Thursday we packed our bags again and headed northwards to Culross. On the way we stopped at McCallum Bagpipes in Kilmarnock. I have McCallum pipes and was here before with Heather a few years ago and I wanted to see what was new in their showroom. I picked up a moisture control reed protector, a piper's "third hand" (device to help with tuning), and a new practice chanter. I might sell one of my old chanters that I don't really like. We scooted along to meet M's friend and business partner, Linda, for lunch. Linda is a delightful person and the time together went all too quickly.
We had a few unplanned detours on the way to Culross and finally found ourselves descending from the top of a hill to the old village that lies on the Firth of Forth. Culross (pronounced coo-ross) is among the most beautiful of all villages in Scotland. I've taken loads of photos to share when I return. Many of the buildings are 17th century or older and have been beautifully preserved. In fact, the entire village is on the National Register. The buildings border the edge of the narrow cobblestone streets, often without any sidewalks so pedestrians must be alert. Robin loaned us the use of their beautiful home, Eley House, on the street called Lower Causeway. We were to pick up the keys from Robin's friends, Judy and Martin, proprietors of St. Mungo's B& B just down the road. We did not find Judy on our first attempt so we had a cup of tea and shared a scone at a tea room and walked along the sea. The air was so fresh and clean. The day was overcast but we were very fortunate that rain did not hamper any of our activities. I was totally captivated by the charm of this village. Everywhere you look there is something of interest. Anyway, how could one not love a place that is in "The Kingdom of Fife"? Truly romantic, isn't it?
After finding Judy and getting the keys to Eley House, we settled in and then headed out to dinner at the Red Lion, a very short walk down the road. Both of us ordered a delicious chicken caesar salad and our own little bottle of wine. We walked back and watched a bit of American Idol on the telly and then dropped into bed.
We couldn't believe it when we awoke at 10:30 a.m.! (The bedroom was dark and so comfortable.) We beetled out for a bite of breakfast at the tearoom but were a bit too late for the real breakfast menu. We both ordered a cappucino and muffin. The muffin was a hearty one, filled with carrot, raisins, and nuts. That held us until evening (barely).
After our breakfast we walked up the hill to the Abbey (1217) ruins. An amazing garden was open for the day. I can't wait to see the photos on my computer! We dropped a few pounds in the donation box.
With a sad farewell to Culross we headed for Glasgow to check in on M's parents. Both are around 94 years of age and although a bit more frail since I last saw them 3 and a half years ago, still very alert and living independently in their tidy home. The kettle was set for tea and we ate a biscuit (cookie) or two with our tea before leaving around 3 p.m.
Our next stop was West Kilbride to find a wool shop that I had discovered through Ravelry. West Kilbride is a lovely village along the coast, between Largs and Ardrossan. I hope we can explore it a bit more someday. We actually arrived after the 4 p.m. closing time. M dropped me off and drove away to find a parking place. I was disappointed to find the little shop was closed. As I gazed at the array of hand painted yarns in the window (drooling), Lilith spied me from across the street. I had told her that I was coming sometime this week and she recognized my hand-knitted shawl as she was leaving to go home for the day. We knitters know our own kind! I wanted to buy one of everything in the shop but I settled on 3 skeins of laceweight, a skein of sock yarn, and one of a special color designed by Ysolde Teague. I am so excited to work with these beautiful yarns. Check out oldmaidenaunt on Ravelry! (She is not old)
We had about an hour after arriving home and leaving again for Kilmarnock. M's friends were meeting for dinner at The Coffee Club in Kilmarnock. These 5 ladies get together regularly and have the greatest time together. M and "Forever Linda" have been friends since they went to school at age 5. M, Forever Linda, and Joyce have been friends since the age of 10. It's just fantastic that they have kept these friendships up for so many years. Most of the times I've come for a visit I've had the opportunity to join them so I was very happy that they arranged it again for this trip. We had some good laughs and I learned more about them and their families.
We are taking it easy today, just relaxing and going into the shops for a few things. The sun is shining and we are planning on walking to the beach and back.