Russell M. Middleton - newsletter04
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Stirling Uni Newsletter No. 4
1 December 2003

As the end of the Autumn Semester draws near I reflect on an amazing 90 days since arriving in Scotland.

The leaves are gone now from the deciduous trees and shrubs which emphasizes the number and size of the rhododendron, holly and yew. The temperature has drifted down from 15º - 20ºC (59º - 68ºF) in September to 0º - 5ºC (32º - 41ºF) in December. Stirling, Scotland is at 56º north latitude compared to 42º north latitude for Lansing, Michigan (that is about 966 miles north of Lansing or 690 miles north of Sault St. Marie) it's now obvious to me why I sunburned so easily in Michigan. I was living at a latitude nearly a thousand miles south of the latitude my ancestors had lived at for tens of thousands of years. In fact Lansing, Michigan is approximately the same latitude as Rome, Italy.

Now that the semester is nearly over I've started attending some local cultural events. For example:

Stirling University Choir (Dunblane Cathedral 7.45pm, 6 December) Program: Haydn, "Nelson Mass"; Boyce, "Symphony in Bb"; Purcell, "Come Ye Sons of Art"

Stirling Orchestra (Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling 7.30pm, 7 December) Program: Leighton, "Festive Overture"; Corelli, "Christmas Concerto No. 8"; Handel, "Messiah - Excerpts for Solo Voice"; Elgar, "Enigma Variations"; Delius, "Sleigh Ride"

There seems to have arisen the notion that I am receiving a scholarship to study here at the University of Stirling. I am not sure how the scholarship rumor got started, but it is not so.

I am using life insurance money from the death of my wife Gail and profits from the sale of my house. The conservative approach would suggest that I use those monies to build my retirement fund, seeing that I am 53 years of age, but my spiritual and emotional needs dictated that I come home to Scotland, the land of my mothers birth. With the exception of a generation or two, for thousands of years my ancestors have lived, sometimes fought, and died in and for these hills, this is where I belong.

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