I've been home a few days now. Enough to catch my breath, catch the flu, work a few shifts at the cafe and get ready to leave again.
This post is late because I decided to fill in the carpet of the first drawing with stipple-shading and it took forever. It seems like a great idea on the plane coming back when I had hours to kill, and it sees like a good idea now that it's finished and looks rad, but man is it a pain one quarter of the way through.
I'll be honest, I worked part of one very rainy afternoon at the bookshop. I managed to sell one book, and chat with about four people. Sam had worked most of the required hours before I arrived so that we could go exploring. The one afternoon I 'worked' I made the drawing above. I think I made people nervous, sitting there drawing the bookshop while they perished books. I got a few sideways glances that were hard to read.
When the rain cleared I went for a pint and then went for a walk along the harbour path and down to the actual harbour. It's more of a mud flat now, with a tidal river. There are two boats moored there, a small dingy and the one pictured in my drawing. When I first sat down and opened my sketchbook, the boat in the sketch was perched at an odd angle, nearly in the mud, and by the time I finished the drawing and packed up to go and meet Sam for dinner, the boat was floating and rotating around the buoy it was secured to. It's amazing how fast title rivers can fill and empty.
We visited three walled gardens, and five gardens in total. They all varied in size, style, layout and intention. 'If you've seen one, you've seen them all...' definitely does not apply to gardens. Cally Garden's layout tried to mimic how the plants would be found in nature, squished together, in need of a trim, climbing or trailing haphazardly onto or up the nearest available surface. The thing I loved most about the gardens and their infinite variety was the tea shops and the nursery where you could go and buy some of the plants you saw on your walk and then add them to your own garden. Sam was doing just that the whole trip. Her trunk was full by the time she dropped me off at the Glasgow airport.
Castle ruins are all over the place in Scotland. By the sea, in the middle of a farmer's field, or right on their own estate, serving as a romantic backdrop for wedding photos like Castle Kennedy now does. You can't go inside, unfortunately. It's all fenced off. But it sure is nice to look at. Just behind it is a beautiful walled garden, and the rest of the grounds consist of sprawling, old forest braided with pathways, a huge green with an interesting tired feature at the end of it that climbs the hill opposite, a gigantic round pond nearly filled-to-bursting with lily pads and a host of other delights to walk about that we ran out of time to see.
Culzean Castle's walled garden is experiencing a revivals of it's original purpose. It consists of three sections; the formal section with a border garden and a green in the middle for entertaining guests, this is separated from the toe he sections by another wall or spine that goes right down the middle. Then there is the vinery, which was under repair, then the wild flower garden and family vegetable garden (same section) which provided produce year round for the family. Culzean is seaside and was mostly used in the summer or for entertaining guests in the country. In the winter, produce from the garden was shipped to the family at their house in London. This garden also had a nursery and this most adorable little cottage within the wall:
Our last stop was a bit of a pleasant surprise to us. We had spotted this castle the previous evening, but from the road higher up on the hill. All we could make out was the ruin's silhouette against the sunlight's reflection off the water. Since we were passing that way again and the weather was good, and it wasn't too far off the beaten path, we decided to check it out. What a treat. You could go inside most of the ruin of Dunure Castle. The upper part to the private chamber where the family would have lived was gated up and locked. But what a spot! Right on the cliff beside the sea. Since I had already drawn one ruined castle, I decided to draw the other interesting architectural feature of this place:
The dove cot or doo' cot or pigeon hotel (as I called it) was a structure built to house pigeons so the family had access to the eggs and the birds themselves, for eating. Brilliant, especially since pigeons self-regulate their populations very strictly. The structure had a door facing the sea (which was gated up) but you could see inside. There were little holes or shelves for the doves or pigeons to nest. It was the first one I had ever seen, but I guess they can be found randomly all over Scotland, and vary in shape and size stages of ruin. This one appeared to be fully intact, and the pigeons were hanging out on top of it and in the family chamber of the neighbouring ruin because they could.
Those are all the drawings from my Scotland trip. The new sketchbook I brought along is more than half full, and I hope to fill it's remaining pages with drawings, notes and photos from our hike along the Chilkoot Trail which we embark on next week.