Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Scottish Adventure

A first ever visit to Scotland last weekend for a friend's wedding. The wedding was on in Kelso but rather then do the sensible thing and fly to Edinburgh, I decided to get a ferry from Larne to Stranraer and drive across the bottom of Scotland. That way I could get a taste of the country before I fell into the maelstrom of the wedding.

This was an adventure that I would only recommend to those who are not in a hurry. I knew when I saw the sign telling me to beware of peacocks outside Moffat that this was no main artery. The road was single lane most of the way and progress was slow. When I did pick up speed near Selkirk I hit a very plump pheasant and did serious damage to my front bumper. The pheasant didn't fare much better.

So I limped into St. Boswell's (near Kelso) in the early evening and set up camp in the very elegant Dryburgh Abbey - near the site of an old Cistercian Abbey destroyed during the Reformation. Walter Scott is buried there as is that old fraud Sir Douglas Haig - buried under a grave stone identical to those that mark the graves of the British dead around Ypres. His sense of fellow feeling with his troops came a bit late one felt.

And so to the wedding. How poignant these events are. The bustle, the optimism, the ridiculous outfits. Everyone acting. Some quietly seething. It's a woman's trip I suppose. The wrangle for a ring over. Most will never look as well again - and probably don't care.

We were handsomely catered for and well entertained. Good quality champagne on tap and substantial canapes before the main meal. The speeches were a mixed blessing. The father of the bride showed a lack of warmth bordering on the abusive; the best man lacked wit, the sine qua non of being a best man I feel, the groom and bridesmaid rescued the day by at least showing some feeling for the bride on her special day.

And then the dancing; followed by the Elvis impersonator; and then of course the flirting; and bless my soul the fight (a non-event that); and so to bed.