Sunday, January 28, 2007

Castle Stop and Charity Shops

Broughty Castle and Ferry

... and some really scary birds

There was a storm last night – it was cold and windy. I found it bracing. It is so windy where I live that the rattling of the windows was almost soothing. It was my favorite kind of night last night – freezing cold outside and warm and snug inside. It made me think of A Wrinkle in Time, when Mrs. Whatsit says, "Wild nights are my glory.” The window is cold and I can feel the cold radiating into the room from the glass. Making the bed is a fairly quick process, as there are no sheets. Shoshana informed me that the French duvet cover idea has become mainstream in the UK – you have a duvet cover and a bottom sheet. Washing a duvet cover seems to be more work than washing a sheet -- it is like stuffing a bed-sized pillow into a bed-sized pillowcase. I would rather just wash the sheets. It took a trip to Scotland to let me know how much I like them. Rowan says that she did not sleep well because of the wind. She looks a little heavy-eyed.

We have the day free in Dundee – tomorrow we are off to Edinburgh. I have left the choice of where to go up to her, and she is dithering. Decisiveness is not her strong suit. I can feel myself getting irritated. At just about the time I am ready to either throttle her or jump on a bus, she decides that we are going to Broughty Ferry. Her four-year old, Lena, reminds me strongly of my iron-willed niece – she has also mastered the ever-so reasonable tone of voice with which she presents her arguments. Which are usually in direct opposition to her mother’s wishes. It is a lot funnier when you are not the one that the four-year-old has on the ropes. After three intelligent, wily children I practically have permanent rope burns on my back. My daughter will some day negotiate world peace -- she can find the flaw in any parental argument.

About mid to late morning, we finally set off. We start out at a brisk pace to the bus station.

I believe that Lena is actually clutching the lamp-post to keep from blowing away. Not really. But it is a funny thought.

I am getting a feel for the neighborhood and think I could get to the bus station by myself. I am now looking the wrong way at the street with no prompting. We pass Lena’s school and I am struck by how small it is and by the fact that there is no playground. There is asphalt, but no grass. Rowan informs me that it was so windy that the Tay Bridge had been closed to high-profile vehicles.

I tell Rowan about going to University where it was so windy that people literally got blown off of their feet – they used to close the campus because of wind. What I am not used to is cold wind. It makes your eyes water and your nose run. I am once again grateful for my beautiful scarf that my daughter knitted me. We discover that Lena has misplaced her scarf and decide to get her one while we are out.

For a Scot, Rowan is remarkably unwilling to use a scarf, gloves, or hat. She looks half-frozen. Lena holds my hand as we walk. She is somewhat interested by the fact that I am from America. I wonder what that means to her. She is a chatterbox, but I am completely used to that, and enjoy it – two out of three of mine only stop talking when they are asleep – and the third sleep-talks. Lena is smart as the dickens and has those flashes of understanding that completely surprise you.

I like listening to Lena -- she still has a toddler-Scottish accent. She is a bright, articulate observer of the world around her. Every so often, she will say something that makes Rowan look at her with a narrowed glance, murmuring darkly about the BBC. Apparently, Lena has picked up an accent from watching children’s shows on TV and Rowan is not pleased to hear her daughter sound English. As we walk along, Lena wants to share something with Shoshana and calls her "Mummy" in what was apparently an upper-class English accent. I can hear Rowan growling under her breath.

We get on the bus to town with a sigh of relief to be out of the wind. We take are going to take a different one to the Ferry.

I want to go upstairs to sit on the upper deck and Rowan looks a little hesitant. I missed going on a double-decker bus in London, and I have no intention of missing this. I head up the stairs and Lena and Rowan follow. We sit up at the very front, and I prop my feet against the rail and sit back to enjoy the view. Rowan and Lena sit across the aisle. Rowan says, in a pleased tone, that it is much nicer than it used to be up top. It used to be where the dodgy characters -- rowdies and smokers -- sat.

We stop at the Overgate Mall and wander around a bit, as we wait for the next bus. We decide to grab something to eat and end up at Spudulike again. I don't mind -- I like baked potatoes, especially those with crispy skins. I think that I might be brave and try something new, but I am not and I don't. I have a plain baked potato with salt, pepper, and butter (my favorite). I order cheese on it, but put it on the side. I don't really want cheese, but I am already feeling like I must look really cheap, because I ask for plain water to drink. Apparently, this is not usually done. But I always just have water with my meals -- even at home. Honest. So I ended up with a pile of cheese. Lena has beans and cheese on her potato. Beans by choice and cheese by edict from her mother.

This is where we went to church yesterday.

All of my pictures sort of suck because I am taking them in the front of a moving bus, but I am going to post them anyway.

As we drive through town, Lena bursts into song, inspired by the trip, I suppose. She sang the whole time we were on the bus.

“The wheels on the bus go round and round …”

This is just a snippet of a counting song – when we were in London, Rowan started singing it when we passed St. Martins. She was surprised that I had never heard the song. There is an older gentleman who comments on the sound track to our bus ride.

"Oranges and Lemons", say the bells of St Clement's
"You owe me five farthings", say the bells of St Martin's
"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey
"When I grow rich", say the bells of Shoreditch
"When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney.
"I do not know", says the great bell of Bow.

Lena then launches into Christmas songs. Is there something in the Children's Handbook that says that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has to be repeated over and over? "OOOOHhhhh, Rudolph ..." By now, we are all laughing. She sings on, oblivious, engrossed in the scenery.

I should have got more video ... sigh. It was a great trip.

Everything looks crisp and clean. Rowan says that we are going through a nice part of town, and shows me a house where her family once lived.

Um -- that is not it. I think that is a church ...

We get to the Broughty Ferry stop and get off. It is cold, but the buildings block the wind, somewhat.

History alert!

According to the website, Broughty Castle sits imposingly at the mouth of the Tay. Built in 1496 on a rocky promontory, it has faced many sieges and battles. These have left their scars - marks made by cannon shot are still visible. During the eighteenth century it fell into ruin, to be rebuilt in the 1860s as part of the Crimean War effort.

Note the chimney pots. They are on top of most houses, but Rowan cannot explain what they actually do.

Evidence exists of a human settlement in pre-historic times in the area. Later it was a prosperous fishing and whaling village, before becoming home to jute barons who had their factories in Dundee. It was once knowns as the 'richest square mile in Europe'.

We walk over to the ferry and we are right on the North Sea. It is freezing because the wind is wet -- and blowing really hard. A lady comes up with a bag of bread scraps and dumps it on the ground, and for a moment, it is like we are right in the middle of Hitchcock's "The Birds".

Maybe it is a British thing -- a culturally sanctioned action ...

I always thought the scene where the birds are clustered on her head to be both scary and unhygienic. Yeesh. Pigeons and seagulls. I am not overly fond of seagulls to begin with, and it is like an explosion of hungry, squawking winged vermin that would peck your eyes out as soon as look at you. This seriously freaks me out.

Thankfully, they fly away rather quickly after fighting vociferously over the scraps. The waves wash away the crumbs.

The waves are splashing realllly close -- they are coming up and over the sidewalk, causing Shoshana concern.

I was not going to post this video, because the quality is very poor. Some, but certainly not all, of the shaky-cam effect is due to almost being blown over. However, I am putting it up because I think that there is merit in listening to it -- even if you get a little woozy watching it. I had not yet gotten the hang of slowing down and shooting more slowly -- sorry!!

Could you hear the wind? That is what a cold wind off the North Sea sounds like ...

I risk getting swept out to sea to get this shot. Rowan is hovering -- alternately exhorting Lena to "Stay away, back" and plucking at my elbow to get me away from the wild waves. Keeping a sharp eye on her daughter, she tells a rather sad story of children and their teacher who got too close to the waves somewhere on a school trip and got swept away. In typical four-year-old-fashion, Lena completely ignores the admonitory aspect of the story and focuses on the gruesome parts, inquiring as to the particulars.

I was walking, looking over my shoulder at the view behind me, and saying something to Shoshana. I turned my head to see where I was going and looked straight into the cold, flat eye of this HUGE white bird. It was almost literally eye-to-eye with me.

It was the size of a pony.

Well, maybe not quite that big. But it was big!

I could not process what I was seeing for a few seconds. Whatever else I was expecting to see, it was not a bunch of swans, sitting in disgruntled heaps on the ground. They are like the Super Big-Gulp of the bird world -- I might go so far as to say that swans are the Super Thirst-Busters of the bird world. They have serious heft to them. I mean -- criminey!

I skittered back and took a picture. We went past them, a bit warily, elaborately casual, as if we were not expecting to be set upon at any moment. One strolled up and looked me up and down, slowly and dismissively. I detected a bit of contempt in the perusal. Swans belong drifting along on a lake on a summer's day, not sitting at the edge of the North Sea in a parking lot. And they know it.

We walk past the castle and then over to the playground. It is good sized, and you can see how in the summer it would be packed with kids. It is deserted today, except for us. Lena is having a blast -- running around, playing on the slide, going through the tunnels. In a very few moments, she is shedding layers, much to Shoshana's chagrin. She exhorts her to keep her hat on. My kids would be looking out at the playground, from the comfort of the heated car and if I forced them out, they would be whimpering within seconds. Lena is made of sterner stuff. I stand there, shivering, wondering how long I can wait before having to throw in the towel. I am grateful when Rowan gives Lena a call, luring her with the promise of a snack and a hot drink. Lena finishes going through a tunnel and down a slide and across a wobbly bridge before arriving, eyes shining, breathless and red-cheeked from the wind. We huddle in the lee of this building to catch our breath before continuing on.

We walk back to town.

This is the view heading away from the water and back toward the trappings of civilization -- like hot chocolate. The green of the grass is intense -- dark and rich. I had the impulse to stroke it, like the nap of velvet, but good sense prevailed. I contented myself with a picture.

One difference between Scotland and the US is that things are smaller -- the shops are crowded close to each other. We go into the first charity shop, which is a pet charity. Rowan is a good thrift store shopper. She does not look over each item, but gives the store a quick perusal, separating the wheat from the chaff. She zooms in on the small finds. I am looking for boots, as I know that a really wet day is going to make me miserable, and a belt. My pants are stretching or I am shrinking, but I am tired of hitching them up. I am also looking for a hat for my daughter -- I think that I looked in every store in Great Britain for a hat for her. Rowan can attest to the fact that I tried.

I ended up with two books, one for each son. I was very happy to get a book on the gruesome aspects of Scottish history for my eldest -- it was the same book that I almost got for him at the British Museum bookstore, for a fraction of the price. Alas, I did not find boots, a belt, or a hat.

We go into the next few shops and Rowan finds a sports type bag to take to Edinburgh with us tomorrow. She has decided that the pull-along that she was using in London was defective -- and that it has wonky wheels waiting to trip the unwary.

We decide that we are hungry and go into a small café that Rowan knows of. It is small and cozy, and the warmth is welcome. There was that moment when you walk into a warm room after being out in the cold and it stings a little. There are various healthy offerings, which disappoint me. I am not looking for healthy in my baked goods. I do like the description of a full breakfast.

Full English – Large (£5.95)
Two pork link sausages, two rashers of bacon, two fried eggs, two bits of toast, black pudding, beans, tomato, mushroom.

How small is a bit of toast? I will refrain from describing what is in black pudding right now. We will talk more about that in Edinburgh.

We make our way to the back of the café and settle down. Lena is having hot chocolate with marshmallows and some kind of brownie/toffee bar, also with marshmallows -- which she methodically picks off, eating them one by one, before eating the cakey part. Rowan has a whole-wheat/bran scone and cappuccino, and I have a cheese scone and tea. Scones there are different from those here. They are soft and not as flaky as a biscuit, almost like a soft cake – not the dense, crumbly, biscuity Starbucks type at all. In the bakery case, there are things that I don’t recognize. There is a stack of large plate-sized pancakes in a covered cake stand. Pancakes. Hmmm. I never thought of eating them any time other than breakfast, and I never thought of eating them cold. Rowan says that this is pretty standard fare.

When my scone comes, it is hot. Clearly this means that I am supposed to put butter and jam on it, which I do. Mmmmm. I might go back to the UK just to have a hot cheese scone with butter and black currant jam again. I feel sorry for Rowan, as my scone is clearly better than hers.

Rowan writes:

Hey - how did you know your scone was better? You are cake-competitive. Just sayin.

There’s a Dundonian expression, "Eh'll scone yer lug" which tough mothers yell at errant offspring. It means, “I'll slap you round the ear”. I wonder if the reference might be that the ear will then resemble a scone. Dunno. It is just a funny expression.

My scone was great, that is how I know it was better than yours. Cheese and jam tops plain wheat any day. Yum...

Hands warm and tummies full, we head back into the cold. It has gotten dark, even though it is not yet evening.

Rowan writes:

After we leave Brambles cafe, we potter along, looking into the brightly-lit little shops. They are mostly unusual - small businesses, as opposed to chain stores, although there are a couple of Scottish franchise shops, the nicest "Mackay's", a fairly sober (anyone can wear it, but it is pricey enough and chambray-tastic enough to please the discerning female buyers of Broughty-type of place.) Broughty Ferry is a well-heeled little suburb. Nice, nice, nice. I would like to live by the sea again.

Even if I never do, it is nice to know that there is a quiet stretch of beach just a short bus-ride away. I have some lovely video clips of Lena in the summer, running with little fey steps in her new swimsuit, laughing in the bubbling waves lapping at the edge of the sand. The sky is a warm hazy blue, and the sea sparkles...the way in which it does on days when you are glad to be alive, when you feel your memory has been gifted to you... remember the diamond-crystal sparkle on that blue blue water when you need a salve for your soul.

(this is a picture of the castle in the summer. I did not take it, I just added it for atmosphere -- to conjure up the summer and all -- bob.)

The other shop is "Happit." It is a whimsical word for a chain of shops. Happit means clothed, usually in the sense of warmly so. The most common phrase it is used in is "weel happit" meaning, well wrapped-up. We go in, as it is chilly and rather dark now. We are on the hunt for a scarf and gloves for Lena. They have several choices in lurid tones of pink in a nice fuzzy wool. Lena chooses the one which matches her coat best, even though it is not the most luridly pink. She has a discerning eye for what goes with what. She chooses a very oversized pair of fuzzy gloves which co-ordinate reasonably well, and is very chuffed, though she looks like she's been in some sort of signing argument with a steam-roller. (Think Mickey Mouse hands – Bob)

It is very cold and dark now, and we wait impatiently at the bus stop for the bus back into town. They are fairly frequent, but the cold makes each minute seem like an hour.

Bob says:

A very nice lady chatted to us as we all slowly iced over at the bus stop. In general, I would have to say that people were very kind and very friendly to me, pretty much every where we went. There was a supermarket that had closed down and was being re-opened as a Marks and Spencer right next to the bus station. Lena amused us by generating a number of theories as to why the store had closed down

Rowan writes:

Eventually it arrives, and Lena is chuffed (chuffed = pleased with herself) to sit next to Bob, turning around to flash big grins at her and show off her new gloves. I remember being similarly chuffed with such things as a small child. Accessories were rare and to be prized. Gloves were on strings in those days. I just cannot imagine Lena's response to her groovy fluffy handwear on an actual string. We were much more tolerant...or perhaps just downtrodden.

I am aware that we are needing to get home quickly to relieve my mum of her minding duties, but Lena is very hungry, and we may have to wait another forty minutes to get home. We are trying to be thrifty and avoid paying for taxis. There is a Pizza Hut close by, MacDonalds, (actually, it is McDonalds, just like here in the US, but Shoshana is giving it a Scottish spelling ... funny -- Bob) and KFC. I am hit by a bolt of low blood sugar eatery indecision (decisiveness under the best of circumstances is not her strong suit – did I mention that? -- Bob). I come to a complete halt. We eventually decide on KFC, but it is a bit depressing inside - very brightly lit.

Bob says:

Sorry, but I have to interject here. Shoshana hates pizza. Hard to believe, but it is true. I am not sure how one hates pizza, but she finds it overly cheesy. And she has had pizza with cheddar cheese on it, which is not at all right. The fact that she was actually dithering as to whether we should eat at Pizza Hut tells you about the level of distress that she was experiencing. She also has this odd take on fast-food places. In our family, I admit that we treat going through the drive-thru like an actual meal, but she looks at all fast food eateries with a narrow glance. When we went to the Burger King in Waverly Station in Edinburgh, she pronounced the place grim. I am not sure why she finds plastic molded seats, glaringly bright lights, and primary colors depressing and grim, but she does. There you have it. I found paying twice as much for the same food grim and depressing. And no napkins.

Rowan writes:

I am almost ready to change my mind and try the pizza place, but we need to get fed and on our way. My order is really very nice. Lena has an ice-cream pudding (pudding = dessert -- Ed) with hers, which I am coveting to an almost pathological degree. Have a sneaky gouge out of it when her gaze is temporarily diverted by an extra-long chip. Full and warmed a little, we head for the bus stop. It has been a very nice day, just being blown about and seeing familiar things from Bob's viewpoint. She is a trooper about scalpel-sharp gusts and heavy-leaden skies. Not to mention murderous cobs and pens. (I think those are the ornithological collective nouns for male and female swans.) On getting back, Bob uploads some of her pictures, and chooses a fine view of Broughty Castle in grim winter grumble, set against a splash of thwarted sunset, to front the travel blog. It is moody and heartwarming, as a symbol of historic Scotland in early December.

Cold, bold, and rather old.

Bob says:

We get back and chat to Rowan’s mom for a bit. We have tea and talk a little bit about the church services that we attended and some of the things that we saw in London. Rowan and her mom have the same tilty eyes. After her mom leaves, Rowan gets the kids bathed settled, as much as her son will settle, for the evening. I go into the bedroom to try to figure out how to work a blog. I spend prolly 45 minutes trying to get the photo on the header, and finally have to get remote assistance from my husband. He is very kind to help me, despite the fact that it is like one in the morning. He gets me sorted out.

Rowan and I end up looking over pictures that I took on our family trip up the coast of California. I think that I can justify putting them here. We looked at them in Scotland. Does that qualify for placement here? I vote yes.

She is suitably impressed with the redwoods. She likes trees. Just so you get the scale, that is my thirteen-year -old, not the four-year-old.

California thistles (to the right) are a little different from Scottish ones (to the left).

I am not really even sure that what I took a picture of is a thistle, but I am going to pretend that it is ... It is purple and spiky, and that's good enough for me.

After the house is quiet, Rowan has a chance to go online and check her email while I upload pictures and organize myself. Once again we pack an overnight bag and get ready to depart. We ended staying up way too late, talking, but it was nice. We had one of those philosophical discussions that you end up having at one o'clock in the morning. Rowan finally went to bed, and I had a bit of a chat with my husband before turning in. My bed is nice and warm, despite the lack of top sheet.

Tomorrow, we head to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.


Rowan said...

I can definitely attest to the effort involved in the hat search. We must have thoughtfully examined at least a couple of hundred of them, in assorted outlets in Dundee, Edinburgh and London. Bob had a specific blueprint in mind, and wasn't going to be derailed by temping yarns or diverting crocheted flowers, if the look was "too newsboy". I feel I know a little about hats now, too, and give dismissive looks to peaky offerings, as I sweep through accessory aisles.

Am thinking that a "bit" of toast would be a slice. That English breakfast is making me hungry - especially after having a bit of toast with marmite nad cottage cheese for lunch, followed by a large indigestible apple. If all this effort does not result in me waking up thin tomorrow, I will eat my hat - no - on second thoughts, will settle for the full English breakfast..:)

bamaborntxbred said...

I looked up the Spudulike website! I wish they had pictures!

I think I'd eat the following spuds: w/beans, W/cheese, w/chili, and w/coleslaw. (Not all together...although, maaaaybe.)

The egg salad, prawns and tuna & corn scared me quite a bit. I don't think I could handle those!!

I'm starving and I feel like I need to go to church. You are lucky to even be noticed in church! Dallas is full of mega-churches. They are the size of mini-airports. No one would know if you are new if you didn't tell them. (My church isn't quite a mega-church...but still way to large to be noticed!!)

Dr. Bob said...

Hey Bama,

I think that was one of the interesting things about going to the Steeple Church. At my church, you would NEVER be noticed if you were a stranger. And we are not even a mega-church. At first, I thought that people were just responding to my American-ness, but people greeted me without even hearing me speak. It was charming and a little sad. That is how it should be when one goes to a new church, and it seldom is, at least in my experience.

Thanks for stopping by! I am working on the next entry. Some of the churches that we saw were really something else.

Go get something to eat.

bamaborntxbred said...

I ate some boring American food for lunch. I really think I want a potato with baked beans on it for dinner. Maybe I have a little Scottish blood in my veins!

I've been wondering all morning what Rowan might think was gross that we think is normal fare. Meatloaf maybe?

I used to go to such a big church that if you saw the pastor in the hallway, you felt like you just saw a celebrity. At least at my current church the pastor comes through the crowd and shakes hands. I've actually even been to his house a few times for Bible study and had lunch with his wife...

I've been to little-bitty churches before and they were a lot more apt to come over and welcome me. I just think it's easy to get lost in a crowd. Whenever I visited classes at either of my churches...I was always greeted as a newcomer. Still it's hard. It's like being the "new kid" in school!

Rowan said...

Hey Bama! Hmmm...I can't think of anything you eat in the US which I would find gross. My dad visited the "Road Kill Cafe" in Montana. If I remember rightly, I think you could take stuff in there which you had run over. That seemed a little gross, but environmentally friendly.

Meatloaf sounds good - it is real food cooked in an oven. Pancakes and maple syrup sounds great for breakfast. I wonder if there is anything I would find gross which is normal fare...I am such a foodie-bingey-type that I kind of doubt it. American food sounds great to me. Hey - what are grits?

The links you posted were very interesting. The one of the Northwest Bible Church is very cool. I like the classes at my Church, and the homely welcome is great. the "new kid" feeling is there, certainly, but is wearing away. Folks are very nice.Whoo hoo to hotlinking! I am going to try too, very soon. watch this space!

Enjoy your baked potato and beans, perhaps with a big splat of vegetarian haggis. Definitely Scots blood there...well, not in the veggie version. You know what I mean, lassie - if you like baked beans and haggis, you are a true Scot. if you sing songs about being far away from home whilst still actually there, you are an even more authentic one.

Dr. Bob said...

I think that Rowan is a bit too sanguine about american food. She still eyes coffee cups with paper sleeves askance. Gross food -- my guess is that if she does not like pizza then she will not like quesadillas.

Thanks for the links, bama. I like your church.

As to scots food that is kinda weird -- I liked marmite but did not love it. Haggis was okay, but I would not drive across town to get it. My favorite new food I will talk about in the next entry. I am very excited to show the Edinburgh pictures.

bamaborntxbred said...

I wanna know what haggis is! It sounds like something Harry Potter would eat.

I'm curious about the mysterious "black pudding" mentioned in the post. My grandmother used to make something called blood pudding. It was a gelatinous dessert made from pigs blood. That is the one food I wouldn't even try. Are black pudding and blood pudding the same thing??

So...Rowan doesn't like overly-cheesy foods...hmmm...I don't know if I've ever come across such a food. In my experience, there is never enough cheese. Mmmm...quesadillas...yummy!

Grits: How to 'splain? Grits are made from corn. It's a soft, hot cereal type thing. Have you ever had polenta? It's very similar, but I've never seen it served hard like polenta is sometimes. Grits are best served with just butter, salt and pepper (and a little cheddar cheese.) Along the Southern coast of the U.S. it is served quite often in a non-breakfast way...with shrimp. Yum!

How come I'm still talking about food?

Sometimes I sing: "Oh, home on the range. Where the deer and the buffalo roam. Where seldom is heard a discouraging word...and the skies are not cloudy all daaaay." I think that might make me a Scot, huh? Are there ranges with deer and buffalos over there?

Rowan said...

Bama - grits sound just my thang! Whoo hoo! Must try them some day.

i will do a haggis hotlink so i don't have to go into the gruesome details myself. the veggie version is fab-tastic, though, and has lots of oatmeal and onions. MacSweens haggis is my fave.

We do have deer, but are a bit lacking in the ole buffalo. We do have a red-haired Celtic version though.Highland cattle are very cool.

bamaborntxbred said...

I now need to know what a "clootie dumpling" is and what "neeps and tatties" are....also, whether or not you've ever been to a "haggis hurling".

And: Oh my word! I want a Highland Cow of my very own! They are so cute with their long hair hanging over their eyeballs! Can I have one? Can I? Can I?

Rowan said...

bama - forgot to say - yes, the song definitely has the right vibe. 99% of Scottish folk songs are about Scots away from home wanting to return, and singing mournfully, if tunefully, about it all. My favourites are Dougie MacLean's Caledonia, and the old favourite,

My heart's in the Highlands
My heart is not hee-ere
My heart's in the Highlands
A chasing the dee-eer
A chasing the wild deer,
And following the ro-oe
My heart's in the Highlands
Wherever I go-o

(Both sung with maudlin heart and hand in cookie jar : ) )

And as a contrast, here's an up-beat glimpse of how I spend my weekends when I'm not singing folk-songs. I'm the one second from the right...

Rowan said...

Hee hee - clootie dumpling is a big steamed pudding boiled in a cloth, sort of like a Christmas pudding...I will look for the recipe...

Tatties and neeps - yum! Those are potatoes and turnip. Now, I would call the type of turnip a swede, and I think Bob tracked it down as a rutabaga. Is that the right spelling?

Highland cow on it's way to you, if you pay the postage!

Dr. Bob said...

Hey Bama. Glad to see that you are learning the ins and outs of scottish food. The cows are very cute, aren't they?

Hey Rowan, so now the secret is out -- nice drumming, by the way.

Dr. Bob said...

and I don't know if a swede is a rutabaga. I forget. Rowan and I had a long talk one night about neeps and tatties, but she never gave me any. That is just lousy, now that I think about it.

Rowan said...

Bama - forgot to say that a cloot is the Scots word for cloth, so a clootie dumpling is a dumpling boiled in aforesaid item. I think the type of cloth matters, though. A family member once boiled a dumpling in a pillow case, and it tasted like boiled cotton...
They are really very good, though. Honness.

Dr Bob - I am sorry that you felt the lack of tatties and neeps (staggers under burden of guilt.) If you had been here on January 25th, I could have cooked you a traditional Burns Supper. : D

Dr. Bob said...

I do believe that you promised me a Burns song as well. You have many deficiencies as an official Scot.

bamaborntxbred said...

Okay Rowan...please tell me yer kidding about you being on the right of that group...cuz if yer not...yer much more masculine than I imagined. (I'm cringing here thinking "maybe that really is her and she's totally offended now!")

I loved the music and Dougie McClean!

And I'd eat a clootie...I'm pretty sure. When you say it's a "pudding" do you mean sweet or savory??

I would definitely eat tatties and neeps! Yum! Can I have butter on them?

Wonder how much it would cost to ship a Highland Cattle to me...hmm...Wonder if I could pass it off as a really large dog so I could keep it in my apt....hmmm...

Rowan said...

Bama -Aww, yes, please don't worry, I am kidding! Hee hee. I doubt I could lift one of those drums without dropping it on my foot or giving myself another hernia.

Yay - I am glad you like Dougie MacLean - it is a lovely song.

I would say that clootie dumplings are sweet - nice wih butter and jam, or just neat! Tatties and neeps - butter and pepperz the biz.

I will make enquiries re shipping your Highland cow...

bamaborntxbred said...

Okay, between the brown sauce, the tatties and neeps, the clootie dumplings, and the Turkish Delight...I'm pretty sure I need to move to Scotland and become the largest woman on Earth.

Rowan said...

Bama - bwa ha ha ha! You are most welcome. You don't need to be conscience-stricken about the tatties and neeps tho - they are low calorie...without the butter... so - actually having butter brings the equation back to zero, and what with breaking even and eating actual veggies, that makes up for the other stuff. : )

Rowan said...

All Celtic health advice courtesy of Dee Lusional, emailable at

Rowan said...

Sorry - typo alert! That should read,

bamaborntxbred said...

I see that cholesterol is already working it's magic!! Hahaha!

I've always heard that if you drink a Diet Coke with dinner, you can negate all the fat and calories of the meal. I didn't realze it works with vegetables too!

I'm going for BBQ today at lunch. I wanted to get the potato salad and peach cobbler for sides...but maybe I should choose a "real" vegetable for one of the sides...less guilt that way!

hifnec said...

Ooooh - that sounds fantastic!! So -- what did you end up having? never had peach cobbler, and looove potato salad. Yuuumeee!

Needed to get groceries, but had to wait in for a repair man, so I had a big bowl of cereal...O_o

Barbecue...Zzzzap! Ow! Sorry..drooled on keyboard. Shorted out momentarily....

Rowan said...

ROFL ...that was me - only went and put the security letters in the name box. Sigh. Posting with a migraine, but it may be early onset dementia - hey - or lack of barbecue and potato salad. Brain food...gimmeee

bamaborntxbred said...

I'm sorry your brain hurts!! But that was fuuuunnny!

I'm so sorry you've never had peach cobbler! Have you ever had any kind of cobbler? Blackberry is my favorite!

I went to the local German restaurant/grocery for lunch today. I had schnitzel, potato pancakes...etc. I even bought me some Lindt's Lindor Truffles for V-day!! Yummy!

Rowan said...

Yep, you are right - have never had cobbler of any sort. Sounds do schnizel and potato pancakes.

As for truffles...I am more a hard caramel or bouncy wine-gum girl - like to feel some resistance on the teeth. Truffles are a bit squishy and eaten too soon. Then I am sad. I do really love Thornton's Viennese truffles, though. They are the nicest ones I've had - and without the cream overkill factor. I loves my overly sweet things, but am not a huge fan of cream.

Now I'm thinking about a huge plate of shepherd's pie, or lasagne, with big boxy chips, and lots of onion salt. Eat that at an alarming rate! Oh well...I have some sliced chicken in the fridge.

Hey fellow haverers, do you remember the Talosians? They were on Star Trek series one, and could stand together and think an alternative reality for the person in their sights. They would make great diet gurus. They could think you a huge banquet of all your favourite things, when you're only nibbling a boring apple...

Rowan said...

Dr Bob - love the thistle and tree pics, btw. Would love to see a redwood forest. Must feel really primeval. I would be waiting for Richard Attenborough to appear in a zebra striped Land Rover, looking harrassed, and showing me a picture of the escaped velociraptor he was chasing with his dart gun.

Woooonderful trees! Sigh. Thanks for sharing. They got that size through merely absorbing a bit of sunshine and drinking muddy for thought...(locks away biscuit tin)

Dr. Bob said...

Redwood trees are an example of "consider the lilies of the field" taken to really remarkable heights...