Scotland 2015 #13 – home!

Well, we got to bed, back home in Brisbane around 2.30 am today. This is not a typo!
The flights home (think 3 of them) were uneventful; the only hitch being that the sinus/sniffles I had dealt well with the preceding two weeks came home to roost and I dealt with blocked ears all the way home.  At least no ear pain. Even managed a copy of movies – Love and Mercy, the excellent biopic on Beach Boys genius, Brian Wilson and Amy – the illuminating though so sad documentary on late singer Amy Winehouse.  Even managed to watch a concert from the Beach Boys 2012 50th anniversary reunion tour.  Well and truly got my Beach Boys dosage on the trip back.  It was nice to have Nathan pick us up from Brisbane airport in the wee hours (David, you’re no longer in Scotland, me lad!).

10 highlights from our time way … in no particular order:

  1. having  a break.  Dale and I so needed it. Life, ministry and so on have all been demanding these past months. Yes, with  no real exceptions, I had good sleep every night, for which I give thanks!  A break it indeed was.
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 2. Our time with the Iona Community. Never think that 6 days and nights with the community on a semi-isolated Scottish Hebridean island is some sort of waited-on retreat … “Waiter, waiter”.  No way.  We lived, worked, worshipped, laughed, worked and worshipped together some more, all in community.

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3. All of the worship in Iona Abbey, of which two services stand out:

  1. the Sunday morning communion, which included John Bell’s stirring, challenging preaching – questioning how well we would welcome the refugee
  2. Monday night’s God and Her Girls service, highlighting the legacy of women of faith, fight and justice down the ages

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 4.  times of singing in the Abbey and with the community in the Macleod Centre. John Bell has this God-gifted ability to get us to sing in glorious unaccompanied 4-part harmony; singing songs of such depth from the world church. Aaaahhh.

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5. Walking the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.  Dale may not agree with me on the “walking” bit, but I loved the symmetry of Holyrood House at the bottom and Edinburgh Castle at the top end.  The castle is all that it’s purported to be.  Our airbnb experience – apart from the flights of stairs up to and down from our room – was a great success.  I’d be surprised if we don’t do that sort of thing again sometime, somewhere.

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 6. Wednesday night’s concert on Iona.   Dale and I did our Pete Seeger medley and the audience joined in superbly!!  Such classic, meaningful songs. Just as memorable, the Swedish item (in silence – imagine a choir of fish singing – you had to be there) and the guy … making good fun out of the Iona kitchen’s policy of inclusion with meals – lactose free, gluten free, meat free, dairy free, onion free and so on.  So, the adaptation of Sting’s Free, free, set them free went down a treat!    Thanks also to Dale for facilitating the singing of some of my worship songs on the Thursday night with a small group at the Macleod Centre.

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7. Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness. This was a must see, and (with Edinburgh Castle) one of two castles we visited.  The cruise to and from it from our o/n lodgings at Clansman Hotel was great too.

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 8. The driving. I loved it! We drove through some marvellous countryside, through or by way too many lochs and glens and mountains (and yes 3000 foot+ “munros) to mention.  Of particular note was the drive through Glen Coe.  All it was built up to be and more.  Not far behind – the drive from Gardenstown to Glasgow via Cairngorms National Park. Stunning views.  Stunning.   The drive across Mull deserves an honourable mention.

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 9. Our time on the NE Aberdeenshire Coast, in/around Gardenstown.  This really was a unique experience, and we really do thank Dale’s sister Diana for helping organize this.  Such an isolated, quaint area, and all the time basked in beautiful, sunny weather. No wind, no rain, no need for the fire place – just sunshine. I don’t ever recall being in such an amazing area.

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 10. Culloden Battlefield.  As I’ve remarked in a past post, I am a pacifist and struggle with war and conflict.   Walking the field where so many lost their life, particularly for the Jacobite cause was so sobering.

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 Marvellous memories.  Much to ponder on, for life and ministry. Much to let go of; much to take up. I do feel I’ve come back renewed in body, mind and spirit.

I thank God for yet another enriching chapter in the life Dale and I weave together.

David

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2 Responses to “Scotland 2015 #13 – home!”


  1. 1 sandydalzell October 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Welcome home David and Dale! So pleased to hear that you have arrived home safely and that you feel enriched and rested – you certainly both needed some rest and “to get away from it all” with all that you had to deal with in recent times. Sending virtual hugs until we see you for real ones. XOXO


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