Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Scottish Castle!

Hi there boys
Remember the last time I posted I said I would tell you about a great castle, well here we go.
It is on the west coast of Scotland. It is called Culzean Castle. Culzean, a magnificent eighteenth-century castle in Maybole South Ayrshire, is just twelve miles from Ayr and Prestwick. It stands majestically like a medieval castle on a cliff above the Firth of Clyde. Culzean was originally a rambling fortified L-shaped tower house dating from 1590. When it was inherited by David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis, he appointed Robert Adam to convert the old fashioned fortress into a grand and romantic castle in prevailing style.
Adam worked on it from 1777 and 1792 and created a masterpiece. It includes a large drum tower with a beautiful red circular saloon inside, overlooking the sea and the Isle of Arran. He added battlemented towers and turrets to complete the aura created by its cliff-top location. Its grand oval staircase and exquisitely furnished rooms are in a pristine condition even today. Visitors can enjoy its fine collection of paintings and furniture and its Armory displaying flintlock pistols and swords.
The castle stands on five hundred acres of formal gardens, beautiful wooded countryside and pleasant walking paths. The terraced gardens have charming follies and a walk on the estate reveals gems like the Camellia House, pagoda, Adam’s ruined arch and the ‘Roman’ viaduct. One can wander through the Deer Park or the Cliff Walk or admire the Fountain Court, the Walled Garden and the Victorian Vinery. Surrounded by the sea, Culzean Castle has inviting sandy beaches open to picnickers.

It sits on a cliff and has lots of big canons which would have helped protect it from invaders many years ago. I had my photo taken on one of the canons. I am glad it didn't go off or I would have been fired all the way home!!!

 Can you see me? It is like Where’s Ned and not Where’s Waldo.
There is a very special link between Culzean Castle. There was a war many years ago called World War 2. At the end of it, the owner of the castle gave President General Dwight D Eisenhower a gift from the people of Scotland for the support of America in the war. President Eisenhower visited it a lot of times. There are lots of photographs of him in the castle. Eisenhower Apartment
There is a winding steep path down to the beach where the views out over the Firth of Clyde are beautiful.
There is an island you can see called the Isle of Arran. Craig and Heathers dad used to go his vacation there when he was young. He stayed on a farm.
It is amazing that Lainey and her family stay only 1 or 2 hours away from all these great places.
Ian takes lots of photographs, especially flowers and gardens. That is why he takes a lot of me beside beautiful plants and flowers. These are ones from the gardens at the castle.
This pretty flower is called a Thistle but you don;t want to get too close too it as it has really prickly thorns. It is known as the National flower of Scotland. A very long time ago when Scotland was attacked by Viking invaders a group of men were resting overnight in a field. Unknown to them they were about to be attacked. Under the cover of darkness the attacking Vikings approached the field. As they moved along on their barefeet they stood on a patch of Thistles. They began to cry out in pain as the thorns dug deep into the soles of their feet and toes. This awoke the Scottish soldiers and they were able to fight their attackers. From that day on the Thistle was known as the Flower of Scotland.
 The national drink of Scotland is whisky. As you know, I am very very old so I had a sip to see what it tasted like. Don’t tell Mom!!! I must admit, I like orange juice better.
 On the way home we went through a town called Ayr. It is a popular seaside town where lots of people go on vacation. As it was a lovely day, Ayr was very busy. Heather took my photo near the beech, where you can see lots of people having fun.
Do you know something? I was so tired after the great day out that I slept in the car all the way home. Hope I did not snore too loudly.
Take care boys and will post  more soon.
Love Ned the Gnome

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A day trip to Oban!

Hello again boys.
I have had such a busy time since we last spoke. Wish you were all here to share it with me.
I told you that Lainey has 2 children, Craig and Heather, although they are older than you are. One day I went away for the day with them. We went with their Grandma and Grandpa. They call them Gran and Papa. They were very nice but sometimes they needed to turn their hearing aids up so they could hear better.  Heathers Papa liked to tell lots of stories.
First of all we went to a power station where they make electricity. They said they made electricity from water but I did not understand. How can you make water into electricity? We had to go through a big tunnel in a mountain called Ben Cruachan. I don't really know how to say it. A Ben is what they call a mountain or a hill in Scotland. In the middle of the mountain are a lot of machines. At the top of the mountain there is a reservoir. It is like a small lake. In Scotland they call it a Loch, not a lake. When they need to make electricity, they open doors between the reservoir and big pipes that run steeply down the mountain. The water runs very fast inside them. At the bottom of the pipes the water is going so fast that it turns the machines round and round quicker and quicker. The machines then make electricity that then travels down cables to houses and shops and factories. It was amazing.
Here is a website all about it.http://www.visitcruachan.co.uk/
We could not take photographs inside the mountain but we took some outside. There were beautiful views of another Loch at the bottom of the mountain. It is called Loch Awe. I know why they called it Loch Awe. It was AWEsome.

We then went to a famous town called Oban. Heather and Craig always kept me safe and comfortable in the car.

Oban is on the west coast of Scotland. Because Scotland is on an island it is never more than 2 or 3 hours drive from the coast wherever you are. There were fishing boats in the harbour and lots of small sailing boats and yachts. There is a hill overlooking the harbour and town which has a big tower thing on it. It is called a folly. Sometimes in the olden days, and sometimes even now, if someone is rich and wants to make a view look better, they build a folly. It is like pretend and meant to look like an old ruin. There are lots of beautiful big houses and gardens in Scotland and sometimes the owners hundreds of years ago would build a pretend ruin away in the distance from the house, just so that people and guests would talk about it and say it looked nice. The one in Oban is very big and impressive. I have a photo of it below.

We all went into a lovely tearoom or cafe for something to drink and a cake. Heathers Gran likes cakes and her Papa drinks lots of coffee. Here is a picture of Craig and his Gran. She is also called Auld Jean. That means old Jean.
I will say bye for now but will tell you soon about a visit i made to a beautiful castle called Culzean. It has a very interesting link with the U.S.A.
Missing you lots
Ned the Gnome

Monday, 1 August 2011

Haggis, Football & Baking!

Hi boys. Hope that you are all well and not missing me too much.
Sorry I have not posted recently but I have been doing so many great things. It has been a very busy time for me here in Scotland.
I told you that I ate Haggis. Well it is the national dish of Scotland but not everyone here likes it. I enjoyed it, even after hearing what was in it. It is the heart liver and lungs of a sheep mixed with oatmeal and seasoning and cooked in a sheep's stomach. I know it sounds disgusting but it tastes great.  Scotland’s most famous poet is called Rabbie Burns. I went to the house where he was born and I will post you photographs soon. He is so famous here that they have a special day where they celebrate his poems. They eat haggis and drink whisky. Haggis is eaten with mashed potato and mashed turnip. It is really funny because they call it Haggis, Neeps and Tatties.
They have different names for lots of things over here. An elevator is a lift. A sidewalk is a pavement, a freeway is a motorway and soccer is called football here. There are lots of others and I will tell you more when I remember them.
Football is the biggest sport in Scotland. They think it strange that in American football the players don’t use their feet. There are lots of teams in Scotland but the 2 biggest ones are Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic. Ian, who is Laineys’ husband likes Glasgow Rangers. In fact, one day he took me to Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow where they play.
Here is a photograph of me outside the gates.

It is a very famous team and is one of the oldest clubs in the world.
The team have a mascot called Broxie Bear. Here is a clip of him before a game started. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvz6fVnHfMg&feature=player_detailpage
One day I helped Heather bake some cakes. It was great fun but a bit messy. I got flour on my lamp and hat and boots but it was worth it . Everything was really tasty.

It was really hard work and I had to sit down for a rest.
There was one moment that was so funny. I got some flour up my nose and it tickled so much, I sneezed. Look at what happened!!!
Well, I will let you know more of my adventures very soon.
Missing you all.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

What a journey!

Hi boys....what a journey I have had to get to Scotland, but what an amazing adventure it was too.
I was in the mail lady’s bag when I fell out. I didn't know what I was going to do but I was near the train track and jumped on a train that was heading to the ocean.
The ocean was so beautiful and I decided that I wanted to go on a ship. I didn't know where to go, so went to McDonalds to think, and go to the restroom, as it was a long train journey.
As I was eating my chocolate donut I heard a lot of cheering and stuff. I went outside and who did I see but Captain Jack Sparrow. Wow I thought.
He was looking for a crew for his next adventure so I said “me, me”. He picked me up and said....”Argh, me little gnome friend, I have got just the job for you!!!” He took me onto the Black Pearl and showed me my cabin. It was full of really
nasty looking pirates...but they were all very nice to me. I told them the mark on my nose was caused during a fight with Blackbeard and they were all very impressed.
My job? I was helping in the galley making the food for the crew. As a special treat, I was allowed to sit with Captain Jack every night as he told stories of his adventures. We became good friends.
He told  me that he was going to Scotland as he had never been there before. Some of his crew came from Scotland and wanted to see their families.
I thought this was a great idea, as your mum has a good friend called Lainey in Scotland and I could go and visit her. I was sure she wouldn’t mind.
When the ship arrived in Scotland we sailed up the River Clyde and into Glasgow. It was very sad when I left all my new friends but Captain Jack gave me a photograph to remind me of the special journey to Scotland.

After I got off the Black Pearl I went into Glasgow City Centre. It is a very old city with lots of beautiful buildings. There are lots of new ones too and plenty of places for me to visit.
I managed to remember Laineys name and I found her address in a phone book. I checked the bus times and got a bus to the small town she stays in the country. Scotland looks beautiful and the people are very helpful. Even the bus driver dropped me off near to Lainey house and pointed me in the right direction.
For a minute, I thought I was home in Pennsylvania as there was a flower pot just like mine in her garden. I sat there for a rest before the door opened. It was a lovely girl. I thought it was Lainey, but I discovered later that Lainey is much older. It was her daughter Heather. She got a bit of a fright seeing me but I quickly told her who I was. She shouted on Lainey who came to the door and took this photograph of Heather and me.
Lainey said I can spend summer in her house and she and her really nice husband Ian will take me places. I hope I can go back to Glasgow.
Heather has a big brother called Craig. He is tall and like a giant to me.
Well just wanted to let you know I had arrived safely. I have even ate Haggis for my dinner. It was nice.
I miss you all but will keep posting my adventures...Lots of Love, Ned

Saturday, 2 July 2011

I'm Off!!

Hi!  I'm Ned.  Ned the Gnome.
I hail from Pennsylvania in the United States.  Living in a house with a mom and dad, along with their three young boys.  There are other gnomes in the family, but they all get to live outside and have adventures of their own when no one is looking.  This is where I usually reside.
Not too bad.  But, I have decided that it is high time that I get to have my own adventure.  I've packed my bags and after having snuck out the door (those boys I live with sometimes leave it open) I waited for the mail lady to arrive.
She kindly helped me and I am happy to say that I am off on my adventure.  Stay tuned to see where I end up and what I get into!  I will write of my adventures here so the boys can see all that I am up to!