While we were in Edinburgh on Thanksgiving night, the annual Christmas Night Market opened in the greenspace between the castle and Prince's Street.  It was like a
Mississippi or Louisiana festival, except that they had a much more varied display of crafts (most of which seemed to be from Germany) and food.  
Our favorite was the turkey-and-dressing-on-a-hamburger-bun, that we split four ways to assure that we had turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving with the Hardies in Scotland, 2007
"Come for Thanksgiving!  We've got a great house."

Once again the world's most gracious family, the Hardies,
had invited trouble into their midst.  And so Janice
McDonald, Sally Nungesser, Darryl Gissel and I came for
Thanksgiving.  After flying into Manchester and a brief
layover in Liverpool to take the Magical Mystery Tour,
Sally, Darryl and I picked up Janice at the airport in
dinburgh and headed for the charming village of Tyninghame.

The great house in question is the one at left (upper and middle).  
The nearby house (above right) was the seat of the Earl of
Haddington.  It's known for its incredible gardens, and this is a
picture of David, Lachlan, Darryl, Sally, Wilson the dog and me
trespassing-er, walking through them.

In 1989, the old earl passed, and his wife moved out of the big house to make way for the new earl.  The young
earl renovated and fixed up the stables of the estate for his mother.  "Fixed up the stables" probably doesn't sound
so impressive, but believe me, it is.  The Stables House has eight bedrooms, a formal dining room and sitting room,
and lots of interesting other rooms, one of which the Hardies refer to simply as "the Lego Room".  My favorite
(hell, everyone's favorite) is the two-story glass conservatory, which overlooks the mouth of the Tyne River into
the Firth of Forth (below right).
I don't know how it happened, but all of our
forays seemed to end at pubs.
The best part of the trip was the time we were able to spend with David, Leslye and Lachlan.  On a couple of days, we were able to do
walkabouts in the neighborhood of Stables House.  This last shot is of me out on a rock at the mouth of the River Tyne.

By the way, this picture was taken around midday.  This is as high as the sun gets in Scotland in November.
One of our outings took us to
Rosslyn Chapel, where the big
finish of
The DaVinci Code was
set (and filmed).  Here's Janice
posing with "The Apprentice's
Column"  Near this one is
another called "The Master's
Column."  When the Master
finished carving his column
during the construction of the
chapel (some time in the 1400's,
I think), he asked the lord if he
could go to the Continent and
study carving so that he could
come back and make the second
column even more beautiful than
the first.  He did, and he was
gone for two years.  While he
was gone, his apprentice
finished this much more
accomplished work.  When he
got back, the Master was so
jealous, that he had the
Apprentice killed.  (There's
bound to be a lesson in

If you'd like to see more
pictures of Rosslyn Chapel,

and check out the trip that
Janice and I took with the
Hardies in the summer of 2006.
During a couple of days of our visit, the Hardies where trying to
have a normal life by things like volunteering at the homeless
shelter and attending book club meetings.  On those days, Janice,
Sally, Darryl and I went either into Edinburgh or to the dramatic
cliffs at St. Abbs to see the sights.

One amazing sight we saw in Edinburgh was the full moon over
Edinburgh Castle (left).
The cultural highlight of the trip was watching Nativity Tails,
the coolest school Christmas pageant ever at the Belhaven Hill
School, where Lachlan played a shepherd named Daniel, who
not only tended sheep but was "a really cool dude."
Shockingly, Darryl and Sally were able to find bagpipers under
every roc--er, I mean on the steps of St. Giles Cathedral.
You'd think the Scots would be all over a holiday that celebrates separation from the
English, but no.  It's just a Thursday there.  So we held off on our official observance until
Saturday evening when Leslye could turn out 15 of her closest Scottish friends to meet the
heathens from America.  They were all delightful, and (although Leslye might disagree) we
had a great time preparing for the feast.  Here's Janice complaining (yet again) that the
turkey still had feathers in it.

Well, maybe it did, but it sure did taste good.
And here's a photo of the Hardie clan (sans Cameron, who was away at
school and was missed).
click here