My lunch in Iwami Ginzan

Hokkaido

I went to Hokkaido in early July to attend a conference. I thought that the weather would be like Scotland in July. Would I need a coat? But no it was too hot!

Not many people in Hokkaido have air conditioning so everyone was talking about the heat.

I had a few hours before I caught my plane on Monday so I walked around the centre of Sapporo and saw the famous clock tower. Then I tried to visit the Botanical Gardens… closed  because it was a Monday. Then I tried to visit the museum in Sapporo University… closed because it was a Monday. Don’t go to Sapporo on a Monday!

Crail

During summer vacation, I took a week’s holiday and visited Crail, a small town on the east coast of Scotland.

In the Middle Ages, it was the largest market town in Europe!

The buildings look very different from the west coast, where I am from. On the west coast, houses are made of red or honey-coloured sandstone with black slate roofs. In Crail, the houses were made of smaller brown stones and lovely red tiles. Hundreds of years ago, when traders sailed from Europe to buy things in Crail, they brought red tiles and even soil to weigh their ships down. When they arrived in Crail, they sold the beautiful roof tiles, and got rid of the soil. The gardens in Crail were great thanks to the soil from Holland and so on.

Gardens

I love to visit old castles and their gardens when I am in Europe so here are some pictures of a few!

This garden is behind the oldest house in Crail. The gardens there are very long and narrow. I liked this one because there were so many nice places to sit and enjoy the garden. Japanese gardens seem to me to be gardens that you look at. British gardens are more practical. You grow fruit and vegetables for your kitchen; dry the washing; let your children play safely; and enjoy tea or even a meal in your garden.

Many old houses have little summer houses like this one.

And here are the women in my family enjoying a walk through an ordinary garden. Many homeowners open their gardens to the public on certain days. You can give a small donation to charity and walk though their gardens.