Just Frances

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All entries tagged with “scotland”

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    Bordering on 43 - Feb 20th, 2017
    This past weekend was my birthday weekend, so I enjoyed a wee road trip to the Scottish Borders to explore in and around Kelso. It was a great way to shake out the cobwebs and a fun way to celebrate the end of another year. And, it was a great excuse to eat lots of holiday food! [more...]

    A visit to Crookston Castle - Feb 11th, 2017
    I’ve been away in Glasgow house and cat sitting for the past week. And as the ruined Crookston Castle is only a mile away, I decided it was high time I made a trip to see it. [more...]

    Banishing the gloom at Castle Campbell - Oct 8th, 2016
    I spent today doing vital ankle rehabilitation work, in the form of walking to and from Castle Campbell in the hills above Dollar. It was a much-needed outing and a great way to rid myself of some of the gloom I’ve been feeling from missing out on all of my 2016 running goals. (Broken ankle = no races. How gloomy, indeed!) [more...]

    Third passport firsts - Aug 27th, 2016
    I received my new American passport yesterday. But despite this being my third passport, it will also mark several passport firsts in my life. But then, each of my passports have marked important “firsts” in my life! [more...]

    A Dunblane day - Jul 16th, 2016
    A couple of weeks ago, I visited The Kelpies with my friend Caroline, and we decided that we’d try to get together for some more summer outings this year. So today, we met up in Dunblane for lunch and a visit to the cathedral. And as it happens, it was a first for both of us. Yes, despite my friend living most of her life near Dunblane—and me living just down the road in Stirling for two years—neither of us had been to the cathedral before! [more...]

    A Kelpie day - Jun 25th, 2016
    I’m house-sitting in Falkirk for a couple of weeks, so when a friend asked if I wanted to enjoy a day out, it seemed that visiting something local would be the way to go. When she suggested The Kelpies, I was really excited as I hadn’t seen them yet. [more...]

    West coast weekend - May 30th, 2016
    This past weekend was the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. But I decided not to run the half marathon because I didn’t have enough time to recover after having been rather ill. So instead, I headed west to enjoy a weekend on the coast with a friend. [more...]

    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...]

    Wrapping up 2015 - Dec 31st, 2015
    With 2015 quickly coming to an end, it’s time for a bit of reflection. And as I look back at my hopes for the year, I am pleased to say that I’ve succeed in all but one of my hopes—the desire to learn how to sew a skirt. But I didn’t even attempt that one, as I realised it isn’t a truly important goal for me. And so, I’m calling the year a success! [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...]

    Edinburgh: A city in perpetual change - Nov 20th, 2015
    I spent last night getting lost in discussions about Edinburgh’s urban landscapes as part of a panel discussion called Lost+Found in Edinburgh: Our city today. The event was part of the Being Human Festival, a festival to celebrate the humanities, and was certainly a fun way to waste away a couple of hours in the middle of the week. [more...]

    A historic half and half - Nov 15th, 2015
    I spent yesterday at the Holyrood Park Education Centre, getting educated on whisky and beer pairings as part of Historic Scotland’s inaugural “Half and Half” event. The afternoon’s class was put together by The Scotch Whisky Experience and Stewart’s Brewing, and was absolutely fantastic! [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...]

    Saving the best for last! - Sep 28th, 2015
    I ran my last Loch Ness Marathon yesterday. (Maybe.) And I accomplished a PB whilst doing it—which was totally unexpected. Even better, I am nowhere near as sore as I was the day after my first (and slowest) Loch Ness back in 2011. [more...]

    Half BraemarAthon - Sep 13th, 2015
    My crazy month of races began today with the Braemar Half Marathon—after forgoing last weekend’s planned 10K in favour for a wee ride on the choo-choo train. I am a bit disappointed with my time, but as I went into the race with the plan to go slow and just finish, I’ll not complain too much. [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...]

    Making plans - Jul 28th, 2015
    I’ve talked a few times about my desire to build healthy routines for myself, to get out and be more active, and, of course, to prioritise myself a bit lot more. And I’m pleased to say that I’ve been working on all of those things over the past few weeks. In fact, I’ve been making all sorts of plans to ensure I keep filling up my diary! [more...]

    Real ale, Scottish style - Jul 11th, 2015
    I went to the Scottish Real Ale Festival with a couple of friends today. I always enjoy beer festivals because they’re a great opportunity to try new brew and meet new people—both of which were done today! [more...]

    An American flag in Scotland - Jul 4th, 2015
    Today is Independence Day in America; the day we stood up against The Crown to demand self-rule. As a proud American, this is a very important day for me. But as an expat American living in Scotland, it’s a little difficult to find a traditional Independence Day celebration, so I did something a little untraditional. [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...]

    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...]

    It’s parliamentary, my dear - Oct 21st, 2014
    When I first arrived in Scotland in 2001, the new Scottish Parliament was quite new. In fact, they didn’t even have a permanent building! But finally, in 2004, the building was completed and the MSPs moved in. [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...]

    Ness, again - Sep 29th, 2014
    Yesterday was the 2014 Loch Ness Marathon, with 2,478 people crossing the finish line at the end of the gruelling 26.2-mile course. I was one of them, crossing under goal time by more than five minutes. (Yay, me!) [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...]

    Inaugural success - Sep 6th, 2014
    Today was another race day. This time, it was the inaugural Scottish Half Marathon near Edinburgh. The course follows part of the Edinburgh Marathon course, so I had some familiar views along the way. And I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed the entire experience. (Well, except for my slow time.) [more...]

    Spectacular jousting - Jul 6th, 2014
    Oh, what a wonderful day I’ve had! It was fun! It was exciting! It was filled with laughter! It was, simply, spectacular! Yes, I spent the day in Linlithgow enjoying Historic Scotland’s Spectacular Jousting on the grounds of the palace. [more...]

    I joined the gym, and God laughed - May 28th, 2014
    I hate running in the rain. It sucks. It’s wet and miserable and icky and yucky and extremely unpleasant. So, inevitably, I make excuses for why I can’t do a training run if it looks like rain. [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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    So long, 30s! - Feb 20th, 2014
    Today is my last day of my 30s, so it seems appropriate to reflect on the decade in preparation for the start of my 40s. [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...]

    Inspiration from writers - Jan 4th, 2014
    Tucked away in a wee close off of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is one of my favourite museums in the city. It’s the Writers’ Museum in Lady Stair’s Close and despite the fact that it’s small and the exhibits don’t change, I find it to be a place of inspiration each time I go. [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...]

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