As I was falling asleep, Colleen said, “I’m not sure you like me anymore.” It’s natural to have worries during a marriage. Nope! I love you!! … to pieces… to the moon and back! Second chances are few. There is a lot I would do differently if I could go back… well, it would have certainly been a different life for the two of us. Maybe all is not blissful all of the time, but, right now in this moment, it is about as close to heaven as you can get on earth. Today is not about great photography (it’s my blog!); it is about memories we have collected in a short time together in places like… Maine and the Butt of Lewis. We met when we were young and reconnected when we were old. Time is short, so, we celebrate anniversaries every month instead of years. Lately, we have sort of let this get slightly forgotten. But today is a “day.” Happy av-en-ursery, my dear.
Well then what’s to be the reason for becoming man and wife? is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life? And if loving is the answer, then who’s the giving for? …
Wedding Song – Peter, Paul, and Mary
Why do we travel? To get away from our own everyday routine. See something new and different. And while we are gone we seek out familiar things from home. Dinner in a Chinese restaurant… in Scotland: the food looks familiar; the dinners eat with fork and spoon, or knife; the grocery carries mustard, mayo, and Spam!; a picture to match the post card. Yes, you can go to dinner wearing a genuine Harris tweed vest. Travel is about same and, not. We have not been able to travel in a couple years – Covid. The world will be upside down a bit longer. A couple years back right at this time we were here!? It seems so long ago. So much has changed. Don’t worry, my dear, we will be back.
I’m spinning the photo catalog today. Originally, I had intended to publish one picture a day of “ooh and ah!” quality along with a story. Lately, it’s been about the stories triggered by the images. Technically, it still fits the title of the blog, but we are a long way off. I’ve been on a lot of planes. The middle top pic is instantly recognizable. Colleen hates to fly. She goes because she does not trust me alone? ?? Dunno? Ha! The first thing we did upon arrival was seek a vegetarian restaurant. It’s very appetizing – if you’re a rabbit. And she got a bottle of organic beer. Isn’t all that beer vegetarian and organic to begin with? I think maybe I would have rather been in the pakora place next door. But, it is now revealed Colleen doesn’t care for Indian. Damn, so far and yet so close. Figuratively, literally, you do the math and take your pick of the choices here in my words. The truth: We have fun. Anywhere is good as long as I’m with Colleen. Happiness is…
Ha ha. We are in a puzzle stage. Puzzle? Yes, we are making puzzles to pass the time. And after the last one – not pictured – (ha ha) I decided to design one myself. Online, they do everything. I found a website. They made a picture into a puzzle. It worked out as well as any other puzzle we have. Yes, it’s a flock of yellow sheep. We came across this group while traveling in Scotland. I’m not name dropping or bragging. It’s just: this is not something you see every day. In the background (did you peek?) there’s my nutty cat. He climbed to the top of the bookcase and leaped down. Ha ha, I made you peek.
Somedays. It is, indeed, a strange world out there. After all my complaint about iPhone, Colleen and I made this shot up in a restaurant. The price of gas – fluctuates. It has been as high as $2.70 around here. When the oil market collapsed it was a low as $1.71. I’m at the end of the line, a so-called end-user. I don’t get to speculate for barrels of oil on the open market. Price? That’s Scotland, price per liter: we are so privileged. Surreal – a la Dali.
I’m torn between truth and reality. Aren’t they the same? Ummm, surely you jest!?
…we could travel freely? Right about now we are more than half through our second trip to Scotland. Not! Bad timing! Ode to corona: who thought a trip to our mailbox would be a threat to our health. Confused? No. Alas, we are not in Scotland. We were told the sheep were dipped – yellow – for purposes of health. We never saw another flock like it. Reasons on the ‘net include: ID, ownership, ewes, theft discouragement and who knows? We frequently staged some gag photos for the kids. Yeah, shameless Photoshop. Why not? Poor Colleen. Why hug a post box? Hey! You would have to look in my brain. Me? Some days I’m locked out. Thistle: the national flower of Scotland. And right now I wish we were posting: “Wish you were here.”
Today’s Dave’s birthday. Happy Birthday! (I’ll remind his sister so she’ll look good. Hey! People remind me of dates all the time.) I write my posts in advance. So, the big question is whether we are on the plane today to Scotland or not. We were/are scheduled. …cancelled/postponed due to pandemic. Who knew? River Tweed panorama anyone? No, the sheep are not sick with yellow fever. And we/us? As long as we are safe and with/among loved ones, it’s okay by me. Colleen would like to be with the “sheepies” too.
Pronunciation is “close” as in “close to you” not “close the door.” It’s uniquely British/Scottish. We encountered one in Edinburgh that led to a charming little courtyard. And in Stirling it was a garbage filled back alley that led to the next street. You pick. The USA equivalent is a back alley. In Britain it is named (on a map) and designates a narrow alley/walk between two buildings to cross over or enter another space. In our first example it led to a courtyard of buildings. Charming. In the second it led to the adjacent street where we sought Nicky Tam pub – famous Cullen skink. No! It was a dive! We felt unsafe and unclean and quickly exited safe with our lives and our money. We lit upon Brea a few doors down where we slipped in just before dinner rush. They gave Colleen a lovely ½ order of Cullen skink and of risotto, two birds with one stone! And, now for the kicker, I dreamt this post up. Literally, I was sleeping and dreaming of two alternatives to pronouncing the word “close.” So, here we are.
We use a fitness device to track steps and levels climbed. I’m not naming names. The pictures do not begin to give you the feeling of climbing lots of stairs. There were at least 500 to the top. And, there was no way but to walk. It was a lot of steps. Are you with me? Dumbarton Castle, who knew? I also found out that you can game the fitness device so I consistently did more levels and steps than Colleen. It drove her crazy when we essentially climbed the same levels day after day and my device recorded I had more levels than she.
Hardly. It’s not easy in the rain. Most enthusiasts leave their camera in their case in the rain. Water and electronics do not mix. There is unmistakable joy in feeding the pigeons. The idea and concepts translate though the focus and blur are present. We were wet. We were happy. I wish our timing had been better to catch a concert.
Best Cullen skink in Glasgow? Café Gandolfi. How do they make this up? It’s online. And we were parked right across the street. Serendipitously! Purely! And, Colleen read the menu and we made a reservation. It was later we searched and found this restaurant to be rated. Ok! It was still pure luck that we dropped in.
You plan, you plot, you schedule. We did. We arrived in time to take the advertised tour of Glasgow Cathedral. We discovered they had stopped the schedule a while back. They were doing tours by request as people arrived. We got a private tour guide for a couple hours. I arrived without any expectation. I never worked with a plan, just a vague vision. Upon arrival the guard admonished the girls to use the exit side of the entrance; they had to circle back and around. We found out why the stained glass was modernized and replaced by donors and groups. I discovered you have to be on site in order to really know how things work. It all fit. We had a great day!
I limit myself to a post a day. Jules, long ago admonished me. Too many posts were too many and too confusing. So, I cheat. She never complained about more than one pic per post. Still… I pick by browsing Lightroom. And an image strikes me. Sometimes they are not perfect – most times. But there is this” je ne sais quois” look. Done. This one made me smile. You’re just going along minding your own business and then you are “struck.” It wasn’t even an image I flagged in my first pass. But, in retrospect, it’s different, out of my norm. … too many images, too little time… I know I have not gone deep into my library. It’s a regret, no time to dwell.
Ubiquitous Chip restaurant was near the top of every list for restaurants in my online search. We were curious. The name derived and was counter to chips – they served none. The food was pretty. The service was great. We were glad we came. I think probably once was enough. That’s just my opinion. The potatoes were good.
How would we have known? You travel. Your local guide tells you facts you had never considered. Being fat was a sign of wealth. And the wealthy also traveled to the “continent” for their portrait to be commissioned to a famous painter (of the time). In this instance, the lord was young and not yet corpulent. So, the painter painted up his hands and face. And then, the lord paged through a catalog and picked out a body to be painted and matched. Voila! Fat and rich! Who’d have thunk…?
It follows after I mentioned Brig o doon (yesterday)… the movie and the musical. Colleen adored the movie. I was indifferent having heard of both and having avoided them in my life until now. Here we were. Memory. New and fulfilled. Priceless. We had dinner (unplanned) in the nearby restaurant/inn – where the wedding reception was being held. Cullen skink, but of course! And, we both still smile at how it was a perfect day brought to us by the British Airway pilot action that never happened (cancelled). Just like the rain, if it does, go with it. Happiness is working without a plan.
Scottish things. Harris tweed vest? Cullen skink? Ummm, that would be a fish chowder with smoked haddock and potato… think rich, delicious clam chowder in America – no clam, of course. Good! We searched it out and Colleen loved it from the first taste. Thereafter, we sought it again and compared preparation in various restaurants. Eventually, we barbecued some haddock and made our own version. She enjoyed each and every try we made. The unappetizing “name” is derived from the Scottish town of origin for the recipe and the shank (skink) bones used for the broth, hence Cullen skink. “Skink” in West Virginia refers to a small pesky lizard. Me? I was bemused and ‘passed’ on the whole culinary experience.
The folks in Scotland are a hardy lot. They walk around in the cool weather without proper dress. I would submit that you must be cold. You look cold. But as a kid I walked out of the house without an umbrella into the rain.
It’s the streets. Anything goes. It’s Scotland. Bag pipes! Statues have been done elsewhere. They are still fun. Harry Who? Owls are there on the street for the public to see and touch. After all it’s Harry Potter land. Fun.
… not Halloween. I took this pic of the kids. It spooked them. I take pics of kids and groups all the time, no harm done and none intended. But it was the moment and the glance that says it all. The girls quickly moved along immediately thereafter. Sorry kids, I did not mean to spook you guys.
This was worth a stop! We were speeding along to somewhere, when I spied this field of colorful sheep. Why?? I saw a similarly colored group once more during our trip. Otherwise it is/was a mystery. Disease prevention? Dyed in the wool? (sorry for the bad joke) What? We don’t know. It was definitely worth it to get the photos. I did not realize or know that I would not see this again. Whoa!
Ok! Enough? Well, one more time. Security barriers. It was just after security was lifted. So the barrier was being dismantled. And, here we are having fun with a British/Scottish tradition – the distinctive red telephone booth. Yeah, we were goofing around.
Look what I can do. Ha! It’s pretty simple – for me. I do have some skill beyond iPhone. Meanwhile, we were still exploring the abbey. Meanwhile, have you thought of why the castle stairs wind upwards in a clockwise direction? See the right arm? Fighting downhill you are holding a sword in your right hand. And an invader is holding it in his left hand fighting upward. Advantage to the defender. Good!!
What to do on a cold rainy day in Scotland? Well, it was peekaboo rain, one minute wet, the next rainy, but, all the time cold. How cold? Don’t sit on the cold rock, cold. Goofing around we shot and I edited. There was time to kill. The ferry was not due back for a while. So, we had ample time to explore. Meanwhile, we had to hide out from the rain. Cameras and rain are not buddies.