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The children have gone back to school after the summer holidays and today the rain has been falling fast and furiously.  However the temperatures are still fairly mild during the day though the nights are getting chilly.  But you don’t come to Scotland for the weather as they say!

Last night we ate out at our local Italian restaurant and sat beside a couple who had spent a holiday in Scotland.  They had had a wonderful time and couldn’t speak highly enough about the friendly hospitality of the cheerful Scots.     I love these comments and they should be broadcast everywhere.  We don’t need great weather we have great folk!

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Off to America?

Peter, my husband is reading – A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland – which was written by Samuel Johnson in the mid 1700s when he and Boswell toured Scotland and each wrote their personal accounts of the country and people north of the England/Scotland border. The book is full of interesting references – which Peter interrupts my daydreaming by reading to me! The language needs a bit of getting used to but his account is full of interesting observations. In this case it is about emigration from the Islands of Scotland and is put beautifully I think : the exile he writes about is not forced exile but an exodus from choice but with nothing to loose.

Johnson puts it this way – They who went first, were probably such as could best be spared; but the accounts sent by the earliest adventurers, whether true or false, inclined many to follow them; and whole neightbourhoods formed parties for removal; so that departure from their native country is no longer exile. He that goes thus accompanied, carries with him all that makes life pleasant. He sits down in a better climate, surrounded by his kindred and his friends: they carry with them their language, their opinions, their popular songs, and hereditary merriment: they change nothing but the place of their abode; and of that change they perceive the benefit.

The idea of putting ‘genealogy’ into a group tour itinerary seemed difficult but we have cracked it! We have come up with an entirely new concept of using an actor to portray a fictional character to illustrate how his life is recorded through his major life events.

While enjoying a tour of central and southern Scotland you get an occasional chance to ‘meet’ our character who tells you personally of what has been happening to him and how these events are recorded in the Scottish records stored in Edinburgh.

You see the tour on page 19 of their spring brouchure. http://www.brightwaterholidays.com/docs/AUTUMN-SPRING-2010.pdf

For more information contact Brightwater Holidays. http://www.brightwaterholidays.com

I enjoyed attending a reception hosted by the American Scottish Foundation held in Edinburgh last night and it was great to see so many people interested in promoting and maintaining the links between our two countries.  The fabulous building where the reception was held was originally Edinburgh’s oldest Victorian public baths. It has since been re-invented and is now a huge light and colourful space and it made a lovely venue for our gathering.  Alan Bain the President of the Foundation spoke interestingly about the Foundation’s work and the committment of those working alongside him.

Treasure Hunting!

I think that to a enthusiastic family history researcher the act of searching through census records for a ‘name’ is as addictive as hunting for gold coins with a metal detector.

A great package has just been launched with Channings in Edinburgh a member of the The Townhouse Collection of hotels. Take a look at this page: http://www.townhousecompany.com/channings/offers/scottishancestraltrail.aspx

Throughout the evolution of Scotland’s history her people have moved in search of work and prosperity. Sometimes they moved through choice and sometimes they were moved by the owner on whose land they lived. It is often thought that what is know as the ‘Clearances’ occurred only in the Highlands when in fact the land in the south of Scotland actually lost more people than the north.

I am doing homework on this period in Scotland’s history.

On Sunday morning a BBC Radio 4 programme mentioned the ‘Clearances’ in the north and you can listen to it here.  The relevant piece comes in after 1 hour 10 minutes if you want to fast forward!  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t5ybg