karen's diary

Firstly, many thanks to all who kindly pointed to our 'Saturday 24th March' balls-up - glad to know you're paying attention.

We are currently working in our pyjamas after an early bath ('NO BATHS TO BE TAKEN AFTER 10PM' it says) in our B&B in Ellon, home of Salvo's superlative cafe.

Today was a bit of a dawn to dusk thriller, from my managing to retrieve my cashcard from the autoteller that consumed it last night, to our piece de resistance visit to Slains Castle ruin- the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula.

In between we made it to the Buller of Buchan, a kind of near-doughnut shaped rock right on the coast, the Romantic wildness of which had stirred the imagination of our predecessors thus:

' If I had any malice against a walking spirit....I would condemn him to reside in the Buller of Buchan' (Johnson)

B&J actually hired a boat to take them through the narrow gap from the sea to the Buller's centre, but even circumnavigating it externally was a thrilling (and somewhat vertiginous) experience. The sea barely choppy today, with the water a beautiful emerald tinge against the rosey granite boulders.

This experience, for Nina too I think, felt extremely close to that recorded in the original journal - we felt as if we'd 'caught up' with B&J somehow..
I mention this particular sensation, as it was made so much more acute by the experience of Slains Castle, so opulent in the 18th century, and so theatrically derelict now.

It is a genuinely poignant place, but only slightly slightly sinister. It reminded me of some of Rome's ruins - Nero's Domus Aureaus maybe, in that the remainder was 'readable' in the sense of how it had once been intimately inhabited.

Suddenly we felt the gap of history.

yesterday's diary entry