Monday, December 8, 2008

Bonnie Dark Side of Scotland

Right now, consider yourself lucky as the Scots finds themselves amidst depressing heaps of snow, zero temperatures and hardly ever seeing the sun as they only get approximately 6 hours of daylight at this time of year.

The upside is that locals meet at pubs on a 7 days a week basis - pretty often as you see. It is also quite a thing to see stars shining at 4 pm and add a bit of romance to a life amongst Roman-Pictish-Vicking-ish (barbaric?) ancestors when everyone wears double seam coats and woolen hats... Great fun being whipped around single-track roads too, by a strong out of control westerly gale whilst one try dodging sheep that live by the roadside... Simultaneously searching for the whisky flask rolling somewhere between the accelerator and breaks and two practically numb blocks of icy feet.

Take this from a lassie with a lasting fling with Scotland: That place casts magic over the most unsuspecting victims and seems to find pleasure in haunting them too.

Reading another bloggers snippet about a visit to the Lowlands and capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh, I immediately wanted to cry out: “Garde Loo!”

You see, in the olden days any amount of waste meant for “loos” or rubbish bins were chuck out of doors and windows and if you were the unlucky one to wander around at the wrong time and place. Well... Worse things can happen these days, resulting in things such as permanent extinction or even personal loss of life, so it can't have been too bad back then.

Another name Edinburgh (correctly pronounced Edin-bre) went by was “The old Stinky” or “Old Smoky” which resulted from the open sewers of the Old Town.

Apart from a 11 century haunted castle, one can visit dungeons (English are banned these days apparently, so the strive for rivalry between these two lovely nations goes on), Italian restaurants, a pub in a church, walk out to Arthur’s Seat and the Hogmanay can’t be missed as it is the world’s best ever festival. Drunkiest too. The Military Tattoo is another great activity, but before I start sounding like a boring repetitive tourguide...

Those first days for me, visiting this country very reluctantly for many reasons went as follows:

P*ssing rain.

A walk with a stranger, a Scot as my newly-made-friend-guide for a day and taking me for brekki at a Greasy Spoon (café) near the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. Taking photos of pigeons on a little office roof and becoming aware of strange architectural forms and shapes. Georgian perhaps.

Also becoming aware of the attraction a South African has to outlanders. Ah, but who doesn't just lurve the Scottish accent? C'mon, do naet deny't...

Discovering the magic of The Old Town –

Ex-Scottish boyfriend taking me to Camera Obscure – an impossibly crazy and fun place... From the rooftop one can check out other people’s mischief through a telescope 360 degrees around the city. You simply MUST go there.

Visit St Giles Cathedral and make sure the Queen’s not visiting when you’re there. This happened to me. They told me to hurry up and leave as the Queen was on her way. So I took a hide and at the Palace, which felt like miles further was told “The Queen’s coming, please go around to the other side.” On the other side I got into a scram with a nasty greedy photographer. Prat.

Charlie Dickens shoots happens all the time – don’t be a dick and get in the crew’s way as you try to take hundreds of photos.

And there are the rainbows towards the Highlands - another story in a long story...

Heilen coos, snow-capped Monroes such as the Black and Red Cuillens

Falling over boulders on a bridge on a western island and being told by a local Scot that I ought to wash my face in that river in order to obtain eternal beauty. Cheeky git. I told him that I don’t need it but he might definitely benefit from a scrub. I’m not sure however that water only would banish those cute freckles or dim the extraordinary blue of his sparkling eyes...

At the Barracks at Newton – the town is a place with a dog-owner of a pub... Well, at the Barracks out on no-mans-land, there I somewhat experienced a collision with a horse. Horse-head-butting? Turned out a wee bit embarrassing and resulted in a very sore head without any alcohol involved...

The Mexican on tour kept falling asleep next to me, falling over me with each of the hundreds of bends leading to the famous dark, eerie once war-zone between the betrayed Scots and English: Glencoe.

More rain...and rainbows.

Learning about selkies, brownies and the wicket-wicket Water-horse who disguises itself as an ailing old woman in need. Tsk. Can’t think why it needs to do that if it could have been a dashing young man for whom I’d happily give up my virginity (as a young maiden in those days) and life. Mind, the waterfall near the old church and graveyard usually sent shivers down my spine.

A SA lassie giving old sheep-farmer heart palpitations as he had to be rushed to hospital after we once met on road and had a chat. A decent well-mannered chat, by the way. Heaven knows what goes through those farmers’ heads most of the time...

Oh well, I’ll continue this piece full of trashy thoughts on another day... See it as emptying a basket of old cloth and shoes at an Oxfam or Salvation Army shop – I’ll be back with socks and hats next time.

1 comment:

Brother Tobias said...

Good memories. I loved the Camera Obscura; old technology, but still magic as the guide twiddles the victorian knobs and handles, and a magical picture of some distant part of the city comes into focus on the round dish below the walkway...