Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Scottish Kilts

June 23, 2008

Okay, I lied (get used to it)… one more post about Scotland. 

We got a chance to go through a working mill that creates tartan cloth.  We could look down on the automated looms a floor below us and see multiple tartans being made.  Those machines are fast and, yet, it still seemed to be inching along.  I can’t begin to imagine back “in the day” when they did the looming by hand. 

Anymore, the wearing of kilts is reserved for formal occasions—weddings, funerals, NASCAR…  Oh, and the tourist-y stuff—

Even so, there seems to be a pretty good market for the sale of kilts and all the various accoutrements and appendages that go with it.  This mill had lots of those things for sale (yeah, I see all your feigned-shocked faces out there).

Girl Child tried to convince me to buy a full kilt get up.  My brother owns a full kilt and extras, even wearing it at a niece’s wedding. 

Being mildly interested, I looked around the shop to see what was what.  First, I would have no clue what tartan to get.  My family name is not a stand-alone tartan.  Rather, we were a sept (sub-clan) of another Clan.  But the name can also be linked to other Clans as well.  Hmmm…

Second, I noticed that, for the ‘real’ wool kilt in full regalia, I’d have to spend upwards of $1500US.  The ‘cheater’ cotton-polyester blend would cost $500US plus.  And that without the all the accessories.  Owch.  Don’t think it’s going to happen… maybe someday. 

Still hanging around, I nonetheless enjoyed looking at what was on the rack and the walls. 

They had lots of kilts in Clan colors, but also a fair selection of non-traditional kilts – – camouflage, denim, and even leather.  The latter would seem to me to be extra warm and… ummm… clingy, but I still entertained, briefly, the thought of getting one… just for fun, you know.

The extra stuff had lots of options as well.  Knives, socks, belts, badges…  And the sporran, the Scottish ‘purse’ worn with the kilt.  The day-glo orange and day-glo blue caught my eye, but no.

And finally – – The clerk, noticing my interest, came up to me:

Clerk:  Can I help ye, sir?

GnuKid:  I’m just browsing, thank you… but, looking at all these accessories, I couldn’t help but notice—Where are the knickers?

Clerk:  [sly smile, cocked eyebrow, low chuckle]

…I guess “the secret” is still safe…

More Scotland

June 16, 2008

Some more random blitherings on my trip to Scotland – –

The place is just dripping with history.  You can’t turn around without running into a castle, usually in some sort of disrepair.  Many of those castles have great stories that go with them.  One of my favorites was an abandoned castle (3rd one below) with a sign saying this was the site of the “Roasting of the Abbot Incident”… and that’s all it said.  I guess because it was just an *incident*, it wasn’t worthy of explanation (and, yeah, there are web sites that talk about it ).

        

The movie connection is mostly known.  I’m sure some of you have seen “Braveheart” or “Rob Roy”.  You’ll be happy to know that those movies are based in whole only partially on the truth. But not so much so as to ruin it all.  And a useless bit of information I didn’t know… the Hogwart Express from the second Harry Potter movie, shown travelling over a long train viaduct, was filmed in the Highlands of Scotland. 

There’s a special breed of Highlands cow (Heilan’ Coo, in the vernacular) that has long hair.  Daughter Person decided they were ‘long haired hippie cows’ who say “Du-u-ude” instead of “Mo-o-oo”.

 

An addendum to my post on driving in Scotland — as I said, the back roads offered great scenery.  There were also little villages, most picturesque, every 10 miles or so.  All of them required you to slow down to 30 MPH [side note—I was very glad that they didn’t use some arcane speed system like ‘furlongs per fortnight’].  Most of them had speed radar attached to a sign that would blink your speed at you and add a message to “Slow Down”.  Our favorite radar sign, however, was one where there would be a flashing smiley face if you were under 30 and a sad, frowny face if you were going too fast.  Girl Child was always urging me to speed up to get the frowny face… little twit.

 

Rosslyn Chapel, of “The Da Vinci Code fame, was one of the more incredible stops.  I learned there that the book’s author never visited the chapel before writing.  There is no “Rose Line” or 6-pointed Star of David in the chapel (the movie artificially added them).  But, the architecture was eye watering and I was surprised to find they still hold services there.

More randomness soon… I think I’ll go have some Scotch to ease the night into my veins… [big, cheesy grin]

GnuKid Disappears

June 4, 2008

For awhile anyway. ..

The Girl Child is an adventurer at heart. Much like her Grandma, she views the world as a toy to be played with often and everywhere. And, admittedly, like my Mom, the Girl Child is also a source of learning for me on how to better live life.

So for her recent adventure, the Girl Child is finishing up her semester abroad in Switzerland*. She has been actively bugging me to come over to visit. Between work, finances, and ‘other’ issues**, I’ve been hesitant to agree. But, I finally gave in and we started talking plans.

Girl Child then sets down a ground rule… we can’t go anywhere that she’s already been in Europe.

Now, let’s go back to that “Girl Child is an adventurer at heart” thing. On spring break and most every weekend, she has been almost everywhere in Europe already! Even being pick-pocketed in Istanbul*** didn’t discourage her wanderlust.

So…after reviewing the extremely shortened list of options, I chose Scotland as my adventure spot. I’m a mutt, with about a third being Scottish. As such, I’d sort of like to see my ancestral homeland…well, a third of my ancestry, anyway. And I hear tell that they have a strange and wondrous liquid called “Scotch” that I’d like to try in a native glass… or seven… teen…

Anyway, I’m off to gallivant about Scotland, leaving the Wilds of Ohio, and have an adventure. I won’t e-see you all until the middle of next week (unless I can peek out if I can get access to the Girl Child’s laptop when we’re not touring, walking, gawking, sleeping, eating…).

See you back here soon, riding the range of the Wilds of Ohio!

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*I don’t remember having such wonderful opportunities for doing this kind of stuff when I was a kid. [grump] I feel cheated.

**I’m sure you’ll be seeing blogs on the ’other’ issues down the road… be patient.

***Ouch…