Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Easter in Dunbar

We were so fortunate to be invited to join our friends, the Waddells, at their beach house in Dunbar for part of the Easter weekend. Dunbar is a beach town just about half an hour from Edinburgh on the East coast of Scotland.

The boys were out of school Friday and Monday; Scott was off work both days, so we enjoyed having that nice long weekend! The Waddells were heading to York, England Friday and Saturday so we kept their beautiful Irish Setter Apollo. It was so nice to have a dog around and we had good weather so the dog walks were pleasant!

On Saturday morning we slowly made our way East and stopped at a few beach towns and parks along the way. It was really cold and windy but so nice to be close to the sea. We then met the Waddells in time for dinner in Dunbar. Dinner was at this great restaurant in an old house and given that we were arriving with 6 little boys, they gave us a dining room all to ourselves!

Sunday morning we played on the beach before church (a first on Easter Sunday for the Nicols) and enjoyed making sand castles and collecting sea creatures and shells. The beach had rocky areas and sandy areas. The older boys wanted to get close to the water so they climbed out over the rocks to feel the sea spray.

We then enjoyed the local Episcopal church service where they'd hidden chocolate throughout the church for the 5 children (our three included) there! Weren't our boys thrilled with this tradition! And to top it off, a little chocolate cake and chocolate biscuits in the back of the church after the service!

That afternoon, after a quick Easter Egg Hunt in the house, the Waddells took us to Cove Harbor which is a wonderful secluded cove that has just 3 houses and a beautiful beach. It really was picture postcard beautiful. You have to go through a tunnel to get to the beach and there are no roads to reach these houses which makes it that much more spectacular! Ethan's goal was to see how close he could get to the break walls without getting soaked. In one picture you'll notice he's hanging on an eye-hook in the rock (I assume for boat tie up) and jumping up when the waves came in! The sea was quite rough that day but we loved the sight and sound of the waves crashing on the rocks.

We enjoyed a nice relaxing evening at their house and the boys loved being with the 3 Waddell boys. Monday included one more trip to a different beach and then we packed up to head home. It was such a great weekend and we loved every minute!

PS. It was snowing on our way home!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Holy Week

Well, just one more note about something that is quite different here in Scotland. Church. It doesn't feel like Holy Week here.

As I've shared with some of you, we have been church shopping since our arrival and we really miss our St. Luke's family and friends. The majority of churches in Scotland are part of the church of Scotland or what we would consider the Presbyterian church. There are church buildings everywhere but not many of them are filled on a Sunday morning or at any time for that matter. I really took for granted that we lived in the "Bible Belt" and could choose a variety of spirit filled churches to attend on almost every corner!

And I don't know about you, but I really need a community of believers to serve with on a regular basis. Not only does it help me learn and grow spiritually but it reminds me of my purpose, and Lord knows, I need to be reminded. We believe that is also gives our children the opportunity to realize that they are part of a much bigger community.

In our search, we've attended 4 Episcopal churches and one Church of Scotland parish. It really breaks your heart to see these beautiful churches with empty pews, except for a few very elderly souls, and not enough money to turn the heat on. We have few friends that attend church on any regular basis and the ones that do, attend St. John's Renfield, the above stated Church of Scotland parish. Although we like this church and it seems to have the most children of any church we've been to, I never feel like I've truly worshipped when I head home. Maybe it's just me. The music is wonderful but the sermons and the rest of the service seem hollow. Having been raised in the Episcopal Church, I do tend to expect a little more pomp and circumstance than the rest of my family but this church just doesn't fill me with the spirit. They have an interim pastor and he is "old school", a little gruff and certainly behind the times. One Sunday, during a Baptismal service, he preached about the woes of the children in our society and how horrible they are. Certainly not the great, hope filled Baptismal lessons I am used to hearing. After that particular Sunday, we tried the another new church and have been attending there ever since.

St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, the cathedral for the diocese of Glasgow is a beautiful church with a great mix of people in the congregation. I love the liturgy, although at times it can seem a little more formal than what we were used to at St. Luke's. There is a children's class during the service that the boys enjoy and we've met a few other families with young children. Scott and I will head there tonight for the Maundy Thursday service and we will attend yet another new church in Dunbar this weekend!

I was warned about the spiritual void that I might experience here as compared to our life in Dallas but I guess I wasn't quite expecting it to be this challenging! We will continue to search and pray for the Spirit to lead us to our new church home in Scotland.

Catch Up

Well, I apologize for taking so long to get things posted. It's been busy here as we enjoy a little spring weather (raining again hence the reason I am blogging again!). Scott had a last minute trip to Dallas a few weeks ago and we were a little jealous as he was able to see his whole family and eat real Mexican food! He has also been working long hours when in town so I've neglected the things that take extra time like updating this blog!

Mother's day in Scotland was celebrated on Sunday, March 2nd. The boys each made a beautiful card at school. We had a nice lazy day and enjoyed being together at home.

The boys have been busy at school with Spring Projects as well as preparing to move to the new Prep School building next week. Christopher had to give a talk about his favorite dinosaur last Friday. He chose the Velociraptor and he did such a great job! He's reciting a poem aloud in class today. Ethan is working on a verbal presentation about a person from the Tudor era. He has chosen Guy Fawkes, famous for the failed plot to kill James I and take over Parliament. And Charlie is enjoying play dates with his buddies from his class.

We have also been busy searching for and starting extra curricular activities. Charlie has started a music class, Christopher a sports class, Enjoy-A-Ball , and Ethan is awaiting the start of a fencing class.

Our weekends have been filled with birthday parties, movies, Wii and playing outside. Ethan went to a party this past weekend in his Easter suit as they were headed to Malmasion (very fancy French restaurant) in a Hummer Limo and then on to the cinema. There were 5 boys and 5 girls in attendance and they were all quite excited to be dressed in their party clothes and off to such a grown up venue! The rest of us went to a friend's house for a tapas party and then home to wait up for Ethan.

This past Sunday we hopped on our bikes and rode along the Forth and Clyde Canal (crosses Scotland between Edinburgh and Glasgow connecting the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde). We can access the path along the canal about 1/4 mile from our house. We headed East and once we were out of the city we enjoyed beautiful scenery and wildlife (swans and deer). We rode about 10km to the Stables Pub near Kirkintilloch where we enjoyed a proper pub lunch and a nice cold beer. We then rode a little further to catch the train back into the city. The train into the city centre has bike racks and plenty of space so we were pleasantly surprised by this journey. What we did not realize was that the train from the city centre to our neighborhood did not have bike racks and it was extremely busy so we became a fire hazard blocking the exit! Scott and I were a little stressed out but the boys were having a ball on this adventure! Next time we'll ride home on our bikes!

We're off school and work tomorrow and Monday. We're headed to Dunbar to a friend's beach house on Saturday to enjoy our Easter weekend there.

I hope that each of you have a wonderful Easter weekend! Blessings.

Monday, 3 March 2008


When we returned from the Christmas Break, we had horrible, rainy, cold weather for about 3 weeks straight. Since then, we have experienced all kinds of weather. The sunny days give me hopes about the things we can do outdoors this spring and summer and the rainy days give us excuses to be inside sipping cocoa and reading books.

People talk about the weather constantly here and most admit to this excessive talk about it. The multiple seasons in a day remind me of Texas weather; only a slightly colder version. Today, we woke to beautiful snow on the ground and we've had flurries all morning. Unlike Dallas residents, Glaswegians seem to take it all in stride. Everyone was motoring about just like normal this morning. Even the dedicated commuting cyclists were out and about.

Now that is something that I have noticed quite a lot here. Many people cycle to work and walk their dogs in all kinds of weather. On Friday, we had 40 mile/hour winds and heavy, heavy rain but I saw many cyclists on their way home from work and many people walking their dogs.

It makes me feel lazy when I see them. I certainly didn't walk Missy enough in the good weather much less the bad weather in Texas. And I don't have the confidence on my bike to ride through this traffic and I haven't seen any children riding in the rain yet so I'm not sure how I could manage the commute to school! Nevertheless, it does make you stop and think about your Carbon Footprint.

We took advantage of the sunny weather on Saturday and went to the Edinburgh Zoo again. It was a great day and it was nice to be outside in the fresh, frigid air!

Wonder what tomorrow will be like?!?!