Dear Mom & Dad,
The kids & I got back from Scotland in one piece around noon today. It was quite a challenge to make early morning connections on a Sunday -- especially with 2 small kids, but we finally made it without much problem.
Oh, we are all tired. The kids don't get enough sleep on vacations. We wear ourselves out. But we all had a good time.
After an 8 hour plane delay leaving Naples last Saturday, we finally got to bed at 4:00 AM Sunday morning in our London hotel. We were suppose to meet Diane Saturday night & all day Sunday. Needless to say - the Saturday night meeting was canceled, but we did meet them Sunday morning and spent all day with them. They were doing great.
We saw the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace with them which we had missed seeing last year. The kids got along great. I'm curious to see if Laura will get tired of a 5 & 3 year old after 2 full weeks. They were inseparable Sunday. We went separate ways Monday.
We enjoyed Scotland. It is so pretty. It is so green - of course it rains a lot. It was downright cold our 1st day & Friday, the 1st day of Summer. The other days were decent & pleasant. This time of the year it gets dark around 10:30 PM and starts to get light about 3:30 AM. That was weird.
We had a rented car that the Navy provided for us. It was hard to drive on the "wrong" side of the street. It took a lot of concentration. We saw a couple of castles and several lakes or "lochs" as they call them, including Loch Lomond from the song, "You take the high road," etc. There really was a low road & high road to Loch Lomond. We took the high road.
The Navy Base we were at was in a small town called Dunoon. It was a quiet, slow, relaxing place. I got to do some shopping here & there -- some in Dunoon, some in Glasgow.
The Father's Day shirt came from a wool shop on the "bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond." The man was weaving a beautiful blanket when we walked in - unfortunately it wasn't finished yet & he didn't have any like it finished. I know this shirt is out of season, but I have trouble knowing what you need or want. It is a traditional Scottish plaid.
The slate coaster was etched in Scotland. The slate is actually from Wales where most of our ancestors are from. Michael saw the plowing mules and said he thought Mother would like that. The jelly that is wrapped in newspaper (2 of them) is from the airplane to Glasgow. We didn't care much for it, but I thought you might like to try it.
I got a lot of wool in Scotland -- for me a 3-piece wool suit (blazer, sweater & skirt), a mohair light blue sweater, for Angelique a wool & velvet jumper, Daddy's shirt & a kilt for Christian for Christmas. After I got back to the hotel with it, I began to worry that Diane might have gotten one for Christian, too. I hope she & Barbara like kilts.
It was easier to understand the Scottish accent than I thought it would be -- easier than a lot of Englishmen. Their drawl reminds me a lot of our Southern drawl. After traveling over a lot of Europe, it is easy to say, "Yes, indeed, most of America's ancestors came from Scotland, Ireland, Wales & England." I blend right in with these people -- hair, complexion, bone structure. (I stick out like a sore thumb in Italy.) The houses are more like American houses than anywhere else in Europe. And the people in the United Kingdom think & reason similarly to Americans. Italians think totally differently.
The kids enjoyed the trip. Steven enjoyed visiting with all the senior citizens from England that were in our hotel. (Dunoon is a quiet resort town that attracts a lot of senior citizens on vacation.) He finds it so neat that everyone he sees can understand him in England. Angelique always enjoys castles.
Steven announced the other day that his Papaw eats grass! I think he remembers seeing his Papaw chewing on a blade of something. How do I explain that one? He still remembers being his Papaw's helper. He sure would enjoy seeing his Papaw and Granny Lee. He still talks about Granny Lee's hotcakes and carrots.
Did you know you can get a plane from London to Naples for only $125 each?! It's getting cheaper & cheaper to fly to London. It is still not too late to come. Do you want to come for Christmas? We'll make it worth your time & money.
Diane & Bill & Laura will get here Wednesday. They are taking the train down from Rome. I've got a lot to do to get ready for them in the next 2 days. I'd better start by getting a good night's sleep tonight.
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