Exploring the UK: Scotland

Hello, I’m back!  If you like, you can imagine me waving madly to you.  It’s an enthusiastic wave, while still maintaining an element of cool.

One or two of you might recall that we went to Scotland over Easter.  We loved every minute.  Scotland is just fantastic and we are huge fans. We saw and did so much that I could easily fill this blog up with posts about the place.

Instead of doing that, and I do reserve my right to write more posts about it in the near future, here is my list of “Top 5 Things NOT to do in Scotland.”

1. Be English
Sorry people of England, but come on.  It should come as no surprise that a Scot is unlikely to share their last Rolo with you.

Because of our son’s accent, people would think we were English at first – and perfectly pleasant they were about it too.  But nine times out of ten upon learning we are an Australian family living in London, they weren’t shy about sharing what they think of England and the English in general. It wasn’t very complimentary.

But don’t be upset.  I think you’re lovely.

2.  Leave your warm coat in London
I thought I was packing for a holiday in SPRING.  You know Spring?  When the flowers come out and it’s warmish?  I thought I’d be wearing long sleeve t-shirts.  I packed sunscreen, a hat and my sunnies.   The week before we went Scotland sweltered in record-breaking temperatures of twenty two degrees. Well, guess what? It was frigging freezing. And wet. I ended up buying wellies and a raincoat, which I am gloriously modelling in this quality holiday snap:

We saw horizontal rain and snow. Even so, I barely saw an umbrella (except mine) and I couldn’t get over seeing people wearing t-shirts in freezing temperatures – often buying ice-cream. Impressive.

3. Dislike Robert Burns
Robert Burns is the Scottish poet who wrote Auld Lang Syne. “Dislike” is a strong word, I think I’m more indifferent to him.

My issue with Robert Burns stems from many years ago, when I was on an overnight bus from London to Glasgow – which I would never, ever recommend except if I didn’t like you. I sat next to a man who was appalled I knew so little about him and felt it his duty to rectify this by reciting the very long Burns poem about a haggis. I caught the word “pudding” and not much else. I could feel myself going a bit mad. In an attempt to signal to him that I was more interested in sleep than haggis poetry, I put my headphones on with a foreigner’s apologetic smile. He pulled out one headphone and continued with his poem, spitting it right into my ear. Urgh.

Robert Burns is unavoidable on a visit to Scotland. There are statues and pictures of him everywhere.  Buildings bear plaques commemorating where he slept one night / drank one drink / glanced in the general direction / nearly entered but decided to keep walking. Speaking of plaques, I love this:

4. Diss William Wallace
Ooh it was tempting to ask a local if the Wallace Monument was built in honour of Mel Gibson. But I didn’t. But wouldn’t that be fun? Rather like going to New Zealand and commenting that it’s much greener than the rest of Australia.

5. Go on a Health Kick
I took my jogging gear to Scotland where it languished in my suitcase. I ate chips, drank beer, more chips, more beer, had some bacon, more bacon, bit more bacon… and now I cannot find my waist. Personally, it’s not the kind of place where you crave a garden salad. The healthiest thing I ate was coleslaw, and it being Easter meant everything was washed down with a chocolate egg chaser. I loved it but I’m paying for it now.

So there you have it, my list of things not to do in Scotland.  Any to add?    


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