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Published: August 29th 2006
This arty effort was taken during our trip up to Gamrie (in Aberdeenshire) on our visit to my parents little green oasis among the barley fields. Crovie (pronounced Crivie - these Aberdeen folk are right queer) is a tiny fishing village that is now made up almost entirely of holiday homes.
Coming back to Scotland, I always find (regardless of the fact that I’ve not actually missed the place) that I end up with a particular song stuck in my head - “Caledonia”. The words seem to awake the dormant Highlander in me and I find myself pressed up against the window of the bus/train/plane yearning to be among the heathered hills and rugged mountains. The line that really gets me is “Caledonia’s calling me and now I’m coming home."
For years I have assumed from the gravelly voice I always heard it sung in that the song was by Rod Stewart. And assuming this I developed a new found respect for the man. In fact it turns out the song’s by a Dougie Mclean so I’m pleased to be able to re-ignite my dislike for Scotland’s favourite tight tartan trousered blonde. When I think of all the people I told about this Rod Stewart song I hear playing in my head when I return to Scotland, it scares me to imagine the impression I left. There must be scores of folk in Jersey wondering what Scotland’s got that makes a man sitting on the bus/plane/train sing “Do ya think I’m
The Devil's Staircase is at the start of the path from Glencoe to Kinlochleven. The photo shows us all at the start cursing our luck that there was no devils escalator.
sexy” or “Hot Legs”.
Six months away seems like a long time when you say it out loud, but to be honest it seems like we’ve come back from a two week holiday. There’s always a big expectation that something dramatic will have happened while you were away. Needless to say, not much has changed... that said...
Never has a fire been so warming as the one that tore a hole in Fort William High Street where McTavish’s Kitchens used to be. In one puff of smoke, Fort Williams “classic” night out was reduced to rubble and hazy memories. Vikki in particular seemed thoughtful about the empty space that used to be her stomping ground. “Perhaps a nice square or something”, was her suggestion for the site. For a fleeting moment I thought she might say memorial garden. Either way, the space looks good, just being empty. It brings some much needed space and greenery to the High Street. Unfortunately, Fort William town planners don’t have the creative touch that those flames brought to the town and I rather fear that on our return we will discover yet another carbuncle where once McT’s stood. But I don’t want
Mountains & Heather
(Can anyone hear Rod Stewart?)
to get started on Fort William’s town planning - especially in light of the new Argos store they’ve just erected. Believe me, I could waffle for hours about that…
We spent a week in Edinburgh seeing friends and trying to work out if we can afford to go to any festival shows. The Edinburgh Festival has lost much of its appeal for me. There aren’t many shows you can go to for less than a tenner and to be honest, most of the stuff they pack the place with is pants. The great thing about the old days (here we go with the Grandad routine) was that you could go and see a few of the lesser known shows without spending a fortune. You’d see some rubbish, but there’d always be a gem in there somewhere. You just can’t afford to risk seeing something crappy these days because it’d blow your budget for the week. But before you lose interest in me just being a miserably git, moaning about how things aren’t like they used to be (bloody Argos! Bloody festival! - bah humbug!) I still love the atmosphere of the festival and, to be honest, there is nowhere
The Road to Kinlochleven
I was told to delete this one. But I didn't and I'll probably pay for it in some way or another...
in the world I’d rather be during the month of August than Auld Reekie.
By the way, on the subject of Auld Reekie, if you do find yourself at a loose end on a rainy day with a fiver burning a hole in your pocket, you could do a lot worse than visit the oldest museum in Scotland - the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons on South Clerk Street. Edinburgh’s history seems to have been stitched together by famous surgeons, body snatchers and, of all things, grotesque dental instruments. Do not go into the Pathology department if you are in the slightest bit squeamish (and definitely don’t go before lunch). Limbs, growths, organs and deformities in jars is not to everyone’s taste, but I found it oddly fascinating.
On the subject of pieces of meat not being to everyone’s taste, we had a family barbeque in Fort William sort of a wedding related get together which went from us having the idea of getting the folks together and just throwing a couple of sausages on the barbie to a rather deluxe every taste catered for affair. You’d think organising a barbeque for mid August would be
a fairly safe bet weather-wise but clearly I’ve been away from Fort William for too long and had forgotten the evil wrath of the west coast rain. The day dawned bright but by mid afternoon we had decided to relocate the cooking apparatus to the garage and christened it Bob's BBQ Shak. I was chef for the day and despite several scares with white hot ash being blown into a garage full of flammable chemicals and boxes of dry newspaper there was no need for an insurance claim this time. Everyone seemed to have a good time and I’d like to thank Joan for her sterling efforts in organising the whole schaboodle (and particularly for the Lamb Kofta’s which were the runaway star of the show!). Thanks to Kerr for suggesting that we tell the insurance man the car was in the garage; to Philip for his renditions of Glasgow drinking songs that no-one (not even the Glaswegians) had heard; to my Mum for taking some of the finest photographs you’ll never see (“Mum, that’s the off button”) and to everyone else that made it. Cheers.
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