23 August 2009

Balmedie Beach

One place I've wanted to go for awhile now is Belmedie Beach -- a beach just north of Aberdeen a few miles. It is part of an area that Donald Trump wants to develop. From what I can tell, the Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to let him develop part of the land. Here is a link for people in the area who are determined on Tripping Up Trump. After having seen this lovely beach, I can see why the locals are outraged a man with money thinks he can come in and take over their precious public beach.

Despite what the first link above indicates, the beach is not as well sign posted as it claims! It was about a year ago that I first attempted to find it while practicing my driving for our then upcoming practical driving exam. But after not finding it I gave up. There are a few signs to the beach from the highway, but then all of a sudden they disappear and you have to make lucky guesses which way to turn based on where the sea is.But, should you be lucky enough to happen upon it (like we did last night), you will find a beautiful Scottish treasure. The beach area is quite extensive and full of massive sand dunes.

Peaks of the dunes

You can sort of appreciate how large these dunes are when you see the steepness of the dunes. We were brave and decided to go down. Then I was sad to suddenly realize we'd also have to go back up! Thankfully both were easier than I first thought they might be.

At the bottom of the dunes there was a large expanse of water kind of like a river, but its water looked stagnant like a small lake. We couldn't tell what it was or why it was there. It might be partially from the high tides waters or where the rain run-off from the dunes goes.

The closer we got to the sea, the smaller the above "river" got. It was definitely flowing and the water made a neat pattern in the sand kind of like tire tracks.

There were five horse riders (though here you can only see 3) out for an evening stroll as well. I thought it made for a nice photo with the fog settling in the background.
After we reached a certain point we thought we better head back. It was a cold walk back with the wind gusting in our faces. But what would a coast in Scotland be without the strong, cold wind? Even in August!

19 August 2009

All That Racket

For over a year now, the building across the street has been undergoing renovations. When Mark first talked to someone about it way back when he said it would take a long time to make the property into flats (it was once an old medical practice). He wasn't kidding. The weirdest thing is that I think at least 3 (maybe 4 now) various people seemed to have been in charge over there from time to time. And yes, it is hard not to spy on them and notice everything since it is the only thing I can see out of my kitchen window so while I'm bored out of my mind washing dishes or preparing food, I watch :)

First there was one man who did most everything on his own. We affectionately called him "Warrior Man" because well, he did it all and he drove a Nissan Warrior truck. Then came the 3 older gentlemen who did some hard manual labor and made me think one of them would go into cardiac arrest, especially because they smoked a lot too. Then no one did anything for months. I thought maybe it was because it was winter - cold and dark with no electricity. But even when spring came no one showed up. Until one day new people started working on it with a vengeance. It underwent quick transformation for a period of time. Like one day I looked and said "is that a new window?" That was the same day it got a new entrance. The next day I looked again, another new window (see two boarded windows on either side of the real window). You might also notice the hole in the roof covered with blue plastic. That's been there a good month. This week someone finally worked on it again. I wondered if the downpour we had the other day prompted that action. It's not done yet, though.

So after all this progress, then there was nothing. Until this new guy (let's call him Bob) shows up and started causing tons of racket for the past week. He loves him some jackhammer. Me, not so much. All I know is Saturday morning at about 8:30am that thing started and ruined my nice quiet Saturday morning plans. Yesterday I could finally tell what he was doing.

He dug way down and then laid some tube or pipe down, so it must be for water or electric. I was so excited that he was almost done....until today he started on the main entrance door. I need to have a talk with Bob because his racket and my dislike for loud, continuous noises (especially for hours on end) are not mixing well. Makes me wonder if he's deaf.

Here's the truck Bob puts all kinda of junk in to cart away.

13 August 2009

Mish Mash

I've sure been a blogger slacker lately. Not for lack of things to write about because I have had several posts floating around in my head for the past couple of weeks. More just lack of motivation combined with busyness to actually write those posts. Leave it to some photos to get me back in the blogosphere. 

But before those photos, a few updates. Work has gotten busier as it is again Clearing time. Last week I worked 6 days and nearly my double usual hours, which isn't bad considering I was just around full-time hours and many of my co-workers were doing way more hours than that. This week isn't so bad, but next week will be manic so I'm resting up now in preparation. 

I've also been busy communicating with some new American/Canadian students that will be arriving to start studying a similar program as Mark. My friends and I have put together some welcome packets for them again this year. It will be exciting to welcome them in to our community.

Mark's been plugging away as usual, with a slight extra determination to try to finish this marathon up within the year (not 2009 year, I mean school year). Your continued prayers as he presses on are appreciated.  He's also gearing up for college football to start again with a close eye to what the season might bring for his Bulldogs.

The weather has been warmer and sunnier again. I am thankful this summer has seemed warmer on the whole, with definitely warmer weeks/days than last summer. It has felt slightly more like summer this time around. Maybe it is a combination of being more adapted and the weather more cooperative.

Without further ado, here are today's fun photos. I had to pick our car up today (after a week of repairs - bleh. We were thankful for a loaner car from the garage). Where we take it is in the country outside of the city about 10 miles. I always take my camera along when I go out that way - just in case. Turns out today that was a good idea. Last week when I dropped the car off I saw some hairy coos near the car place. Today I saw them again on my way there and noted where I could park to get out and take some shots. Despite the cows having moved from being close to the fence (where I saw them on the way there). And despite the fact that I had to walk on the edge of large ditch next to a barbed-wire fence (that I had to keep reminding myself I could not grab if I started to fall), I think I still got some cute shots. I was rather enamored with the adorable baby coos!

He kept picking this clod of dirt/weeds (hopefully not poo!) up and tossing it like it was a toy. Very cute!
This little baby was sleeping, then his mom went over and started licking him. Again very cute. Then the little guy thought maybe he'd get up. He posed like this for a little bit. Mommy kept her eye on me :)
At first I thought he couldn't even walk yet.

Apparently the mom was getting a little tired of being photographed.

But, then little buddy got up and posed quite nicely. If you look closely you'll see he's even saying "cheese."

04 August 2009

Check One Complete

Hard to believe that Mark and I are thinking we may be down to a our final 12 months here! It's not for certain yet and in reality there may be more like 16 months. In any case, we're starting a "things-to-do-before-leaving-Aberdeen/UK" list. Top of the list (well, MY list) was seeing the roses in full bloom at the massive rose gardens in Hazelhead Park. I actually really wanted to take my parents to see this when they were here, but we were always doing too many other things. I guess they'll have to enjoy it via photos.

Here are some photos showing the overall picture of how big these two gardens are. To see some of the more artistic/fun ones, go here.