Demystification Guru

Just because we don't understand something, doesn't mean it isn't understandable.

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cold and wet and my roots

Last night, I'm sitting watching tv and feeling the cold I got on Monday (I refuse to identify a rhino virus as "mine") and wondering what can I have to drink - not to get impaired but just to have something nice to drink. I go look at the "liquor cabinet" (five bottles over the sink) and rediscover the bottle of Laphrohaig. I pour an ounce and a half in a nice cut crystal glass and top it up with the same amount of water - no ice. I sip - no wonder "whisky" means "water of life".

I think about my "roots". One quarter (at least) is Scottish. I want to visit Scotland and tramp around the hills in the cold and damp and stop at every pub I pass and have a glass of the local whisky. I want to feel to salt air of the North Sea on my face and stand, leaning into the wind on the Orkney Isles and fall down if the wind stops blowing (go read Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island").

Then I recalled another quarter of my heritage which is Friesian. Take a look at a map and find the North Sea. Scotland is on one side and Friesland is on the other (okay it is a little bit "south" but not that far). I also want to tramp along the dunes on the coast of Holland and feel the cold salt wind in my face, giving me chapped lips and chilblains. No wonder I am who I am! In fact, I have walked the dunes and spent some time in Friesland and I cherish the memories. I want the same chance at Scotland.

This morning, it is raining and windy and about 4C and I decide that I have to get a few groceries and I'd better do it now in case it snows later as they are predicting. I put on some GoreTex pants, two sweaters and my GoreTex bike rain jacket. I find a hat we got out of a case of beer some years ago - it is some funny artificial fabric that I figure will repel instead of absorb water and it has a brim on it and it fits tightly enough that it shouldn't blow off in the wind. Together with the leather-palmed river boating gloves I got at the MEC and my duck boots, I set off on my bike for the grocery store. It's really not that bad out there - at least it's not yet freezing. I get the things on the list and head home. By the time I enter the park on the final leg home, I am singing out loud. Not really loud mind you, in case there actually may be someone else outside, but still - singing. I pass by some Canada geese hanging about in the park. They have ventured close to the path because no one is about today and when they see me coming, they honk in alarm and waddle away. I honk back at them. I do enjoy my heritage sometimes!

7 Comments:

Blogger Katherine said...

Oh, what a wonderful post! I hope you go to Scotland one day. I went once and have the best memories of it. Even though it was July, it was only 60 degrees! In one area (can't remember where!) it was as if time stood still - tiny thatched roof cottages with smoke coming from the chimneys, green rolling hills, and sheep everywhere.

7:35 p.m., October 29, 2006  
Blogger ML said...

Lovely tribute to your heritage! I really liked your post because I felt I was there right along with you, tramping around in the cold and damp. Oh, and sipping on whiskey too!

9:47 a.m., October 30, 2006  
Blogger JuliaR said...

Thanks Katherine and ML! Maybe it was the whisky talking but I liked the post too. :) My other quarters are English and French - I've been to those places and I suppose one could say Scotland might not be that different but I am still longing to go. And just today, at Farm Girl's blog, I discovered a foodie blog right IN Scotland! So I am doing my research...

6:50 p.m., October 30, 2006  
Anonymous Norah said...

I suspect the warm frites with mayonnaise has something to do with making the memories of the dunes in Friesland so nice. We won't ever forget those newspaper cones full of frites!

4:55 p.m., November 02, 2006  
Blogger JuliaR said...

Norah, you know it! Gawd I can taste them now. That's why I'm looking forward to the whisky in Scotland - nothing like it to give a chill the bum's rush.

5:02 p.m., November 02, 2006  
Blogger Sandy said...

Ah, whisky in Scotland. I have to relate my husbands tale. We went to Scotland and one day took a bus tour to the highlands. Lunch was at a pub, so my whisky-drinking husband asks the bartender what would be a good scotch from the area. Wouldn't you know it, the bartender looks at JIm and says that he can't drink Scottish whisky (too much for him) that he drinks Irish whisky! Jim recognized the bottle of Laphrohaig on the bar and asked for that. My poor husband managed to find the only Scot who didn't drink Scotch, I think.

7:27 a.m., November 03, 2006  
Blogger JuliaR said...

Sandy, that's amazing. I wonder how many Scots don't drink whisky - it could be the same proportion as elsewhere, I suppose. I don't drink other whiskeys because I really like the peat and seaside smell and taste of some of the single malts.

3:04 p.m., November 03, 2006  

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