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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

canoeing and kayaking adventures born in the Southeastern U.S. and now centered in Scotland...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hogmanay 2008/9 - Stonehaven with the Family 31/12/2008 - 1/1/2009

My parents and my brother came to Scotland for Christmas and Hogmanay (New Year) instead of the annual Christmas in a Car road trip. I have to say I appreciated the change. They arrived to Edinburgh midday on Christmas eve by way of Manchester. We helped them through the jetlag with a walk along the canal to the city centre with a few breaks in pubs along the way. The next day, we had our Christmas dinner at the pub around the corner, guaranteeing that there would be no complaining for the lack of meat in the meal. We also took everybody for a wander along the Water of Leith walkway, just getting home before dark. On the 27th, the family left ridiculously early to spend a couple of days in Ireland and returned the evening of the 29th. The 30th was my brother's birthday, so we went for funny pizza in Leith, where Alena could join us, too.

The morning of 31 December, we did a much shorter version of Christmas in a car and drove to Stonehaven. We had kicked around ideas of stops to make along the way and instead just decided to visit Stonehaven's Dunottar Castle if we arrived before sunset. Only just.

Brian's Mum prepared Christmas dinner for all of us, with help from Mandy who also made the veggie dish for us.

After dinner and much lounging, all of us headed to the town centre for the Fireballs. As with the previous year, we picked up Jill along the way, though she didn't start any fights or make any new friends this year. As a consequence, our vantage point wasn't as good as last year. It probably worked out for the best as I don't think Mom was keen to be face to face with a fireball. Brian shared around his hipflask for those who were interested to partake.

We had about 40 minutes in the town centre, split between waiting for and then watching the fireballs. Afterwards, we attempted to visit Brian's friend's grandmother Helen but she was too busy partying. Instead, we headed back to Brian's Mum's house for soup. After soup, Brian and I wandered down to Mandy's for sleep. The boys were playing with the Wii Fit so we got a couple of shots at that before bed. Brian was really good at the hula hoop game -- you can tell on the video.

New Year's morning, we wandered back up the hill by way of Helen's. All of us gathered for lunch at Brian's Mum's house. She sent us home with many of the leftovers, as she and Ken were away for a few days soon after we left. We made our way home in the afternoon, arriving home in pitch dark. The next morning, my family left for their home far too early in the morning. Hopefully, they, too, enjoyed the change from Christmas in a Car.

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