Tag Archives: giveaway

Black Friday Freebie!

One day only – Black Friday

Black Friday only – FREE to the first fifteen people who leave a comment here on my blog between 00:01 and 12:00 Eastern Time Friday, November 27th, 2015…

The e-book version of Tim’s Magic Christmas!

Black Friday

Blurb:

For Tim Frost, Christmas 2011 is a washout. No Santa. No presents. Nothing. His father lost his job when the mill closed and now the family is on the verge of losing their home.

A chance encounter with Nick Kringle, a modern-day Santa Claus, teaches Tim that the greatest gift you can receive is the gift of giving.

**********

In your comment, let me know which format you would prefer your copy to be in – epub, mobi or pdf.

If you would prefer a print version, there is still time left to enter the giveaway over at Goodreads for your chance to win the signed proof of the paperback version of Tim’s Magic Christmas.

Ending November 30th! Goodreads Giveaway ~ Tim’s Magic Christmas

November 30th will be here before we know it!

Enter for your chance to win one signed proof copy of Tim’s Magic Christmas! The giveaway starts November 6th and runs to November 30th.

It could be the perfect gift for the middle grade reader on your Christmas list.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tim's Magic Christmas by Melanie Robertson-King

Tim’s Magic Christmas

by Melanie Robertson-King

Giveaway ends November 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

November

Blurb:

For Tim Frost, Christmas 2011 is a washout. No Santa. No presents. Nothing. His father lost his job when the mill closed and now the family is on the verge of losing their home.

A chance encounter with Nick Kringle, a modern-day Santa Claus, teaches Tim that the greatest gift you can receive is the gift of giving.

What readers are saying about Tim’s Magic Christmas:

Shawn Marie Simon ☆☆☆☆☆ – Tim’s Magic Christmas, by Melanie Robertson-King, is a heartfelt story about a young boy who feels he’s a burden to his struggling family. His parents are fighting, money is tight. Things are not good. Tim feels certain he is not going to get the Apple iPod he so desperately wanted for Christmas. He believes everybody would be better off if he ran away from home, so he takes the little money he has out of his piggy bank and catches a train to anywhere. What happens next is magical.

Lessons abound in this sweet book. The lessons are not only for children, they are for parents, too. Kids are more aware than parents often realize. They hear parents arguing, they feel the tension. Talk to them and let them know what’s going on in a way that is developmentally appropriate. They are part of the family and should not be left in the dark.

Of course there are lessons for kids as well in this magical story. Kids need to talk to their parents, too. Trust your parents to be there for you. Share your fears with them. Running away will not solve anything. Although, in this case, a miracle happened.

The last and most prevalent lesson is that giving is better than receiving. It’s not about how much you have, but about how much you give to others, and when you give to others, you get back so much more than you ever bargained for. Tim learned that the iPod he wanted was nothing compared to how good it felt to give to those who had so much less.

Beverly Stowe McClure ☆☆☆☆☆ – Christmas, that magical time of the year when children make their “wish” list for the gifts they hope to find under their trees. Sometimes, however, a child’s wishes may not be answered in the way he or she had hoped, but perhaps in an even better way.

In TIM’S MAGIC CHRISTMAS, Author Melanie Robertson-King’s new story for children, the holidays are fast approaching, and Tim Frost wants an iPod for Christmas. There’s one problem. His father has lost his job and money is scarce. His parents can barely pay the bills and buy groceries, much less buy expensive gifts for their children. So, Tim, thinking like a sixth-grader how he can help his family in these tough times, decides to take the $35 and change he’s saved and run away from home. Without him, his parents will have one less mouth to feed.

Little does Tim know the surprises that await him when he rides the bus away from his home town. The places he goes and the people he meets give Tim a new understanding of the true magic of Christmas. Melanie Robertson-King has written a beautiful story about giving and sharing and discovering what’s truly important in life. I recommend this story for school libraries, public libraries, and your own private library. It will renew your faith and hope in our world and the gentle people in it.

Joan Y Edwards ☆☆☆☆☆ – Sixth grader, Tim Frost doesn’t realize how much his family loves him. He wants an expensive gift for Christmas and runs away when his family has a money shortage at Christmas. He takes a bus to the big city of Toronto and almost gets run over. Willing to wash dishes for food, he learns from a trucker how worried his parents must be. When a trucker shows him how he can help the homeless and hungry in his hometown, Tim goes back home, content not to have an expensive iPod for Christmas. He learns that the real joy of Christmas is in giving.

The author keeps the readers wondering if Tim could survive in the city and if he would decide to go back home. I kept wondering what I would do if I was in Tim’s shoes.

Janet K Brown ☆☆☆☆☆ – Tim’s Magic Christmas is a heart-warming tale of a boy who uses his six-grade wisdom to solve his family’s financial problems. It is a Christmas he’ll never forget. This book is appropriate for any child old enough to read a chapter book. The author teaches a lesson without hitting the child over the head. I found it easy to follow and typical of what my thirteen-year-old grandson might come up with. King’s main character enchants the reader. A fresh perspective for a wonderful holiday.

 

Goodreads Giveaway ~ Tim’s Magic Christmas

Giveaway ~ November 6-30th

Enter for your chance to win one signed proof copy of Tim’s Magic Christmas! The giveaway starts November 6th and runs to November 30th.

It could be the perfect gift for the middle grade reader on your Christmas list.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tim's Magic Christmas by Melanie Robertson-King

Tim’s Magic Christmas

by Melanie Robertson-King

Giveaway ends November 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

cover

Blurb:

For Tim Frost, Christmas 2011 is a washout. No Santa. No presents. Nothing. His father lost his job when the mill closed and now the family is on the verge of losing their home.

A chance encounter with Nick Kringle, a modern-day Santa Claus, teaches Tim that the greatest gift you can receive is the gift of giving.

What readers are saying about Tim’s Magic Christmas:

Shawn Marie Simon ☆☆☆☆☆ – Tim’s Magic Christmas, by Melanie Robertson-King, is a heartfelt story about a young boy who feels he’s a burden to his struggling family. His parents are fighting, money is tight. Things are not good. Tim feels certain he is not going to get the Apple iPod he so desperately wanted for Christmas. He believes everybody would be better off if he ran away from home, so he takes the little money he has out of his piggy bank and catches a train to anywhere. What happens next is magical.

Lessons abound in this sweet book. The lessons are not only for children, they are for parents, too. Kids are more aware than parents often realize. They hear parents arguing, they feel the tension. Talk to them and let them know what’s going on in a way that is developmentally appropriate. They are part of the family and should not be left in the dark.

Of course there are lessons for kids as well in this magical story. Kids need to talk to their parents, too. Trust your parents to be there for you. Share your fears with them. Running away will not solve anything. Although, in this case, a miracle happened.

The last and most prevalent lesson is that giving is better than receiving. It’s not about how much you have, but about how much you give to others, and when you give to others, you get back so much more than you ever bargained for. Tim learned that the iPod he wanted was nothing compared to how good it felt to give to those who had so much less.

Beverly Stowe McClure ☆☆☆☆☆ – Christmas, that magical time of the year when children make their “wish” list for the gifts they hope to find under their trees. Sometimes, however, a child’s wishes may not be answered in the way he or she had hoped, but perhaps in an even better way.

In TIM’S MAGIC CHRISTMAS, Author Melanie Robertson-King’s new story for children, the holidays are fast approaching, and Tim Frost wants an iPod for Christmas. There’s one problem. His father has lost his job and money is scarce. His parents can barely pay the bills and buy groceries, much less buy expensive gifts for their children. So, Tim, thinking like a sixth-grader how he can help his family in these tough times, decides to take the $35 and change he’s saved and run away from home. Without him, his parents will have one less mouth to feed.

Little does Tim know the surprises that await him when he rides the bus away from his home town. The places he goes and the people he meets give Tim a new understanding of the true magic of Christmas. Melanie Robertson-King has written a beautiful story about giving and sharing and discovering what’s truly important in life. I recommend this story for school libraries, public libraries, and your own private library. It will renew your faith and hope in our world and the gentle people in it.

Joan Y Edwards ☆☆☆☆☆ – Sixth grader, Tim Frost doesn’t realize how much his family loves him. He wants an expensive gift for Christmas and runs away when his family has a money shortage at Christmas. He takes a bus to the big city of Toronto and almost gets run over. Willing to wash dishes for food, he learns from a trucker how worried his parents must be. When a trucker shows him how he can help the homeless and hungry in his hometown, Tim goes back home, content not to have an expensive iPod for Christmas. He learns that the real joy of Christmas is in giving.

The author keeps the readers wondering if Tim could survive in the city and if he would decide to go back home. I kept wondering what I would do if I was in Tim’s shoes.

Janet K Brown ☆☆☆☆☆ – Tim’s Magic Christmas is a heart-warming tale of a boy who uses his six-grade wisdom to solve his family’s financial problems. It is a Christmas he’ll never forget. This book is appropriate for any child old enough to read a chapter book. The author teaches a lesson without hitting the child over the head. I found it easy to follow and typical of what my thirteen-year-old grandson might come up with. King’s main character enchants the reader. A fresh perspective for a wonderful holiday.

 

And the winner is!

Congratulations to the winner of my

2014 A Shadow in the Past wall calendar!

a shadow in the past 2014 calendarIsn’t it beautiful? Every month has a different full colour photograph (taken by moi) of something “A Shadow in the Past“.

How well do you think you did at guessing the various locations where Sarah Shand turned up each day?

Day 1

Seeking Sarah Shand
At The Caledonian Hotel
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at High Cliff

Day 2

Seeking Sarah Shand
On the Jacobite train at the Glenfinnan Station
Seeking Sarah Shand
On the platform in Mallaig
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Myrtle Bank

Day 3

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Balvenie Castle
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Fernbank House

Day 4

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Dunnideer
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Earlsfield Farm

Day 5

Seeking Sarah Shand
Waiting at the Insch train station

Day 6

Seeking Sarah Shand
At the entrance to the Old Kirkyard in Kennethmont
Seeking Sarah Shand
With the Pictish stones at the Rhynie cemetery
Seeking Sarah Shand
At the stone circle at Earlsfield Farm

Day 8 (we didn’t play on Day 7 as it was my launch at the Rannes Hall in Kennethmont)

Seeking Sarah Shand
At The Empress of India Restaurant in Kelso
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Duncan House

Day 9

Seeking Sarah Shand
At the Cross Butts Stable Restaurant
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Beechwood Guesthouse

Day 10

Seeking Sarah Shand
At The Bell
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at The Old Forge

Day 11

Seeking Sarah Shand
At The Bell Hotel in Tewkesbury

I thought having the map beside the book was a dead giveaway in this one but apparently that wasn’t always the case.

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Wetherspoons in Harrogate
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Fountains Guest House

Day 12

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Bolton Abbey
Seeking Sarah Shand
At Smiths Hotel in Gretna Green
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Barrasgate House

Day 13

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Caerlaverock Castle
Seeking Sarah Shand
At Sweetheart Abbey
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House in Largs

Day 14

Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at the Holiday Inn at Glasgow Airport

So how did you do? Get all of them right? Some of them right? None of them right?

It’s been a close race – neck and neck right down to the wire between two participants. It was really difficult to say who would finish with the most correct answers. But in the end, one emerged victorious.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the winner is… Grace!

Congratulations Grace. Please contact me via email at melanie@melanierobertson-king.com to arrange having your prize delivered.

 

 

The Giveaway ends at Midnight!

The Seeking Sarah Shand Giveaway

Today is the last day you can enter to win  2014 A Shadow in the Past calendar. Don’t be disappointed. Enter today. You don’t have to know much – or even anything – about Scotland. The clues are in the text portion of each day’s blog post. Using that information, you guess where the photos were taken.

You’ve seen the cover many times – a stone circle, which I think is an excellent wa to convey a time-travel set in Scotland.

But now you get to see the pictures that will grace each and every month…

January

Image21
Tap O’Noth from the Gordonsfield Farm road

February

image 14
Gordonsfield farmhouse

March

Image9
Gordsonfield farm from the stone circle

April

Image2
The road to Weetshill mansion

May

Image8
The railway line near the old kirkyard

June

Image4
The ghostly trees lining the road to Weetshill mansion

July

Image6
Weetshill mansion – in the present

August

Image1
Ruins in the field behind Gordonsfield farmhouse

September

image 19
The Old Kirkyard in Kendonald

October

Image7
The Robertson stone in the Old Kirkyard

November

Image5
Weetshill Railway Station – today

December

image 18
The Salvation Army Citadel in the Castlegate in Aberdeen

These photos were all taken by me on my trips to Scotland in 1993 and 1997, long before A Shadow in the Past came to be, even in its earlier novella form of Sarah’s Gift.

Now that you’ve seen all the months’ photos, don’t you want to win one? You can. It’s easy. Visit the daily posts of my trip to Scotland (the clues are in the text) then leave your guesses where the Seeking Sarah Shand photos were taken in the comments.

You can also play along over at my A Shadow in the Past 2013 Book Tour blog as I check the comments there, too.

Good luck!

I can’t wait to read your guesses.

The Giveaway!

The Seeking Sarah Shand Giveaway

Okay, I’ve banged on about it being a 2014 A Shadow in the Past calendar (created at Vistaprint) but have only ever revealed the cover image. And what better to convey a time-travel set in Scotland than a stone circle on the front cover?

And now for the inside leaves…

January

Image21
Tap O’Noth from the Gordonsfield Farm road

February

image 14
Gordonsfield farmhouse

March

Image9
Gordsonfield farm from the stone circle

April

Image2
The road to Weetshill mansion

May

Image8
The railway line near the old kirkyard

June

Image4
The ghostly trees lining the road to Weetshill mansion

July

Image6
Weetshill mansion – in the present

August

Image1
Ruins in the field behind Gordonsfield farmhouse

September

image 19
The Old Kirkyard in Kendonald

October

Image7
The Robertson stone in the Old Kirkyard

November

Image5
Weetshill Railway Station – today

December

image 18
The Salvation Army Citadel in the Castlegate in Aberdeen

These photos were all taken by me on my trips to Scotland in 1993 and 1997, long before A Shadow in the Past came to be, even in its earlier novella form of Sarah’s Gift.

Now that you’ve seen all the months’ photos, don’t you want to win one? You can. It’s easy. Visit the daily posts of my trip to Scotland (the clues are in the text) then leave your guesses where the Seeking Sarah Shand photos were taken in the comments.

You can also play along over at my A Shadow in the Past 2013 Book Tour blog as I check the comments there, too.

Good luck!

I can’t wait to read your guesses.

Day 15 – Glasgow to Toronto

Day 15 – Glasgow to Toronto – August 25, 2013


View Larger Map

We were checked out of the hotel and over at the airport before 8:00. When I booked the room, I went with room only because I knew there were plenty of places in the airport to go get breakfast.

The Air Transat desk opened at 8:15 so we went and got checked in so we could get rid of our two big bags. After passing through security, we found a place reasonably close to our gate where we could have a meal (and me, a coffee). We decided on the Beardmore Bar and Restaurant. After all the huge, cooked breakfasts I’d eaten in the two weeks, and having already mowed down a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps, I only had fried eggs on toast.

I’m not sure how it happened, but when I went to fasten my belt in the WC, the buckle came off in my hand and a belt without a buckle isn’t much use to anyone, so the entire thing went into the trash. At least for the time being, we didn’t have a lot of walking to do so I didn’t have to worry about losing my pants… LOL.

While we waited in the departure lounge for our flight to arrive, I took advantage of the free wi-fi and checked my email. I discovered that an interview I had done with Stacy Claflin before our trip went live the day before. I went to her blog and thanked her for hosting me before my half hour expired.

Before our plane arrived, a fire engine arrived and parked by the gate. It doesn’t exactly inspire a warm, fuzzy feeling. Shortly after that, an ambulance arrived and parked next to the building below where we were sitting.

Our plane at arriving at Glasgow Airport
Our plane at arriving at Glasgow Airport

We waited and watched to see what would take place next. Once the plane taxied in to location, the fire engine went out and parked by the left, rear emergency exit. Once the gangway was in place, two paramedics sprinted up the outside stairs.

For the longest time, nothing happened. Well, there was likely a lot going on in the plane but from our vantage point, we couldn’t see.

Eventually, a paramedic descended followed by a man carrying some cabin luggage and a purse. He was followed by a woman and a paramedic. She and her ‘husband’ were bundled into the ambulance.

When hubby came back from a walk, he told me he’d overheard a couple of flight crew members saying that they didn’t know exactly what happened but the woman was taken to Royal Glasgow and would be spending the night there for observation. Not a very nice way to spend the beginning of your vacation or arriving back home.

The flight boarded and left on time. We thought for sure it would be late with all the earlier excitement.

Except for hitting a few patches of turbulence, one severe enough to suspend beverage service – it was rough – but other than that, everything went to plan and we landed in Toronto on time and I phoned my cousin who was picking us up to let her know.

Walking through the airport, I had to continually tug at my pants to keep them from falling down. I thought for sure, my actions would create suspicion but we had no problems at all, well except for the self-serve customs scanners not reading our passports or declaration form the first time. It wasn’t until the girl started towards us that it worked. I told her it had to be her aura.

When we finally got our bags, which seemed to take forever (trouble with checking in so early – bags are the last to come off the plane), we headed outside and found a place by one of the posts and called my cousin again. Within minutes, she and her husband were there and our luggage loaded into their car.

Back at her place, we transferred our stuff from her vehicle into the trunk of mine. I had bought something for them to say thank you for letting us leave the car at their place for the two weeks and for putting us down at and later uplifting us from the airport, so got it out of hubby’s CPAP machine bag so I could give it to them when we got inside. I quickly discovered the price tag was still on it so I had to get it off and into the garbage without them seeing. I was successful.

So what was the gift you ask? It was a wee sign with a picture of a cat and wording to the effect “household staff here”.

We visited with them for a while before leaving for home and pulled into our driveway shortly before 9:00 pm.

What a trip! I can’t wait until we can do it again… so I guess I best get my second book finished and published so I can take it on a UK (or maybe elsewhere) book tour.

Day 14 – Largs to Glasgow

Day 14 – Largs to Glasgow – August 24, 2013

What a difference a day makes. Late yesterday afternoon when we arrived in Largs, it was dull and overcast, not to mention, cold with showers. This morning, it was bright and sunny. Over breakfast, I chatted with Pica, the lady who runs Tigh-An-Struan Guest House. She knew I was a writer from my email signature and asked about my book and could she buy a copy. Since I still had some in the boot of the car, I was more than happy to oblige. I gave her the price and told her I would even sign it for her. While I was at the car getting a copy and the book swag to go with it, I made a note to myself to tell hubby I wanted to go back down to the beach and take pictures since it was so different than when we arrived. Book signed, bill paid, hugs from Pica (especially after I showed her the page I had signed on), we headed to the car only for me to have to go back because I’d left my warm poncho in our room. She handed me the key and I dashed upstairs. Not only had I left my poncho on the bed, but hubby had left his shampoo and body wash in the shower. Before we left, we put as much of our stuff as possible into the suitcases since for the most part, any extra bags from purchases had just been tossed into the boot. Our rental car would be going back later today and the fewer items we had to contend with, the easier it would make our lives. Before leaving Largs, we walked down to the beach so I could take pictures.

Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs looking towards Great Cumbrae
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs looking towards Great Cumbrae
Ferry at Largs
Ferry at Largs

As we’d done the day before and back on Day 8 when we headed south, I wanted to stay along the coast for as much of the drive to Johnstone where we would catch the train into Glasgow as possible.

River Clyde near Langbank
River Clyde near Langbank

Same day return tickets purchased, we went out onto the platform to wait for our train. We weren’t there more than ten minutes before it pulled into the station.

Train arriving in Johnstone
Johnstone Station platform

As soon as we were off the train and out of the station, we immediately headed for Argyle Street where we turned left and made our way to the High Street and up to the Necropolis.

Corner of The Trongate and Albion Street
Corner of The Trongate and Albion Street
The mercat cross in Glasgow
The Mercat Cross
The Tolbooth Steeple and McChuills from High Street
The Tolbooth Steeple and McChuills from High Street

Call me weird, but I love cemeteries – especially old ones. The stonework in these older monuments is amazing, not to mention the architecture of the mausoleums.

Me on the Bridge of Sighs
Me on the Bridge of Sighs
Necropolis from the Bridge of Sighs
Necropolis from the Bridge of Sighs
Grave of William Miller author of Wee Willie Winkie
Grave of William Miller author of Wee Willie Winkie
Grave in the Necropolis
Headstone in the Necropolis
Grave in the Necropolis
Mausoleum in the Necropolis
Grave in the Necropolis
Headstone in the Necropolis

We had barely scratched the surface of this amazing ‘City of the Dead’ when it was time to move on. From here we went to George Square where there used to be a tourist information shop but was closed and relocated to Buchanan Street. So off we went but not before taking a slight detour down to Royal Exchange Square to see the Duke of Wellington Statue.

The Duke of Wellington statue
The Duke of Wellington statue

Yes, that’s a traffic cone on his head. If my murky memory serves, back in the day people would climb up and put it on the statue only to have the city come along and take it down. Finally, once it was up there it was left as is because the statue was being damaged. Now it’s illegal to remove the ‘jaunty chapeau’. Buchanan Street was alive with bands playing and buskers on almost every block.

Clanadonia playing on Buchanan Street
Clanadonia playing on Buchanan Street

We stopped in at the tourist information looking to see how far out the new transportation museum was, only to discover it was far from being within walking distance. I had toyed with the idea of buying the guys something from here but that didn’t happen. From here, we walked down to Argyle Street and went into the St Enoch Centre where I visited my favourite department store – Debenhams along with a few others but didn’t find what I was looking for. On our way back to the train station, we went into The Glasgow Kilt Company on Union Street. Much to my delight, they had the tartan corset I’ve ogled and drooled over for a few years and decided that buying online wasn’t an option. There was no change room here, and with UK sizes being different than North American, I needed to be able to try it on. One of the staff was extremely helpful. He told us of their other store on Hope Street which had more tartans to choose from plus, the needed change room. He even came out onto the pavement with us and told us how to get there so off we went. What a score! It took some time trying on various sizes (hubby was even allowed to come and help me) until I found the right size. I got my corset (one that fit and less expensive than online), a couple of fridge magnets and ‘Glasgow’ hoodies for the guys. Here it is, what do you think? I’m seeing some new author photos done wearing it. Maybe up at St Lawrence Park after the leaves change since it’s gorgeous up there in the the autumn.

tartan corset
tartan corset

When we finally got back to the airport complex to return the car and check into our room, we decided to return the rental car first. It wasn’t a long walk between the two places. We made sure all of our loot was out and got one of the baggage carts to put most of the stuff on to go back. They were quite pleased at the condition the car came back in, and surprised when hubby told them that one of the back-up lights was out. I guess they don’t get a lot of people fess up?

Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn

After we got checked into the hotel, the first thing we did was re-pack up the suitcases ensuring they weren’t overweight and that said weight was relatively equal, and a few pounds below the maximum allowable so that we’d have the wiggle room we needed in the morning to put our ‘can’t pack until the end’ stuff in. Despite having a well stocked mini-fridge in the hall just inside the door and a bottle of wine on the desk, we steered clear of them (well, I used a wine glass later so I could finish up the bottle of red wine I’d brought with me from Earlsfield Farm) and visited the bar downstairs where we had a bite to eat and a few well-deserved pints of Becks, and toasted a very successful trip. It’s really hard to believe it’s gone by so fast. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be trundling our luggage over to the airport and flying home.

But one last time before we leave Scotland, let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

Day 13 – Gretna to Largs

Day 13 – Gretna to Largs – August 23, 2013

Our first stop this morning after getting checked out was back up to Smiths Hotel to see if my lens cap had been turned in. We did a cursory glance as we walked through the area we’d sat in the night before but saw nothing so went to reception and asked if one had been turned in. When the girl on the desk heard where we’d sat the previous night, she said check with the bar staff because it would have likely been turned in there. We did and were told to go to reception which we replied we’ve already done that and were told to come here. Then the girl asked if we’d had a good look around where we sat, which we hadn’t. I mean, going through the area, patting down chairs, looking under them without anyone knowing why would look rather suspicious. She then told us it was okay to have a good look so we did. Hubby ran his hand down between the side of the chair and the cushion where I’d made myself comfortable the night before and voila, he came up with the missing lens cap. Before we left, we made sure that reception and the girl in the bar knew we’d found the elusive contraption hiding in the chair. Yay!

Now that the lens cap mystery had been solved we could get on with our day starting with our stop at Caerlaverock Castle. I wanted to go here when we were last in this area in 2005 but time didn’t permit so I ensured a visit on this trip.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

What an impressive ruin! It’s likely to be the most intact of the ruined castles we’ve visited in all of our visits to Scotland.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

While we were inside one of the chambers here, a couple of kids were throwing stones down from one of the upper levels. Hubby, stinker that he can be, said to them in a ghostly sort of voice, “Do you want me to throw them back?” Funny, they quit throwing stones. Go figure.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

After our visit here, well worth waiting for I might add, we headed to our next stop Sweetheart Abbey but driving along the Nith Estuary, I had to stop. Not only was it at low tide but one of the signs we’d seen at a lay-by mentioned quicksand. How can a body resit such a photo op?

The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary

By the time we arrived at Sweetheart Abbey, it had started to spit rain. Just what one needs when you need a WC. Thankfully (tongue in cheek), there were public toilets in the car park. I don’t know who maintains ownership of these ones but they were functional and that was all.

Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey

The story behind this abbey can be found at Historic Scotland. Talk about true love…

Lady Dervorgilla's resting place with a cast of her husband's urn
Lady Dervorgilla’s resting place with a cast of her husband’s urn
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey from the churchyard

As we did after leaving Kennethmont, I wanted to drive along the coast, despite the weather being grey and gloomy with occasional showers. Our trip was coming to an end so maybe that was the reason behind it. Still, I wasn’t nearly as weepy as I was during the drive from Kennethmont to Kelso.

We passed by Cardoness and Carsluith Castles vowing to put them on the next trip. By taking the coast road, our trip was longer, but despite the cloud cover and occasional showers, far more scenic than the more direct inland route.

Near Girvan, we stopped in one of the lay-bys (part of the old road) for a photo op.

Ailsa Craig shrowded in fog
Ailsa Craig shrowded in fog
mainland scenery across the firth from Ailsa Craig
mainland scenery across the firth from Ailsa Craig

By now we really had to make tracks since we wanted to go over to Quarriers Village and see our friends there who had made the journey up to Kennethmont for my book launch. Off and on during the entire day it continued to rain – sometimes harder than others. “Sat Nav Sally” took us to the M77 (not a bad thing since we needed to make up time) and onto the M8… in rush hour. No worse than driving across Toronto, but still not the easiest. Knowing where we were and where we had to exit helped immensely so it wasn’t the end of the world.

After a visit with our friends, we made tracks for Largs, taking the ‘back’ roads. Looking back, we probably should have gone and checked in first, then headed over to Quarriers Village but seeing our friends was far more important at the time than getting to our room.

Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House 2
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House

Before going off for a bite of supper, we walked the other way to the beach and I was able to get a few pictures.

Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs

We went up into the town and had our supper at an Indian Restaurant next to the Royal Bank of Scotland. It was an excellent meal, and although the onion bhajias we had weren’t on the same level as the ones in Kelso, they were delicious and served on a bed of fresh, sliced onion. Yum, yum! And no heartburn later!

So before I fall asleep after a long yet fulfilling day, let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Scotland and the plan is to drive to Johnstone and take the train from there into Glasgow to go shopping and visit the Necropolis. Fingers crossed the weather cooperates.

Day 11 – East Kennett to Harrogate

Day 11 – East Kennett to Harrogate – August 21, 2013

Today is going to be another fun day. After checking out, we headed the short distance to Avebury to see the stone circle and the avenue of standing stones leading to it. Alongside the West Kennet Avenue, is a small lay-by you can park in with a permanently parked police car with banners in all of the windows reminding folks to take their valuables or put them out of sight and lock their cars.

West Kennet Avenue
West Kennet Avenue
Me at West Kennet Avenue
Me on West Kennet Avenue

With the way the avenue sweeps up and over the hill, some of the stones wind up on the other side of the road.

One of the West Kennet Avenue stones on the other side of the road
One of the West Kennet Avenue stones on the other side of the road
Don at West Kennet Avenue
Don on West Kennet Avenue
West Kennet Avenue from the top of the hill
West Kennet Avenue from the top of the hill

After our time on the avenue, we went in to Avebury to see the other stones. There was a great car park along the way – pay and display (not a problem) – but the machines were all locked down or wrapped in bin bags. Was it safe to park? Not being sure, we moved on and went to the car park at The Red Lion, yet another pay and display. I hopped out and got some photos whilst hubby attempted to program “Sat Nav Sally” for our next destination but she was having none of it.

The stones across from The Red Lion in Avebury
The stones across from The Red Lion in Avebury
One of the stone circles at Avebury
One of the stone circles at Avebury

We went back to the lay-by alongside West Kennet Avenue, hoping that our ‘electronic travelling companion’ regain her satellite signal and find herself. I left hubby to it and got a couple of interesting pics of things I hadn’t seen before but when you really stopped and looked, it couldn’t have been more obvious.

I think this stone looks like a shark. When we were walking along the avenue earlier, I never gave it a thought. But a second look and… well what do you think? A shark? Or something else?

The shark stone
The shark stone

Here’s another one with different appearances depending on the angle you view it from. This first angle looks like a face with a rather large nose.

From this angle a face
From this angle a face

And from this angle, perhaps a chess piece? I’m thinking the knight. What do you think?

From this angle a chess piece
From this angle a chess piece

“Sat Nav Sally” finally found herself and our final destination was programmed in along with our stop for lunch. There were a number of other ‘white horses’ in the area and one on our way to Tewkesbury. We thought that since it was a short drive we’d have time to go check it out… that was until we hit a construction tailback and we were in it for what seemed to be forever. We were sat for at least half an hour. So much for a side trip to photograph another white horse.

If not for the motorway, we would have been late for our lunch date at The Bell Hotel (another place I found on google maps) with Linn B Halton and her husband.

Linn was one of the winners of my book swag pack from my e-launch splash so we had agreed I would bring it with me since we were getting together anyway. Much to my surprise, she gave me a pink, agate angel related to her Angels series (being published by HarperImpulse as Falling). I can spill the beans now about her publishing deal because she’s made it public.

Me with Linn Halton at The Bell Hotel in Tewkesbury
Me with Linn Halton at The Bell Hotel in Tewkesbury

It was great to meet Linn and her husband but yet again, too much to talk about and too little time. Still it was a brilliant time and I know we’ll do it again in the future.

Back onto the motorway, we headed through the West Midlands and saw places from the opposite side as we did the day before on our way south.

Since we had a lot of driving to do, stops for photo ops weren’t included in the grand scheme of things – at least until we got to Harrogate.

We passed some interesting castle/abbey ruins but will have to add them to our bucket list of places to visit.

Even with arriving in the area at rush hour compounded with the festival at Leeds, traffic wasn’t unbearable. Okay, it took a bit to whoa down the wee rental car, or perhaps it was my lead foot, as I’d been cruising along at speeds up to 80 mph. What can I say… keep up with the flow of traffic or get run over.

Maybe it was just the map but I thought when we arrived in Harrogate, our accommodations would be on our left, but it was on the right. A quick turnaround at the first set of traffic lights and I found us a place to park on the street a few doors down.

Fountains Guest House
Fountains Guest House

We were quickly made comfortable and shown our room. A bit of finagling and I could get our rental car into the car park, or take advantage of the complimentary pay and display badge. The badge won out.

Our room at Fountains
Our room at Fountains Guest House
Our room at Fountains
Our room at Fountains Guest House
Our room at Fountains
Our room at Fountains Guest House
Our room at Fountains
Our room at Fountains Guest House

After the obligatory room photos had been taken, we went out for a walk about looking for a place to grab a bite to eat and a bevvie.

Royal Hall Harrogate
Royal Hall, Harrogate
Council offices in Harrogate
Council offices in Harrogate

The impressive Royal Baths building is now host to a number of other businesses. The centre section is home to what appears to be an upmarket Chinese Restaurant. We got that impression from the attire folks who were coming and going from there. Definitely not a t-shirt and jeans venue.

The Royal Baths
The Royal Baths

We walked up Parliament Street and found the entrance to Wetherspoons through the former Turkish Baths/Winter Gardens entrance to the building. Very impressive! We found a table downstairs and sat for a bit before ordering a beer each and our meal. Unbeknownst to us, we had to do the business at the bar and let them know our table number. Hubby brought our drinks back to the table and our meal was brought by the staff. It was supposedly a 20 minute wait for food because they were busy but neither one of us think it took that long.

Fed, watered (okay, it was beered) and content, we made our way back to the guest house and got settled in for the night.

Let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

Tomorrow, we’ll be back in Scotland but not before a visit with a friend who used to work for Quarriers who we’ve not seen in ten years. Will be brilliant to see her again and get caught up on all the goss(ip).