Sunday 26 April 2015

Alloway Auld Kirk

Visited the Auld Kirk in Alloway yesterday - an amazing place.  The parents of the Scottish poet Robert Burns - William Burns and Agnes Brown - are buried here.

Alloway Kirk takes centre stage in Burns' famous poem Tam O'Shanter published in 1791 as the meeting place of the devil "Auld Nick" and various ghosts -

Warlocks and witches in a dance; 
Nae cotillion brent-new frae France, 
But hornpipes, jigs strathspeys, and reels, 
Put life and mettle in their heels. 
A winnock-bunker in the east, 
There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast; 
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, 
To gie them music was his charge: 
He scre'd the pipes and gart them skirl, 
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.-- 
Coffins stood round, like open presses, 
That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses; 

The church dates back to the sixteenth century with some parts from even earlier.  The building fell into disuse when the congregation moved to a new church.

There are some very decorative grave stones in the kirkyard.

It was a very interesting place to visit.  Joining with InSPIREd Sunday - come along and see some more interesting churches.
Love, Liz

Friday 24 April 2015

Cupboard of the Dolls

I was looking out some toys for a little visitor to play with and came across my dolls in a cupboard.

I loved Tressy - remember the little advertising song "her hair grows".  I made lots of clothes for her, especially knitted dolls clothes.  Here's a previous post about Tressy.

Margaret was another doll I had when I was very young - can't say I loved her - think perhaps it shows.  But she is still around!  You can read Margaret's story, but beware, it is not for the faint hearted!

I also had a collection of costume dolls - not to play with, of course - just for ornament.

Did you keep your dolls and did you have a favourite?

Those eyes freak me out a bit!

Have a great weekend.
Love, Liz

Thursday 23 April 2015

Vintage Bathing Caps

Isn't this weather amazing!  Just in case anyone has decided to go for a dip in the sea, here's an old advertisement for some stunning bathing caps!  They will certainly add to your vintage look.

Made of rubber, eh?!  Can you imagine the agony of taking one of these off - half your hair would be removed with it!
Enjoy the lovely weather before it snows - yes, I actually saw a forecast that said it might snow in parts of Scotland over the next few days!  As my Granny used to say "ne'er shed a clout till May be oot"!
Love, Liz

Tuesday 21 April 2015

I'll huff and I'll puff ...

One of my sons' favourite stories was The Three Little Pigs.  This Ladybird Easy Reading book shows the wear and tear of sharing this story with them possibly hundreds of times.  I must have been given the book because it dates from 1965 - trust me, I was a mere babe myself in those days!

The story is retold by Vera Southgate and the illustrations are by Robert Lumley.  Just look at the little details in all the pictures.  I love the wee mouse!

Not sure they would get away with the grisly ending these days!

Love, Liz

Sunday 19 April 2015

Edinburgh's Memorial to Witches

This is the Witches Well in Edinburgh.  It is situated at the bottom of Edinburgh Castle Esplanade just before you go out onto the Royal Mile.  It marks the spot where many (so called) witches were executed in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The plaque reads:-
"This fountain, designed by John Duncan, R.S.A. is near the site on which many witches were burned at the stake.  The wicked head and serene head signify that some used their exceptional knowledge for evil purposes while others were misunderstood and wished their kind nothing but good.  The serpent has the dual significance of evil and wisdom.  The foxglove spray further emphasises the dual purpose of many common objects."

One of those who was killed here was Agnes Sampson who was strangled then burned in 1591/2.  She and many others had been accused of witchcraft by Geillis Duncan, a servant of David Seaton of Tranent. Her employer accused her of going out at night to help the sick! Geillis was horribly tortured as were the others, in order that they would "confess" to their crimes. 

As Diana Gabaldon points out in the Author's Note at the end of Cross Stitch, the last recorded burning of a witch in Scotland was in Dornoch in 1727 when Janet Home was found guilty of witchcraft, covered in tar, put in a barrel and then publicly burned.

The last Scot to be jailed under the Witchcraft Act was a Scottish spiritualist medium, Helen Duncan (1897-1956) who was imprisoned in 1944.  This was during WW2 - there was concern because at a seance she had told the relative of a sailor that he had died when his ship sank.  The Government had been trying to keep the sinking secret.  There was also concern that she was taking advantage of grieving relatives.  Interestingly, the Witchcraft Act of 1735 was not repealed until 1951.

It wasn't until I was reading this over that I noticed a strange coincidence. First we have Geillis Duncan accused of witchcraft, then John Duncan designer of the Witches Well and finally Helen Duncan - charged under the Witchcraft Act. Wow!

Love, Liz

Thursday 16 April 2015

Blocks For Blokes

I suppose being the mother of two boys it was natural that there was a lot of Lego in our house ... a LOT of Lego!

My sons played with Lego all the time and it was always top of the Christmas list.  We've kept it all - not just the bricks, but also the instructions for building the items.  I'm so glad that we did.  My elder son is a Dad himself now, his son is just two years old, and I know that he is looking forward to getting back to Lego building.  Perhaps then I might get some room in my cupboard when he takes all the Lego away!

The minute I saw this magazine - Blocks - I knew I had to buy it for him.  It has loads of great articles about Lego old and new and there some great photographs of some of the fabulous things that have been built from Lego.

I was a bit hopeless as a Mum when it came to building the cars and things, but my husband loved making things up for the boys - when they let him!

I suppose a lot of this, collected over the last 30 years could now be classed as vintage!  Do you still have a Lego collection somewhere in the house?

Love, Liz

Sunday 12 April 2015

West Kirk - Outlander Location

This is the ruined West Parish Church at Culross in Fife, Scotland.  It is believed to date from the early 16th century.  It was already in a run-down state by 1633.

It is very atmospheric and is surrounded by a graveyard with many very old gravestones in it.

Some old grave slabs were used in later building work.  This stone depicting an axe and sword has been used as a lintel over a doorway.

Another lintel is a grave slab with a very decorative key inscribed on it.

It is an amazing place to visit and was used as a location in Outlander as the Black Kirk.

Check out some more churches old and new at InSPIREd Sunday.

Love, Liz

Monday 6 April 2015

Easter Flowers

How lovely are flowers when they are just about to go over?

Colours are just beautiful.

Full bloom!

Love, Liz

Sunday 5 April 2015

Vintage Easter

Have a fabulous Easter weekend!  Hope the sun shines wherever you are.

I love this vintage Easter picture from 1913 - so glam!

Love, Liz

Thursday 2 April 2015

Blackness Castle - Outlander Location

Outlander fans might recognise this location.

It is the amazing Blackness Castle which "stood in" for Fort William in a few of the episodes of the TV series of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander.

The er …. hmm … infamous whipping scene was filmed here (poor Jamie)!

Blackness Castle is on the south shore of the River Forth - you can see the Forth Bridges from the Caste.  It was built in the 15th century and was used as a prison, garrison and ammunition depot at various times in its history.  It is now, like many other properties used as Outlander locations, in the care of Historic Scotland.  Blackness was called "the ship that never sailed" because from the river its shape resembles a sort of stone ship!

Visiting Blackness Castle is not for the faint-hearted, but well worth a visit.  Walking round was better than a workout!  With all the stairs, battlements and uneven ground it was great exercise!  Perhaps I should start up a new exercise regime - Castles for Fitness!  You heard it here first!

Love, Liz

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Wild Weather - Warm Jackets

The weather has been awful here in Greenock over the last few days!  Wish I still had my cosy, warm coat from the 70s.  I  had the cream one in the middle - it was fabulous - wore it with my brown flares and a cream polo neck, just like the girl in the picture.  Thought I was the bees knees!  My hairstyle was more like the girl in the yellow jacket, though.  Wish I  had a photo to show  you ... or perhaps not!

Thispicture  is from a vintage edition of 19 magazine from the 70s.  Hope you are keeping warm and dry wherever you are.

Love, Liz