This is an email (edited for safety) that I wrote a couple weeks ago to some of my friends and family on a recent trip to see my bf’s family in Scotland.
Just returned home from Kirkwall, dinner at my bf’s Aunt & Uncle’s hoose. Yes, hoose. We had moussaka for dinner and berries with clotted cream for pudding. Did you know that clotted cream is basically sour cream and having it on raspberries wasn’t my favorite thing in the world? But, I was told to bring my own beer (these Orkney people already know me so well) so I had 4 Coors Lights and I was fine. My bf’s Aunt & Uncle live mainly in England, but keep a second home in Orkney, my bf’s Uncle’s childhood home. My bf’s Uncle is completely blind and missing one hand from the wrist down. He has a guide dog, Elma….2.5 year old golden retriever. I loved her.
Got up about 11AM this morning, still trying to get on the right sleep schedule. My bf’s Mum & Dad have a large second home on their property that they run as a “self-catering” residence. It’s like a Bed & Breakfast without the breakfast. I was taken on a tour this morning, because today was the first time ever that there wasn’t a guest in it, they checked out this morning. It’s enormous…many, many bedrooms, multiple sitting rooms, large kitchen etc…my bf’s Mum had a lot of cleaning and ironing to do so she told me that I should have her drop me off downtown and I could go shopping by myself for the afternoon. Ummm….okay.
On the way there, my bf’s Dad phoned my bf’s Mum on her cell and guess what she did? Pulled over. She pulled over to answer the phone. I thought that was so amazingly strange and endearing. Safety Matters in Orkney. My bf’s Dad wanted us to pick up two kites. What planet am I on? Oh yeah, one with an insane amount of wind and two children who need to be entertained. I guess I get it. So, we went to Orkney Cycle. The main store to purchase kites, of course. We spoke to a very knowledgeable kite salesman and he told us everything we needed (and didn’t need) to know about kites. We chose two top of the line kites and left. My bf’s Mum then dropped me off at the end of Bridge Street. That’s where the shopping begins. This was 250PM and she would pick me up in front of the Cathedral at 515PM. (This is where the shopping ends.) So, I was off. First thing I pass, a pub that my bf and I went to last time for a date night. I thought about going in and having a mid-day, vacation drink solo, but decided I’d prefer to shop. I’d drink later.
I strolled down the cobblestone streets of movie-set-like downtown Kirkwall and went into almost every store. Like I said before, the stores are so interesting to me, so many items unknown to me, the options are endless in such a small little area, it’s like they live on an island and the stores have to carry everything and more you could ever think of. Oh wait, that’s true. I bought lots of things, I just buy stuff and figure out what thing my friends and family would like to get later. Who wants a little recipe book called, “A Peedie Book of Orkney Recipes”?
When I’m walking around, I just feel like the people know that I’m American. With my dark jeans and black boots and skull scarf and shades on, maybe they think I’m a celebrity, like Rosie O’Donnell or Melissa McCarthy. In and out of the stores I went. Lots of art and jewelry that I can’t afford. And mittens!! Holy crap, so many mittens! I looked at a pair I liked today, 46 Pounds!!! That’s like $70!! What in the world, Orkney….there are GD sheep everywhere!!!
I went to a little coffee shop to get a “cuppa” and everyone in line was just taking a ceramic cup on a plate to a table. I didn’t want to sit-down, I wanted to drive through. I felt so silly, but when it was my turn to order, I said to the guy, “Do you have….like….cups I can take away, like take away cups?” (It’s seriously like I’ve gotten into the DeLorean and gone back in time, I don’t know, maybe they don’t do to go cups?! It’s like when Michael J. Fox was asking the store owner about Tab and Pepsi Free and the guy’s like, “I can’t give you a tab unless you order something and if you want a Pepsi, you’re going to have to pay for it.” (OMG, I just totally dated myself on that one….) People here don’t drive through Starbucks and zoom off to Marshall’s or the mall….they walk the cobblestone streets to go to the Orkney butcher to buy their Haggis and mince. And they go to the coffee shop to sit and have a cuppa coffee. Ugh, Americans…they never enjoy life.
Okay, so that was a tangent…but, guess what? They did have to go cups….in the back of a cupboard…I think I was the second person ever to ask for one. It was like I had asked for Organic Agave Nectar at Dunkin Donuts. So, I took my to go cuppa coffee and sat on the stone wall in front of St. Magnus Cathedral and I will say, it was a delicious cuppa.
Got picked up at 515 and we headed to Tesco (The Grocery Store here) to get a few things. I’m making dinner in the next couple of nights and I’ve decided to make enchiladas. So, needed to get all the ingredients for that. However, Orkney isn’t big into Mexican food, go figure….can you say “Mexican Style Haggis?” No? My bf’s Mum is excited for me to make this because she has no idea what it is and when trying to pronounce it today she called it something like, “Got No Ladders”….Anyways, Tesco did not have Enchilada sauce, but they did have tortillas, thank God. I can fashion some enchilada sauce way easier than I can fashion some tortillas. So, we got out mince and shredded “very mature” cheese and some other crazy things and we were on our way….oh yeah, and another case of beer.
Tomorrow we are going to the “Festival of the Horse and Boys’ Ploughing Match”. This is where boys, age around 13, show off their ploughing skillz, I’m assuming and the girls dress up like beautiful horses….my bf said, “Whatever you’re thinking it’s going to be like, you have no idea….” So, that’ll be interesting and “Back to the Future-esque” too, I’m sure. I wonder what I should wear to such an event?? What would Rosie or Melissa wear? Hmmmm…..
I’m sitting in bed, it’s 1255AM and my bf is wearing a shirt from when he used to live at home and sitting on the floor going through old VHS tapes asking me if I want to watch, “Backdraft, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or Look Who’s Talking Too”…but, unfortunately he couldn’t get one of the two, yes TWO VHS players in his childhood room (our room now) to work, so…he moved onto going through his closet and showing me his signed Soccer scarf, signed by famous Orkney soccer players….???….I’m guessing…and saying things like, “These are the knee pads I used to wear, this is the sweatband I used to wear….and this is my old putter…” Oh brother. I’m gonna start singing, “Memories……light the corners of my mind…….misty water colored……” No. I won’t. The kids are sleeping and the cows will hear me singing and probably get upset and start mooing. They’re right outside my window. I can hear them mooing now. It’s just lightly though, not angry mooing. I love cows.
Okay, the dust from my bf’s closet is starting to hurt my throat. I’m gonna go…
Can’t wait to tell you all about the Ploughing Match tomorrow. Maybe I’ll dress up like a horse too!!! Naaaayyyy!!!!
My bf, “Honey, look!!! My old fishing pole!!” Dear God, gottta go…
Love you all.
My bf, muttering in his closet, “Huh?? That is not my shoe….”