The weather varies a lot.. well mainly rainy / overcast recently.. but there is a lot to recommend Stirling. I am not going to post a tour guide to Stirling. There is already a large number of good guides available ( Visit Stirling ). It’s more a random selection of photos from the last couple of weeks.
In my recent work at Joan’s social enterprise (Talking Mats) I have had the great hardship of a 15 minute cycle to work up a quiet country road, from which this is the view (obviously without the snow now that we are in July):
It runs across the other side of the River Forth, towards the Wallace Monument, then on from there to the University. Phnom Penh it’s not, but that has not stopped me from occasionally performing the Cambodian ‘inside turn’, a neat manouevre on a bike, unfortunately dangerous for any drivers susceptible to irascible road rage, with its attendant risks of heart attacks or temporary blindness caused by a red mist.
The centre of Stirling is much like many other small towns, with its indoor shopping mall, ubiquitous charity shops, coffee houses and national chain stores. Most businesses seem to be holding up, despite the bleak economic climate. This store was empty, but the owners have allowed a great use of the display space, with a local primary school displaying photos of all the things that children did to find creative uses of an old newspaper:
I recently paid a visit up to Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s most visited tourist sites. Although I have taken many groups of pupils, and many visitors, to the castle in the past, this was my first visit for a good while and I was very pleasantly surprised by the additional exhibitions and displays that have been developed recently, particularly around the Royal Palace of James V and the famous ‘Stirling Heads’, oak carvings of famous contemporary and historical figures which decorated the ceiling of the Palace in the 16th Century:
Only some of the ‘heads’ survive, but this one of Julius Caeasar bears an uncanny resemblance to a 20th Century political figure:
The castle is well worth a visit for its many internal exhibitions, but the interior courtyards and stunning views in all directions make this a full day experience:
This commanding castle site guarded the first point at which the Forth could be crossed in Mediaeval times. The wooden bridge which saw the slaughter inflicted by Wallace and Murray on the occupying English army was replaced in the 15th Century by this stone bridge, which still provides tourists, or locals, with many a pretty picture:
Nice sky too!
I’m still settling.
VSO sent me a questionnaire about my experience as a volunteer the other day. It was easy to reply in positive mode. I believe I gained enormously from the experience. What did I contribute? My drop of water in the development barrel was as important, or unimportant, as any individual contribution, I guess, but I’m still ‘shredding’ it in my mind. Such a complex but fascinating experience.
My days at Talking Mats are now numbered and I will be working at Edinburgh University over the summer. .. maybe I’ll get round to my much postponed Cambodia retrospective then.