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    Conquering the law - Feb 21st, 2016
    I arrived in North Berwick yesterday for my birthday weekend, with a plan to conquer The Law as part of my visit. And since yesterday was spent exploring Tantallon Castle and the coast, today was the day to climb the hill! [more...]

    Tantallon to end - Feb 20th, 2016
    Today is the start of my birthday weekend, and my last day as a 41-year-old woman. So to celebrate, I’ve taken myself away for the weekend. Not far—just to North Berwick. But it’s a nice little village that I’ve been meaning to explore for a long time, so my birthday was a good excuse to do that. [more...]

    Caching Oban - Feb 14th, 2016
    The first time I was in Oban was for a quick lunch stop as part of a bus tour with my best friend, Rachel, when she came to visit me way back in 2002. I’ve been meaning to return for a while now, so when my friend asked if I was up for a weekend break to Oban I couldn’t say no! After all, there were a few fun geocaches I was hoping to find! [more...]

    Filters, finds, and falls - Jan 3rd, 2016
    I enjoyed a nice wee wander up to the filter beds near Glencorse Reservoir to find a geocache near a waterfall today. I even saw a filly along the way. As it happens, it was the first time I’ve left the house all year, and it really felt good to stretch my flexors! (I’ll leave the alliterations alone now.) [more...]

    Combing the Ayrshire coast - Dec 30th, 2015
    I spent the last three days beachcombing in Ayrshire with a friend and managed to find all sorts of cool things. (And, sadly, a cold!) Our walks took us north to Ardrossan and as far south as Culzean Castle. It was my first time exploring that area of Scotland, but I’m sure it won’t be my last! [more...]

    A Wales of a day! - Nov 9th, 2015
    I’ve been down in England spending a few days with my brother-in-law, John, and on Saturday he suggested we drive across to Wales for a wee day of adventuring. And as I can’t resist a good adventure, I happily accepted the idea of a pilgrimage. [more...]

    St Giles’ from above - Oct 23rd, 2015
    I felt the need for a bit of exploration this afternoon. The sky was bright and blue and there was only a mild nip in the air and I wanted to do something fun outside. And so, I decided to finally take advantage of the guided rooftop tours at St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile. [more...]

    A haunted tower? - Oct 18th, 2015
    I was invited to be someone’s guest for a wedding yesterday evening, and he suggested that I pick a castle (or something) for us to visit during the day. I opted for Huntingtower Castle near Perth, as I was very interested to see the painted ceiling, and Perth seemed like a convenient place to meet up. [more...]

    A day at Dirleton Castle - Oct 4th, 2015
    I spent yesterday exploring Dirleton Castle with a friend. It’s one of the nearby castles I’ve wanted to see for quite some time and I was so pleased to have someone to explore with who is just as silly as I am! We even managed a wee stop to see a few boats and gather some shells in Cockenzie. That last stop also counts as one of my stops along the Making Plans Goal of seeing those 14 amazing places near Edinburgh! [more...]

    Choo-choo to Abbotsford - Sep 6th, 2015
    Today was opening day for the new Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank. And as I am a bit of a train buff who enjoys being “first” to try new things, it made sense that I should make the journey. So that’s exactly what I did today: I rode the rails between Edinburgh and Tweedbank. Along with all the other train geeks in Scotland! [more...]

    A very a-peel-ing day - Sep 5th, 2015
    I was chatting with my friend Iris yesterday and learned that she’d never been to—or heard of!—Linlithgow. And as it’s one of my favourite places, I needed to remedy that. (Which also means I'm keeping up on my desire to be more adventuresome.) So we boarded a train this morning to make the 20-minute journey to the ancient royal burgh. Once there, we wandered around the Linlithgow Peel—with a wee stop off at St Michael’s Parish Church and Linlithgow Palace, of course. [more...]

    From Roslyn to Roslin to Rosslyn - Aug 2nd, 2015
    I grew up a couple of miles down the road from Roslyn, Washington. So when I first moved to Edinburgh in 2001, I was excited to learn that there was another Roslin here in Scotland, on the outskirts of the city. And since beginning my PhD, I’ve been living on a rural estate south of the city, and just two miles down the road from—you guessed it!—the Scottish Roslin. [more...]

    Over the Pentlands - Jul 30th, 2015
    Remember when I mentioned I am going to have more adventures? And that I am going to fill up my diary with all sorts of fun things? Well, today was one of those adventuresome days! Even better, I managed to visit two of the 14 places BuzzFeed says I should try to see this summer. (Yay!) [more...]

    Tasty tots - Jul 5th, 2015
    I love tater tots. I love, love, love them. They are an amazingly delicious treat and I would eat them all the time if I could. Only I live in Scotland. And Scotland doesn’t do tots. In fact, they don’t even know what tots are. So if I want tots, I have to make them myself. Which is what I did for the first time today. (Yum!) [more...]

    Friends and forces - Jun 28th, 2015
    I went into town yesterday for Edinburgh’s Armed Forces Day parade and celebration. I had put the event in my calendar weeks ago, and intended to go alone [enter pathetic violin music here] but ended up spending much of my time with friends. [more...]

    A religious day in Glasgow - May 17th, 2015
    I went to Glasgow for a bit of museum-ing yesterday as part of my efforts to get out of the house a bit more. I didn’t have a real plan for my visit, but I expected that I would enjoy myself—and the day did not disappoint! [more...]

    Carving out time - Apr 6th, 2015
    I carved out time in my Easter weekend to travel to Stirling for lunch with friends today. Afterwards we went for a wee wander around the Back Walk at Stirling Castle and, to my pure joy and amusement, there were several new carvings along the walk to enjoy! [more...]

    An Easter treasure hunt - Apr 5th, 2015
    As the Easter Bunny didn’t leave me any eggs to find at home today, I had to arrange for a wee treasure hunt of my own. And I did it in the way of a geocache near where I live. [more...]

    Close call - Apr 4th, 2015
    I spent the day walking to-and-from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, following the various closes, wynds, and steps as I went along. The initial inspiration came from a post on Healthy Edinburgh’s blog about an “urban step class”, which then led me to an idea to explore every single close off the Royal Mile. But as I investigated my route and thought about the best way to tackle my objective, my plan changed. [more...]

    The Wardlaw Mausoleum - Mar 7th, 2015
    I’m up in Kirkhill this weekend for tomorrow’s Inverness Half Marathon, and have managed to get a bit of sightseeing in—along with the obligatory pre-race carb training. And, of course, I’ve been enjoying the fabulous company of fabulous friends. (And some fabulous cooking, too.) [more...]

    Edinburgh’s Wild West - Mar 5th, 2015
    I finally got around to downloading the Geocaching app on my phone, which means I can do a bit of urban geocaching now. It also means that I get to learn about quirky little places I might otherwise never know about. Which is exactly what happened today when I found myself on what could be mistaken as a low-budget movie set. [more...]

    A dress-down skirt - Jan 11th, 2015
    When I was back home in America on my holidays, I was offered a couple of dresses that didn’t fit just right. But as the previous owners were happy for me to experiment on them, I gladly brought the garments back to Scotland with me. [more...]

    Castles and hillforts - Jan 4th, 2015
    Between yesterday and today, I’ve managed to get a bit of walking and sightseeing in. It’s been a great way to spend my first weekend of 2015—and my last weekend before heading back to the office tomorrow after two weeks’ holiday. [more...]

    A day at the Kelvingrove - Oct 5th, 2014
    I spent yesterday in Glasgow visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It’s one of those places I can return to over and over again. In fact, I’ve probably been there a dozen times over the last 12 years. I kind of feel like that’s not often enough, but as the friend I was with has only been twice in the same time span, I guess I’m doing OK. [more...]

    Perambulating in Perth - Sep 15th, 2014
    I had a wonderfully fun weekend in Perth, where I did a lot of perambulating. (But you could probably guess that from the title of this post.) A friend met me at the train station on Saturday, and then we made our way to St John’s Kirk before heading out for a nice meal. Then on Sunday, we wandered along the “William Souter Walk”. [more...]

    London girl - Aug 20th, 2014
    I’ve been quiet here on Just Frances once again, but if you ask my friends, they’ll tell you I haven’t been quiet in reality! That’s because I’ve been away to London. (And busy giving my first-ever public talk!) [more...]

    Inch by inch - May 18th, 2014
    I spent a wonderful day on Inchcolm Island, exploring the abbey and surrounding grounds. It was one of those happy days, despite there being a slight tug on my emotional heart strings. But I knew that would happen as the first (and last) time I was there was nearly 12 years ago with Paul. [more...]

    Where blooms the sweet bluebell - May 17th, 2014
    Today is the start of a four-day weekend for me so I’ve made a concerted effort to get out of the house so that I don’t spend the whole time hidden away in my room. So I asked my housemate if he was up for a wee walk somewhere. [more...]

    Retreating to nature - May 7th, 2014
    On the second day of the retreat, we had the morning free for activities before an afternoon of presentations. Once again, I was left solo on my activity choice because I didn’t fancy sailing or mountain biking, and it seemed no one else fancied a wee nature walk and exploration of an old burial ground. [more...]

    Retreat to the castle! - May 7th, 2014
    The first day at the retreat centre began just after lunch, and we were all given opportunities to participate in an activity prior to a short presentation before dinner. I wasn’t keen on the idea of playing on the water, so opted to take one of the bikes into town to check out the old ruins of Finlarig Castle. [more...]

    Stopping for the (Mel)roses - Apr 27th, 2014
    On my way to England yesterday, I made a stop at Melrose Abbey in the Scottish borders. It had been about a dozen years since my last visit but as that was part of a bus tour stopping at three abbeys in a day, I hadn’t been able to fully explore the ancient building and its grounds. [more...]

    Appreciating St Giles’ - Mar 29th, 2014
    It’s been more than 12 years since I first stepped through the doors of St Giles’ Cathedral along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, and I’ve probably been through the doors a dozen times since then. Admittedly, not much has changed since that first visit other than me. [more...]

    But for freedom - Mar 23rd, 2014
    I had a wonderful day in Arbroath yesterday, and though I’m very tired after a long weekend of fun with friends, I thought I’d best share a quick post (and some photos) now before I completely forget! [more...]

    A childish day at the museum - Mar 17th, 2014
    One of my favourite things in the world is acting silly and childish, so when a friend from Stirling invited me to join her and her children for a day out in Edinburgh, I couldn’t resist! After all, I know that I get to act silly and childish when I’m with my little friends! [more...]

    Castles in the glen - Mar 15th, 2014
    I’ve had yet another lovely day wandering around the Roslin area near my home, and am feeling energised with the switch from rainy winter weather to the crisp subtlety of spring. [more...]

    Swords and smiles - Mar 2nd, 2014
    I’m back from a wonderful weekend in Wakefield (and Leeds) and despite feeling a bit knackered from a long train journey, my soul is feeling a bit rejuvenated. (It generally does after spending time with my family!) [more...]

    Craigmillar castle; finally - Feb 16th, 2014
    It’s been more than 12 years since I first arrived in Edinburgh, and I’ve only now taken the time to visit the city’s second castle. I’m disappointed in myself for taking so long to see it, but I am pleased that the day’s weather was so enjoyable. [more...]

    Just four years - Feb 15th, 2014
    Just Frances is four years old. Wow! Can you believe that I’ve been spewing this utter nonsense for that long? And if you thought I might be nearing the end of rubbish things to talk about, you’re wrong. (No apologies. If you don’t like it, you can just stop reading!) [more...]

    Glencorse Reservoir: A quick walk - Feb 2nd, 2014
    The weather wasn’t as wet and rainy and snowy as predicted, so I took advantage of the relatively blue skies and took a wee walk along the Glencorse Reservoir in the Pentland Hills. [more...]

    The way of the monks - Jan 2nd, 2014
    Another day, another ramble through the local environs. This time it was a 6k walk along the Monks’ Walk in the Pentland Hills near where I’m living on the outskirts of Edinburgh. [more...]

    Walking in the New Year - Jan 1st, 2014
    Ah, a new year has begun. It’s such a wonderful feeling—especially when you’re boring like I am and don’t imbibe in booze the night before. (I like to start the New Year sans hangover!) [more...]

    The Christmas star - Dec 15th, 2013
    I decided to get a bit crafty this Christmas, but wanted to attempt projects using only supplies I had on hand. So, I dug through the boxes of crafty bits a friend gave me a while back then I took to Pinterest to see if I could find some pinspiration. [more...]

    Franklin, my dear - Nov 8th, 2013
    It’s been two weeks since I attempted to visit Franklin Falls, and I am pleased to say that I finally made it. Yay! Of course, I’m also a bit embarrassed to say that missing it two weeks ago was an error caused by a lack of understanding (or maybe a lack of proper signage?). Boo! [more...]

    My Halloween interrobang - Oct 31st, 2013
    When it was determined that I would be in America for Halloween this year, I began to think about what I would dress up as. [more...]

    Mommy and Me: UK Tour 2012 - Oct 30th, 2013
    On October 9, 2012, my Mommy showed up in Scotland for a three-week visit, leaving on October 30, 2012. Yes—a full year ago! At the time of her visit, Just Frances was down for repairs and by the time the site was back I was too busy with other tasks to sort through the hundreds of photos deciding which to share. [more...]

    A dam sweet day - Oct 29th, 2013
    Another day, another road trip! This time it was the journey back from Okanogan County to the Homeland—with several stops along the way. [more...]

    Almost all mines - Oct 28th, 2013
    The last couple of days have been spent in Okanogan County visiting lots of awesome people. And lots of old mines. So, it’s been a pretty awesome couple of days. [more...]

    Railroads and Ramona - Oct 25th, 2013
    Today’s plan was easy: Wake up, drive to Franklin Falls for a gentle hike, then meet with my amazing friend, Ramona, for dinner. And I’m pleased to say that the day was a partial success! [more...]

    We blew it - Oct 24th, 2013
    Today was spent doing more touristy stuff with Mum and Dad. This time, over the Old and New Blewett Passes with a few stops along the way. [more...]

    Roca and rattlesnakes - Oct 22nd, 2013
    Today was a bit of a hodgepodge day that consisted of shopping, tourist-ing, and panic attacks. But there were no rattlesnakes. Well, at least not ones I saw. [more...]

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