Moving again....

... tomorrow we head off before the break of dawn... and in a bit we are heading up the street for some grilled lamb chops and a few drinks on our last evening here.... double-matured 16-year old Lagavulin will be involved as well... it should be excellent...

... much has happened over the past few days... I had lunch with two fine old friends in Brechin yesterday... and the day before we trekked up Glen Clova and had a fine meal at the Climbers Inn at the Clova Hotel.... last night, of course, was the Jazz Night at the Links Hotel.... Niki King and Marcus Ford played some soulful and romantic tunes for us after our meal...

... I had the pleasure of sitting directly in front of Ms. King - about eight feet away - as she sang... and she's a total babe, too.... goodness... beautiful AND talented... and Mr. Ford played one helluva mean guitar... the guy is a magician.... I bought their CD and they signed it for me... and will try to post a sample once I get back stateside...

... what a pleasant few weeks I've had...

... still, the time has come.... and I'll be going offline for the next few days as I will be making my long, slow way back to Tennessee via Amsterdam and New Jersey.... I will be posting more photos once I am settled...

... people, everyone should visit Scotland at least once in their lives.. I had the pleasure of living here for many years... and even with saying that, I am still awed by some of the sights you see around every corner.... do yourselves a favor... visit Scotland..

... anyway, I'm off.. y'all take care... I'll leave you with a photo of Glen Clova that I took two days ago....

glen_clova_small.jpg

... nice view, eh?... they don't call Scotland the "Big Country" for nothing....

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The Gang....

.... I walked home from the pub last night with a huge smile on my face... the wind had died down and the rain from earlier in the evening had stopped, so the mile or so back home went easily... there was hardly any traffic at half-past twelve, and the sidewalk glistened under the streetlamps... hell, Simon and Garfunkel would have probably been moved to write a song about it if they'd been staggering along beside me...

... but meeting up with that old crew of workmates is always a great pleasure... every year we get older and older.. but with them, it never shows... not really... the girls still have the same lovely smiles and the men still sport the mischievous, darting eyes of consummately good-natured scoundrels... one really couldn't ask for a better group to spend an evening with... plus they always end up buying me more drinks that I do for them... which, of course, is always nice....

... off-color jokes, and long, rambling stories were the theme for the night.... adding in lashings of Indian food and free-flowing booze... and the mixture just worked.... the only problem being that it was only one night... only a few hours for us to re-connect, rekindle old friendships, reminisce, and download the data of their lives over the past 18 months.... and as enjoyable as it was, you are always hard-pressed to do that in just a few hours...

.... what really needs to happen, actually, is a giant vacation - en mass - to the wild hinterlands of Tennessee where I live... I really, really need that crew from last night hanging out on my deck for a week or so...

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Pianos...

... the World is full of great truths... and a crystalline example of that hit me today... and it is mainly that one should never, ever underestimate the power of Scotch whisky...

... the sound of the morning papers being dropped through the slot in the front door woke me.... so I pulled on my jeans and wandered through to check the state of the planet according to the local rag.... and what I found emblazoned across the cover of today's Dundee Courier immediately made me want to go back to bed...

... see, it seems that two hikers - members of the local John Muir group - were doing their part for the beautification of the highlands recently... traipsing up trails and wandering across bogs disassembling giant piles of stones known as "cairns"... noble work, I say... good on them...

... but while removing the stones from a particularly large cairn near the summit of Ben Nevis, they discovered an ancient upright piano long-buried.... truly, the mind just boggles...

... ok... firstly, I have climbed Ben Nevis three or four times... and it is quite a slog depending on how much equipment you are carrying... as the highest mountain in Great Britain, it is a fairly challenging walk...

.. but that still begs the question... a piano buried under a pile of rocks just meters from the summit?.... no one has any clue how long ago it was placed there... and no one has even the vaguest idea of why it was placed there...and even more mysterious, no one has the tiniest of inklings WHO might have had cause to drag a piano up there and hide it under tons of boulders.....

.... but you know what?... one thing is certain... I can guaran-DAMN-tee that Scotch whisky was involved...

Update: ... according to The Scotsman, the piano is most likely the remnants of an 226lb organ which Kenny Campbell carried up Ben Nevis in 1971... evidently he played "Scotland the Brave" once he made the hike.... no word on the state of his sobriety during his 1971 sojourn though... but personally, I still think strong drink was heavily involved...

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Breakfast...

.... a hard rain came though last night and the sound of the drops humming on the slate roof saw me to sleep... this morning, with coffee in hand, I wandered through to the conservatory to survey the damage... Duncan was out back in his Wellingtons potting a new rhododendron....

... behind him, many of the spring flowers were a bit worse for wear... their slender stems having been unable to support their blooms as the wind and the water worked them over during the night.. I stood there and watched him for a while.... he's quite a gardener... the garden is fairly small - maybe thirty feet by forty... but the entire border is bursting with healthy, vibrant plants... geraniums, bluebells, tulips, etc... even some ferns and a magnolia....

... the sunlight in the conservatory was actually very warm this morning and I had my breakfast there.... two pieces of wheat toast with butter and pheasant pate... and a huge mug of hot, black coffee... not a bad way to start a morning, really... enjoying a warm morning while watching someone else tend to their plants....

.. the Wife arrived just as I finished the last of my toast, and I followed her outside... there was a nook between the glass-clad conservatory and the privet hedge where the wind couldn't reach... and in such protected places, the warmth of the Sun can be downright boiling...

.... tonight we're scheduled to have dinner at a small hotel out in the countryside of Angus.... The Sauchieburn, it is called... and I haven't been there in ten years or so... once upon a time, they cooked-up an incredible sirloin... I plan to find out tonight if they've lost their touch or not...

.. time is starting to run short now for this vacation.. lunchtimes and evenings are getting booked at a furious pace... and it won't be long before I'm back in Tennessee having nothing more exotic for breakfast than a bowl of Cheerios....

... anyway, the weather is still nice just now... so I'm off to enjoy it... the forecaster is predicting rain again for tonight... and around here you don't waste a chance to enjoy some pretty weather..

.... but I will leave you with a photo I took a few days ago... the Firth of Clyde in a slow drizzle.. enjoy!...

boats_in_rain_small.jpg

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by Eric | Permalink | Bullshit(10) | TrackBack (1)
» basil's blog links with: Picnic 2006-05-17

Poundage...

.... I finally found a warm spot.... so if anyone needs me, well, I'll be here....

... don't wait up, I may be some time...

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A Day of Rest....

... today is a down-day... a day where naps are not only allowed, but compulsory... and after the past three weeks of constant movement I plan on grabbing every opportunity with both hands and hanging on as long as possible....

... the road-trip out to the River Clyde was eye-opening yesterday... we hit all of the ancient piles and wandered down some mossy paths in the rain... the mood was quiet and happy... retracing a family's steps is often that way, I guess... the mind fills with memories of how things once were while the eyes are met with the realization of how things are right now... small changes... big changes... no changes at all... that strange kind of "accepting" does a lot of things to a person... in a flash, they are faced with the misty happiness of childhood and the starkness of getting older.... and it is only the strongest and most content who walk away with a lighter spring in their step.. had it been me, I would have been nostalgic and a bit depressed... but for my two companions, everything was soaked-up just as it should have been... even in the gentle rain of the West Coast....

... anyway, since today I will be doing nothing but reading, eating, sleeping, and drinking, I guess I should keep you rubberneckers entertained with some photos... hmmm.... where to start?.... how about a nice Scottish castle?....

... ok... here is a snapshot I took of Stirling Castle... the William Wallace monument is off to the left just out of frame... not a bad photo, really... especially since it was taken from the window of a moving car (doing 80 miles per hour)...

stirling_small.jpg

... here's one of me and the Man of the House manning the grill a few days ago.... exciting stuff, no?... can't you just see the look of sheer happiness radiating from my cold, damp, frostbitten countenance??... sure, the ribs I cooked kicked... but boys and girls, it was COLD out there....

grilling_small.jpg

... and now I will leave you for a while to gaze upon one of my Scottish Soul Brothers... quite a charming fellow, in his own way.... and one that I feel I share a life-view with.. yep, he and I got along famously.... his name is Ewan and he hangs out in Glenesk...

ewan_small.jpg

.... wow... writing this post has worn me out.... I think I'll go take a nap...

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Childhood...

... during the War Years, my Father-in-Law was evacuated - along with most of the children - from the city of Glasgow... occasional bombings had forced the parents working in the city to shuttle their little ones out into the countryside for safety's sake.. and his family was lucky enough to have a retreat out to the west of Glasgow, and he spent most of the War there... Kilcreggan, it was called...

.... so today we're off in the rain to visit Kilcreggan and bond - on some deep level - with the schoolboy version of The Man of The House...

... the Wife is stoked... as is her Father.. and I must admit that I am kinda curious myself.. and I am still trying to get my mind around the fact that Mothers and Fathers sent their children away to live with relatives while they themselves stayed in the bomb-zone to continue working and producing....

... it is just one of those little things that you never read about in history books... sure, you read of shipyards being bombed.. flats and churches being levelled... but you seldom hear of the thousands of displaced children... or the pain their parents must have felt when sending them off...

.... walking down the street in Montrose the other day, I noticed a beautiful Victorian home... exquisite garden in the front... blazing with colors from blooming tulips and pansies... and the wall surrounding the garden had evenly spaced rusty squares imbedded in it.... when I asked what they were, I was shocked and humbled by the answer...

... there had once been a wrought iron fence that bordered the garden... and when the War came, it was cut down, melted, and used to make Spitfires...

... how absolutely amazing... a true testament, people, right there on that ancient stone wall... a Demonstration of Will, perhaps.... or maybe a window into the desperation and doggedness of a People at War....

... maybe I'm jaded... but I have a feeling we'll never see that kind of dedication again.... ever...

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Falkirk...

... when I was at the Folk Club a few days ago, I had the pleasure of watching Rachel Fox recite a few poems... it was a welcome break from the skirl of the pipes, her voice.... and we all kicked back with our pints and let her do her thing... at the end of her performance, she mentioned that a lot of her original work was up on her website..

... as you can imagine, I immediately tracked down the site once I came home, and I was very happy to discover some great stuff... like this one, for instance....


Diving, by Rachel Fox

Enjoy love
You are worth it
Fall down deep
Don't try to surf it
Swim in the happiness
It's all for you
Soak long and leisurely
Get drenched, wet through

... good stuff... I do so love me some poetry...

...but today is Mother's Day back in the States... and I'd like to toss out my best wishes to all of you Mothers out there... you ladies are the backbone of the family.... married or single, you infuse your children with the marrow of life, love, and home...

... I called mine yesterday and had a nice long chat... and I thanked her for helping to shape me into the man I am today.... one that she sometimes isn't too pleased with, but one who is her own regardless... and that's the way it is with all of us.. we've all disappointed our parents on one level or another... especially our Mommas... but they love us anyway... and that is a good Mother....

... the hardest thing I've ever done so far in my short life is to try to convince my Mother that the bad-parts of me are not her fault.... these gnarled Vines of Iniquity that I cultivated myself - and quite enjoyably, I might add - are all my own.... but all of the strengths that I possess, well, they came from her... all the failings are mine alone... see, Mothers have a tendency to look at their kids and wonder what they did wrong and what they did right... mine did nothing wrong... I'm a better person for having her...

... anyway, I called her yesterday because I'll be gone all day today... the Wife is meeting up with ten or twenty of her old University mates down in Falkirk and I'm being dragged along...

... actually, I'm looking forward to seeing them all again... it's time to strengthen some old ties anew.... and it is a nice day for driving...

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The Party....

....the party was a resounding success... and as with most get-togethers, it was dotted with the occasional gem... the full moon witnessed enough salient moments last night that the sky's stars felt embarrassed to be in the presence of such sparkling times... yes, gentle reader, we had that much fun...

.... some of the high points were that my friend James arrived with his daughter in tow... a stunning lass who, with the help of a few pints of Tennents, actually played "Blackbird" for us.. you missed it, Denny.... it's one thing to watch a man's manly hands pick that song... but when you see the delicate fingers of an 18-year old lassie blithely picking it, it makes it all that much better...

... James, too, stayed well into the night and the Wife and I laughed and talked with him until almost 2am... the boy is a real piece of work.... my old camping/hiking companion.... good times, good times...

.. also worthy of mention were the sausages... they had been impregnated with apricots and leeks prior to finding their way to the grill..... good God, they were awesome... and I cooked those puppies to back-yard perfection.....

...in summation?.... the ribs, the companionship, the shrimp cocktail, the wine, the bajiis, the champagne, the salad, the tales, the singing, the scotch, the laughing, the memories, the cold, the wind, the full moon.... everything was right...

... of course, I missed you guys, that goes without saying... but other than that, the whole evening was stellar...

... really and truly, it's evenings like last night that make hoofing 5,000 miles worthwhile...

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Grilling...

.... well, the honeymoon is over.... the unseasonable weather we've been having has broken, and the skies are overcast and gloomy.... typical Scottish weather is finally here... 45 degrees with a steady fifteen mph wind swirling in from Norway..... and tonight I am slated to be work as short-order cook on the grill outside... pity me and my soon-to-be frostbitten stindeens, people... (thanks, Jimbo... that's an excellent word..) ...

... last night while the Wife was frolicking down in Edinburgh with one of her mates, I grilled a few pork chops to get a feel for the grill... and they were most excellent.. marinated in a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, and crushed black pepper, the In-Laws cleaned their plates with carnivorous abandon....

... tonight'll be different, though.... fifteen Scots will be treated to pork ribs, cheese burgers, smoked sausages, and my home-style baked beans...it should be very interesting.... but someone should probably alert Scottish Parliament, I suppose... just to let them know that a new natural gas deposit is about to be discovered slightly inland from the Montrose basin.. heh heh....

... I don't know what time the missus got home last night from "Mamma Mia!", but she was wiped out this morning when I woke... I guess listening to Abba music all evening just sucks the life right out of you... God knows it would suck the life right out of ME..

... anyway, I'm off to the butcher's shop in a bit... I called yesterday and ordered the ribs and burgers, and all is well.... it's nice to be able to order your meat direct from a real butcher instead of just grazing across row after row of pre-packaged cellophane-covered crap.... it just seems so much more civilized to have your order hand-wrapped and waiting for you as you pull to the curb....

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The Acidbrother..

.... in all the excitement of pulling weeds, baking myself in the Sun, curry-eating, and wine drinking, I almost forgot to talk about an extremely interesting fellow I met a few days ago...

... see, during my recent visit to the Folk Club, I has the pleasure of meeting Acidman's long lost Scottish brother.... and I have to admit, I was surprised that Rob's Kentucky Daddy had made it across the pond so long ago... but the proof is undeniable...

... anyway, here he is in all his glory... in the first one he is finger-picking and singing a wonderful Irish tune.... in the second snapshot, he is squeezing the bellows of the pipes along to a soulful rendition of "Wild Mountain Thyme"...

acidman_guitar_small.jpg

.... and here is the "pipe-squeezing" shot...

acidman_pipes_small.jpg

... I tried to ask him about his parentage after the concert but he got all burly...so I let it drop.... tis always better to err on the side of caution when travelling in a foreign land, people.... trust me..

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by Eric | Permalink | Bullshit(9) | TrackBack (1)
» Gut Rumbles links with: long lost brother

Gardener at rest...

... behold today's exertion, rubberneckers....

in_the_garden_small.jpg

... I'm telling you, it ain't for the faint of heart... it's a jungle out there, people... and although I do look quite relaxed, I can assure you that my heart is absolutely pounding from all the physical activity I'd just endured....

... hey, I almost broke a sweat!... over here in the Olde Country, you really have to earn those gin and tonics... they tell me that us "Colonials" have it way too easy...

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May 9th...

... yesterday started strangely and warbled around for hours, and then ended with me in a twisted pile of tiredness.... but it was still good...

.... we're slated to have friends over on Friday for a grill-fest, and I have been drafted as head chef... so I kicked around the lawn in the afternoon keeping myself occupied with getting it in shape for the arrival of our company... Duncan mowed and I edged all the sidewalks and swept the drive.... the Sun was shining beautifully all day and I did most of the work in my short sleeves.... not at all what I was expecting before leaving, I tell you... the weather here at this time of year is normally quite cold.... so this week has been a very pleasant surprise...

.... taking a break from my lawnboy duties, I wandered up Northesk Road and into town around noon... filled baguettes from "Candy's Sandwich Shop" were on the menu for lunch and I drifted back home with three big ones... funnily enough, those sandwiches are always one of the high points of our visit... they do some Cajun chicken that is out of this world...

... the afternoon was spent in the sun-filled back lawn sipping wine and reading... an ancient tome of Rudyard Kipling's poems had been given to me in St. Andrews the other by my father in law, and I leafed through it while the wine soaked in...

... for dinner we ordered a carryout from the local Chinese eatery...

... music filled the evening and night as we watched a traditional Scottish band do their thing... reels, waltzes, old Rabbie Burns tunes, you name it... a piper, a fiddler, a guitarist, and a pianist... Back Of The Moon, they were called.... the Wife bought a CD and the band happily autographed it for her...

... but today is a down-day.... nothing planned... no place to be... I think I'm going to enjoy it....

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More on Food...

... Scotland is a wily and mysterious land... full of surprise and enigma... like a few days ago when I happened to spy a new menu item at the local chippie...

... right there on the board, snugly tucked between deep-fried haggis and macaroni pies, lay a tempting curiosity... a chilli-cheese hotdog...

.. well, I could not resist...

... but looking back, I probably should have...

... it arrived looking harmless enough... eight inches of non-descript wiener.. chilli beans and ground beef.. shredded cheddar.... it actually looked like a real hotdog...

... but upon tasting it, my buds sparked a mini-rebellion.. quelling them with lashings of cider, I forced them onwards towards the next bite... and the next.. and the next... until finally my Scottish hotdog odyssey was complete...

... I always find it amazing how something can look normal and yet be totally whacked once tasted... it is the ultimate switch and bait routine, and it leaves your tongue in a lurch... like that green ketchup that Burger King tried a while back...

.... anyway, I have spent considerable time mulling over the specifics of texture, taste, and temperature.... and most recently - the after effects - and I am at a total loss for words....

... and try as I might, I can't do the chippie's hotdog justice... it wasn't bad, per se... it was just unlike any other hotdog ever conceived..

.... but it has made me realize one thing... while chilli seems like a simple thing, never underestimate the millions of ways it can be screwed up... it's not just beans, tomato, beef, and chilli powder... no, no... it is much more than that... and the Scots just can't hang....

... see, the Scots are an incredible bunch... resilient, strong, and cunning... inventive, persistent, and adventurous.. and they have had a hand in creating everything from tarmac to radar.... but take it from me, as your humble host, they can't cook chilli for shit...

... in other news, my pasty face is sunburned to a crisp.... sitting in the garden sipping wine does not suit me at all.... I am a deck guy... shade trees, humidity, and gin... that's my bag... hanging in a windswept patch of grass that is protected from the chilly wind by a tall stone wall....well, it provides one an incorrect sense of being protected.... and getting fried by the Sun while wearing a sweater is just plain wrong....

... anyway, I'm off to listen to some folk music.... y'all have a good night....

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Pink Wine..

... the trip down to Dundee yesterday ended with us crossing the Tay Bridge into Fife.... from there we followed the coast road through Leuchars and on down to St. Andrews.. the wind was up but it was still a mild day....

... I took quite a few photos of the various foreign golfers puttering around before finding a nice warm nook for a pint or two.. so after the familial unit finished wandering the ancient town, we all met up at The Seafood Restaurant for a incredible meal...

.... I happily supped upon chicken liver parfait with apple jelly, foie gras and parma ham boudin, pan-seared fillet of halibut seafood and pancetta chowder, braised pak choi Grilled, and a nice pink wine to wash it all down... domaine de Montrose something-or-other, I think... they all thought it quite funny that I was drinking pink wine... they even took a photo as proof... but in my defense, it was not I who chose the wine from the list..

... anyway, this evening I am off to the Links Hotel in Montrose to partake of their monthly Folk Music night... as usual, I'll keep you hammerheads informed as to my whereabouts just in case I don't return.... I never know when I'll need one of you guys to come to my rescue...

... so far though, well, I'm managing alright...

.. here's a shot of the North Sea... I was standing on the lawn of the St. Andrews Club House looking vaguely northwards towards RAF Leuchars...

north_sea_small.jpg

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Discovery...

... today I am off to Dundee to prowl... after all, Dundee is sometimes called the"City of Discovery"... so I guess we'll see about that... oh, and if I discover anything important, I'll sure to fill y'all in...

... anyway, here are twa' photos I took a few days ago...

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... the River Dee having a quiet moment just above Braemar....

cairngorm_small.jpg

... the River Dee again with the mighty Cairngorms rising up behind....

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Lost....

... this afternoon I was greeted by a smiling French chef named Frank... he was carving the flesh off of the slowly cooked haunches of three different species of beast when I approached him.... pork, beef, and lamb... and having cooked the flesh himself, his smile was well-grounded in the knowledge of how delicious the cutlets would be once I had arrived back at my table...

... and he was right, you know... the meat simply fell from the bone at a touch of my fork.. it was cooked in such a way that even an aged Grandmother who had accidentally left her dentures on the bathroom sink at home in the excitement of being told she was going out on the town for dinner would be able to gnaw joyously without ever damaging her gums....it was just that damn tender...

... indeed, any meat-loving human - from a babe-in-arms to a wizened senior citizen - would have thoroughly enjoyed the product of his hours in the kitchen... but I digress...

... as I was dipping my fragrant slice of lamb into a small pool of mint sauce, it suddenly came to me... the memory of the wild boar pate I had eaten a few days ago... and as I sat there with folded linen napkin draped gracefully in my lap, fork poised, and a pint of ale at the ready, I was hit by a deep and desperate sadness...

... where have lost ourselves, children?... at what point on the Great Trail of Life did we take the wrong turn at the crossroads and find ourselves suddenly faced with a chilled plate of wild boar pate?... the mind truly boggles...

... lookit.... once upon a time, the boar was the mightiest beast in the forest.. gruff and dangerous... mean and powerful... and only hunted by the bravest of the brave... men who, in days long ago, would gird themselves about the loins with leather plates and arm themselves with a pike... with the sole intent of going mano e porcino with a thousand-pounds of pissed-off hog... maybe to prove their courage... maybe to win the heart of a Lady... or maybe just because they were hungry.... but either way, they dove into the deep-end of reality....

... it's enough to crush one's soul, I tell you.... there I sat in a glorious valley between the Grampians and the Cairngorms eating pureed wild boar that had been delicately spread across a peppercorn cracker...I should have been ashamed of myself, actually... but I wasn't... well, not really...ok, maybe just a little bit.... I mean, c'mon.. wild boar is not meant to be ground into a paste... it's meant to be grilled in hand-sized hunks over an open campfire while the hunters compare tusk-wounds....


... and today as I dug into the lamb and the beef, and the roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables, I did feel a twinge of guilt.. but, fearless intrepid that I am, I persevered.... I sat back in my chair and took a long draught out of my 80 shilling beer... and laughed at the absurdity of it all... and then, of course, I finished my meal...

... it does just seem so very wrong though... moleskin trousers, tab-collared button-up shirts, and completely emasculated Wild Beasts... on lots and lots of levels...

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May 3rd...

... where to start.. where to start... on the first leg of the trip, the Wife and I sidled into Gallagher's Steak House at the Newark Airport for lunch before jumping the pond... 14$ for a sandwich and worth every dime... so one club sandwich and 3 double Macallans later, I boarded the jet...

... saw an interesting fellow at the airport, though... a plain looking guy in a floppy hat and designer jeans.. you know, middle-aged bald guys should not wear hip-huggers... just a thought... but that is another story all together... what I really want to bring up is the blonde trophy-wife who was hanging on his every word... heh... who says money can't buy happiness?!... the guy resembled Gilligan almost completely... and here was this tanned chick dripping in gold jewelry (giving everyone a nice shot of her pink thong) gazing doe-eyed alternately between Gilligan's smiling face and his oyster shell Rolex...

... the Wife did laugh...

... landing in Amsterdam saw our flight late... and we nearly missed our connection to Aberdeen... the peeps at the gate decided that we were going to miss the departure and called for our luggage to be disembarked... but of course we did actually make the connection.... so this resulted in us arriving in Aberdeen sans luggage... other than that, the trip over went very well..

... I would like to point out that the sight of Amsterdam falling away in the distance as we departed Schipol was amazing... the fields surrounding the metropolis resembled a patchwork quilt.... reds, blues, purples, yellows, oranges, and whites.. dotted everywhere were acre after acre of blooming flowers.... the Sun was just coming up and the whole scene was incredibly beautiful... of course, I hadn't gotten a wink of sleep all the way across the Atlantic, so my mind was grasping for anything to focus on... so take that with a grain of salt.. I might have been a bit biased....

... the In-laws picked us up and the drive out to Craigendarroch was filled with laughter and homecoming... the Wife was definitely in her element as the Mercedes sped along the curves of the River Dee... me?.. I could hardly keep my eyes open...

... after arriving, we were given a tray of cheese, crackers, and wild boar pate to nibble on until we had regained our strength from travelling... oh, and Merlot...lots and lots of Merlot..

.... anyway, that is enough for now... I'll give you the next installment shortly... but until then, I will leave you with a photo of yours truly preparing to storm Crathes Castle the next morning... fearsome, no?... it was the jetlag, I promise.... you can tell by the bags under my eyes... I'm not usually a violent person..

crathies_small.jpg

... heh....

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