"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yeoman, Yolande, Youngs, and Yule

Yeoman - Louise Yeoman is twice a graduate of the University of St Andrews, she has been curator of early modern manuscripts and cataloguer at the National Library of Scotland since 1992. Prior to that, she worked for a year at the National Archives of Scotland and for a short time at Glasgow University Library. In 1996-97 she was seconded to BBC Scotland as writer and presenter of the BBC TV series Stirring Times. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Scottish History and a co-director of 'A Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, 1563-1736', as well as a frequent contributor to Scottish radio and television. http://www.shca.ed.ac.uk/Research/witches/lyeoman.html

Yolande - Yolande of Dreux was a sovereign Countess of Montfort from 1311 until 1322. Through her first marriage to Alexander III of Scotland, Yolande became Queen consort of the Kingdom of Scotland. http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/d/yolandededreux.html

Young - Andrew Young (1885–1971), poet and Presbyterian minister, later Church of England cleric

Young - Douglas Young (1913–1973), poet, scholar and translator

Yule - Sir Henry Yule (1820–1889) Orientalist, writer of travel books, compiler of the Hobson-Jobson


As a thank-you to the blogging community, and to celebrate one year since its publication, I am offering FREE e-pub copies of my western short story “Broken Angel” from now through April 30. If you would like to receive a copy, simply email me at writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com

Friday, April 28, 2017

X - Roman Numeral 10

During my visit to Scotland, I was surprised at how much Roman influence and evidence still existed.

Scotland had been inhabited for thousands of years before the Romans arrived. However, it is only during the Greco-Roman period that Scotland began being recorded in writing. In honor of the Roman numeral X, here are Ten Top Roman-Scotland Sites worth visiting.

Here is a map to more Roman-Scottish sites.

As a thank-you to the blogging community, and to celebrate one year since its publication, I am offering FREE e-pub copies of my western short story “Broken Angel” from now through April 30. If you would like to receive a copy, simply email me at writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Walking, War, Weather, Welsh, Writers, and Writers' Museum

Walking – People say Scotland is a paradise for ramblers, and I wholeheartedly agree. Some of the best times we had during our visit were spent traveling trails, both hidden and waymarked for the public. Beautiful scenery, variety of terrain, and magnificent coastlines make it difficult to imagine a more beautiful country to explore. Local tourist information centers are always a good place to stop if you are looking for advice or suggested routes.

War – Southern Scotland is a blend of attractive landscapes and historic houses, castles, and abbeys. Sadly, many of these ancient buildings exist only in fortified or ruined form due to the frontier wars that dated from the late 13th century mostly against the invading English. You can read more datails: http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/history/articles/the_wars_of_independence/

Weather – We visited Scotland in mid May which is the beginning of the peak travelling season there. Most visitors come to Scotland from May to August, when they can enjoy the best weather, and longer hours of daylight (the dark only lasted about three hours while we were there). Many people ask me about the rain, and a good joke many share is that “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. Temperatures, sunshine, and storms all fluctuated throughout our stay, but it only added to the charm and mystery of the country. Out of season, a good winter snowfall in the Highlands can provide great winter sporting opportunities such as skiing and snowboarding.

Welsh - a Scottish novelist, playwright and short story writer. Irvine Welsh is recognized for his novel Trainspotting, which was later made into a film of the same name. http://www.irvinewelsh.net/

Writers – From medieval poets through Robert Burns to Irvine Welsh, writers in the three languages of Scotland – Scots, English, and Gaelic – have created a body of literature expressing both their place in the Europeans mainstream and the diversity within Scotland. I’ve only mentioned a handful of the greats in this months’ posts. There are so may more you can find here.

Writers’ Museum – This fine Old Town mansion was built in 1622 on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. In the 1720s it was acquired by Elizabeth, Dowager Countess of Stair, and has since been called Lady Stair’s House. Its official title reflects its role as a museum of memorabilia of three of the foremost Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. I found this location to be a surprising and delightful hidden jewel. Many of the pavers outside building hold quotes from various authors. To learn more: http://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/Venues/The-Writers--Museum

As a thank-you to the blogging community, and to celebrate one year since its publication, I am offering FREE e-pub copies of my western short story “Broken Angel” from now through April 30. If you would like to receive a copy, simply email me at writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Victoria, Vikings, Vocabulary, and Votadini

Victoria - Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. She reigned for 63 years – the second longest monarchy after Elizabeth II. Her reign has become known as the Victorian era a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. Statues and portraits of her can be seen in most places open to public tours in Scotland. http://www.biography.com/people/queen-victoria-9518355

Vikings – Politically, militarily, and culturally they had a profound effect on the unstable kingdoms becoming Scotland. Their incursions into Scottish territories began in 795 and by the end of the 9th century the Vikings regularly came to Scotland to raid and settle. These raids as well as the culture they created by intermarrying has led to the creation of many stories, including their own set of myths and legends. http://www.scottish-history.com/origins3.shtml and https://www.transceltic.com/pan-celtic/ravens-celtic-and-norse-mythology

Vocabulary – the Scottish can often use a unique set of vocabulary quite different from even other parts of the UK. There are several sources on the internet to help aid your understanding.

Votadini - were a Celtic people of the Iron Age in Great Britain. Their territory was in what is now south-east Scotland and north-east England, extending south of the Firth of Forth and extended from the Stirling area down to the English River Tyne, including at its peak what are now the Falkirk, Lothian and Borders regions of eastern Scotland, and Northumberland in north east England.


As a thank-you to the blogging community, and to celebrate one year since its publication, I am offering FREE e-pub copies of my western short story “Broken Angel” from now through April 30. If you would like to receive a copy, simply email me at writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Unicorn, Unterberger, and Urquhart

Unicorn - A fictitious creature may seem an odd choice for a country's national animal, but perhaps not for a country famed for its love for and long history of myth and legend, and the unicorn has been a Scottish heraldic symbol since the 12th century, when it was used on an early form of the Scottish coat of arms by William I. It can now be found in several family crests, as well as symbols of royalty or parliament.


Unterberger – Betty Miller Unterberger was born 1922 in Glasgow. She became a professor of American international relations and spent the bulk of her extensive academic career at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. As a writer and historian she also became the first woman professor at Texas A&M University in 1968.  http://www.oah.org/programs/news/betty-miller-unterberger/

Urquhart - this Castle sits beside Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart saw great conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress. Control of the castle passed back and forth between the Scots and English during the Wars of Independence. The power struggles continued, as the Lords of the Isles regularly raided both castle and glen up until the 1500s. The last of the government troops garrisoned here during the Jacobite Risings blew up the castle when they left. Urquhart’s iconic ruins remain, offering glimpses into medieval times and the lives of its noble residents. https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/urquhart-castle/


As a thank-you to the blogging community, and to celebrate one year since its publication, I am offering FREE e-pub copies of my western short story “Broken Angel” from now through April 30. If you would like to receive a copy, simply email me at writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tartan, Tea, Tey, and Thistle

Tartans – the clan system, by which Highland society was divided into tribal groups led by autocratic chiefs, can be traced to the 12th century, when clans were already known to wear the checkered wool cloth now called tartan. Each family, or clan, had their own pattern. After the battle of Culloden (see my “C” post), the wearing of tartans was banned for approximately 100 years.

Tea – No visitor should miss the experience of a proper Scottish afternoon tea. We enjoyed this experience at several different locations where we were offered a tray of tea with milk, brown and white sugar, and trays with a variety of delicious sandwiches (usually tuna, salmon, cucumber) and cakes, butter, jams, and fruits.

Tey - Josephine Tey was a pseudonym used by Elizabeth MacKintosh, a Scottish author best known for her mystery novels. She also wrote as Gordon Daviot, under which name she wrote plays, many with biblical or historical themes. http://www.josephinetey.net/

Thistle – once a Stuart family badge, it has since become a national symbol.

As a thank-you to the blogging community, and to celebrate one year since its publication, I am offering FREE e-pub copies of my western short story “Broken Angel” from now through April 30. If you would like to receive a copy, simply email me at writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Scott, Smith, St. Andrews, Stevenson, and Stone

Sir Walter Scott – born in Edinburgh and trained as a lawyer, he is best remembered as a major literary figure and champion of Scotland becoming a novelist, playwright, and poet. He served as Clerk of the Court in Edinburgh’s Parliament House and for 30 years was Sheriff of Selkirk. Some of his most famous writings include his Waverley series Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, and Lady of the Lake. You can learn more: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sir-Walter-Scott-1st-Baronet

Alexander McCall Smith - R. Alexander "Sandy" McCall Smith is a British writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh who is perhaps best recognized as the author of  The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series http://www.alexandermccallsmith.com/


St. Andrews – Scotland’s oldest university town and one-time ecclesiastical capital, it is now a shrine to golfers from all over the world. We traveled these beautiful streets beginning with cathedral ruins. Once the largest cathedral in Scotland, it was later pillaged for its stones, which were used to build the town. After examining the still impressive site, we enjoyed a stroll through shops, ate pizza with wild boar, and spent the afternoon at the Old Course (thought to be the first golf course EVER) which lies alongside a beach where scenes from Chariots of Fire were filmed.

Robert Louis Stevenson – a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and A Child's Garden of Verses. This is thought to be the most comprehensive web resource devoted to him:  http://robert-louis-stevenson.org/

Stone of Scone - also known as the Stone of Destiny, and often referred to as The Coronation Stone because it was used for centuries in the coronations of the monarch of Scotland, and later in England. Many legends, crimes, and ideals have surrounded its existence. I had the opportunity to view the Stone since it now resides in Edinburgh Castle alongside the crown jewels. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Stone-of-Scone

As a thank-you to the blogging community, and to celebrate one year since its publication, I am offering FREE e-pub copies of my western short story “Broken Angel” from now through April 30. If you would like to receive a copy, simply email me at writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com