Just a few odds and ends that have been on my mind this week.
• No matter where you walk in Scotland, it’s all uphill.
I don’t care which way you go: Coming, going … “Man, another hill?”
That’s why all those Scotsmen wear kilts. They have the legs to show off because they never ever walk downhill.
They never ever walk downhill because there is no such place in Scotland.
• Castles have very small rooms.
“That’s because the average height of a Scotsman was 5’ 6”,” a guide told me. “And you’re … What? From the land of the giants?”
The guide laughed.
I couldn’t. I was stuck in a room in a castle. I think it was the great banquet room.
How did they have room to eat?
• In Scotland — and I imagine the rest of Great Britain — they have “biscuits.”
“They’re cookies” I said after being handed a “Jammy Dodger.” It was a butter cookie with raspberry jam on it.
“No, it’s a biscuit,” I was told.
“And that’s just a vanilla cream cookie,” I protested.
“No, that’s a custard biscuit,” I was told.
Something else about biscuits I bet you didn’t know — you don’t eat them with gravy in Scotland (or Great Britain) because if you do your taste buds will revolt and run away — even if it is uphill.
• Music is Scotland is … Different.
I was looking forward to buying a few discs at a couple of record stores in Edinburgh.
“That’s not bad. Who is this,” I asked the female-type person clerk behind the counter.
She told me, but I really couldn’t understand what she said. She had a very pronounced Scottish accent.
I smiled. It was the best I could do because by then (it was the third day of the trip) I was tired of saying, “What” all the time.
Then she pointed to the CD cover.
I gave her a thumbs up. She snarled. Maybe a thumbs up isn’t what it is in America.
I smiled again.
She threw a Jammy Dodger at me.
Okay, the only thing I learned from that encounter is that one decent song playing on a record store’s sound system does not make for a good album.
Neither do really cool looking CD covers.
“I’d have been better off waiting until I got home and bought a ‘Royal Blood’ CD,” I complained.
“You should have bought biscuits. They’re tasty,” I was told.
I didn’t bother pointing out they’re just cookies.
• They don’t serve anything cold in Scotland. They don’t do “doggy bags” or take out boxes unless it’s a “curry shop (yech)” or pizza. Seriously.
Coffee is instant and in small cups.
They do have an “Americano,” which is instant coffee in a bigger cup.
Germans aren’t good tourists. They complain. A lot. They also steal your cup of Americano instant coffee and then look at you like you’re stupid for letting your cup of Americano instant coffee be placed within their reach.
• There’s a new movie coming out — or is out — “Mary, Queen of Scotts.”
“Do you know the problem with this movie? Can anybody guess?” a guide asked our group.
He was not a happy Scotsman (and it wasn’t because he’d walked uphill all of his life).
“Uh … She has a Scottish accent and she was actually French,” I guessed.
I do know some things.
“Exactly!,” the guide shouted. “Do they not think we wouldn’t notice a wee thing like that?”
Most people, I’m guessing, probably wouldn’t.
• From the minute the plane landed in Edinburgh I heard a lot of apologizing about the sweltering heat wave in Scotland.
It was 72-degrees.
People — locals I assumed — still bundled up like it was April in Chicago.
There was one day when it actually rained.
“Now, this is Scottish weather,” an innkeeper in a pub said.
• I traveled half way around the world to be part of a tour where there were two women from Arkansas and a couple from Florida.
I traveled halfway around the world to talk about SEC football.
That was the strangest part of the whole trip because none of the other “tourists” — or the guides — understood a word we were saying.
It was like we were in a different country.
Oh wait. We were.
And it was all uphill and full of biscuits.