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Rain Shame

The Scottish are a bit like Joe DiMaggio – they don’t get it. The great Yankee Clipper reportedly failed to comprehend the Simon and Garfunkel line “where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” and his own status as a national icon. “I’m still here,” Jolting Joe protested. “Haven’t they heard of Mr. Coffee?

The passport official at Edinburgh Airport recommends the whitewater rafting up north. “It’s nothin’ like ye’ve got in America .. but it’ll git yer blood pumpin’..” But it isn’t Colorado we’re after, replete with ball cap wearing vacationers fresh from a spending splurge at The North Face and anxious to stave off increasing signals that middle age is taking hold. It’s the rolling hills of lush green. The fresh air. The ample helpings of mince and tatties that Oor Wullie dug into while Fat Boab waited patiently outside the hoose, in the shed. (OK – that last one may apply only to me.)

And the weather. Don’t get these people started on the weather. “Ach, I cannae believe it’s been rainin’ since ye got here – we haven’t seen one wet day fer all of May ..” It’s a documented fact that most of the UK (and particularly the English) regard Americans as a thick lot of uncultured morons. But there’s a limit to what even we will swallow. If it never rains here, why is everything greener than a Boston bar when the Celtics are playing? Why does the satellite shot on the news have a permanent dotted outline where the country is supposed to be? Why is that entire dining room set making its way down the River Tay? But still they persist, as if the subject of weather is akin to a misguided cousin prone to taking in high school girls lacrosse games and about whom the family doesn’t speak. Let it go – we’re not that stupid. We knew where we were going and don’t suspect a misprint on our tickets to Scottsdale.

The sign posted outside Saint John’s Shopping Centre on the High Street in Perth boasts “Now open late nights Wednesday until seven.” When do these people sleep? Perhaps it’s our long established independence from England that they wish to emulate. Indeed, the Scottish Nationalists seek secession from the UK, sighting rights to ample North Sea oil supplies as sufficient means. But I tend to place some value in the opinion of long time Perth resident and former City Planner Denis Munro, and his reticence regarding the matter. His concerns over who would fund the legions of his dole-seeking countrymen are well-founded, and a stroll through town shortly after the pubs close is enough to give one pause for thought. That’s a lot of North Sea oil, indeed.

There isn’t any oil, as far as I know, in the hills east of Pitlochry, just north of Perth and south of the Highlands. There is, however, the smallest distillery in Scotland – Edradour – where they produce a fine, handcrafted single malt whisky. There’s an older Scottish gentleman with white beard and kilt who will show you the facilities and offer a complimentary dram. And if you’ve hiked the two and a half miles up from town and take the trail back down, there’s an expanse of farm land and mountains in the distance for which no words could do apt justice and no inclement weather could spoil. Scotland needs no apologies. The place speaks for itself.

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One Comment

  1. Denis Munro wrote:

    Another hour, another year. When I saw it I remembered the “late nights” remark. At least you spared us the embarrassment of Jean Rattray !

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

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