Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Scottish Parade

It’s a Scottish kind of day: chilly, gray, gloomy, rainy. They apologized for it. We expected it. Minnie and I felt at home in Scotland, even though our Scotch heritage is minimal.

I’m thousands of miles away, but I can pretend with a cup of tea and some butter biscuits. Scones, clotted cream and jam would be better - and with my sister. I’d go for a drive, but it wouldn’t be the same driving on the right. She’d say, “Left! Drive left,” and “Look at those white stones on the green, … or are those sheep?”

Hot tea invites memories to tumble and parade. The wee drop of Scotch blood in me says, ‘Oh,lassie, come stroll the glens with me shadow’. Give me a tartan plaid to wrap in, and we'll talk.

Gooseberries: with yogurt, pureed with scones, jam with orange marmalade for toast, but not all at the same meal. When we were children, no matter what pie anyone made, Dad said it would have been better if it were gooseberry. You guessed it. A neighbor made him a gooseberry pie, and stood there while he ate it. He said it was good, and never mentioned gooseberries again. 

Charlie and Eleanor’s overflow, unadvertised B&B near Aberdeen: We were weary from weeks of road travel and gloomy weather. They welcomed us with hot tea and warm conversation, just as interested in us as we were in them. Collecting friends is my ideal. They worked some for a titled family and spoke highly of them.

After an hour I asked for directions to a pub or restaurant for dinner. Eleanor replied, “You’re sinking. The fresh fish truck came today. There’s a piece of fish and a boiled potato for each of you.” At their kitchen table she gave up her piece of white fish for one of us, and her home-canned pickled beets gave up their juice coloring my potato. We were family.

Talked out, I headed up to our room, and found a lump in my bed. Uncertain, I hovered my hand above it. It was warm. Was it alive? Quietly I opened the bedroom door, and grabbed a pillow off the other bed; one of us was going to run. On the count of three, I threw back the covers. The hot water bottle never moved. 

Copyright 2005 Red Convertible Travel Series

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