Song in My Heart: Scotland - Stirling, Saturday 2018 August 4

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August 4th 2018
Published: August 31st 2019
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Golden Lion HotelGolden Lion HotelGolden 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
Stirling CastleStirling CastleStirling Castle

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 1787Portcullis Pub 1787Portcullis 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 Wee Gem. 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 Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who had designed the ring. At least, I had heard about the terrible fires that had destroyed his Glasgow School of Art twice over. She was not impressed, but otherwise she was chatty, because we were a choir and her son was
Callander KirkCallander KirkCallander Kirk

We sort ourselves out for rehearsal.
studying traditional music.

Inside Callander Kirk, 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
">Callander Chorale, an acapella women’s choir, who would sing after the band and before intermission. While the band set up, I asked Kevin if he had seen any posters for our performance. He had seen one at a church-turned-restaurant, and along the short walk there we saw another poster in the window of a specialty gin store. On the way back to the church, we found a large candy store with long shelves holding large glass jars of every kind of candy imaginable.

A very short bus ride brought us to the Callander Golf Club where we were served dinner in a crowded conference room. I was happy that the menu included an actual beef pie (enclosed with pastry) with boiled new potatoes and tasty peas. Each table had to collect its own drinking water; I was astounded that I carried a pitcher in one hand and five glasses in the other without
Proper Pie!Proper Pie!Proper Pie!

Callender Golf Course
shattering everything! The Club was overwhelmed by our numbers, and about a third of the group left without dessert.

The band played half its repertoire before the Callander Chorale threaded themselves into the same space. Dressed in red, they made a great contrast to our blacks, as did their music. Their diction was amazingly clear, something I struggle with. The band played the rest of their repertoire before our usual interval to clear the band. The audience of about 150 probably welcomed the break because this concert was longer than our usual. Again, the sopranos sang “ ">Yanaway” from the balcony, then joined us for the other songs. The reaction to “ ">Alberta Bound” was enthusiastic, with the audience clapping along. Their appreciation always makes me more relaxed and therefore a better performer.

Following our performance, Callander Kirk celebrated us with tea and Campbell’s shortbread donated by the local factory. They had everything set out and quickly poured tea or coffee, which gave us time for the unusual experience of chatting to residents. They were shocked no one else had offered us the hospitality of tea on our tour.

View map of tour to date.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Stirling shopping street for pedestriansStirling shopping street for pedestrians
Stirling shopping street for pedestrians

Growing vibe throughout the morning
Former Municipal Bldg 1914Former Municipal Bldg 1914
Former Municipal Bldg 1914

That Scottish look in stone
Old High School 1888 Old High School 1888
Old High School 1888

Now a posh hotel
View of St John's StreetView of St John's Street
View of St John's Street

A different style of cottagesA different style of cottages
A different style of cottages

St John's Street
Boys Club 1929Boys Club 1929
Boys Club 1929

"Quarrelling is Taboo", written in stone
View from Stirling CastleView from Stirling Castle
View from Stirling Castle

Lord of all he surveys
Stirling Castle 14cStirling Castle 14c
Stirling Castle 14c

Behind the ramparts
Portcullis pubPortcullis pub
Portcullis pub

Looks like a great place to stay
Cowane's Hospital almshouse 1637Cowane's Hospital almshouse 1637
Cowane's Hospital almshouse 1637

Support for aged merchants without livelihood
John Cowane memorializedJohn Cowane memorialized
John Cowane memorialized
Holy Rude 14th and 15th centuriesHoly Rude 14th and 15th centuries
Holy Rude 14th and 15th centuries

Ponderous architecture
Nave in Holy Rude naveNave in Holy Rude nave
Nave in Holy Rude nave

Unexpectedly soaring interior
Holy Rude ChapelHoly Rude Chapel
Holy Rude Chapel

Made light with stained glass windows
Callender KirkCallender Kirk
Callender Kirk

A welcoming place in the town centre
Main Street, CallanderMain Street, Callander
Main Street, Callander

Nothing to do but shop in little shops

Lush holly at the Callender Golf Course

1st September 2019
Proper Pie!

2nd September 2019

Blood pudding andother outrages
I have known you for many years and yet not known that you eat blood pudding. Amazing. Probably as amazing as it is to you that I don't. :-) Your days on tour were very full. Isn't that interesting that the Kirk's presumptions about local hospitality "standards" were overset. Good on them. Shortbread, yeah!
7th September 2019

Food we like and don't
Not surprising at all that you don't eat blood pudding, because most people don't. Shortbread on the other hand is liked by most people, although not all. Very few people are as passionate about "proper pies" as I am.

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