American author pens thank you to Stonehaven

Shiela contacted us to say thank you to Stonehaven from the other side of the world. 'Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES
Shiela contacted us to say thank you to Stonehaven from the other side of the world. 'Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES

An American author who based some of her books in Dunnottar got in contact with us this week to say thank you to Stonehaven and the Fireballs committee.

While watching the event live on webcam Shiela Branson wrote the following notes that you can read here in full.

Shiela said: “I ‘found’ Stonehaven when I started writing a series of books a year and a half ago. A goodly part of the books are set in the area of Dunnottar.

Once the first set was done I thought to check on the area to see how it’s doing (the books are set around the time of the fall of the Roman Empire) these days. Stonehaven, I have to say you’re doing yourself proud.

“Watching the Fireballs from clear across the world was somehow very special for me. It led to a desire to say Thank You to Stonehaven.”

2014 12 31 1630 (US Central time)

Holy buckets! I have to get myself to Stonehaven or they’ll be doing the fire walk thing without me!

SOOO excited! People, people, people … so many people.

I was afraid I’d missed it, not thinking of the time difference, right? But those people aren’t leaving the area, and there are more and more of them coming … so maybe I haven’t missed it after all …

The Stonehaven Fireballs have a camera posted with a live feed. I’m watching with more intensity than I could have possibly thought likely for an event that’s taking place clear on the other side of the world.

1710 – it’s 2310 over there …

More and more people are crowding the sides of the street and people in what looks like black pants and white vests are the only ones who are really in the open area, keeping it clear I reckon …

Oh I hope to high heaven this connection doesn’t fail!

SUCH a crowd!


Ach buffering … ! It stops the video feed …

Who are the ones in the white sleeves I wonder …

I could go watch last year’s, or the year before … but I want to see NOW, to almost kind of be there … sigh.

1725 is 2325 and it’s buffering again … even so, I can’t WAIT! I can feel the excitement from clear over here!


Ah, there’s an ordered group in black … wish there was audio or a commentator or something … oh but this is FUN!

There’s a truck, coming this way … oh it’s stopped … nope moving on now …

How excited I get over this … who would think?!?!?


OH! Were those pipers? It’s so hard to tell and I’m so ignorant (not by choice, mind you, just circumstances beyond my control).


Here’s where I’m watching from:

‘The web cam is mounted in the clock tower and gives a view up the High Street towards the Cannon. Web camera kindly provided by SoilEssentials, Brechin, and the broadband connection by Craig-ma-Cair B&B, Stonehaven.’


A little group with a lady …

Buffering … the only good thing about buffering is that I get a chance to feed my fire here. The kitchen wood stove is keeping me toasty on this cold Dakota Long Dark night!


There’s a group, are they drummers? WISH I could hear!

And yes I know I can wait and watch it later, but that wouldn’t be the same at all, would it? Dang the connections while blessing them in the same breath … I get so impatient …

I wish I had a Stonehaven friend, someone who could take me places and to events and stuff – like Tess takes me shopping with her in Minneapolis … electronically, since I can’t be there really, either. Sigh.

1755 buffering again

Do I wait it out or refresh the page and hope for the best?

Refresh the page.

Blue – I’m seeing blue at the top of the screen …

I AM going to have to watch this later, but I’m not giving up, buffering or not.

This time I’ll wait it out, see what happens.


I am impatient, you remember …

1800 here


Cameras flashing all over the place!

It’s a white glare in the street.

AAAUUUGH! ‘We are unable to connect … blah blah blah.’

A flash of movement and light then ‘We are having problems with playback …’ … sigh …

By the time I get connected it will be over and I’ll have to sit here and weep.

OH there they ARE!

What a thing to watch, even from across the world and fighting buffering and etc.

At least this time it stopped with a darned impressive picture on the screen, moving lights halted in place, filling the street.


Ah it’s magical, beautiful … sentimental me, my eyes are blurring the view.

It’s all moving lights and once in a while you see the people who are swinging the fires.

How I wish I could be there for real … even though this is very special for me, how oh how I wish I could be there for real.

What must it feel like to be a part of something this magical and powerfully moving … I am so very glad that there’s someplace in this world of ours that holds fast to such things.

Kudos to Stonehaven’s Fireballs.

Totally impressed and moved to tears and almost beyond words.


Holy buckets look at the crowds filling the street!

And I thought I was impressed before.

Well yeah, I AM impressed – but the sight of THIS takes it to the next step.


This time I really am going to wait out the buffering. Gives me time to dry my eyes and such.

What an awesome thing for Stonehaven to not only protect and preserve but to share with me (others too of course, but I don’t know about them – I know about me) from clear the other side of the world.

Call me a sentimental fool, but Holy Mother of Christ I love this. And don’t fret yourself that I might be using profanity – I’m not and the Mother is not offended, trust me on that one.


Okay, eyes dry and all that. Let’s see what happens with a reload this time.

Oh my. A very full street with everyone going the same direction, very few going against the flow. Where have all these people come from I wonder. Stonehaven can’t have THAT many people, can it? Ha. What a question. I would be there my own self if I weren’t poorer than the proverbial churchmouse.

Now I can search on line and see if anybody’s got stuff posted yet. I want to see it all in one piece …

I have to say I’m darned pleased that Dunnottar snagged me, truly happy about that I am.


*big sigh*

Of content because I got to ‘see’ the Stonehaven Fireballs presenting that astounding display, and all the people who were lined up (and behaving themselves, which in many places wouldn’t happen, you know)?

Or do I sigh because I’m not quite all the way content with seeing it from across the world? Grateful for the chance, bet your bottom dollar on THAT, but still …

Well maybe one day I’ll find a way; in the meantime I’m quite very happy to pop in now and again to see how things are going. Thanks to the Mearns Leader, and hibernator that I am, I think I keep better track of Stonehaven than I do of my own little Small Town USA.

And why do I snoop on some place that’s clear across the world from me?

Because it pleases me to do so.

Even more pleasing is that I’m finding a community of which the SONG Characters (fictional though they are) would be all-fired proud. If they were real, and if they were NOW, the whole lot of them would be preening, I tell you. Preening. And I wish I could somehow let Stonehaven know how precious it has become to me.

I know that sounds downright weird. I don’t know a soul there and not a soul knows me nor probably would want to.

Even so.

Me and the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz … ‘If I only had the nerve …’

Sadly, I haven’t got the nerve.