2013 Summer (Baltic and Britain – Scotland – July 21 – Day 28)

All of the guests invited to Joseph and Carrie’s wedding had to travel to attend.  No one lived in Scotland, including the bride and groom.  Our son and his fiancé lived and worked in Dubai before they married.  The groom’s family came from British Columbia, Canada, the bride’s family from North Carolina and Michigan, USA.  And their friends came from several different countries, making it  a very international event.

The bride and groom had requested no gifts, as they have each had their own household for several years, and they would also have to transport items with them on their honeymoon around Scotland and then ship them back to Dubai.  They sincerely appreciated the fact that all of the guests had traveled long distances to attend their wedding, so as a thank you, they arranged for everyone who was able to go on a private walking tour in Edinburgh.

A few of the guests before we entered the underground warren of alleyways.

Due to the lack of light in the underground alleyways, none of my photos turned out.  Boo hoo.  It was a really good tour with live actors portraying various residents of the tenement.  To show you what we saw I have inserted information and photos from the brochure or website.  All images belong to the credited photographer and Mary Kings Close.

“Closes, the Scots term for ancient alleyways, form a labyrinth of frightfully narrow streets punctuating Edinburgh’s High Street and Royal Mile. The close in question is comprised of a cluster of underground passageways named after Mary King, an affluent merchant burgess and widow residing in the buildings from around 1635 onwards.

Mary King’s Close housed numerous towering tenement buildings regarded by many as the world’s first skyscrapers. These lodgings served as home to all manner of social classes.Due to the exceedingly unsanitary living conditions common to the era and influx of flea-infested rodents, Edinburgh became overrun with bubonic plague, with the worst hitting in 1645.  An incalculable number of black rats riddled with fleas carrying the Yersinia pestis bacterium were to blame for countless human deaths, including those in Mary King’s Close.

Symptoms included swollen glands, unsightly bulbous puss-infused boils on the groin area and under the arm and severe bouts of intestine-rupturing vomiting. In no time, the residents, like the rest of the city, were dropping like flies.

THE REAL MARY KING’S CLOSE
28/06/06
PICTURE BY GARY DOAK
tel.+44 (0)7836 255 728
garydoak@blueyonder.co.uk

Dr George Rae, Edinburgh’s official plague doctor during that period, responded to the plague victims of Mary King’s Close clothed in alarming demonic looking attire — a thick leather cloak to prevent fleas from biting and a ghastly bird-like mask stuffed with sweet-smelling herbs to conceal the repugnant stench and germs. He saved lives by using a scorching hot poker on the buboes. White rags hung outside the houses of plague victims as an indicator that they needed supplies like food and coal brought to their doorsteps.”

THE REAL MARY KING’S CLOSE
28/06/06
PICTURE BY GARY DOAK
tel.+44 (0)7836 255 728
garydoak@blueyonder.co.uk

After the tour everyone went back to their various hotels and packed.  The members of the wedding party and both sets of parents, plus the bride and groom’s siblings left the city and drove the 8 or so miles south to Bonnyrigg and checked into their rooms at Dalhousie Castle or the Dower House.  The back of the castle and the path to the Dower House.This  is  the  Dower  House.  Joseph’s  groomsman,  Andrew,  and  our  daughter  and  her  husband  stayed  in  the Dower  House.  Andrew’s  room  was  the  one  on  the  corner  and  it  had  a lovely  sitting  area in the sun porch.  The castle itself was ‘not too shabby’.

Our room.    Once we settled in we took a walk around the grounds.  The castle has a falconry where they train eagles, hawks, and owls. In the evening we attended the Rehearsal Dinner in the Dungeon Dining Room.  Joseph and Carrie didn’t have a rehearsal; just a rehearsal dinner.                       Pre-dinner drinks in the library. Gifts  of  thanks,  for  being  a part  of  their  special day,  were  given  by Joseph and Carrie to  the  members of the wedding  party,  the parents, and siblings. The big day was the next day.  And what a wonderful day it was!

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