My husband is a traveling man. He spends quite a bit of time in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. He told me over and over that I’d love Edinburgh. I finally met him there a couple years ago, and he was right. I love all of Scotland, from Edinburgh to the Highlands to Gretna Green. We rented a car and drove around wonderful one-lane roads and encountered lots and lots of sheep. There are some forty varieties of sheep in Scotland. I think we must have seen them all.
It was a huge culture shock to come back to L.A., with its frantic freeways and nasty-tempered drivers. No sheep, however. Of the ovine variety, at any rate.
In Gretna Green we ended up being witnesses for someone’s wedding. I don’t remember their names now, but the poor woman was on crutches; the day before the ceremony was to take place she’d broken her foot.
Medieval Edinburgh still exists. It’s called the Old Town.
When I was growing up in rural Pennsylvania, the nearest big city of note was New York. When I finally got to New York, many many years later, I looked around and said, ‘Nobody told me it was old.’ I don’t know what I expected, a big modern city probably, but I also fell in love with the oldness of New York.
Regency London, Revolutionary Paris, the wonderful decay of Venice (I have a fantasy about seeing Venice without any tourists around) — there’s something about the oldness of certain places that gives me goosebumps.
Machu Picchu in Peru. I was there on a New Year’s Eve and stayed overnight. The tourist buses left and most of the tourists also and it was quite wonderfully eerie.
I’m seeing a theme here. Give me the old places without people in them and I’d be happy as a pig wallowing in the mud. Ah, pigs. I’m harking back to my farm roots.
I’ve never been fond of pigs. There was an extremely nasty-tempered sow on the farm when I was growing up. Years later I went back to visit the place and the new owner, thinking he was doing me a wonderfully evocative-of-childhood favor no doubt, took me to see his piglets. Evocative, it was. Wonderful, it was not.
I dislike pigs so much that it became a joke at our house. My husband kept giving me stuffed pigs, china pigs, etc., until our friends decided that we were dotty about the wretched beasts and started contributing. Somewhere stuffed away in one of the sheds in the back of the yard is a collection of pig paraphenalia.
I’m not all that fond of cows, either. There was a one-horned beastie that chased me every time I set food into the field. I’d make a mad dash to the outhouse (fortunately no longer in use at that point) and wait for it to stop lurking, then make another dash to the barn. And vice versa.
I’m sure the poor thing didn’t spend its entire life just waiting to torment me, but in memory it seems that way.
There are in the Scottish Highlands a wonderful type of small shaggy cow known locally as ‘wee coos’, an ancient breed with long outward spreading horns and long wavy pelts colored black, brindled, red, yellow, or dun. The critters are so absurd-looking that one just has to smile.
I also had the opportunity to tromp around old castle ruins in Scotland. I enjoyed every minute of that trip.
Now my husband tells me I’ll love Dublin. I’m sure he’s right. And so we’re off adventuring. There won’t be any new posts for a couple weeks.
Here are some of my ferals. From left to right we have: Patches, T2 (Tigger Two), Nose, Peaches, and BB.
I have of course made arrangements to have them fed along with the indoor cats while I’m away. And speaking of indoor cats–
Mo and Andy say hello.