The Cuddles Family
Henry VIII or Brian Gorham????
Sightings is one of my travelling past-times. This is when I see someone who reminds me of a person I know. I should not really call it a past-time since I don’t go out looking for these people; they just appear!! Scotland was so rich in sightings. I saw my niece Sheila at the next table in a restaurant where my cousin Susan was the waitress. I saw my niece Stephanie on a tour of Skye and my grandfather Thurlow in a pub on The Royal Mile. I saw my neighbour Dianne get on a bus in Edinburgh and our neighbour Carla joined us on the train from Inverness. My friend Ruth was our hostess in Ayr, and our friend Hazel hosted us on Arran. I saw my brother George about four times on the streets in Glasgow, and I saw Mike M. and all his brothers at least twice all over Scotland.
Self-identified Scottish Canadians in teal on this map.
I have concluded that the number of sightings I experienced in Scotland should not really be a big surprise. After all, Tom’s father left siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles when he immigrated to Canada. It is not such a stretch that we would be meeting Tom’s cousins as we stroll down the streets of Glasgow. My Fullerton ancestors left Scotland in the 1800s, but they would have been leaving relatives at home in the Scottish gene pool, so I could definitely be encountering relatives as I move through the homeland. So many of us in Canada are refugees or immigrants from the UK.
Julia's Pretend Grandfather in George Square
The Scottish Language:
I did not anticipate any communication problems while travelling in Scotland. After all, the Scots speak English primarily, and a wee bit of Gaelic. However, the accent got me on a few occasions.
Are You a Kook?
While travelling from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, I was seated across the aisle from a lady and two brothers. Cuddles and Little Cuddles were seated elsewhere so I was enjoying guilt-free eaves-dropping while knitting a mitten and taking in the landscape on one of the most scenic train rides in the UK. The lady, whom I had named Mary Jane according to my sighting criteria, was chatting away with the two middle-aged brothers, whom I had named Russell and Freeman. They were travelling to Lochalsh for a family reunion.
As we passed through a small village, I actually heard Mary Jane her say in her musical lilt, “Aye, I used to take my wee bairns there when they were young. A bonny place.” I was quite enjoying their conversation, feeling a bit cocky with the free entertainment.
Russell and Freeman
Then, somewhat out of the blue, the lovely Scottish lady said to one of the brothers, “Are you a kook?” Oh my God, I thought. Mary Jane just asked Russell if he was a kook. How impertinent! Not at all like the Mary Jane of wee bairns and bonny places. I lifted my eyes from my needles and glanced across the aisle. Mary Jane still had that pleasant, open look on her rosy face. My knitting slowed as I waited for Russell’s response. “I do kook some but I get a lot of me meals at the pub.”
Would You Like Some Black Paper?
Then at the restaurant in Ayr....
After our waitress, cousin Susan, placed our steaming hot meals before us, she looked at me and said, "Would you like some black paper?"
"Pardon me?" I responded.
"Would you like some black paper?"
I was stunned. I wracked my brain, wondering what she meant. The table had no tablecloth or place-mats. Maybe she was talking about place-mats. Again, I asked her to repeat the question.
"Would you like some black paper?" In desperation, I looked across the table to Cuddles.
"Black pepper," he said. "Do you want some black pepper?"
Ring Chapel Four
Unfortunately, on Day Five of our trip, I had to buy a new cell-phone. I'm not exactly a tech wizard, but I had gotten used to my little white Nokia over the last four years and was not keen to let her go. While buying the new Samsung Android, our salesperson, whom I had named Karen, said, "And if you have any problems, just ring Chapel Four."
"Pardon me?" I asked. The salesperson had been very patient with my denseness, stupid questions and repeated requests for instructions. I hated to ask her again.
"Pardon me?" I repeated.
"Just ring Chapel Four."
Chapel Four, I thought. Was that some sort of prayer circle for tech-challenged customers? Not a bad idea.
I looked over at Cuddles. Pointing at the keypad on the phone, he translated,"Ring treble four."
Along with sightings and the spoken word, I enjoy collecting signs while travelling. Unfortunately, when my sweet little Nokia broke down, I lost many photos which included a lot of my Sign Collection. I have retained a few.
To Robert Burns:
In honour of Ronnie from "Law and Order, UK":
My friend, Mrs. Patmore of "Downton Abbey"....not just a sighting!
The Wifi Booth:
Victorian Water Fountain:
More Health Promotion:
Poop and Scoop in Scottish:
If the roads get icy!
Yield, in Scottish.
Tatties on Sale at the Grocery Store:
Wrap your sandwich in Cling Film:
Do the Dishes with Washing Up Liquid:
After reading about our encounter with Roald Dahl, the Gaelic Ronald McDonald, my friend Ines sent the following inspirational message for Cuddles. I leave you with this thought.
Thus ends Granite and Cuddles on Tour. Hope to see you back at Woolgathering!