Friday, October 5, 2012

Haggis, 'nips, and 'tatties

DAY THREE - 4/29/12

Ten hours. Ten hours of silent, deep sleep. Did I move during the night? Doubtful. Did I hear a single sound inside or outside during the night? Not a peep. I’ve never heard such silence. You can’t get quiet like that in Plano, TX. I was sure I’d wake up early or in the middle of the night, but I woke up to Lora giving me my wake-up call at 8:50am.

Now, a little word about the house. It is a gorgeous home, as I’d mentioned. One disadvantage is the bone-chilling cold. Yes, they have a heater in each room, towel warmers, and electric blankets, but when I got out of bed….brrr! After fiddling with an unfamiliar shower set-up, I hopped in, enjoyed the very warm water, and scampered about to get dressed and warm again.

After getting ready, I headed downstairs and grabbed a quick breakfast: wheat krispies with blueberries. Ready for the days’ adventure, we headed out to St. Andrews. About an hour from Charleston Steading, we followed winding paths and passed fields of rape seed, rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, and quaint country towns. On the way, we stopped for a few pictures in the Kingdom of Falkland (Falkland Palace and a cute little cottage). Then we headed on to St. Andrews. As we rounded the corner into the town, we saw hundreds of students playing football (i.e. American soccer). Graham drove us through the town, pointing out university department buildings and eventually pulling into a parking spot so that we could get out and walk around. Brrr! They warned me it would be cold because St. Andrews is close to the North Sea and the wind would blow up off the sea, but it was bitter cold! Lora suggested wearing my hat and taking ear muffs. Boy, was she right! First, we made a mandatory Starbucks stop to pick up some warm drinks. I got a delicious vanilla rooibos tea – perfect for warming me up to spend the morning/afternoon outside.

We then walked to the golf course. Apparently the 18th hole is a pretty big deal, so Graham took a picture of me and Lora in front of it. Next, he took some pictures of me on a small bridge that is in the middle of the course – the most famous bridge in golf. Since there were no buildings to block the wind, it was one of the coldest points of the day, but worth the shot! Moving on, we walked the streets, taking shots of unique apartments, buildings, and homes. After working up some empty stomachs, we stopped in a small restaurant called Little Italy. Thankful for warmth and cover from the wind, we dined on minestrone soup, garlic bread, pizza, and grilled chicken.
Bridge near the 18th hole at St Andrew's golf course
For our last stop of the trip, we went to St. Andrew’s Cathedral. I was expecting an indoor visit with informational bulletins and prayer vigils. No, St. Andrew’s Cathedral is in ruins. After burning in a fire, the ruins that stand are a crude representation of the once beautiful edifice. Needless to say, the wind whipped around the nooks and crannies with such cruelty that we took a few “snaps” (the way the Scottish refer to taking pictures) and hurried into the visitor’s center. We took cover for half an hour or so, and then braved the weather to make it back to the car.
Ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral
Lora and Graham said it is rare for St. Andrews to have weather much warmer than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which would only take place in July or August. All in all, we went on a relatively good day, seeing as how we didn’t experience any rain. On the ride home, I was again lulled to sleep, still adjusting to the time difference and jet lag. Upon arriving, I decided it was time to take a jog – get away a bit for some alone time. My route consisted of the front drive of the house – to and from the railroad tracks. It was chilly, but the sun had been out at Charleston Steading all day, so it was a bit warmer than St. Andrews. After a vigorous jog, I showered and came downstairs to sit with Lora while Graham napped. With Fox News (Lora’s favorite) on tv, we both caught up on email.

For dinner, Lora fixed a Scottish classic: haggis, nips, and tatties (haggis, turnips, and potatoes). Although I was suspicious, the meal was decent. She formed the ground haggis into meatballs about the size you would see in a bowl of pasta and pan fried them with a breadcrumb coating. The mashed potatoes were plain, and the turnips had been mashed and mixed with butter, ginger, salt, and pepper. It was a good comfort meal on a cold, windy day.

By the time dinner was over, it was 9:00pm, and I headed up to bed after nibbling on a lemon cookie. Time to hop into bed with my electric blanket, crank out some emails, and enjoy another nice, quiet, long night’s sleep.

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