I am Scotland, the land that brought humanity golf. And I have just completed a round of 18.
However, that is purposely misleading, because I did not just play golf. In fact, I have never played regular sized golf (to distinguish it from the miniature variety) before. (I have played many a round of miniature golf, including a few rounds in which I had a toddler in a backpack on my back as I played. It didn't make my playing any worse, because my playing isn't that good to begin with.)
Rather as of today, I have been married for 6575 days. Or for those of you who adhere to the status quo preference for annual counts, on this day 18 years ago, I got married. My Alrica promised to love me through all the stuff, the good and bad (we've had both,) the sickness and health (we've had both,) rainy days and Mondays (which only sometimes get me down,) and, though that last pair wasn't truly part of any vows, she basically said she would love me through everything else. So it includes rainy days, and Mondays, and even lunar eclipses.
Kevin and Mandy took our kids out with them today to explore Stirling Castle. Hopefully one of the kids will blog about it. But this allowed Alrica and I to have some wonderful anniversary time for our exploration, just the two of us. So we braved a blistering wind under the deep gray skies to do just that.
We first visited the Royal Burg of Linlithgow. At one time, this was the home of the kings of Scotland, and eventually the kings of both Scotland and England. (After Queen Elizabeth I died, her cousin James became king of England. He was James VI of Scotland, but James I of England. I wonder if he missed some of his mail because of the change in number.)
Here we saw some of the older architecture of the city. But of course the center piece is the Royal Peel, a park named for the wooden wall (the pele) that once protected it. In this Peel is a loch formed by a chunk of ice left behind by a glacier. We walked around the loch, with the wind battling us.
|A woch around the loch|
I realize Alrica's face is sort of halfway between smile and about to cry. I swear it is because of the wind and not her reflection of having been stuck with me for 18 years. (At least for the sake of my ego, I hope it was the wind.)
Then we visited the Linlithgow Palace.
|The North Face (not the sportswear company)|
No, it's not a going concern anymore except as a historic site. But it was the royal residence and the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Here she is, well, not her in person, as she was beheaded. But a statue of her that still has its head.
|I'm much taller standing on a pedestal... and retaining my head|
We went from there to Blackness Castle. (In my mind, I pronounce that blackNESS and not BLACKness, but what do I know?) Blackness Castle is right at a point on the beautifully named Firth of Forth. I don't know why the Forth River has a firth, but I'm glad it does. I wish it had three more so that one of them could be the Fourth Firth of Forth.
|It isn't even black|
The castle had an interesting history. It's builder had it taken away from him by the king. A couple generations later, another king hired his illegitimate cousin to make improvements. He was so impressed with his cousin he had him legitimized (though how that exactly happens is unclear.) But then the king was told his cousin was plotting against him. It's not certain whether or not that was true, but either way, the recently legitimized cousin became an even more recently euthanized legitimized cousin.
We had a delicious lunch. I had steak pie under a puff pastry and my bride enjoyed a burger with haggis on top of it.
And then we went shopping.
|This picture is entirely gratuitous|
No, contrary to any romantic expectations, this was not shopping for the perfect anniversary gift. It's just after you've been traveling with only three or four outfits, your pants wear out. You need to replace them.
It was a perfect way to celebrate my marriage to my wonderful bride of 18 years. And while I still have no interest in playing golf, I'm ready to start another round of 18.