Many Scottish houses have an exterior finish of harl - a covering of small pebbles, stone chips, or shell chips as here, embedded in what was traditionally a base of lime render. The finish is supposed to offer good protection against the Scottish weather. All sorts of buildings are harled. The Great Hall of Stirling Castle (which is having its limewash re-done this summer), Crathes Castle, and my Dad's house, where I took this shot. We have the shell chip variety of harl. The chips are tiny - I used the macro setting on my camera. I'm rather fond of our seashells, and of sharing a building technique with famous castles.
We've been away for a while getting things organised for my Dad's return from hospital, and helping him settle in at home. Six months is a long time to be in hospital, and he still needs a lot of support. But he has a team of carers coming in to the house 4 times a day to help him make the transition to coping by himself. This amazing service is free. Thank you, National Health Service.