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Published: August 31st 2019
Golden Lion Hotel
Street where we sang to a bride
What a joy to sleep until 8:30 and have a leisurely shower! Breakfast was a full range of choices, including good blood pudding. For the first time, half grapefruits were served. Although on a buffet, the fried eggs were not hard as stones, but the (back) bacon was too crisp for my taste. I succumbed to the flaky attractions of a little jam pastry. Hot water and lemon has become my drink of choice.
At reception I asked for directions to a post office to change our ten pound notes. Since Susan and I each last travelled here, the tens have been changed from paper to polymer, and the paper ones are no longer accepted by stores. The post office was only a few blocks away, inside WH Smith (no longer much of a book store). Exchanging the notes was simple; however, I had also brought my four fifties. They were no longer legal, the clerk said. I gasped at the thought of losing $300, and she said the Clydesdale Bank might exchange them, although usually you need an account to exchange notes, which makes things difficult for tourists.
While I went another few blocks to the bank, Susan
A sturdy fortress
shopped in Edinburgh Woolen Mills
. Thankfully, the bank was open Saturdays. The woman at reception said she thought the bills were still legal, and the teller could exchange them. Then she said, “Oh, I’ll do it.” She came back, no problem, and we chatted about my trip. When later I looked at them more carefully, they were pounds sterling issued by the Clydesdale Bank
! Hopefully they will be accepted in England.
Time to focus on tourism! We took photos at every turn, trying to capture the historic charm of buildings such as schools and shops and the premises of tradesmen. We walked up to Stirling Castle
, famous for falling to Robert the Bruce. At the Castle itself we only looked around the courtyard and the gift shop. The cost of a tour was too much for the short time we had. I did climb the stairs to the ramparts, but a length of only about fifty feet was open for walking. Even so, across the wide valley the views were spectacular of town and green and gold farmland.
More fun was our lunch at the pub on the path from castle. Their stone courtyard encouraged relaxation and long drinks. I had scampi
Portcullis Pub 1787
Quiet courtyard for lunch
and chips with salad (coleslaw and greens) and a pint of very-appley cider. Sandy and Chris drifted by and joined us to have tea. The wasps were annoying, but they liked the drips of Coke inside a small traditionally shaped bottle left by someone else. When they had finished the pop, they flew out near our food, so Chris added sugar to the bottle. They dived back into the bottle and got so sticky they couldn’t fly out of the bottle. Peace. Just before we left I poured them into the flower bed, and when I glanced back they had flown away.
On the way down hill, we visited the Holy Rude, a Church of Scotland parish founded in the twelfth century and a huge church built in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Heavy stone walls dominate the surrounding parkland, yet inside they soar into arches. Wood and nineteenth century stained glass form the adornments.
As we were waiting for the tour buses outside our Golden Lion Hotel
, a bride and her father pulled up in a silver antique Rolls decorated with white ribbons. She stood for a moment to collect herself, and Sharon quickly gathered the choir to sing
">Irish Blessing” to her. For a moment she was oblivious, then our harmonies swelled, and she realized we were singing for her. She stood tall, gracefully allowing the tribute, only moving to touch away her tears. I also teared up as we sang. Such a special moment!
Our performance was in Callander, and because we arrived before the church was unlocked, we were given thirty minutes free time. We joined the other tourists filling the sidewalks and shops full of treats. Several of us were attracted by the name of a shop across the main street,
. The shop’s kitchen/dining adornments were cute. An apron with “Prosecco made me do it!” made me think of Peggy, so I bought a coaster for her with the same saying. For myself I bought a silver ring to remind me of Scotland, as I had bought one in Ireland. The shop owner was shocked that I did not know the architect
, who had designed the ring. At least, I had heard about the terrible fires that had destroyed his
twice over. She was not impressed, but otherwise she was chatty, because we were a choir and her son was
We sort ourselves out for rehearsal.
studying traditional music.
, the front of the nave was a little tight for our choir set-up; the directors like us to have good personal space because crowding leads to constricted singing. The band set-up was very tight, because this evening we would be joined by the