Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Good Look

The Firth of Forth, on toward the North Sea,
North Berwick, Scotland

My wife and I spent ten days in Scotland this summer (and one weekend in London). What a dream.

I kept a journal. But first, why Scotland? Our anniversary gift to each other. And my heritage. On both sides. Some of my earliest memories are of visiting my maternal great-grandparents in Saskatoon. I couldn't decipher the content of their discussions due to their Scottish accents but they fascinated me. And we ate toast with tea. I always thought they looked a little pissed off and they seemed to be arguing much of the time. While visiting the Edinburgh Fringe comedy festival, a comedienne explained Glasgow face: bitter, brows down accompanied by a gruff voice (translated as 'appy to see yer).  Lightbulb.

Back to the journal. Giddy, with some highlights:

  • Scottish breakfasts are massive and amazing, odes to protein, haggis included.
  • deep fried fish and chips and mushy peas
  • respect for diversity in art and architecture and urban development, and seriously the best Indian food I've ever eaten
  • a pop-up library in Glasgow
  • Thrift store charity shops all over the UK
  • once locals determined we are Canadian they immediately began to trash-talk Trump, "why would they elect that vile, vile man?" Good question. Perhaps the only redeeming thing about Trump: he helps bring people together, bonded in confusion and distaste. 
  • taking the train through the highlands, all the waterfalls and rusty-red deer, very Harry Potter
  • the Scottish flag painted on a rock high above Ft. William
  • pipers on many street corners
  • Inverlochy castle
  • Arthur's Seat
  • Crabbie's Ginger Beer
  • JK Rowling's old writing spot, The Elephant Room (apple pie and scotch)
  • everything about North Berwick: the beach, Mary Brown, the Lobster Shack, cemetery stories, scones with butter and jam
  • climbing the Scott monument
  • the closes along the Royal Mile
  • finding the home where my great-grandmother and her siblings spent family time together
  • Grassmarket in Edinburgh, and the dungeons at Edinburgh castle
  • rain and cool weather
  • the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square and taking a boat down The Thames
  • our airbnb neighbourhood, Islington, London where we had a salted caramel & popcorn milkshake with a shot of whiskey at the Screen on the Green while watching Dunkirk.

All of it, beauty. I must say, it is most pleasing to have a good look at the world. 
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