24th-28th of May, 2017 – Glaswegian Chocolates, Damn The Sun is Surprisingly Warm, and Submarines

Wednesday, 24th of May

Haitham took a day off today, and after some time spent (*ahem* his time) cleaning the car, we shuttled down to Glasgow to meet up with his mom and sister Lisa at a cute wee cafe within a surprisingly nice mall. It was his mum’s suggestion, and it was a total hit for all parties. Not only did it have a whole shop section full of sweeties, but the restaurant portion was delicious!

Haitham spent most of our lunch date showing his mum old photos that he’s been digitizing, passed over from his sister before moving to the States. Inquiring about who this was, what they were like, where they were. Elizabeth regaled us with stories and goggled over seeing the old photos for the first time in years. She’s such a cutie pie.

Of course there was also gossip about each of her children and what they were up to, i.e. who had broken up with their partners, who was studying, who was working or vacationing. So it goes when you have so many children to keep track of and they all live such different lives!

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Before leaving, she refused to budge until she bought Haitham and I some chocolates from the counter. I have to admit they are absurdly adorable (I’ll admit my resistance to the treat was weak). Tiny chocolate donuts and rabbits! What can I say? I tried to fend her off, but I gotta be a good daughter-in-law here!

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Thursday, 25th of May

Guess what, y’all. Summer has finally come to Scotland.

Though I was at work and not able to celebrate the national holiday as one does when the opportunity arises here, I was able to bask in the glory of the sun beating down within the 25 degree C weather here.

That’s 77 for my Fahrenheit folks. I know, right? Despite the fact that this is hardly the 100 degree weather that Tennesseans see on the regular in the summer, you would never have thought it based on the way Scottish folk were going on. David, one of my coworkers with a full set of dreadlocks, kept coming over to get a shower from the hose as I watered plants. Others would come up to me and say, “This feel like Tennessee yet?” and I would chortle and say “Not even close!”

I freakin’ love it. Warm summer days transport me back home–so I bask in them when I get the chance! So even though it was a long, tiring, and sweaty day, when I got back home I pried myself away from the living room sofa to have a wander through the nearby Harrison Park.

Sure enough, national holiday merrymaking was in full swing even at around 8 PM!

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Honestly. Summer weather = national holiday. And that means BBQs!

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Too bad I didn’t have one of my own. After a brief wander enjoying the warmth, it was back home and then to bed!

Friday, 26th of May

Another warm day–even warmer then yesterday! This time temperatures exceeded 80 degrees F, and when I arrived home after work even Haitham was inspired to take advantage of the un-Scottishly-summer weather. I suggested we venture over to Corstorphine Hill, one of my previously-mentioned favorite bird haunts, and one of the best views in Edinburgh. It was getting late by the time we headed out, but we caught some of the view (although little to no birds, despite their songs heard richocheting through the trees!) before heading home.

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I don’t reckon there will ever be a day I get tired of this view.

Saturday, 27th of May

Oh ho, what an absolutely excellent day on all counts!

First up: H and I saddle up the old Panda pony and hit the road. Destination: the beach!!! Aberlady beach to be specific, a charming wee town on the outskirts of Edinburgh, bordering the Forth.

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I’d heard rumors that there was a submarine you could see on the beaches here, which obviously required further investigation.

Findings: there’s not just one, but two beached submarines on the shores of Aberlady beach! As it turns out, in WW2 there were some Royal Navy XT class midget submarines made. These small submarines could hold 4 people within their tiny, claustrophobia-inducing walls. They were 57 feet long, and 5 feet wide.

Just think about that one for a second.

Anyway, there were some training submarines made in order to allow volunteers for the cause to get used to working within, 6 of them in total. I think the actual mission had something to do with sneaking around some bigger boats off the coast of Norway (I skimmed that bit). Two of them ended up beached on Aberlady shores and used for–even crazier–target practice when the war concluded. Obviously with that said, time and a little ammunition has not helped them look as pristine as they once were. As we approached the long swathe of sand during low-tide (you can only see them twice daily), eventually we peeped what looked like a pile of garbage from the distance.

As we got closer, it began to look more like the skeleton of some beast. Here’s Haitham approaching the first.

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Eventually, we arrived at the first skeletal remains. The other one rested a few yards away in a tidal pool. It was really something else seeing the remnants of such an amazing thing–even better, a portion of one of the submarines had an opening wide enough for me to step into the water, crouch down, and see inside (as Haitham looked on in mild horror).

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How honestly cool is that? I could go on and on about them, but instead for those curious here’s the seriously interesting blog post about them where a gentleman describes their history at length. Full of historic goodies!

After wandering back and trying to ID the countless new birds flying about the dunes (skylarks, stonechats, and others seen for the first time!), we headed home. A few hours later I hit the streets again to join some friends at a Swedish cafe called Soderburg for a pizza date and some Bohnanza–that’s a delightfully addictive cardgame featuring beans!

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Now that’s the way to do a Saturday. Submarines and beans.

Sunday, 28th of May

Work, warm, but probably only in the 70’s. When I arrived home I attempted to unlock the door, only to find that because H had left his set of keys in the lock, I was stuck outside. Luckily for me the doorbell is also broken (H fiddled with it but ended up disconnecting it entirely), so after a few attempts at knocking on the windows/door, and even hollering like a numpty through the mail slot to no avail, I realized I was stuck.

For those wondering, no, H doesn’t answer his phone either. The man is like an island. An island of one, in the far-off destination of “the kitchen.”

Nevertheless I decided to take advantage of the weather (and my situation) to do a spot of gardening, re-arranging some planters, and putting aside some spent tulip bulbs for next year. Remember how I promised a lupin photo? Well, here we are!

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I feel a bit bashful because this is one of the smaller blossoms on the plant; I sort of dawdled on taking a photo of it until too late, but oh well! It’s safe to say that I love my lupin, even more so because bees also love my lupin. #winning

 

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