While I was in Edinburgh I visited a fascinating place called Mary King Close.
It was hard to get my head around how Mary King Close came into being !! So a brief history!!
Edinburgh Castle is built on top of a hill and looks over the whole of Edinburgh. The rock it is built on was formed in a volcanic eruption millions of years ago. In the middle ages the main street from the castle was called The Royal Mile, it was the approach used by the kings and Queens of their day, so this main road was very affluent and as a trader it was the place to be to sell your wares.
Running off of the Royal Mile were lots of Closes, these were VERY small roads with houses on each side, on average these closes were only 6 to 8 feet wide. The Closes all ran down hill from the Royal Mile and in some places very steeply. The class system meant that the more affluent you were the nearer to the Royal Mile that you lived and the higher up in the building you lived.
In the 1600's there was no toilet facilities beyond a bucket and all waste was thrown into the street, so those living at the bottom of the street must have had a very unpleasant time of things!
Folk living there also had to share their living space with their animals so in the mix was cows, sheep and goats, these actually lived in the lower levels of the houses.
The photo above shows one of the animal barns, the door on the end leads directly onto Mary King Close.
So who was Mary King? Well she was a merchant who lived in the late 1500's she moved into the close with her family. Her husband was a very well to do Merchant who had permission to trade on the Royal Mile, they lived in a house several floors up and were very well to do. Sadly Marys husband died shortly after they arrived in their new house and Mary took over his trading to provide a living for herself and her family. She became a very successful trader and it was decided to name the close after her.
So why is Mary King Close so interesting today?? Well in the mid 1700's a decision was taken to build over the closes!! Not in the traditional demolish everything and start again way, but literally to level the tops of the houses and build over them, using the houses as foundation for new houses above! So the houses closest to the Royal Mile lost most of their floors while those at the bottom lost very little. They simply evicted all the residents and sealed the houses in.
These houses were long forgotten until in the 1980's someone excavating in the basement of a building off the Royal mile found themselves in a void below the building. After breaking through they found that there were complete streets down there untouched since 1750, including workshops, houses and stables.
It was like stepping back in history, the door above was to a well to do residence fairly high up the street, the top floors had been removed, lower down the street the houses were far more intact. We went on a guided tour, just 15 people, we were shown lots of different places a really great day out for me as I am an avid family history fan!!
Looking into one of the houses from the Close.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
This afternoon Beth and I popped around to see Bobbie and her mummy, Emma and Daddy Dave, Bobbie is beautiful, she still has a shock of black hair which has a crown right at the front, which looks like a curl right in the middle of her forehead!!
I didn't want to disturb her with the flash so I ended up taking loads and loads of shots expecting failures. I was really pleased to get quite a few very usable ones!
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 11:18 pm
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 8:34 am
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This card for Di Hickman's Blog has been made out of old stuff from my cupboard!! I have no idea who made the paper with the words ! The stamp with the word love is unknown but I think it came from Papermill. and the pink sticky lace was a freebie from a craft day at QVC!!
Take a look at the other cards over on Di's blog, the link is on the right.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Last weekend I took my first ever trip to Scotland. I had a great weekend, good friends and good times!! We walked miles (as confirmed by my pedometer!!)
I though for this post I would share a few shots with you. Above is a piper who you could hear all down the Royal Mile, a traditional sound of Scotland! (he seemed to be collecting a reasonable amount of cash as well!!)
I loved the houses on the hill. They were fairly similar to houses we saw last year in Amsterdam, tall and narrow. The shot above was taken from the world famous Princes street.
These two photos were taken while waiting for a bus!! The sun was peeping through the clouds turning the buildings into silhouettes, the top one has Edinburgh Castle on the right.
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 12:03 am
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Today is Mothers day, The weather is beautiful, a real sunny spring day with just a slight nip in the air. When I got up this morning I was given cards from the children. Beth made me a cross stitch flower, Laura made me a card. Tom and Beth gave me a big pink flower basket. Carl gave me the beautiful Tulips and a pink Cup Cake making kit. Thank you Kiddiewinkles!!
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 12:16 pm
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Last Saturday afternoon we visited the remains of Bothwell Castle near Glasgow. This is an ancient abode from the 13th century, stone built and sturdy, quite a magnificent building. The day that we visited it seemed to be possibly the windiest day of the year so far!!
Quite a lot of the castle was accessible, so Jen and I climbed up to the top of the high tower and looked out over the river Clyde, it was a breath taking view and a really scary climb up a narrow staircase with only a wobbly rope to hold on to. Once we were at the top it felt like we were in danger of being blown off into the river below. It was a fantastic experience, An early middle ages scary ride!!!!
I love looking around these places, I like to imagine the life that people who lived there had. I was pleased to learn that the people who lived there (Alternatively English and Scottish depending on who won the last battle) had toilets of sorts. It was a hole in the wall of the castle with a primitive hole in a plank of wood, and a long drop to the outside!!! - Nice.
View out of one of the high 'windows' You can just make out the river in the bottom by the trees.
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 8:20 pm
Thursday, March 19, 2009
A number of years ago a group of British comedians decided to get involved in fund raising. This was initially in response to a famine in Africa. they decided to pick a theme and stage shows and get everyone involved. Someone hit upon the idea of wearing a red nose, and that idea took off. The whole build up to Red Nose Day or Comic Relief as its also known, takes place in the month leading up to the event. The idea is to do something funny for money. Its been adopted in a big way by schools and work places and now the shows on TV run over virtually the whole of the weekend.
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 4:29 pm
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I like this card, I have used Junkitz patterned paper, offray ribbon, paperchase dots and a Magnolia stamped image painted with twinkling H2O's.The card has been inked with pink chalk ink. Check out the other cards over on Di Hickmans Blog, the Link is on the right.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 9:10 am
Friday, March 13, 2009
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 12:13 am
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 5:50 pm
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Its that time of year, The trampoline has been dusted down and prepared for another year of pounding by Beth and her neighbourhood pals !! After a bad first few months with the tramp, it has really been quite well behaved for the past two years. Beth does trampolining at school and finds that the mat on this one has become a Little stretched, she SAYS that is the reason that she find back drops a little more difficult than she did last year, I have my suspicions that it is that she is a little less practiced than at the end of last summer!! Anyway these photos show her arms flailing trying to do a back drop!!
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 1:43 pm
Friday, March 06, 2009
I know they say that time flies as you get older, but I really don't know where this week has gone. The days of me whiling away the hours at work have been replaced by the days whizzing by with no time to get the day job done let alone try and sort out the house and the shopping and everything. Its a massive game of catch up.
This week because I am not busy enough I have been doing battle with the Government Direct Web site. They have the most complicated unfriendly web site in the world. We have been trying to enter details for Carl's Uni loan and maintenance grant. He has filled in his bit, but we have to fill in another part to link into his claim as part is means tested. So I have his fifteen digit 'alias' and I register and get my own 'alias' another fifteen digit number, which spookily is similar to his.
I start the process. No where at the start of this does it tell you that you will need an array of personal documents to glean info from and ultimately send in to them. So you start the first page, get towards the bottom and they ask for your P60, so I go and get that return to find the session timed out and the stuff already entered has been lost. So I start again and they ask for family tax credit info, find that return to another timed out and another start again. This goes on as they ask for family allowance details by this time I am ready to drop kick the whole lot out the window. I want blood!! The upshot is that I still haven't got to the end and I have the prospect of doing the whole lot again for Tom.
On the plus side Carl has received an offer for Middlesex University, so as the entrance criteria is less it would make a good back up. We are hoping to hear from Herts in the very near future, we know that they had loads of applicants, but decisions have to be made about first and second choices by the end of the month. Fingers Crossed.
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 8:24 am
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
Times are somewhat difficult at the moment for lots of people, I am thankful that we have so very nearly paid off our mortgage (just a few payments left) Its been a long 25 years in some respects and it has flown by in others. We took the decision many years ago to stay put in our house and adapt it to fit around our family. This way we didn't have to continually increase our mortgage. Because of the age gaps with the children we have managed by and large to get by. We had to move ourselves into the second bedroom which has enough room for a bed and not a lot else!! Now we could move back we don't want to . I love to lie in bed and listen to the sound of the rain on the conservatory roof.
Last week two of our friends who have struggled to make a secure life for themselves found that working for the same company that they were now facing a double redundancy situation. They have children and a mortgage and now have all the uncertainty around looking for jobs which seem to be non existent.
This morning another friend called to say that her husband, a director of a major UK company had been made redundant and virtually escorted off the premises, she is devastated and he is simply shocked. His company is one of the few to post major profits in the past year and they are still coming to terms with how quickly this has happened.
Today Carl had his final interview for University, this time Middlesex University. On the plus side its only 30 minutes drive away and there is parking on Campus (major advantage) on the down side the building is old and not in a good way. He said there didn't seem to be much in the way of equipment and it didn't feel right. Again only three male candidates. The grades required for this one is less than either of the other two, so it would be good for a back up. I now realise that he has been very fortunate getting interviews for all three places on his list, some others in his class have not had a single interview and will now have to consider what they are going to do. He is not home and dry yet but at least he has one offer on the table fingers crossed that these last two also offer and he gets his grades.
So we must all count our blessings because you just never know what life is going to deal you. On a positive note I am a firm believer that all these things happen for a reason and that they will all end up with something far more positive out of it, they just can't see it yet.
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 10:25 pm
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Created with love by Lyzzy Dee at 6:10 pm