Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Counting down the days

Saturday morning, last day in August, rainy, blowy, fairly cool. For the past ten days, I've been staying in a cottage (the former hayloft of the stables), part of a delightful 18th-century house about 10 miles north of Aberdeen, enjoying gardens, good friends, birds, bats, and peace and quiet while I finished writing my dissertation. Only a few more days left here in Aberdeen. This year has flown past! The great news is that yesterday I pressed the "Send" button on my dissertation draft, and several copies are now waiting for me in the University of Aberdeen Print Shop. I'll pick them up Monday morning and submit them to the Elphinstone Institute. With luck, I've passed this coursework and all the requirements for the Master of Letters in Ethnology and Folklore! And I have really enjoyed the journey.

It's been a whirlwind year full of discovery and new experiences and understanding. I've learned a lot about what 'folklore' means. I understand Scots dialects a bit more than I could a year ago. I've been a part of an affa lot of strathspey and reel societies, fiddle rallies, Galoshins plays, academic conferences, pub sessions, Highland Games, country dance classes. So many new friends, new places, new sounds, and great memories. I'm just plain grateful.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this adventure, read this blog, asked me what in the world I was doing this for (it made me think), and shared it with me. I thought I would pick out a few photos of special moments and post them here. I'm afraid to look at how many pictures I have accumulated in my Google Photos, but it's a lot more than twelve. Here are just a few, no worries...

Thursday evenings at Old Blackfriars,
a great pub on Union Street in Aberdeen

Some wonderful musicians come to share tunes...

Playing for Scottish country dancing weekends and for the Wednesday evening classes... Accordionist Frank Thomson is a wonderful mentor and musical companion! It's not all work, either, as you can see from this picture of musicians, dancers, and dance teacher trying to negotiate a seven-seater cycle at Millport Weekend in Cumbrae in May 2019!

Travelling around Aberdeenshire...remembering things I have seen

Pictish stone at Migvie Church, near Tarland and Logie-Coldstone

Enjoying a breezy day at Dunnottar Castle

Exploring ruins of (new) Slains Castle

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is an older Slains Castle (its remnants now a garden feature beside someone's house along the sea)...but the somewhat newer one is definitely more dramatic. Not to be confused with the Slain's Pub in Aberdeen...

And one of my favorites is the Bullers of Buchan, a remarkable sculpture made by the North Sea.

Seacoast scenery is amazing.

Exploring the dramatic, precipitous cliffs of Findlater Castle just before an impressive thunderstorm...best not to go scrambling up and down in a rainstorm!

Highland Games...Aberdeen, Aboyne, Ballater, Lonach...each with a little different personality.

Local bagpipe band competitions, the Lonach Gathering, beating the retreat, the showies (rides and sideshows) are all part of the fun!



Picking black currants at a beautiful farm called Tillydaff, a little west of Aberdeen, and enjoying the bees, the chooks (chickens), and kitties... 

Exploring coastal towns, like Stonehaven... 

And where there is coastline, there are the ever-present seagulls!

It is now Tuesday night, September 3. Autumn is coming to Aberdeen. The new students have arrived at the University, and seeing them walking through the lovely old campus reminds me of a year ago, when I arrived here. It's time... I have submitted my dissertation, said many goodbyes, tried to catch up with as many friends as possible. In a few hours, I fly back to North Carolina. So many memories, so many pictures, so many good friends. I hope to be back in Aberdeen soon. For now, though, I will return to friends and family in Raleigh, and share what I have found here in this lovely place. 

Till soon! Many thanks to every one of you reading this.