Out of my very limited European travels, Scotland is by far my favorite. Yes, we were throwing stuff with good friends; taking advantage of the Malt O the Month at the Cavern; hanging with some of the coolest folks on the planet, and in general having a blast. But there were many highlights that were unique just to Inverness and I don’t want to let them go unnoticed…
The Castle. The current structure was built in 1836; however; there have been Castle’s on this site since 1057. Yup. We were spoiled rotten by having the Castle right up the hill from the front door of our flat (by the way, if you’re ever traveling anywhere? Have Stephanie Lathrop figure out your housing, she’s the foshizzle.) On Saturday evening, the fog that rolled in wrapped around the Castle and gave it a very cool, spooky feel:
Talk about cool scenery, the back side of our flat was home to the Glen Mohr hotel with a beautiful river Ness view. On Thursday evening, while we were walking back from the grocery store (which, by the way, we rode a Taxi to because we didn’t know where it was. Turns out it was down a block, across the river, and walk another 1/2 block. Our cab total was almost three pounds. A wee bit embarrassing. We walked back. Obviously.)
Anyways. It was a beautiful, warm pre-fall evening; we had breakfast and snacks for a few days and felt as if we were finally settling in when I turned around and saw this,
Oh man, we’re in Scotland. This is amazing.
Our walks to the field each day was something I treasured. The first day was all four of us gals, Melanie; Staci; Steph and I went together and after that it was just Stephanie and I. Anticipation; excitement; nerves; make sure Jules doesn’t get hit by a car cuz I don’t know which way to look even though Stephanie has told me many times. The usual. The Inverness foot bridge; sometimes Fishermen in the water; sometimes just ducks. On day 2, we ran into a older man on the side of the river who struck up conversation (OH! before I forget, on day 1 we almost stepped on a pair of men’s underwear with a ginormous shit sitting a top them. I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture for you.)
Anyways. The old man by the river. He told us he was a Gillie. We said, ‘a whut?’ A Gillie, ya know, he watches the fisherman and helps them in case they catch a 30# Salmon or in case they get caught in the river and get in trouble. Another meaning for Gillie is ‘servent’ so we were constantly on the lookout the rest of the weekend for our own Gillie. Matt and Bret did great in their new roles. Heeehee.
Pretty cool eh? He had one man up river and one man slightly down river. On our way back to the flat, via the hotel pub stop on the way, there were more fishermen in the river:
Our Gillie wasn’t seen but we knew there was one around somewhere. OH! On this day during the walk home I ran down to the river’s edge and skipped a rock for Nessie. That was fun.
Our walk back to the flat (post beer tent) each afternoon included a stop mid-way at a hotel bar. I’ve already mentioned the funeral party we crashed on day one. Day two was a bit more quiet but we met Hans, the East Berlin German who went on to win the Championship in his class.
Hans, even with limited English, is friendly; knowledgeable, and has a gym in East Berlin where (hopefully) we’ll go train in December when we go to Berlin for holiday/work (me holiday, Matt work.) Hans’ wife is Polish and we talked about all the delicious Polish food that Matt grew up with and Hans says, “Yes, you come train and we go eat Polish food.” Uhhhh, Okay!!!
OH! Talk about big, foreign guys. So there were a couple of throwers that even Matt had to look up to. One was a Dutchie, a happy Dutchie, of course. During lunch on Saturday, Matt was standing up when Wulbert (a.k.a. Big Dutchie) walked into the food tent, beelined over to Matt and a staredown ensued…
But he’s a happy Dutchie, so not really…
Which, by the way, brings us to our Friday Jams. I heard this song on our local college radio station and fell in love with it. I had no idea what they were saying, but it was fun. It’s on my playlist and we jammed to it during the WOB in Scotland.
I knew the band was Dutch but still wondered what they were singing aboot. Until Wulbert. See, we wrapped up Scotland with the festive flight of a lifetime…
We had a World Champion, four more ginormous throwers, two wives (Wulbert’s wife is an amazing artist. She drew a picture of him holding the Caber and they had a kilt pin made out of it. Amazing. Hans’ wife is the cute blond with the big smile, a very nice woman.)
Anyways. Wulbert was standing up in the aisle stretching when I called him over and had him listen to my Amsterdam Klezmer Band song to make sure it WAS a Dutch song. First off, yes, Op Je Hoede means Beware which makes me love the song even more. By the way, this kind of music isn’t his favorite. Heh.
During our festive flight with big men walking all around the plane, Hans turned around and started talking to me. I don’t remember how exactly we got on the subject but we ended up talking about my WOB. He said that he was watching me and saw what I was doing wrong. I say, TELL ME!
Turns out it was a timing thing. I got in the middle of the aisle, Hans holding my hand down until the right time to actually jump and release and I had a total AhHaaaa moment:
Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
The best part of Inverness and the weekend and the throwing and the friends and festivities though? Saying ‘That’s fooked’ about 4,000 times a day. True story. It’s a good thing I don’t have to go to confession cuz that alone would be around a million hail Mary’s. The Scottish accent is absolutely fabulous. There were a couple of times a judge would say something to me and I was all, “HUH?”
OH! A couple of honorable mentions: When we were done shopping on Thursday and heading to the Cavern for lunch, we stopped at a red light before crossing (I really have no idea where you’re supposed to look. Cars were coming from every angle it seemed.) I looked at the first car at the light and it was Terri and LarryVentress. Oh heyyyyyy! Also, running into our Wisconsin and Minnesota and Illinois friends constantly around town and the field was an absolute treat. Comforting really. Stepping on the field the first day or two brought on new nerves, but there would be Rhett Bobzien, one of my favorite local throwers just doing his thing and I was able to settle down and say, okay Jules. A trig is a trig. Just throw. ANY time I would pass flat mate Melanie Mellinger and our other mate Staci brought smiles and hugs. Seeing Dawn Higgins all around town and the field along with Sue and Ruth. Finally meeting Karyn Dallimore and watching her in action (I wish I had half the energy she does.) Running into Merl Lawless on airplanes and pubs and it seemed everywhere (except when I was actually looking for him to meet up on Sunday with Hoss.)
The whole thing was a fookin’ blast and am so thankful for it. Thankful enough that when I missed by last WOB on Sunday and was done for the weekend, enveloped in my hubby’s arms, I got incredibly teary. This was probably one of the most thrilling events of my life; throwing in Scotland.
I admit I’m being paid well, but it’s no more than I deserve. After all, I’ve been screwed more times than a hooker.