In Love With My Home

The Carved Heart

The other day there I was feeling a little low. You know what it’s like; some mornings you wake up, and you just want to pull the duvet over your head and go back to sleep. But like most of you out there, I had to get on with the day. I dragged myself out of bed, put the kettle on and began to prepare breakfast. Making my morning cuppa, I had already decided that what I needed was a good dose of one of the things I love best; I needed to get out and about in my city.

Stirling is not a big place. I think currently we’re at a population of around 45, 000 which makes us the smallest city in Scotland. It’s size means that everything is relatively close to everything else. However, the old town is built on a steep incline and the castle is situated at the top of the hill. You certainly get a good workout running after 3 excited children all the way to the castle gates! As we strode up the road passed 16th century sandstone ruins, 17th century townhouses, and cemeteries where the quality of light stops you in your tracks, I was struck once again by my relationship to all this national history. Because not only did I take note of these ancient bricks and landscaping, I also gazed with affection at the bench where, eleven years ago, my fiancee and I sat and tentatively agreed that we should move in with each other. I suppressed a giggle while walking by the pub where I (rather drunkenly) celebrated my 18th birthday. My muscles remembered how much harder it was walking up that hill a decade previous, while pushing the pram containing my first precious newborn. My personal history is deeply rooted in these cobbled streets, these tall buildings, these broad trunked trees. I find my self reflected in its antique glass…

Self Portrait

I haven’t lived in Stirling all my life. I was born here, but we moved away when I was a child, and I was raised first in Ayrshire and then in Edinburgh, where I spent the majority of my schooling. When it was time for university though, I returned to Stirling. The majority of my family live in Stirling still, grandparents, parents, aunties, uncles, and it really is where I feel I belong. I won’t be suprised if I move away again at some point in the future, but I know I’ll return. Because, you see, Stirling is not just in my genes and in my memories; it’s in my soul.

Here are some photos from my trip to the top o’ the town:

A Bench With A View

Silhouette Skyline

An Enormity of Sky

The Puggy

Man the Cannons!

Graveyard Monument

King's Knot

Robert the Bruce Surveys the Hillfoots

Where is home for you? What is your relationship to the buildings, the gardens, the landmarks? Do you find that your memories are anchored by their geographical connections?

P.S. This post was written as my entry to the Lifehack Spread the Love contest. The closing date is the 21st Feb so you still have time to enter your own post on relationships. If you do decide to enter, let me know and I’ll add a link here.

P.P.S If you want to see a clip of Stirling’s historic architecture then you can view this great short film put together by Canadian David Raetsen:


February 20, 2008. Environment, Photography.


  1. Autumn Song replied:

    What a lovely post, Amy. It will be hard for you to move away if you need to, won’t it?

    Thanks for the pictures though – I’m feeling a bit low myself today, and they have really made me smile. I particularly like the one with the canon seemingly pointed at the monument!

  2. barbara replied:

    Thank you! I feel as though I have just found a portal to Scotland. I’ve been roaming your blog and enjoying the trip. I am adding you to my blogroll. I love finding great blogs.

  3. Joanna Young replied:

    Amy, I’m glad the walk lifted your spirits.

    Can I tell you again how fantastic your pictures are?

    I’m sure you could sell them as postcards or prints. I love that sepia Robert the Bruce. A print of that would make a great present for my dad.

    As to your question, I don’t have a sense of home yet, and when I let it that makes me feel sad. Sense of place is very important – to our sense of self, of connection, our source. I’ll tell you when I find it 🙂


  4. mrschili replied:

    Amy, I’m breathless. This is so stunningly beautiful that it’s no wonder you keep coming back.

    I have an interesting and complex relationship with my home. For all of its faults – and there are many – I can’t seem to pull myself away. I wrote about the connection I feel to my home here:

    I feel a certain pull toward Scotland, and I always have. I suppose it’s because, almost without exception, ALL of my ancestors come from Scotland (truly – on both sides). It could also be, though, that it already seems familiar; I imagine Scotland and New England are quite alike in a lot of ways….

    Thank you for the gorgeous pictures. Now I REALLY want to visit, though I’m afraid I’d never leave…

  5. LivSimpl replied:

    Lovely post. It makes me want to go home to Oregon and visit my old haunts – with a good camera. 🙂

  6. tuuli replied:

    Incredible photographs!

  7. amypalko replied:

    It will be incredibly difficult, Autumn Song. I’m glad the pics cheered you up though!

    Welcome Barbara! I’m glad you found me, and how lovely to consider my blog a portal to Scotland 🙂
    I hope you continue to enjoy what you find.

    Thank you so much for your kind praise, Joanna. I’ve been thinking more and more about doing something with my photos and encouraging words, such as yours and those from my other readers, takes me closer and closer to that decision.
    As for home, for a long time I felt quite rootless, and it is only relatively recently that I have felt a true belonging. I’m sure that you will find it too before long 🙂

    Thanks, Mrschili, for your lovely comment and for the link. I’ll be following it up asap!
    You know, it’s funny, as a lot of people feel that pull toward Scotland. I certainly do, and I know I would find it terribly hard to pull away. Oh, and you are most welcome fo the photos. I’m glad you like them so much!

    If that’s what it made you feel, LivSimpl, then it’s done its job 😉

    Thank you, Tuuli, and welcome to the blog! There are lots more photos of Scotland here if you care to browse…

  8. Deb @ Three Weddings replied:

    Living in America, you don’t have the ancient beauty of Stirling. However, we do have some beautiful places, even if I can’t walk out my front door and find them. My home is built on what was farmland just 20 or so years ago. Our house is somewhat shabbily built by a builder who cut a few too many corners. However, I have wonderful neighbors and a great school system for my children. My family is nearby and I am happy here. I’ve moved several times in my adult life and I want to stay right where I am for many years. Someday I hope to visit Europe but until then, thank you for sharing these wonderful photos!

  9. Penelope Anne replied:

    I would love to be able to have that much history within walking distance…the USA is very young in caomparison for historical landmarks like you have and we are blessed when you share them with us.
    I so want to come to Scotland now. As summer arrives I plan to get out and start taking more pictures of our lovely state though.
    PS, drop by the site once and awhile love.

  10. amypalko replied:

    You know, Deb, I’m of the mind that you can find beauty everywhere. Maybe not the grand architectural ruins like we have in Stirling, but if we look for it we can find it in the most surprising, unpromising places. Regardless of their location, homes are special the world over, aren’t they? I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of mine 🙂

    I’ll look forward to your photos, Penelope Anne. I love to get an insider’s perspective on a place, and am so happy to share mine with you!
    And, yes, you are quite right; I hadn’t popped round to the site for a while. I’ve rectified that now, and hope to be over a bit more often. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. Nicholas replied:

    Those are beautiful photos, Amy. Some of those are so vivid I can almost smell the air.

  12. Janet replied:

    What beautiful shots! I particularly liked your self portrait…you looked very ghostly 🙂

    I visited Stirling Castle when I went to Scotland…absolutely beautiful!

  13. Kelly replied:

    I am always in awe and stunned by the beauty of your home. I can’t wait to be there! Only 2 more years…

    My home… yes, I’ve grown up around this area and we don’t have the old buildings and sites and such, but we do have beauty. My brother just commented the other day about a patch of trees we used to play by as children, it had been cut down and we both were sad about it. We are near Puget Sound and the water has always drawn me and it feels like home. I could never move further inland, I would be lost.

    Great post!

  14. amypalko replied:

    It was such a lovely, clear day, Nicholas. The fresh air was just what I needed to lift my spirits. I’m glad you managed to pick up on it in the photos 🙂

    I do look ghostly in it, don’t I, Janet! I actually really like the light in that shot – a lovely, warm glow.

    Oh wow, Kelly, you’re over in 2010? How fabulous! Make sure you add Stirling to your itinerary 🙂
    I love how you sum up that you would be lost if you moved away from the coast. That is exactly how I feel when I leave my home for any length of time – lost.

  15. Frank Martin replied:

    The video actually made me tear up. The music and photography were beautiful!

  16. amypalko replied:

    The video is just brilliant, isn’t it? I found it on YouTube and it captures Stirling so beautifully. Thanks for dropping by, Frank 🙂

  17. Do You Realize The Power Of Your Words? | Confident Writing replied:

    […] was Amy Palko asking where home was, and the stab of sadness I felt at not feeling at home, not knowing where home was, but also […]

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