...

Brightly coloured houses.

I don't know The Wind in the Willows that well, but isn't Toadhall the name of Toad's house?

Apparently plants grow out of stone walls in other towns...

I love church spires.

One of the info sheets for Hannah's fancy-dress party

Hermione has been murdered!

Tree with a really random growth at the top...

This is where we caught the bus to head in to Dumfries.

Drawings on the windows :)

Miniature rapids on the river through Dumfries



Hills... AND CLOUDS!