June 22-25 Scotland

Sunday, June 22
I took a cab to meet Angela and Josiah on Princes Street for shopping this morning, because I missed the bus and she wanted to meet soon.

We walked up and down Princes Street, also went on Rose (which I had read had good shopping), and went to the St. James Shopping Centre where John Lewis is.

I bought a dressy skirt at H&M today. Angela tried on pants and a top, but didn’t buy anything.

She recommended we go in Primart and we both looked for shoes there. They are very cheap and I need to take Ron there with me and buy shoes. I tried on boots, but they weren’t particularly comfortable. The one pair that were already had scuff marks, so I didn’t buy them.

Jon met us at Jon Lewis and we went to Frankie & Benny’s for a late lunch. (We finished eating around 3.) I had pasta with cream sauce that was very good. Angela said it is one of her favorite places to eat.

After that Angela and I went to the National Scottish Gallery and looked around both the European collection—very nice—and the Scottish collection. I found several paintings I was intrigued by. I wanted most particularly to see the Scottish paintings, since I don’t know any painters except Raeburn, and that only because of Sir Walter Scott and the Royal Society of Edinburgh talk. The gallery did have several Raeburns, including a Scott. They also had two busts of Scott.

I was walking back to the hotel with Angela and she said to get to my bus and I went home.

I texted Ron on the way and asked if he wanted to go to dinner. He called the Granary, but the first reservations were for 8:30. So we went back to the Victorian Nobles Bar. They made me a pork chop without any of my allergy things and gave it to me with polenta chips. I ate about half. I also had ordered a four-spice pork rillette, which it turns out is a ground/formed meat that looked disgusting but tasted okay on their wonderful sourdough bread. I had Thistley cider again and I really think that filled me up.

I wore my wedges, which smush my left toes, and my new skirt. I thought it looked nice. Ron said it did, too.

When Ron and I were out walking around Leith last night after dinner, looking for a cab, we saw a full sculpture of Scott. He’s everywhere!

Ron has decided to go to the Retro Hugos as Lazarus Long. The announcement said they want retro-futuristic-sci fi looks. So he went to the Heinlein books and examined the Lazarus Long pictures. He wears a kilt, a piper’s doublet, a scarf, etc. Ron has the kilt. He’s looking for a doublet. We looked at retro-futuristic-sci fi looks online.

I’m a little perturbed at how much Ron is spending on kilt, etc, but we’ll only be here once and it will look cool and he will wear the kilt again.

Monday, June 23
I did laundry and vacuumed and cleaned the kitchen this morning. I also picked up around the living room.

I also looked through the internet again this morning for things for the Retro Hugos. I found some outfits I would like and some that would work for the Retro Hugos. I haven’t ordered anything.

Ron had an eye exam this morning. They were a little confused at how to charge him since folks living here don’t have to pay.

He has a chiropractic appointment this afternoon.

I asked him if he wanted to go antique shopping with me, but he said no. Since then (1.5 hours), I’ve been on the computer. But I am fixing to get up, put on my shoes and socks, and head out.

Went out. Only Unicorns Antiques was open.

I went back to Tani Moi for an omelette. I also had a Coke Zero.

Then I decided I would go to charity shops. According to the web, Barnado’s in Stockbridge is really good. So I find the bus to Stockbridge. You can’t actually take the bus to Stockbridge, but you can get close. So I went there and walked on. Barnado’s, and four other charity shops, were in a line.

I didn’t see anything for the Hugos, but I did see a couple of nice blouses. The best one, though, had no fitting room. I didn’t want to buy a shirt without trying it on. When I got to the fourth one, which had the most clothing and was the biggest, there was a wedding dress and a bridesmaid’s dress on the wall. Right before my phone rang, I saw a “bridesmaid” type short dress in navy, without any sleeves. It wasn’t totally sleeveless, but I would need a shrug with it….

I went out to answer the phone and it was Ron. I started back towards the center of town, thinking he might want to do something. He didn’t, but since I wasn’t really planning on buying the dress, I went up to the Royal Mile and went through all the cashmere and tourist shops to Bank Street. Then I went down to Princes Street.

I went into British Homes Store (bhs) because I thought Angela and I hadn’t gotten all the way through it. However, we did. A good thing, though, was that I had forgotten they had the dressy short dresses and the one long black and white… That’s an option.

What am I thinking for the Hugos? Retro Hugos: silver skirt, silver body suit (full body or not?), silver gloves (or fingerless gloves), the light-up fingernails, clear raincoat, and silver funky hat.

Regular Hugos: Either my black dress and pashmina wrap with high heels (which I need to purchase) or something else entirely. What I want to do… is kind of a British fancy outfit, but it is in Britain, so that seems odd.

Tuesday, June 24
Tonight Ron had a chiropractic appointment and something at the Maker space here in Edinburgh. I was home by myself. I worked some and I watched television.

Wednesday, June 25
Today we went on a tour of Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle.

Went with Highland Explorer/Haggis.

We drove through Glasgow and Katie told us about Glasgow. That was interesting.

I worked on stuff I need to get done on the two and a half hours of the trip that was just driving without commentary.

Then we went to Loch Lomond, which is really just a large lake.

Then we went to Abbeyfoyle, which is a tiny village half a mile from Loch Lomond, still in the national park. –National parks were a Scottish idea; John Muir was a Scot. But Scotland only has two.—Katie recommended that we go to the butcher shop and have a pie and that was the BEST pie I’ve ever had. It was a chicken and ham with a bit of sauce and nothing I was allergic to. Quite good and only £3.50.

After the tour we went in and bought tee shirts, though neither of us could get the one we wanted. The ladies’ only came in S and M and the black men’s didn’t come in L. So I got a black men’s medium and Ron got a gray men’s large. They say “Wild and Sexy Scotland” on the front. On the back they have the tour name. (Which I didn’t realize till after we got them home, but oh well.)

Have lots of notes to transcribe.

We came home and worked on things. I actually got some stuff done, which is always good.

Caledonian forest is almost all gone, maybe 2% left. Used to cover 98% of Scotland. Most of the deforestation has taken place in the last 200 years.
This is not accurate according to the soil archaeologist from The Quest for Bannockburn from the BBC.
Caledonian forest = aspens and Caledonian pines, lots of space under the trees
Caledonia = Latin for wooded heights
lynx, bears, wilkes (which went extinct in 1714)
a lot of animals left are in danger of extinction—except deer

thistle =/= national flower
blue bell is national flower
However, first king of Scotland was sleeping and Viking invaders were coming in. One barefoot Viking stepped on thistles and hollered, waking the king and his men in time to fight back.

A while back a poll was taken for a new national anthem in case of independence. The one they have now is not so great. “God Save the Queen” has a verse about putting down the Scots. (Talking about the Jacobite rebellion, but doesn’t call them that.)
Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia was voted #1. It’s very pretty. I’d like a copy of it.

I also liked Runnig’s Loch Lomond. They had an instrumental Auld Lang Syne, too.

Played another instrumental song called Hector the Hero.
Hector was in the Crimean War. His barracks was under siege. They were at a last stand. He held the fort alone, with only 4 bullets left, when he was relieved.
When he got home, he was outed as a homosexual. The family was humiliated and when he died, they buried him in a shallow grave.
One night the sister got tipsy at a bar and told her friend all about his great heroics in the war and about the shallow grave.
Word got out. A petition was started to rebury him.
40,000 people showed up for his second funeral. He was reburied in the Edinburgh Cemetery.

Scotland has 33,000 lochs (body of water).
Only one lake. Lake is an English word. Lake of Mantiffe is named for a betrayer of the Scots people, who lied and lured William Wallace back to Scotland and handed him over to the English. (She calls them British. So the Scots, at least, don’t differentiate between Brits and English. … She’s not the only one I’ve heard do that.)

Braveheart, which was released on the 700th anniversary, wasn’t very accurate.
Rob Roy, which was fairly accurate to history and released about the same time, didn’t tell as good a story.

Real story of Braveheart:
Alexander III was the Scots king and married to Edward of England’s sister.
Alex III and all his children died, his daughter in Norway bearing a daughter. He remarried a French woman, who stayed in Fife.
King Alexander was in Edinburgh getting work done and said he was going to Fife when it was finished.
A storm was brewing and his councilors pleaded with him to not go. He ignored them.
He and his horse went down and died.
His granddaughter was 6 and in Norway. She was known as the Maid of Norway. She was brought back to Scotland to marry someone, but she died of dehydration in Orkney. (King of Scotland, before that title, was Prince of Orkney.)

Scots spent 7 years trying to figure out who was closest to king.
Couldn’t do it. Came down to the Bruce family (strong warriors) and the Baileals (good stewards). Finally, idiots!, asked Edward of England. He said John Baileal.

Baileal became king, but subject to Edward of England.
Edward decided to go to war against France in 1292. Wanted Scotland to send troops.
Baileal said no. Instead he took troops and harried northern England.
1294 Edward has time to deal with Scotland. Strips John Baileal of his title and exiles him to the Continent.
Edward sends his armies north to take over every town and village.
He took the Stone of Destiny, the Crown Jewels, everything.

William Wallace was a knight, but not noble. Simple landowner near Glasgow (so no kilt). He was out fishing. Caught some good trout.
He was stopped by English soldiers who wanted his fish. He gutted them.
Sheriff went to his house and killed his wife.
“William Wallace (WW) was a psycho.” He hunted down the sheriff, flayed his skin from his back while he was alive, then slit his throat.
Turned his skin into a sword belt.
WW and friends attack English garrisons using guerilla attacks. (Note: Before American Indians. In our histories, we say this started with us. Nope. Obviously Vikings did it to the first King of Scotland. WW did it against the English in 1295ish.)

Andrew Demaury was in north Scotland. He was a military trained man. He gathered men and fought the English, moving steadily south.
AD and WW met at Abbey Craig Hill with 2000+ fighters.
They talked about how to get the garrison out of Stirling Castle.
In 1297 they sent 500 men to River Forth and the Stirling Bridge. The only bridge across the entire River Forth. It was guarded. The 500 men make fun of the English soldiers. Mock them.
The garrison commander gets mad. Sends cavalry after them first. Then foot soldiers.
The Scots start retreating, into the bogs and marshes.
The cavalry follow. Horses in armor carrying fighters in armor walking into a bog.
AD calls the Highland Charge and 2000 men with huge axes scream and run down the hill barefoot.
English try to retreat in a group, which breaks the bridge and some of the soldiers who aren’t killed by the Scots drown.
Huge victory.
AD died from infection from Battle of Stirling Bridge.
This left WW to fight alone. WW was not a military man, just a mad man.
King Edward was furious about Battle of Stirling Bridge (because they retook Stirling Castle) and sent more soldiers.
WW was defeated in several battles and fled to Europe and the pope. He went to the pope to plea for Scottish independence.
WW received a letter from the Earl of Mantiffe who says he has an army and wants WW to lead it. WW hurries home. It’s a trap. Mantiffe hands him over to the Brits.
–Scots hold grudges. That was 700+ years ago and the thing is still a lake.

Edward had made every Scots nobleman sign a paper saying they wouldn’t rebel.
WW wasn’t a noble. He hadn’t signed.
But Edward tried him for treason and, as the judge, found him guilty. He was sentenced to be drawn, hung, and quartered.
First they draw you. They attach your limbs to four animals and send them off in different directions, so all your limbs are dislocated.
Then they hang you, to the point of suffocation, then drop your body down on all your broken limbs. Then revive you and do it again. Quite fun.
Then they cut you, alive, from just below throat to your pelvic bone and take all the non-vital organs out and burn them in front of you. They also cut of WW’s penis and stuck it in his mouth.
Then the body was dismembered.
His head was dipped in tar and placed on the Tower of London.
His 2 legs and 2 arms were sent to major Scots cities.
Stirling, Perth, Edinburgh, and a town that is now in England.

Sir Walter Scott romanticized WW (like he did everything Scottish) and they built a Wallace Monument on the hill.

Braveheart was realeased on the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
The town of Stirling had a statue built.
The artist didn’t understand the directions and made a statue of Mel Gibson. This did not go over well.
The only thing on the plinth for the statue was “Freedom!”
People were defacing it all the time because they were mad about it being an Australian man. So they put a cage around it. A cage around a statue about freedom. They eventually recommissioned the statue and now it’s a “typical” Scots guy with a full beard and curly hair.

Stirling Castle
In WW’s time Stirling was the capital of Scotland.
15 years ago one section of the castle was painted bright yellow overnight.
Folks woke up the next day and were furious and horrified.
Turned out not to be a prank though. In AD and WW’s time the castle was painted bright yellow. They left the one part yellow and didn’t paint the others. (Only so much you can subject the Scots to before they rebel.)

Stirling Castle has lots of unicorns around.
That’s because the symbol for Scotland is the unicorn.

The unicorn tapestries may have been made here. They now are in the Cloisters in New York.

Stirling Castle and the Scottish Heritage Trust are recreating them (with cotton rather than silk, which doesn’t last as long) and they are working on the final one now… The final one is actually the one in the middle, the fifth, which is the one that decomposed the most. They had to guess at a lot of it.
The sign said that for 180 years there was no history about the tapestries.
People don’t write down (or didn’t in the past) the things everyone knows/knew.
Wonder why/when unicorn became associated with Christ. The tame Jesus of the final tapestry, in a wooden enclosure, tied with a belt to a tree, would make some sense if the tapestries were a commentary on how we treat Jesus.

Rooms upon rooms to show your relation to the queen, king. Were you close, very close, or mostly ignored? The bedroom (not where they actually slept) was the audience room for folks who were very close. A dining type room was for close. The outer room was for others.

Official mistress had a room in residence.
What, if anything, did the queen get? Just not having the king bother her?

“Old castle” not in good repair, with the ball for time is still bright and light—saw it as we passed through Linlithgow

Euan pronounced you-uhn
Is Evan a name because of orthography? (V was used for U. Why the double W looks like a double V.)