Aberdeen, A’m Gled Tae Meet Ye

The Granite City

After a quick trip to Aberdeen, I’m ready to go back!  It’s cool in a quirkly little way, and is nicknamed the “Granite City” for its ubiquitous gray buildings erected with stone from its quarry. The quarry was open for over 200 years and provided granite not only for Aberdeen, but for important buildings across Scotland and England.  Perched on the North Sea coast, Aberdeen has been a maritime hub for ages, and now is a major oil and gas center.

Color and Culture Abound in this Authentic City

With its concentration of gray granite buildings and overcast, misty skies, Aberdeen could seem dull and monochromatic, but the spirit of the people provide tons of color, both literally and figuratively.  There are flowers everywhere; Aberdeen has won the “Britain in Bloom” community gardening competition ten times since its inception in 1964, and it shows. And the colorful culture is evident in a plethora of public parks, museums, statues, festivals and live music in concert halls and barrooms. And here’s a statistic that is close to my heart: a study in The Scotsman found Aberdeen to have the lowest number of fast food joints per capita in the ten major Scottish cities reviewed.  In other words, Aberdeen is authentic.

It’s Doric, Not Gaelic

The local dialect is known as Doric, and if you’re lucky, you’ll hear a few words from an Aberdonian, or see signs that use the dialect. Some of the words are easily recognizable to English speakers.

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image courtesy of Scotsmagazine.com

So, in authentic Aberdonian Doric:

Aberdeen, a’m gled tae meet ye!

Digital Postcards

Here are a few picture postcards of my day and a half in Aberdeen.

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Statues and public art installations are everywhere; so are the flowers
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An elusive blue sky highlights the beautiful old architecture and gray granite
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Statue commemorating the Gordon Highlanders
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Buildings in Castlegate Square; see the tiny unicorn atop the Mercat (Market) cross? 
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Green spaces and public art abound
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Flower baskets are everywhere
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More flowers
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One of 11 anchors across Aberdeen is located at Aberdeen Beach; it will eventually be auctioned off to raise money for a world-class cancer research center in Aberdeen
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Gorgeous view of the evening sky from Aberdeen Beach
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The crude oil holding tanks in the middle of the photo speak to Aberdeen’s place in oil and gas

For another look at the Aberdeen night sky and the phenomenon called “nautical twilight”, click here.

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Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Haiku: Open Window

an open window,
the soul outlasts the body:
eternal spirit

This single open window at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris inspired my haiku.  It is a very peaceful and comforting place.  Dad is not gone, just in a different form.

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Travel is so illuminating and inspiring.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Edinburgh’s Hipster Food Court and the Butcher Bad Boy Burger

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Foodie-worthy and hipster-appropriate.

That’s how I would characterize the outdoor food court at Waverly Mall in Edinburgh. Perched on the mall’s street-level “roof” above several floors of stores, the “Eats” area has a magnificent view of old-town Edinburgh. It feels like an upscale food truck park and bears no resemblance to the dismal dining areas you’ll find in most malls with their routine collection of fast-food chains.  Hipsters and tourists alike soak up the local color and atmosphere here at a collection of umbrella-topped tables with comfy chairs.

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Vendor booths at the food court are surrounded by centuries-old buildings

IMG_0246Lively vendors in small booths present a range of options, from coastal fare such as freshly-shucked oysters, lobster and fish ‘n chips paired with to hearty land-based selections like venison hot dogs, grilled portobellos and giant burgers. Drinks booths provide locally brewed craft beers, surprisingly inexpensive (and good) champagne and a variety of coffees and flavored teas in addition to the standard soft drinks. You can mix and match your sips and bites from the different booths to create the perfect casual al fresco meal.

So that’s what we did. Our group of four was captivated by one of the burgers from Butcher Boy, the aptly-titled purveyor of grilled-onsite meats. The burger was called the Butcher Bad Boy. It was, indeed, a Baaaaad Boy.  See for yourself from their description:

Candied bacon, cheddar cheese, sandwiched between two handmade patties, fried onions, and more cheese!!!!

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Well, wouldn’t you?  We did.  The Butcher Bad Boy was a good burger, indeed.  All four of us chose it, without consultation.  It wasn’t necessary – we instinctively knew that this was the burger for us.

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The Butcher Bad Boy, full frontal – check out that gooey white cheddar and the candied bacon
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My colleague does her best to tackle the Butcher Bad Boy

But back to that mixing and matching thing…we had a smoked salmon appetizer from one booth, our Bad Boy burgers from another, and our drinks from still another.

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The Butcher Bad Boy was great with cheap champagne, and also paired well with Diet Coke

Burgers consumed, we turned to the view.  The sun came out for a few minutes in cold and misty Edinburgh.  Awesome blue sky!

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The buildings were highlighted by the golden evening sunlight.

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Doesn’t it look like a golden filter was wiped across the buildings and the big rock in the background?

Foodie-worthy, hipster-appropriate, and with gorgeous views, too: I can highly recommend the Waverly Mall food court in Edinburgh.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

~ with thanks to my colleagues for their marvelous company, their input on this post and their pictures ~

 

 

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, or Several Haiku (Now with Part 2 and One More Haiku)

If you follow this blog, you’ve seen the first part of this post, when it was shared on May 14.  The second part is now revealed, a few weeks later than promised.  (It’s been a busy spring here at Glover Gardens.)


Part 1

I saw this picture a few nights ago on a friend’s Instagram account, and then dreamed about it.  In my dream, I wrote various very simple haiku to accompany the photo.  It is so lovely, and almost begs its viewer to create a story around the female figure walking away from the camera.

What do you think when you look at the photo?

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Perhaps she is simply on a stroll, daydreaming.

she strolls peacefully
framed by the oak canopy
dreaming her future

Or is she walking away from something?

having decided,
she slowly left her old life
never looking back

Maybe she is walking toward something, or someone.

joyful beats her heart
this journey just beginning
there will be no end

What do you think? I will reveal the real story and the location in a day or two. (Update:  of course, now we know that my “day or two” was actually three weeks…did I say it has been a little busy around here?)


Intermission

The Glover Gardens Cookbook Facebook page link to this post collected a couple of comments I wanted to share.

I vote joyful and walking toward something.

I think she’s had it! She is walking away to live the life and be the person she once was, before she got sucked into her horrible present life of hell.

(I’m pretty sure the second one was irony.)


Part 2

The real story is … none of the above.  The photo was snapped during a mother-daughter outing as part of our recent visit to New Orleans (the figure in the photo is the mom).  A group of us from Southeast Texas met in the Crescent City last month to soak up the culture and music of Jazz Fest, and two of our crowd peeled off to visit Oak Alley Plantation one day.  My friend and her grownup daughter had a lovely time touring the property, and this photo captured under the 300-year old alley of oaks was simply serendipity.  When I asked for permission to use the picture along with the haiku musings it inspired, I also wanted to know how it came about; the daughter (a lovely woman in her early 20s who is also my friend) said:

I made her walk in front of me so I could snap a pic… perhaps it’s half posed / half natural. I think the dress she was wearing happened to catch the breeze just right, making it perfectly airy!

So here’s one more haiku, to close out this train of thought.

Oak Tree Serendipity Haiku Rose

Resources

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

story of my flight in 8 haiku

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I love to use the empty seat for my newspapers, and the tray table for my drinks, leaving a tiny bit of personal lounging space at my own seat – flight nirvana!

 

empty seat beside me
an unexpecsted pleasure
a “no chitchat flight”

scary turbulence
no matter how much I fly
hate loathe despise it

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gripping the armrests
sending up prayer after prayer
imagining crash

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grumpy skies bumpy
frightened, I wish it would stop
clenched hands aren’t helping

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think positive thoughts
channeling turbulence fears
I write some haiku

gotta get a grip
today’s not my day to die
plane WILL land safely

wafting gently now
the skies are friendly again
I’m fine ’til next time

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on the ground now
calm and confident I am
I love air travel!

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My text to the Grill-Meister upon landing: “On the ground and not dead!”

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Paris is a Beloved City

I am very sad about yesterday’s shootings in Paris. It is such a beautiful, magic place, populated with wonderful, friendly people who enjoy life and rich with history, architecture, art, cuisine and culture.  My heart is heavy for the victims of the shootings and their families, and for all Parisians as they struggle to recover from the shock and horror of the violence.

My tiny contribution to the healing process and return to normalcy is to reinforce the positives. Today’s post is just a quick couple of photos I snapped on my iPhone as part of a texting dialogue with my son while I was walking along the Seine. He traveled with me to Paris 5 years ago and we had an amazing experience, but that is literally another story (click here for “The Thankful Foreigner”).  He has great memories of Paris, and longs to return.

Me:  “I’m at the Pont Neuf!”

My son:  “Photos, please!”

Me:  (photos below)

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The Pont Neuf Bridge over the Seine
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The Eiffel Tower, way in the distance, from the base of the Post Neuf Bridge

My son:  “Wow! you went on the right day!”

It was after work on a Friday, a glorious afternoon, and I was due to fly out the next morning.  After depositing my computer in my hotel, I walked around for hours, along the Seine, through parks (including the Tuileries Garden), past the Louvre, and down the Champs-Elyseés, absorbing the sights and culture.  Paris is a beloved city of the world, and cannot ever be ruined by individuals or groups doing evil deeds.

More raving over Paris can be found in these posts:

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook