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url 2018-11-02 10:26
5 Things to Know About St Andrews - Go Golf Scotland

When it comes to Golfing in Scotland, there is no better place than St. Andrews Golf course. Based in Scotland, this golf course is considered as one of the most exotic golfing locations in the world.

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text 2018-10-28 19:59
The Sunday Post - The Run-Up to Halloween

Happy Sunday!

 

Winter arrived this weekend with the first sprinkling of the white stuff just outside the city boundaries and with a significant drop in temperatures.

 

The weather had changed so much, in fact, that my friends and I had to think of alternative options to our planned trip Glamis yesterday to partake in this year's Halloween event. In the end, we just settled on taking extra layers of clothing and getting on the road a little earlier than last year in case the roads were affected. It turned out that the roads were clear, but it was absolutely freezing, which made our walk around the Bewitched Woods at the castle a rather swift wander. 

 

 

The Bewitched Woods were the same as last year, just with different lighting and new spooky sounds and special effects that set off by motion sensor as you found your way through the wood in the pitch dark soon after we started the trail. And I do mean, pitch dark! It was a lot of fun.

 

 

I still love the wood carvings illustrating the story of Macbeth (Shakespeare's version, that is) that are placed along the trail. All of the sculptures were created using a chainsaw and I am simply amazed by the level of detail that the artists (Neith Art) commissioned to create them put into each sculpture. They really seemed to have read and analysed each scene and character that they chose to create.

 

 

The main event was, as it was last year, a ghost tour of the castle. Again, the inside of the castle had been decorated appropriately with skeletons, cob webs, and very real ghouls and ghosties who would pop out from behind doorways or nooks as we followed our guide through the castle. The usual tour packed with history was adapted again to tell of the more ghostly and ghastly history of the former inhabitants, and it was a lot of fun to see some of the characters "come alive" to converse with the visitors. 

One of the funniest things about this all was that there were some kids on the tour - some of which were really quite scared, and some of which put on a lot of bravado and ended up heckling the ghosts. One rather felt sorry for the ghosts. 

 

Even tho this was the same event as last year, I am glad to say that the people at Glamis castle again lived up to the challenge of creating an event that can be enjoyed on repeat visits. The ghosts and stories were rather different from last year - there was a lot more shrieking (mostly by the "ghosts") and there were a lot more and different "ghosts", too.  All in all, we had another excellent experience that put everyone in the right mood for Halloween. 

 

 

Of course, we ended our visit with a stop in the old castle kitchens again to sample the pumpkin soup before we made our trip back home. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the soup. I did make up for it today, tho, when I made some butter bean, lentil and spinach curry ... which I am counting as a soup as its consistency was rather stew-like.

 

 

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review 2018-10-23 21:38
Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Doon - Lorie Langdon,Carey Corp

It was kind of addictive. I started the book and several times decided to stop but couldn't, because I wanted to know how it will end. So I finished it and now I have no idea how to rate it.

The beginning was quite interesting and mysterious. Veronica gets dumped by his cheating boyfriend and suddenly sees a handsome young man, who is wearing a kilt. The next moment the man disappears. A bit later Veronica travels to Scotland with her friend Mackenna, who has inherited her aunts cottage. In Scotland Veronica again sees the same man and hears about Doon - a magical land hidden behind a veil of mist, which can be visited only once in a hundred years. The village people are sure that Mackenna's aunt was one of the people who had seen Doon with her own eyes. 

When girls find aunt's diary and the rings, Veronica decides to prove that Doon exists. Mackenna doesn't believe in it but plays along, so that Veronica could go on after she realizes Doon is just a fairytale. 
It turns out Doon is real and before you know the girls are thrown into a dungeon, accused by being the accomplices to a witch, who has tries to destroy Doon for centuries. Veronica's dream man turns out to be the crown prince of Doon, who can't stand the girl and acts like a total jerk.

Doon was a weird place with indoor plumbing, sword fights, sushi, and carriages. At first it was so strange, but there was a rather good explanation of this mixing of centuries. 

Some days ago I moaned about the lack of books with true female friendship, well Veronica and Mackenna were really good friends. But the girls themselves were ... I don't have good enough word for this. Some examples maybe:

[spoiler]* they don't like their looks but think the other one is absolutely gorgeous. 
* Mackenna has no time or patience to read her aunt's diary. She's stomping around the room and singing hits from musicals while Veronica is reading the diary. 
* They are accused of witchcraft and instead of keeping her mouth shut, Mackenna threatens a man with some "Disney magic". 
* The other time she decides to be silent and let Veronica speak, but opens her big mouth anyway and makes things worse again.[/spoiler]


Veronica plays a martyr almost the whole story. 

[spoiler]* She believes it's her duty to save Doon without saying anything to Mackenna or James. 
* Although James tells her, that he is a grown up and for once would like to make his own decisions (it turns out when you are a crown prince, your whole life is planned before your birth), Veronica just takes his choices away, because she "knows" what is best for James and Doon. 
* She also makes assumptions without knowing all the facts and almost kills everyone. 

[/spoiler]


And James, I actually thought he was bipolar. His mood swings were confusing as hell. Later I understood his behaviour but his stalling was annoying. 

I actually liked Duncan, Fiona, and Fergus. They had some sense and although some things were so obvious, those didn't bother me as much as all that stuff I wrote before.

I so hoped it to be a 5 star read because of Scotland, travelling to a fairytale land, magic, but unfortunately it wasn't so. 

 

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url 2018-10-23 13:37
Best Scotland Golf Tours | Go Golf Scotland

Go Golf Scotland offers bespoke golf vacations at some of the world’s most iconic golf courses. We are one stop solution for your golfing holidays need. Being a local business, we have a wide knowledge of Scotland’s hidden gems. Book your tickets now!

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review 2018-10-22 13:01
The Library at the Edge of the World (Finfarran Peninsula #1) by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
The Library at the Edge of the World - Felicity Hayes-McCoy

As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip. With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined. 

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Twenty years into marriage to a London barrister, Irish native Hana Casey gets hit head on with the news that he's been unfaithful to her pretty much from the beginning. She decides to pack up their daughter and move back to her hometown to try to start her life over. Now three years later, Hana is still living with her mother while daughter Jazz is traveling around the world as a flight attendant. Feeling stifled, with her mother driving her mad, Hana decides it's time to be on her own -- fully on her own -- once more. 

 

At the start of divorce proceedings, Hana had told her ex (in anger) that she didn't want a cent of his money. Now those words are coming back to bite her as she struggles to find housing on her paltry income as the town's librarian. Hana contacts her ex, presenting her case as to why he should help her all these years later. Her plea is not well received, in fact he quickly shuts her down with an ol' "you made your bed." That's right, this is coming from the unfaithful one himself... Malcolm is a true piece of work in this story. He somehow manages to shirk much of his responsibility in their breakup, instead accusing Hana of being a terrible mother for ruining their daughter's life with the sudden move back to Ireland. This guy! Divorcees, brace yourselves! 

 

"A little discretion. A sense of responsibility. A willingness to look beyond your personal agenda. That's not a lot to ask, Hanna. Not of someone who claims to be a loving mother."

 

~ Malcolm, Hanna's ex-husband

 

(Can you imagine hearing this out of a man you'd just discovered had been having an affair for pretty much the entirety of your marriage?!)

 

Just as she's nearly at wit's end, a solution comes to our main lady. She remembers she was left an old derelict cottage by the sea by her great aunt Maggie. How one forgets that they own a piece of property on prime picturesque real estate in Ireland stumps me a bit, but there are parts of this novel that ask the reader to suspend disbelief a bit. Taking on the renovation of the place proves to not only solve the housing issue for Hana, but also provides her with an outlet for the depression she continues to battle, the hurt of having been a faithful wife left to feel "not good enough" by a greedy, emotionally immature husband. 

 

The project brings out numerous interesting characters in Hana's town, as they all come forward at different points to help her reach her goals. While overseeing the renovation of this small cottage, Hana also juggles trying to improve the relationship with her mother, Mary, (who comes off as harsh initially, but the reader comes to see it's more of a tough love thing... she might lack tact now and then, but the intent is generally coming from a caring place), continuing with the book mobile service throughout Ireland's West Coast counties, and taking on the town council as they threaten to possibly shut down her library in favor of more profitable real estate developments in the area. 

 

 

Glancing in the rearview mirror, Hanna saw her walking back to the house with a spring in her step. It had only been a few minutes spent with an acquaintance but the human contact and the prospect of a couple of books to read and chat about had obviously made her day. No matter how isolated the scattered farms and villages on the peninsula might seem, there was a web of personal and communal relationships that linked people together, offering mutual support. 

 

 

Library at the Edge of the World will appeal to many booknerds in general, but especially those who have worked as librarians or booksellers themselves. There are references to some of the crazier, more laughable customer service-type aspects to the industry, such as the shocking condition books are sometimes returned in or the aggravating, information deficit type of book inquires some readers bring to the help desk: "I'm looking for a book with a dog on the cover." (This particular patron of Hanna's is an entertaining recurring character as his diligent search -- on nearly zero information -- progresses).

 

What Hanna now desperately needed was to think. But inevitably, two women turned up in the last ten minutes of opening time and stood in a corner discussing the relative merits of Barbara Cartland and Barbara Pym. Hanna covered the computers, pulled down the blind on the door and announced that the library was closing. But the women took no notice. Eventually she had to chivvy them over the threshold, receiving the same outraged clucks and beady-eyed looks that she'd got as a child from the intrusive hens in Maggie Casey's kitchen. As soon as they were gone, she set the security alarm, locked up, and crossed the courtyard, wondering where to go to find peace and quiet. 

 

I was thoroughly engaged in the plot for the majority of this book but I struggled with the later chapters a bit. The plot started to feel a tad flimsy and dragged out. All in all, it was great fun getting to know this little community... but there was something about Hanna... I realized as I finished the book that there was just something about her that didn't sit quite right with me... something I wasn't noticing too much until I got to the end. It was almost but not quite a feeling of not entirely liking her. But why? She doesn't immediately come off as an immediately terrible person. But on further thought, I think I might have pinned what was bugging me. 

 

While most of the people Hanna interacts with in this story act civil enough toward her, very few seemed to honestly LIKE her. Her own behavior around town gave the impression that the feeling was mutual.... but suddenly she wants everyone to band together to save the community when HER job is at risk? She spends much of the story either trying to keep to herself or keeping social interactions to a minimum, yet for some reason the town as a whole later feels compelled to help her furnish her cottage? It was so subtle a thing, like I said, I didn't quite realize all the scenes that played out that way ... til I had finished the story. And now I struggle to be entirely comfortable with that....to the point where I'm now on the fence whether I want to continue this series. This book is the first in what's set to be a trilogy. I had fun visiting the town, and I may pop back in down the road for the later books, but I don't know that I'm in any major rush for it. 

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