This past week, after returning from our Spring break in Italy was honestly a wonderful break from vacation. Our Spring Break trip to Italy was marvelous but also exhausting. This week was still full with wonderful things, but compared to navigating foreign cities and having all the pressure on Nicki and myself, this week was quite refreshing! It was also wonderful to be back to the church family. Even though we did not miss a week of church on our break, being away from the people in the church we usually see during the week made me realize how much I missed everyone. Seeing everyone again brought so much joy. It so good to see the love of Jesus expressed. Psalm 133:1 is so true – “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” After being away, hearing the Word of God preached was also so encouraging and refreshing. Perhaps being away just makes me more greatly appreciate what I have.
But this week was hardly a week of inactivity! On Monday we had the privilege of going to dinner in South Queensferry outside of Edinburgh. Driving there we witnessed a beautiful Scottish sunset as we entered this quaint little town along the Firth of Forth. The Hawes Inn where we went to eat was right next to the Forth Rail Bridge (a Victorian engineering wonder). Enjoying the swashbuckling tales of Treasure Island and Kidnapped growing up, this Inn was especially fascinating to me. As I found out, the Hawes Inn was where Robert Lewis Stevenson would often come and where he began writing Kidnapped. Parts of the story were set here as well. The Inn was very picturesque, and because I love almost any historic building, it was a captivating place to be. The food was delicious too! After dinner we enjoyed strolling the village listening to the waves of the Forth lap quietly against the shore. It is easy to imagine the scene in times past because the town has changed so little since the 17th or 18th century.
Our other outing this week was with Jimmy and Helen. As a change of pace we still went to a historic site but with a little twist. The National Museum of Rural Life starts with a museum where there are displays of what life would have been like for the average Scottish farmer in the past and how agriculture developed in the area. We then took a tractor ride up to a historic farm which is preserved by the National Trust for Scotland. The farm was founded in the 1500s and is still a living farm today! Some buildings from the 1600s survive and the main farmhouse was built in the 18th Century. It was given to the Trust and is preserved exactly as it would have been circa 1950. It is incredible how even a house of an average family can tell so much history. In the late 1600s the owners of the farm were Covenanters and participated in the battle of Bothwell Bridge. During World War II a German POW also stayed at the house as a farm worker and even after the war stayed in touch with the family.
What was unique about this outing was that the farm is still living history and the beauty of the farm itself was delightful. Surrounded by old trees and fields separated by hedgerows, it was like walking into a picture. The garden in front of the farmhouse was filled with snowdrops, harking the beginning of spring. The farmyard was classic with the stone buildings and various barns and stables for the animals. We could see pigs in one field. In another were sheep and huge Clydesdale horses. Watching the first lamb born this year was quite enjoyable and a large part of our time was spent in the barn with the calves. The calves were so incredibly cute! We enjoyed petting and admiring them. We also were able to see the cows brought in for milking time. We were certainly able to enjoy the whole farm experience. The slowed pace, enjoying the animals and beautiful scenery was rejuvenating and memorable. Everything made for another wonderful week.