Merry Christmas 2022!

Keith, Carolyn, Megan, and Aidan at Lion Rock, Piha, New Zealand, July 2022.

Hi everyone! We’re not doing Christmas cards this year – instead you will have got here by electronic means. Welcome!

It’s been a big year and very hard to summarise. As restrictions have relaxed we’ve been slowly rediscovering the ability to get around and spend time with folks, but we haven’t been able to do that as much as we would have liked – hopefully in 2023 there will be more of that.

The highlight of the year (illustrated above) was our trip to New Zealand over the northern summer. Despite it being winter in NZ the temperature was the same when we arrived in Auckland as when we left Scotland! We had a great time revisiting many places we’d been before, seeing a few new ones, but most especially catching up with many friends and family who we hadn’t seen for ages (we were already overdue a visit when the pandemic hit, and we booked this just as soon as the NZ border opened up). It was so good to remake connections and see what everyone has been up to. Like our children, so many others are growing up and leaving home which is a big change!

On that note – Aidan (2nd year uni, doing Geography and Computing Science) has moved out of home into a very nice flat not too far from the university! It was a bit fraught getting to that point given the extreme lack of accommodation, but he was able to move in in November. He’s very much enjoying the new freedom and settling in well.

Megan is in the final year of secondary school, doing sciences and music, and deciding what to study at uni next year – we had a busy autumn term visiting many of the universities in Scotland for their open days. She has also just got her first job!

Carolyn’s business is developing well and she is very much enjoying it. Keith’s work has been very intense and intellectually stretching, but he’s absolutely loved it. We’ve both done a new thing this year for us, joining a gym and getting a personal trainer. It’s been surprisingly good fun to get stronger and more balanced, though Keith in particular has painfully discovered many muscles he never knew he had!

This Christmas season we are enjoying being with some of our family, but we’re very aware of those who are far away or without those they love at this time. We pray for God’s comfort and blessing, and hope for a better world ahead.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, and all the best for the year ahead!

Lots of love,

Keith, Carolyn, Aidan, and Megan xo.

Our address and contact numbers remain the same – please get in touch if you need them. You can email us on

Prayer of Intercession

Aidan gave the Prayer of Intercession in church today. It was the Dedication service for the Brigades and other youth organisations. Here is the prayer he wrote and read out:

Prayer of Intercession

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank-you that you that you are our ever-faithful God, and that you always respond to our prayers – even if in a different way to what we expect. Lord, we pray for the refugee crisis in Europe, and for all those poor refugees who are traumatised or have lost family members on their perilous journey. We pray for those brave Christians who are out there, taking risks to serve you and to serve the refugees through charities like Christian Aid.

We pray especially for those fellow Christians who are fleeing for their lives from the Islamic State who have destroyed their town and cities. We pray that they would know your peace, and that you would be with them no matter what. We too pray for those Christians who couldn’t escape, and for all those around the world who are suffering or imprisoned for your precious name: we pray you would give them comfort, and security in your love for them – and that they would receive your awesome strength.

We too, Lord, have issues, even in our local area. We pray for everyone in Falkirk who is without food or a decent house, and for the committed volunteers giving up their time to serve you. We pray for the work of the Foodbank, who are helping get food to thousands in Falkirk, something that so many of us take for-granted. We also pray for other charities in our local area, like Home Start, who support parents with young children who are struggling to cope; we pray that the volunteers would know how to help the families they support.

Lord, we pray for those in this building today. We pray that you would comfort all those who grieve or mourn – we pray that you would fill the emptiness of their broken-heartedness with your eternal love. We pray as well for those who are sick, disabled or in pain, we pray that your loving kindness would rest with them also.

And finally, we pray for all the youth workers in the church, for your presence to be with them, and for you to show them the way to lead those children under their care. We also pray that they would know that their amazing work is both appreciated and crucial to our church family and to the children’s lives.

We ask all these things in the name of your Son, Jesus,


Castle Campbell and Dollar Glen

On the Falkirk holiday Monday (7th September) we visited Castle Campbell, nestled at the top of the stunning Dollar Glen.

image image

It’s a pretty impressive 15th-century castle, small but perfectly formed and clearly a rich and ostentatious dwelling.


The views from the top were remarkable – it was a bit hazy but we still had excellent views of the Forth Valley… from the opposite angle to what we usually experience.


At the top was a colony of swallows – many resting on the ridgeline, many swooping hither and yon. We found one in the upper bedchamber, unable to find its way through the window – it was surprisingly easy for me (Keith) to carry it to an open window and set it free. I’ve never held a wild bird before. It was surprisingly warm. Megan also found a beautiful butterly resting on a warm stone, and a colony of bats in the rafters.


The glen is also lovely – a network of paths on both sides of a Y-shaped burn, well developed but right in amongst the nature. Oak woods, moss, ferns – Aidan picked a bunch of blueberries as we walked which were delicious.

Aidan practiced his Bear Grylls technique on a fallen log across the burn.


Homeward bound at the end of the day – not just a castle ticked off, a fabulous walk, views across the valley, and a new destination for a return visit!

Then and now

I was surprised by a reminder from my phone last week to take a photo. Nine years ago we took a photo of Aidan (aged 3) at the entrance to our estate. Last week we took another, in exactly the same place. Spot the difference!

Aidan 2006-07-15 11:37:56

Aidan, 15th July 2006 (age 3)

Aidan, 2015-07-15 11:36am

Aidan, 15th July 2015 (age 12)

Aidan’s certainly grown a lot, but he still has the same happy grin! (I can’t help noticing that the estate has greened a lot too!)

(original post, members only)

Not the walk we planned

Yesterday we’d planned to go for a walk as part of the 45-minute project. Carolyn spotted a lovely-looking walk just west of Stirling, around the North Third Reservoir.

When we got there, it was indeed lovely – but it was also very wet indeed!


Megan and the rest sensibly elected to stay in the car. In the ten seconds it took me to get this photo my jeans got soaked.


The rain radar showed there was no prospect of it letting up.


So instead we used our Historic Scotland membership and visited Stirling Castle. In the Great Hall at the moment is the Great Tapestry of Scotland.


This is quite some tapestry – 160 panels telling the history of Scotland from 450mya to present day, all stitched by local groups over the last four years. There were lots of beautiful details, and as a whole it told the story really well – I certainly learnt a few things!

Address to the Lassies

Aidan gave his Address to the Lassies at the Wallacestone Primary 7 Burns Supper and Ceilidh tonight. It went brilliantly! See the video on Youtube. We’re so proud – so many people have told us how good it is and how well he delivered it. Thank you to all who helped and supported!

Here is the text – he wrote it all himself.

To the Lassies of Wallacestone,

I would like to wish a good evening to you all,
And I hope that you are having a ball;
I would like to say thank-you, like a perfect gent,
For making this such a fantastic event!

But the Wallacestone Lassies, I must admit,
Are often annoying, and pushy (a bit);
You seem to think you are always right,
And you never give in without a fight!

Now don’t get me started about your make-up and stuff,
You spend hours staring at mirrors – it must be rough!
And can you imagine wearing every single day –
All those weird powders and strange-looking sprays!

And hairstyles, you love to change them so many times,
You try more in a week than me in all my years combined;
You buy lotions and curlers, bows, ribbons and pins,
Not to mention mountains of bottles and tins!

Your obsession with phones seems absurd to me,
Constantly calling and texting – just as if it’s free;
You seem to spend a fortune just texting ‘Hi’ to a friend,
Whereas us laddies, it’s only important things we ever send!

Now your love for shopping takes you both near and far,
But to me shopping for shopping’s sake is totally bizarre;
You seem to buy a new pair of shoes every day,
Or maybe not that much, but it’s still loads to pay!

Now after all that, I must confess,
This was probably not the kindest address;
But Wallacestone Lassies, without a doubt,
You’re actually great lassies to be about!

Kind and helpful, and caring I know,
The bonnie Wallacestone Lassies are the heart of this show;
I thank you for listening, I hope you enjoyed,
And now to the lassies, a toast from the boys!

Creative Commons License
Wallacestone Address to the Lassies by Aidan Wansbrough (27 Jan 2015) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The River Carron

The Forty-Five Minute Project is not dead! On 28th December we went for a walk past the Kelpies and up the Carron River.

The Kelpies were looking particularly awesome on this chilly sunny day. It was great to get out!


First stop was this pond near the Kelpies, which had iced over – hard to resist walking on water, and collecting sheets of ice!


Aidan loved the cold, but Megan wasn’t quite so keen.


This year-old swan was just standing on the ice sunning itself. We tried not to disturb it as we went past, but it decided to move over anyway.


As well as the river, we walked through a community woodland which had some interesting features. This human sundial was very clever – the equation of time is handled by a platform with month names – stand on the current month, and your shadow indicates the actual correct time! There are separate hour markers for summer and winter time. It was bang-on!


This sculpture / barbecue area commemorating the ironworks was also very impressive. I particularly appreciated the clever construction. Aidan and Megan are re-enacting the crucible scene on the plaque.



A wonderful winter walk. Thank you Falkirk Council, Abbotshaugh and Langlees Community Woodlands, and the Helix!


We’re all going to the zoo today!

This weekend Aidan was away on his first Scout camp, so as a treat for Megan we went to the Zoo. It was very cold, but we had a really good day with excellent views of nearly all the animals.

A highlight was bumping into Kato the giant hornbill’s training session – we got our own private show and a fascinating insight into how to outwit a very smart bird!


The pandas performed for us too, despite being warned they were asleep. Turns out between them they eat 70kg of bamboo a day, grown by a furniture company in Holland.


The pygmy hippos had a baby – a pygmy pygmy!


I loved the Visayan warty pigs – their pen was heaven for pigs, and the dozen or so gold-striped piglets were very cute. I watched one get a big fright when the twig it was playing with flicked up – it shot across the field at top speed back to mummy!

Not to forget penguins, tigers, rhinos, science in the monkey research facility, near relatives in the chimp house, crested pigeons, zebras, sunbears, wallabies, koalas, meerkats, and more and more!