The second day of sight seeing we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum.  The writing above the children's head says "The damage to these walls is the result of enemy bombing during the blitz of the second world war 1939-1945 and is left as a memorial to the enduring values of this great museum in a time of conflict."   After the museum we went to Buckingham Palace to see the guards.  It was raining outside so they did not have their big fury hats on.  The children were in England seven years ago, but did not remember it. They are now at an age where they will. 
London to Scotland, August 2008
Phoebe, Drake and I arrived in London half an hour after my parents, where we met and drove to my sister Sarah's house.  After sitting on a plane for eleven hours, we took the children for a walk through Battersea park to the Thames river.  There is so much to see and do in London and we only had two days.  The highlight was riding on the top deck of the double decker buses.  Our first stop was Trafalgar Square, where the National Gallery is located.   Many tourists do not know that they have a computer room where you can select the piece of art you would like to see so you can organize your own tour.  Each of the children selected a painting and it was their job to find it.  A great way to introduce children to art history. 
George, Sarah, Justin, Phoebe, Grandpa and Drake
George, Justin, Grandpa, Drake, Phoebe, Grandma and Emma with Big Ben in the distance.
Justin, George, Drake and Phoebe in Trafalgar square.
Grandpa and Phoebe at Buckingham Palace.
Drake and Justin on a double decker bus.
In front of Buckingham Palace.
Geddes House
Uncle Martin with his sister Julia and brother Adrian.
Grandpa and Drake
Uncle Martin and his wife Kate
Emma with her dad and sister
The stag party.
Ted with his father Martin
From London, the family flew to Inverness Scotland, to attend my cousin Ted's wedding.  Ted is an accompished photographer and Morag is a champion axe thrower.  She now assists with Ted while they travel in their Volkswagen camper van waiting for the perfect shot.  Ted's mother Kate is my mom's sister.   We stayed at the Geddes House, and old manor house with plenty of room for everyone.  The first evening was festive with everyone in high spirits.  After dinner,  Adrian announced that the stag party was about to commence inside his camper van.  This was not your usual stag night as chidren and women were included.  Needless to say the music was loud, the scotch was flowing and everyone was enjoying themselves.  Waking the next morning to Scottish smoked salmon and mimosa's, we prepared for the wedding
Front row, Hamish, Angus, Phoebe, Emily, Tilly, Drake and Nicholas.  Back row, George, Joe, Toby and Justin.
Grandma Ruth
Before the wedding Emily and Phoebe helped Morag get ready.  The sun came out and it was a lovely day, the only day it did not rain on us!  Everyone pitched in as we decorated the house with flowers and lights and prepared the meal.  A farmer and his wife arrived early with a pig, that was to be the main course.  After oil and salting it they hand turned it over an open fire all day.

In the back of the house is a path that leads to a lovely secret garden, this is where the ceremony was to be held.  Morag's two son's, Joe and Hamish, rode their mountain bikes in front of Mom to lead her down the aisle.  The bride and groom were surrounded by family and dogs as they said their vows.   When the ceremony was completed, the children blew bubbles and threw flower petals over the new bride and groom.
Jo, Tilly, James (Ted's brother) and Nic
Emily, Tessa (Ted's sister), Angus, Tim and Toby
My sister Sarah, with her husband Jonathan.
Phoebe and Aunt Sarah
Emily, Phoebe and  Morag
The traditional Scottish Quaich was passed around as each guest took a sip of the Scotch and made a toast to the couple.  The quaich is a two handled friendship cup.  Everyone had to guess what region the Scoth came from, little did we know it was from Japan.  Immediately following the ceremony the champagne corks were flying high as the children scrambled to try and catch them.   Back at the house the pig was roasted to perfection, and every one enjoyed a delicious meal.  Adrian then took out his "kite" which was a hit.  All the children would help get it in the air, then fall underneath it laughing.  The dogs enjoyed all the attention the children gave them.  Phoebe and Drake are begging us to get one, don't think so, just yet.  As the sun set and darkness approached  the music came on and everyone enjoyed dancing by the fireplace.  A perfect ending to a lovely wedding.   
Julia and Alan
Jo and James
Lorna and Adrian
Tessa and Tim
Ted and Morag
My Dad drinking from the  Quaich
Drake and Hamish enjoy dancing to AC/DC.  Morag throws the bouquet to the three single girls, Emily, Tilly and Phoebe. Phoebe reached and almost caught it as it fell into and excited Tilly's hand.  Let's hope that wedding will be in 25 years.
The day after, we left with my parents to drive through the Scottish countryside to Banchory, where Kate, Martin, Tessa and Tim live.  On the way we drove along Lochness, where we stopped to try and find Nessie Then we stopped at Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick's house for a picnic with their family by a river.  Peter went to Cambridge University with my father. Their children and grandchildren were visiting from London, the US and Japan.  After the picnic we drove through the highlands, which were purple with the heather in bloom. 

Kate and Martin arrived the following day, and just up the road from their house a
highland cow just had a baby.   My cousin Tessa lives nearby and she took us to see their allotment.  They grow all their vegetables and some berries during the summer so they can stock up for the winter. 

Our Scottish adventure continues...
Emily and Phoebe show off the large onions from the allotment.
Looking for Nessie
The white house on the hill is the Fenwick's.
Ruth, Elizabeth, Ed and Peter