The Weird Lady and the Sunglasses at the Castle  

Posted by Heidi in

The castle how it looked in former years--its a bit more colorful now that we have color cameras

Last summer we stayed in a castle, a real honest to goodness castle! People laughed when we said, “We are going to stay in a castle near Santa Cruz (as in Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk) but we did and I have the pictures to prove it. The sad part of this story is that I took about 200 pictures whilst we were there and I am only looking at them now for the first time—right now, right as I am writing this post! I haven’t yet found a picture of the castle as it looks today but it will show up here sometime soon. For now we will have to do with this photo of a photo taken of the castle a really long time ago. It has been there since 1927, built by a Scottish immigrant who wanted a house like the ones back home. In fact, the whole area was settled by Scottish immigrants. They named the town Ben Lomond and they even have their own Loch Ness. Or was it Loch Lomond? Anyway, they are both famous, the ones in Scotland, that is, not the ones in Ben Lomond.

The picture above is the view from the third floor master bedroom, a view of heartrending beauty that I loved due to its utter peace and quiet. Well, not so quiet, the San Lorenzo river made quite a racket skipping over the rocks but it was all music to my ears. Even the birds that woke us up every morning at 5:45 (A.M.!) was a sound I missed (but only after we had left). As for this view, they actually had to pull me away from the window as the car was warming up in the driveway at the end of our stay. This view is famous for something else as well.

This same scene can be viewed from the French doors that lead out onto a balcony on the second floor as well as the third. (The place was thick with balconies, they were everywhere and we spent time out on each and every one of them.) One day, as we were sitting in the sitting room (what else?) which is in the main round turret of the castle, all decorated with banners and coats of mail, etc., through the windows we saw a woman sort of stumble along the path on the side of the castle, on down to the deck that leads to the little sandy beach and the bench seen in this picture. I jumped up and went out onto the balcony where I could see her standing in the river. It was a very hot day, about 97 degrees which is rather unusual for that part of the world so I guess she needed a little cooling off. However, we were renting the place and responsible and she seemed just a little, well, off. So, I called out to her and explained that it was private property, then I went back inside.

Presently the kids came to me and said that the woman was sitting on the bench—the very bench pictured, eating a sack lunch. We decided to give her a few minutes to eat (I mean, we aren’t unfeeling brutes and it was very hot that day and the water was so lovely) and then we would ask her to leave. Again. Which we did. Did this woman leave? No! A while later we spotted her lying in the tall grass, hiding I suppose. My husband finally went and told her that she had to go, this was private property etc. We would have let her stay but the fact that she did (stay) when we asked her not to unnerved us just a little. I mean, a woman who ignored our repeated request to leave must be up to no good. Then again, perhaps not, but we couldn’t be sure and we were very protective of our castle.

The very same glasses, very much non-coincidentally, that my son found stashed with this bag of cookies after our woozy (on sugar and wit!) trip to the Sacramento area for the 4th of July

Finally, she explained to my husband that she thought it was a museum (i.e., “I can do pretty much what I darn well please because this is here for the people”). We thought this a bit odd since we had told her repeatedly that it was private property and yada yada yada. And finally, go, she did. But not before leaving these very expensive David Marc sunglasses on the bench. I left them there for a couple of days before I nabbed them, just in case she returned for them. But she didn’t. And now they are mine. And that is the story of the sunglasses.

This is the King and Queen of Howden Castle, who wave to passers-by, mostly motorists roaring along Highway 9 which is, basically, the front yard of the castle. Most of the windows turn their backs on the street and take in the river, which is, thankfully, just as noisy. If you are ever headed away from the beach on Hwy 9 in Ben Lomond (sorry, that is the best I can do---I am "directions" challenged) look to your right if you want to wave back. You have to hurry and look hard because the castle is at the bottom of an extremely steep driveway, so steep the owners don't allow people to park on it (we did anyway) and all that is visible from the road are the highest turrets. And the King and Queen. But only if you are looking.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at Tuesday, July 08, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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