Janet and Ray got home on Thursday night, poor Janet nursing a fractured elbow caused by a fall early on in their holiday. Poor Janet! Something always seems to happen to that pair when they go on holiday! However, there was no stopping her from getting out and about and at the weekend Ray took us for a drive – a mystery tour for me! We lunched at a rather exclusive retail outlet, east of Inverness, not far from Brodie Castle, and then we continued eastwards till Ray turned the car on to a small country road. When we turned into what looked like a forest trail, I thought we must be stopping to let Sasha the dog have a run around – but no, having pulled up in a clearing, Ray got out, let the dog out of the back; and Janet climbed out of the passenger side, so I realised, slightly surprised, that we were going for a walk. Sasha chased pine cones and sticks as we went, then suddenly the forest gave way to a sandy path – and suddenly we were on the dunes above a beach!
Over the dunes onto the beach – all the way along were large blocks of concrete, the likes of which I think I have only seen at Longniddry on the East Lothian coast. During WW2 these blocks were laid all round our coasts, to prevent the possible landing of German tanks. Most have since been removed, but here, as at Longniddry, they still survive, albeit somewhat cracked and broken now. Here’s Janet nursing her bad arm.
Above you can see Sasha racing up the beach. In the picture below it, with careful positioning, I was able to make it look like she was on top of the block, whereas in fact she was a bit of a distance beyond it, digging in the sand!!! She’s probably a cross between a German Shepherd and a Labrador, so not small!
We sat for a while in the shelter of the marram grass dunes enjoying the sunshine, out of the chill breeze, before heading back to the car.
I remember years ago someone telling me they had never been to Scotland before. “There was no point taking the children there because there are no beaches!” I was flabbergasted! No beaches? We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, miles of them, but I reckon what she meant was that there weren’t the amusement arcades and the candy floss stalls. Well, give me our Scottish beaches anytime. We spent much of our summers on the Scottish beaches when I was a bairn, and I love them still!
Before I finish this post I wanted to give you an update on the family history thing. As a result of the email I wrote to the Heritage group, I went back to Portknockie to a) see the house my ancestors lived in, (and this is it! Now a holiday home, so if I wanted I could book to stay there!) and b) to meet up with a member of the heritage group, who was interested in my family. I think he is in fact a distant relative by marriage, only because of the tee name – remember I mentioned them before? – an Ann Wood “King” married into his family. “King” was a tee name in my ancestry. This same fellow gave me the URL of a website that may help me find out more about my ancestors, so I’ll have some work to do on that!
This memorial stone commemorates my great great grandparents and their family, including great grandfather Alex. Here’s a scrapbook layout I did a few years ago about Alex. I haven’t any photos of his parents or sister, sad to say, but I do have photos of his two brothers James and David, and David is his spitting image. Some of his descendants live in Australia. I reckon it would have been David’s family who put up the memorial.
This stone could possibly be commemorating a 17th century Wood ancestor. I should have taken note of what it says, but it is a Wood! The carved inscription is getting quite worn now and covered in moss, but it is still just possible to read the inscription round the edge of the stone. Arnold reckons it’s his earliest Wood ancestor, so it just may be mine too! I haven’t traced back that far yet!
So, there we are. A little update on the family history. Now I must go and look at the website Arnold told me about.
Talk again soon.