A “wee” weekend

We experienced “big” fun during our “wee” trip to Scotland last weekend.

Scotland has the dubious distinction of being a country where sheep outnumber people nearly 2 to 1.  This certainly seemed to be the case as the lovely countryside was heavily populated with grazing sheep from every vantage point.

 

We were blessed with three sunny days in a row.  I’m told this is a very rare event indeed.  The weather was reminiscent of those crisp clear New England days in the Fall when you awake to a frosty ground that melts by mid-morning and then warms quickly in the mid-day sun.  It was perfect for the season.

We started out journey with a tour through Edinburgh, pronounced Edin-bura.  Nothing seems to follow phonetic rules as the Scottish people put a unique “slur” on all their vowels, often rendering them undecipherable.  Nonetheless, we tried to understand our chipper guide as she took us past palaces, through castles, up cliffs, and into ancient churches.  Tartan plaid decorated the high street windows, and I particularly liked the local signage for Bagpipe Makers, Whisky Tastings, and my favorite menu offering yet:

Haggis, Neeps & Tatties….delicious and only £9.99!

This inscrutable dish seems almost sexual (neeps? tatties?) and definitely sounds disgusting (haggis = minced offals cooked in a sheep bladder).  I think I’d need more than the advertised “nip of Glenkinchie” to get that down!  It’s official: the Scots trump the Brits on the worst menu item ever.  This is no small feat considering that Britain is the home of spotted dick and liver parfait.

My avid movie watching served me well on this trip. When I entered Rosslyn Chapel, the notorious outpost of the Knights Templar, I channeled my knowledge gleaned from The Da Vinci CodeWe searched for the mysterious Celtic Green Men carved into the ancient walls and discussed all the religious and pagan symbols Dan Brown made so famous.  Braveheart basically provides all my knowledge of Scottish history.  As I stared at the statue of Robert the Bruce outside of Stirling Castle, I felt like William Wallace might come bounding down the hillside in his kilt at any moment.

Our ultimate destination was the Gleneagles Resort, a playground for people who like sports that involve wellies, tweed caps, and clubs, guns, or rods.  We took advantage of everything offered over the course of a packed two days. I completely embarrassed Jackie by proudly wearing my new tweed cap for most activities (as they say, when in Rome…)  Jackie took one look at me and promptly proclaimed: Mom, you look like a gay man. To get back at her, I told her she, too, would have to don a cap for one family photo-op.  I’m sure Katie is thrilled she missed this family adventure!

 I actually think Jackie resembled a rather disturbed pirate when she put on an eye-patch to improve her aim at shooting clays.  Can’t you just imagine the subtext in her mind….

 

We managed to get in a wee bit of golf, rounding out 10 holes on the Ryder Cup course.  Later while we fly fished for rainbow trout, the silence was interrupted by the distinctive clicking sound of the pheasants in the surrounding brush.  I was grateful we were merely casting a rod for fish and not aiming a gun at the birds around us.

Jackie overcame her fear of birds (the London pigeons are a perpetual problem) and eventually allowed a falcon to land on her arm during our Falconry lesson.  I then overcame my fear of watching Jackie behind the wheel as she boldly maneuvered an all-terrain vehicle into rutted paths, up rocky cliffs, and through murky swamps.  I will send out an official warning when she receives her driver’s license  in 2014.

The highlight of my day was playing with the gun dogs, feeding them dinner, and putting them to bed.  I was amazed at the discipline these dogs exhibit: lining up in perfect succession, waiting until their names were called to enter their kennel, and sitting patiently on their beds until given permission to eat.  Hmmmm….I think my lovable flunkie, Lucy, might have to go back to school at Gleneagles.

The trip was over in the blink of an eye, and we were back to the airport for the short hop over to England.  What a surprise to discover that Michale Phelps was sitting next to me on the flight!  He tried to cover his face with a baseball cap and his ears with big white headphones, but he could not hide.  I felt like saying, This isn’t the pool Mike, you can’t get away from me.  He reluctantly signed the only piece of paper I had with me, the receipt from our hotel.  Maybe this autograph will cover our bill!

My seating assignment was pure luck, and maybe a wee bit of fate.  As the Scot’s say:

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye.
Translated to English as we know it, this means “whatever is meant to happen to you, will happen to you“.

Aye!

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