Quick trip to Scotland

Since I have been out of school I have had little need to be a library patron. However, thanks to a seven-year-old,  I have rediscovered the joys of my local library branch.

I promised my boyfriend’s daughter Mackenzie that I would take her to the library for her first library card. I have taken an interest in her reading skills since I met her 20 months ago. She struggled badly with reading and could barely manage more than “hi” and “cat”. I was all for dedicating time to reading aloud with her and encouraging her to read more. Let’s just say she got lots of books for Christmas last year!! She has taken to books and reading like a fish to water. She is in the second grade but her Dad told me she reads at a third grade level now! 🙂

Paul and I decided that she was old enough to have her own library card. She enjoys reading and we hoped the library card would encourage her progress in reading. Boy, did it ever! She devours her books. She practically skips through the shelves of books waiting to find the next hard covered treasured. I was thrilled because when I was little I LOVED the library too. In fact, punishments for wrong-doings included taking away my trips to the library! Oh the horror!

But, it’s been years since I have been in the library. I had little need for it. If I needed some information; I had the internet. If I was dying to read a book I would buy it or invariably receive it as a gift. My Netflix subscription kept me up to my eyeballs in movies and documentaries (which I adore!).

A couple of months ago I found a book club I was interested in. I knew little about their chosen book (The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield) so I didn’t want to spend money on it so I checked it out of the local library one day on my lunch break. As I walked into the library past the little grass area I used to play in as a child I was filled with warm, happy memories. It made me wonder if Mackenzie had gotten her library card yet.

The next time I talked to Paul I mentioned the library card and next thing I knew I was proudly standing next to Mackenzie as she carefully printed out her first and last name on her new library card.

Wandering around the library I found all sorts of treasures. Audio books, craft books (plus-sized crochet anyone?), dvds and trashy novels, oh my! I was suddenly swiping my library card instead of my debit card! It seems like every other day I walk out of the public library with an armful of mixed media!

And what does all of this have to do with Scotland?

Scotland, you remember, part of my blog title??

I found some DVD’s about the origin of the Scottish clans and the history of many Scottish castles along with a book on Celtic history. I borrowed them on Friday and today I watched the DVD’s with my mom.

The landscapes in these DVD’s were breathtaking. I felt transported to Scotland. I joked to Mom that I could picture myself stitching in a corner of a castle while flames roared in the man-sized fireplace. I said it jokingly but I really could picture it. Blame my over active imagination and too much period fiction! I am reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (which takes place in 18th century Scotland) and listening to Philippa Gregory’s The Other Queen about Mary Queen of Scots (who was a master of needlework – that might be a future blog topic!)

As wonderful as it was to learn about the history of my Scottish Ancestors (Clan MacLeod if you must know – another future blog topic I’m sure) the best part of the DVD’s was a section of poetry read while scenes of rural Scotland flashed on the screen. Mom and I were both quite touched by one of the poems which I wouldn’t have had the pleasure to hear read to me if not for my local library.

Thanks to a quick Google we discovered that Robert Burns penned Highland Mary which I’d like to share with you here:

YE banks and braes and streams around
The castle o’ Montgomery,
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie!
There simmer first unfauld her robes, 5
And there the langest tarry;
For there I took the last fareweel
O’ my sweet Highland Mary.
How sweetly bloom’d the gay green birk,
How rich the hawthorn’s blossom, 10
As underneath their fragrant shade
I clasp’d her to my bosom!
The golden hours on angel wings
Flew o’er me and my dearie;
For dear to me as light and life 15
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
Wi’ monie a vow and lock’d embrace
Our parting was fu’ tender;
And, pledging aft to meet again,
We tore oursels asunder; 20
But oh! fell Death’s untimely frost,
That nipt my flower sae early!
Now green ‘s the sod, and cauld ‘s the clay,
That wraps my Highland Mary!
O pale, pale now, those rosy lips 25
I aft hae kiss’d sae fondly!
And closed for aye the sparkling glance
That dwelt on me sae kindly!
And mouldering now in silent dust
That heart that lo’ed me dearly! 30
But still within my bosom’s core
Shall live my Highland Mary.

2 thoughts on “Quick trip to Scotland

  1. stacy says:

    Congratulations to you and Mackenzie on taking this journey together. It has always been my belief that books water a child’s growing soul, and without the outlet to escape to other times, places, and states of being, we never really learn to believe in anything other that what we can see in front of us; which, frankly, isn’t always that fulfilling. I was probably around Mackenzie’s age when I received my first library card; and the first books I read (and still, they are my favorites today) were the “Little House On the Prairie” books. The simplicity, survival-oriented lifestyle appealed to me. In fact, I truly believe those books help mold and shape my love for homemaking, cooking, animals and crafts–or my desire to “make” rather than buy my home.

    On an academic note: Well done Mackenzie for improving that reading level!
    And well done to you to for gracefully (and successfully!!) introducing this absolute joy into her life. She, as you know, will only be better for it.

    When I walk into a library, I feel at home. The first place I mapped out when we arrived here in the Great Dismal North was the local library. Fortunately, it is literally across the street and a simple 2 minute drive. Unfortunately, North Chicago/Waukegan is terribly underfunded; so the library is limited as far as its periodicals, DVD’s, etc. However, it is overflowing with paperbacks and novels—right up my alley. There is nothing better (to me) than a Connie Mason type historic romance novel full of trashy sex!

    I am guilty, though, of not going as often as I ‘should’ given my love of reading. The economy has put a damper on our fun budget, so dropping 100 bucks at Barnes and Noble is over. It’s a shame, looking back, that I ever spent that kind of money in the first place. Yikes. Only recently have I discovered the joy of Amazon, and the used books. Paperbacks can be bought for a penny plus shipping, which makes for pretty cheap reading. Plus I love getting packages in the mail!

    BUT, after reading this beautiful blog, I am now inspired to head back to the library myself. Thank you for that. Bailey stays an hour late at school on Mondays, and I’m thinking that would be the perfect time for me to stop and check out a few books each week.

    You mentioned you were listening to a Phillipa Gregory book? Can you tell me the site you’re visiting? I love to listen to music and crochet; but a good audio book would be even better…..(I’m really excited at the thought).

    I hope you’re enjoying Outlander. I read it when it first came out; and contrary to the reviews, I personally did not care for it much. I found it hard to understand……and many chapters I had to read more than once. I think there is a sequel to it, if I’m not mistaken.

    Before I forget, have you ever heard of the Charlotte Mason Method regarding homeschooling? It is a literature based method of schooling children, based on a belief that a child can learn literally anything if told in a story. Charlotte Mason was an English schoolteacher who thought that factual information in a text was not really effective at helping a child retain anything. But by giving the child a book that tells a story in the first person, the child takes that into him/herself because they can identify with the author on a personal level. When I was homeschooling Korbin and Bailey, I incorporated this method. Both kid’s reading ability and understanding of the humanities is far beyond their peers as a result. (Their math and science skills, however, are behind, now they are in public school)

    The reason I bring it up is if you google Charlotte Mason reading lists, there are many lists of great classic novels based on age/grade appropriate levels. I have never been a lover of the classics, but the books I found on the net changed my mind. I will go back into my “favorites” section on my PC and email you some links that I thought were good. Maybe you guys can find some more stuff to read that appeals to you!

    Lastly, I am putting together your Christmas box….and this blog really helped reenforce some ideas of things to send you!!! I’m so excited!

    Thank you for such a beautiful, inspirational blog. It brightened my day.

    • MOM says:




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