27.10.2016 - 30.10.2016 11 °C
Our adventures in Scotland continued on Thursday with a wee trip down to Dunfermline. After enjoying the Popmaster quiz on BBC2 and escaping the clutches of a particularly vicious Tesco carpark, we made it to Jim and Hazel's pace. They took us out for a lovely lunch at the Red Lion, where the food was great and the bar was warm and cosy. But it was when I decided to use the facilities I heard a phrase I had never heard before - "whatever you do, don't lift the kilt!" Feeling confused, I headed to the door marked 'Ladies', and once inside I was confronted by a painting of a young man drinking what I could only assume was Irn-Bru, and wearing a kilt. Because Scotland.
We went for a stroll around Culross and up to the abbey, which allowed us to walk off lunch and allowed Jim to practise his tour guide skills. Everyone was a winner. We headed for home, loaded up with some home brew to sample. Jude was happy to see us return, and greeted us with her slightly sinister smile before indulging us in a game of 'keepings off' in the front yard.
We had a quiet Friday, and a spooky Saturday, with all the shopkeepers of Kirriemuir dressed in their Halloween best. There was green fairy floss on offer in the town centre but we opted to buy less Halloween-y but probably more delicious chocolate truffles instead. We also saw posters advertising a ceilidh, and managed to get tickets set aside by asking the lady who ran the card shop who called her daughter who got her sister to reserve the tickets for us. We walked in the door and Simon did his usual greeting of "G'day", and that was it - "you must be Simon and Alison." I guess in a town the size of Kirriemuir, everyone knows everyone else and an Australian accent stands out like the proverbial.
So in we went, and found a table with two spare seats, and then Simon turned on his Aussie charm and next minute we were being offered a tour of our new best friends' farm and free accommodation for a week if we wanted it. The whole experience was augmented by the fact that Graeme bore a rather striking resemblance to Malcolm Turnbull - but with a Scottish accent, of course. Our new besties made sure we knew how to join in all the ceilidh dances - but with our years of experience back in Oz, I like to think that our dancing skills didn't stick out anywhere near as much as our accents. The band ('Reel of Fortune' - nicely punned, boys) were amazing, and made it seem just as natural to be dancing to Born to be Wild and Take on Me as Rakes of Mallow or Soldier's Joy. And playing the Countdown music while waiting for enough couples to take the floor was brilliant!
At intermission, we were served stovies with oatcakes and clootie dumplings. Kind of like smushed up potato bake with mince, and a less fruity Christmas pudding. I was a big fan of stovies - not such a fan of the clootie, but I know that I have to try something ten times before I can decide I don't like it. With any luck, I won't have nine more clootie opportunities to worry about. Anyway, the supper restored all our energy levels and then the band returned to the stage to start the second half of the evening's shenanigans - but not before they felt the need to publicly announce the Presence of Australians in the building. So that's what it's like to be famous, eh?
Another set of dances followed, and the night finished with a fairly wild Orcadian Strip the Willow - who knew there were different types?? We were home in time to see the clock tick over to midnight, which meant it became the 30th October and therefore our sixth wedding anniversary. It seemed only fitting to start our anniversary with sore feet and big smiles - pretty much how things had finished up at the Theatre Royal back in 2010. Naw.
Once we'd had some sleep, we were ready to face the Sunday properly. We discovered that the traditional gifts for six years of marriage were iron and sugar - suddenly the can of Irn-Bru on the table between us looked a whole lot more romantic. Present in a can. Well done Scotland. Ninking gifts can actually be quite the challenge - Simon opted for a charity shop DVD wrapped in receipts (!), while the best I could do was a handy reference sheet of Italian grammar rules in preparation for our trip to Sicily next month. Nothing says 'I love you' like a list of pronouns...