Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Have Passport will Travel

Sheila, Roger & Ray all have our Passports now and are ready to head off on the the Great Scottish Labraventure.

So why all the excitement, after all it is just a Passport?

Well that is what we all thought. Ray has had a Passport since he was born. So no big deal there. Roger needed one, and that went fairly smooth. But Sheila always has to be the difficult one.

For those of you who don't know, Sheila is adopted (and very comfy with it). So when she sent in her paperwork she sent in the Birth Certificate that she had. Little did she know that there for adopted children there is a more detailed birth certificate that is needed and is only available from the agency in the state that she was adopted from. So she had to jump through a bunch of more hurdles to get that "Long Form" Birth Certificate.

So after much waiting and paying an expedite fee to insure it arrived in time, the big day finally arrived. So now Sheila has a Passport and can come on the Labraventure (darn good thing as the airline ticket had already been paid for).

Ok, a Ray story. (there are always Ray stories ;) Ray fully expects that he will get the "special" treatment when he goes through Customs. Given that he was born in Libya (yes I am an African American) and that stamped in my passport is just about every Arab and Eastern European country. Thus, I am used to getting invited to have a seat in a private room when I go through customs.

So there you have the saga of the Passports.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where is the Middle of Nowhere

Where will we go, is the most often question that I am asked when I say I'm heading off to Scotland for a week.

Everyone immediatly thinks of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Invernes etc... All the places that they may have heard of in the news or seen on a map.

When I say we are going to Northern Scotland and start mentioning such places as Mey, Wick, and John O'Goats (I want to go there just to see why a place is named after someones Goat) you get a blank stare. Then I say Northern Scotland, and again a blank stare.

Then I say I'm going where we are least likely to find a bunch of tourist. And then the eyes light up, oh you mean the middle of nowhere. Yup that is where we are going to go.

Except the middle of nowhere is always somewhere to those that live there. And what we have found in our travels is that the people who live in the middle of nowhere tend to know all the neat things to do and see. Thus, we are really going somewhere, just it is nowhere.

So what do you do when you go to nowhere? Well you find all the neat quaint things that make it really somewhere.

So that is what we will be doing. Searching out the uniqueness that makes nowhere really somewhere.

So are there castles in the middle of Nowhere? Why yes there are. The one that I am particularly interested in visiting is the Castle of Mey. As you can see it is a grand estate. But the thing that intrigues me the most is that it was one of the favorite places of the Queen Mother. A lady whom I greatly admire.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It all began with a Picture

So how did The Great Scottish Labraventur start?

Well like so many things in the lives of Ray, Sheila & Roger it started with a picture. Ray called Sheila all excited about this picture that Carolyne Poulton had just posted on Facebook. As you can see it was just stunning. And of course it involves Labradors (for those of you who do not know me I have one of the largest collections of Lab art around numbering over 600 pieces).

So Ray calls Sheila to tell her she has to look at the picture, and how stunning it would look painted. So Sheila sends a note off to Carolyn to ask her if she could use the picture as a reference photo for a painting. Carolyn of course agrees. And the result is this painting.

So Sheila lists the painting on eBay for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to Lab Rescue Scotland (whom Carolyn works with). And low and behold it is bought by a Scotsman living in America (or as you Brits might say living in the Colonies). He bought it because it reminded him so much of home.

Thus started a friendship between Sheila and Carolyne. Carolyne at some point probably said you need to come and visit (she probably did not, and still does not know what she has gotten herself into).

Next thing you know Sheila, Roger and Ray have Plane tickets to Scotland leaving the Colonies on May 7 and returning on May 16.

And it all started with a picture posted on Facebook.

So there you have it. How Facebook helped a bunch of Lab loving people to connect. And now a grand adventure is going to happen and you get to come along.

Ray & the Gang

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Less than 1 month to kick off!!!

Howdy all,

Well we are less than one month to the May 7 kick off of the Great Scottish Labraventur.

So what is a Labraventure? From my travels around the world I have noticed that all truly civilized societies have Labradors. So as we head out we will be searching to see if Scotland is truly a civilized society.

Thus, we will be searching out Labradors in Scotland and having a wonderful adventure along the way. For those of you who followed the Great Alaskan Expedition in 2008 you know that Sheila, Roger & Ray find lots of off the beaten track sites. Yes we will see some of the traditional touristy sites and we will report on them. But you can be assured we will find plenty of unexpected treasures as well (mostly because Ray is driving and you never know which way he will turn).

So stay tuned. We will be posting brief updates on Facebook in the LabRaventur group. And detailed postings here (with pictures and all). We will put links on the FB page to the daily antics so don't worry.

Ok, first story. (you will find out that Ray has lots of stories). I have never driven in Scotland but I have driven in Australia, Tokyo, Rome & all over Europe. The plan is to fly into Glasgow on May 8 and drive up to Loch Ness and spend the evening there before heading up to Mey in northern Scotland. So what is the story? Ray has been known to shift with his right hand when driving on "wrong side of the road". So this will be interesting in itself.

Next posting will cover the logistics of getting to Scotland. You will learn how 3 crazy Lab loving people decided to jump on a plane and fly for 18hours just to see for our selves if Scotland is Civilized society or not.

Cheers & Stay tuned
Ray & Sheila & Roger

Tuesday, April 5, 2011



         $30.00  Free Shipping

#4 in the series of 5" x 5" watercolor sketches,
They may be fun to collect and hand together. Great price and fun art.

Thanks for looking. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011



When I first got Sophie I named her officially The Lady Sophie D'Ardmore (the street we live on)  Fergus became the Lord. So it's not quite a stretch to have in the Scottish mode..The Lairds of D'Ardmore.!

#3 in the 5" x 5" watercolor sketches .  I am having fun finding images and painting them. See more tomorrow.
    $30.00  Free Shipping    If 2.50 appears I will refund it. Can't figure that one out. LOL
                                                                       Warmly Sheila

Saturday, April 2, 2011



Of course this is our Sammy. LOL..I've never known a Lab so goofy . He sits looking so cute with an ear bent back as he has a gas attack.  Do you think there is a wee Lassie that would love him?? 

One more 5 x.5 watercolor sketch on 300lb watercolor paper.  Make it yours and you will be on the list for a fun postcard from Scotland!!!  Thanks for looking!
$30.00 free shipping