The Victorian Album

I finally managed to finish photographing my Victorian album!  I know, it has taken me forever – but I have so many projects to get through at any one time.

A brief introduction for any of you that don’t know, I bought a poor, abused photo album some time ago.  It has been robbed of most of its contents, the spine has fallen off, and the clasp is missing.  It still, however, manages to be beautiful.

It still has the beautiful leather cover with decoration, you can also still see some of the flowers and decorative scenes painted inside, plus many of the photos that are left are interesting to look at.  It does also make you wonder who the people belonged to.  It must have been cherished at one time.

Here are a few images of the album:

Leather cover

Interior decoration

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High Priestess

Saw this over at Everyday Tarot and thought it was quite an interesting one.

You Scored as II – The High PriestessThe High Priestess is a card of intuition, instinct and hidden knowledge. She knows all your secrets, you can hide nothing from her. Yet you will never know the secrets she herself protects.If well aspected in a Tarot spread, this card can indicate the use of intuition to solve problems; trust to your instincts. If badly aspected, it can mean suppression and ignoring of such instincts – following your head at the expense of your heart.

II – The High Priestess
III – The Empress
XI: Justice
I – Magician
XVI: The Tower
IV – The Emperor
VIII – Strength
0 – The Fool
XIX: The Sun
XIII: Death
XV: The Devil
VI: The Lovers
X – Wheel of Fortune

Castle Fraser Opening for 2009

Well, it’s that time of the year again – the castle will be re-opening for the 2009 season very shortly.

The NTS have made many changes in the way that properties are open this year, so please find our new opening times, dates etc below for your information.

As always, you can find further updates as they happen on the NTS website.  You can also find tea-room, shop and gardens information there.

  • Castle Fraser opens on Thursday 2 April 2009.
  • From April-June we will be open Thursday-Sunday 12-5pm.
  • We will not be open Monday-Wednesday during April-June.
  • From July-August we will be open Monday-Friday 11-5.  7 days a week!
  • From September until the end of October we will be back to opening Thursday-Sunday 12-5pm.
  • From 1 November until Easter time 2010 we will then be closed again for the Winter.  You should check the website above for shop and tea-room opening times during this period.  The exact date of re-opening is also placed there every year.

Important note:  Castle Fraser is now a guided-tours only property.  Please let us know if you have any concerns about attending a tour when you arrive.  We will be happy to help with disabled visitors etc.  We have also got some very interesting new information to share with you about the castle and the Frasers when you visit.

The Easter Egg trail will take place on Saturday 11 – Monday 13 April 11-4.  This will also include other Easter activities for children.  If you would like to know more about this event, please do give us a call (telephone number on main NTS site, as above).

Hope to see you soon!

Round-Up of Castle and Historic Houses Visits 2008

It was a good year for visits in 2008, and I thought I would re-visit this briefly as the new season will soon be upon us!

I managed to visit and photograph 54 properties and ruins August-October alone.  This is without counting properties it wasn’t possible to photograph (private/difficult to get too/see) and some historic churches, plus  small number of stone circles, sacred sites I didn’t include in this.

If you missed some of my posts about the places that I visited between August and October, here are a few links:

A-Castle Hunting We Will Go!

Castles, Castles, Everywhere…

The Day By the Sea I should also point out that I’ve restored the brooch I mentioned in ‘The Day By the Sea’ and will photograph it soon.  It turns out, someone had coloured it in with a marker pen!

I realise that I didn’t add the last set of visitable places either, so here they are now.

Auchindoun Castle a lovely, and still quite large ruin with great views of the area.  Up steep hill though!

Ballindalloch Castle fabulous location, still a family home, castle kept in wonderful order and very interesting collection, recommended.

Brodie Castle again, great location and very pretty castle.  Very interesting collection, and historic garden with duck pond.  Watch out for dizzying interior but ex-exterior stone staircase though!

I also visited in 2008, Braemar Castle, Huntly Castle, Kildrummy Castle, Tolquhon Castle, Corgarff Castle, Glenbuchat Castle, Fyvie Castle, Drum Castle, Haddo House, Leith Hall and Crathes Castle.  Plus, Castle Fraser – of course, but more about that later.  The majority of these were re-visits, I tend to go every year.

It is important to remember when in NE Scotland that you never know when you might see a ruined castle from the roadside.  Please do –  enjoy, photograph, but I’d advise not approach unless you are sure that:

  • it is not private property – location could belong to an estate or farmer (especially if there are crops),
  • watch out for animals – sheep or cows could be grazing nearby,
  • the ruin is safe to approach – some are in a very dangerous state.

Here’s to 2009, and lots more!

And It’s Goodbye From Me, Entrecarders

Attention Entrecard friends: due to the recent advertising changes, I believe that EC is no longer the place for me.  I simply used the service to find other blogs, and have ‘met’ and read many nice people and blogs in my year there.

Since the announcement to change the advertising system so that paid outside ads take precedence, and the fact that I would have to pay credits every time I refused one, I feel that I would not have appropriate control over what could be displayed on my blog.

Therefore, I am currently buying up ads for my final week, and will not be accepting any further ads here after today.  Thank you to everyone who has dropped and commented via this system – I really hope the bloggers that I’ve met will continue to visit, as I will continue to visit them regardless of this change.

Important update: it is good news that the payment for refusing the paid outside ads idea has now been revoked, and users will not be penalised.  I have decided to stand by my decision to leave however, as I have been thinking for some time that my useage of EC was coming to a natural end.  I will still be visiting those blogs that I have found though!

Bigstones, Stone Circles of the UK

Many of you more long term bloggers may remember Chris of Thermal‘s website about stone circles/ancient sites.

After some time, the website has been completely overhauled, and you might want to check it out.  It is not completely finished yet, so there will be more to come.

Along with a new web address and layout, it now has it’s own little blog too.   Plus you can comment on the images and information.

Pop to Bigstones.

Van Dyck Exhibition

Continuing from my last moment of exhibition excitement, I recently discovered that the Tate is staging a Van Dyck Exhibition.

How gorgeous!  Anyone that has visited the Royal Palaces in the UK must have seen his work, and I love the colours in them.  Great for checking out all the famous people of the day too!  A portrait of Princess Mary, sister of Charles II was recently returned to Hampton Court Palace too, after years in a private collection.

I would really, really love to get to this one, though sadly my exhibitions list grows longer by the day with no sign of it yet.  Sob.

You can check out further information about Van Dyck and Britain at the Tate’s website.  Plus, if you go and don’t tell me about it, I shall sulk.

Time For a New Castle, I Think

I know some of you were going to set up with me and buy Tillycairn Castle a while ago, but I’ve just discovered another on the market that I think we’ll have to add to our empire.

Midmar Castle is a gem, and has been restored over the years to be a comfortable home.  Well, as comfortable as castles get I gather.  It comes with Old Masters, armour and a deer farm.  Be still my heart.

It is also important to me as it was a prototype for the later Castle Fraser!  It has the same family of masons involved, and looks a little like a mini CF.

Come on, it’s starter price is only 5m.  Let’s pop over and make them an offer they can’t refuse?  Pretty please??

The Young Victoria

I’m ashamed to say I’d been unaware of this film, until a week or so ago, when a friend mentioned it to me.

Queen Victoria is played by Emily Blunt, and Rupert Friend plays Prince Albert.  As the Victorian era is fast becoming a favourite, I look forward to seeing it very soon.

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