Thursday, 27 November 2014

Beautiful Balgorkar

Doesn't Balgorkar sound like something from Lord of the Rings?

I went on a research trip there today with my friend and colleague (and stone circle expert) Peter to measure it. We are doing an exhibition on stone circles at my work with a model of the circle. The weather was poor and I struggled along through mud for ages in a Barbour, wellies and waterproof trousers, but it was well worth it.

Balgorkar is the stone circle just over the road from the castle. An avenue of monoliths leads from it to the castle and beyond. It is a very dramatic and evocative site and attracts many Outlander readers due to it's proximity to Castle Fraser. The three big stones in the picture are the Recumbent and Flankers, a feature of Aberdeenshire circles and are aligned with sunset at midwinter, an important time for ancient people. The circles were erected around burial sites, but their exact purpose is unknown.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

People on the Street

After a long time, the return of interesting people seen in Aberdeen.
Maybe I just don't see enough interestingly dressed people.

This lady was walking past the art gallery, resplendent in a cerise pink velvet swing coat, khaki lace wool tights and olive high heeled sandals with gold heels.
In her hair, a matching velvet fascinator. I'm always inspired by those who have the guts to just wear what they love and are not afraid to stand out.

Last week I kept seeing fantastically dressed people and I realised, like me, they were converging on a vintage clothing fair in a local church. I love the way people dress up for these things, like a society. The fair was amazing, but sadly not many things in anything but tiny sizes and I was conflicted about buying a fur coat. Everything was so glamorous, even vintage hairdressing on a little stage and fantastic looking retro types everywhere in this amazing rambling, shabby old church.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

More Biog

I am getting a bit bogged down with Tamara de Lempicka. Another egomaniac forging a career in 1920s Paris. So started 'the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Scloot. Fascinating story of a woman whose cancer cells were taken for biological research. Lots of interesting stuff on science, ethics, race, social history. Enjoying very much.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Seen from the Road Again

This is the lovely Logie House, which I see from the road driving to Leith Hall. In fact, I see four stately homes on my journey; Logie House, Westhall Castle, Wardhouse and Harthill Castle (previously blogged). As well as Leith Hall itself! Maybe I should try and do Westhall and Wardhouse also to complete the set. Wardhouse, although a ruin, is the most beautiful, an elegant Georgian mansion looking down a wooded valley.

When I first moved up here, Logie was a gutted ruin, but is now beautifully restored and used as a wedding and functions venue. They also offer glamping (glamour camping) in Mongolian yurts, which I really fancy. The house dates from the late 1600s with later additions.

Find out more here: Logie Country House

Monday, 10 November 2014

December Biography in Waiting

Thanks to my friend Alison of the blog Beloved Eleanor I now have a December book too!

It is The Pinecone by Jenny Uglow and is a book I've wanted to read for ages! The book is about Sarah Losh, a genius architect from the C19th.

Needless to say, being a woman she has now been totally forgotten. Grrrrrr.

Anyway, thank you so much Alison, very excited by this lovely book!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Biog of the Month

November's biography is Tamara de Lempicka: a life of Deco and Decadence by Laura Claridge.

It's a bit of a tricky one as art deco artist Tamara was a fantasist and a self inventor. She feared her background as a wealthy Jewish Russian was not bohemian enough so created her own life stories.

It makes you think about to what extent we create our own stories from our lives and how you create your image and identity.

One more biography to go and then it's on to Women and Travel 2015.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Tea in the Garioch

This is Chapel of Garioch, a tiny, pretty village near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire. The village is just behind Bennachie ('Bennahie')the biggest hill in the area seen in the picture. You can make Tea and Garioch rhyme because it is pronounced 'Geery' for some reason.

Just by the very interesting church and historic graveyard is the tearoom, housed in an old Post Office. It is the yellow building on the right. Just visible is a telephone box under a cloak of ivy. I went there with the ladies from my work for their monthly Vintage Afternoon Tea. Not only is the tearoom like something from Miss Marple, but the staff wear vintage dresses and aprons and the tea is very traditional. Egg, salmon and cucumber and cheese and local pickle finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, lemon tarts, victoria sponge, meringues and macarons. Delightful. It really is like stepping back in time or into some kind of BBC drama!