Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Best Scottish Experience...Ever!

If you ever go to Scotland and want a real Scottish experience, DON'T stay in a hotel in a big city.  See if you can find yourself a Scottish family in a small village. Something like Insch in the countryside near Aberdeen. If the dad comes from England and the mom from Ireland it doesn't matter, it adds colour to the Scottish gibberish they speak after living a few years in Scotland. By the way, when they speak to you always answer with "I beg your pardon?" or "say that again?" This way you will not only manage to understand what they said the first time, but it doubles the chance of hearing that beautiful Scottish accent. After a while you will understand what they are saying, for instance when they say "how?" during a conversation, it actually means "why?" When they say "Hey Mukker", they don't suggest that you are mugging people, they actually see you as a friend. Once they call you a "chum" you have reached the highest rank in friendship.

Be warned, when they "sit down for tea" you are not going to get something to drink from a cup, you are actually going to get a huge plate of food for dinner. After the main meal they will treat you with a Scottish desert like Cranachan or Banoffee Pie. Sometimes they will even make you two different kinds of pudding at the same time and then sit and watch how you struggle to finish that as well. Choose your family carefully, one that does actually take "no thank you" for an answer otherwise you might end up eating Haggis or wearing a quilt. If the family can throw in kids, make sure they are in their teens. A 12-year old boy and 17-year old girl is perfect. To spice things up force the boy out of his room and make him share a room with his sister. His sister will have to bite her bottom lip every time he enters the room and shouts "Hi Roomie!"  If they have a dog, even better. The dog will keep wagging its tail days after you have overstayed your welcome. Also, taking the dog for a walk takes you further into the countryside, an experience not to be missed. The Scottish countryside can be described in one word. Absolutely Stunningly Beautiful. OK, you need at least three words to describe it.

If you get the chance, mingle a bit with the "village idiots". No, never call them that, they call themselves that. If you don't understand a word they are saying at a party, just smile and then excuse yourself and go some other place. Be careful when they have a farmer at the party, because that "other place" could easily turn into a farm close-by where you end up gathering cattle that has broken through a fence. If you step into cow dung don't say a word, you are having a "Scottish experience", remember. If it is at all possible, make sure that one of the kids is having his or her birthday while you are there. Better if it is the 17-year old girl's party. She will invite all her friends from school and villages nearby. This way you will see how the Scottish teens party, and secondly it gives you more pleasure to look at the other 17-year old girls dancing than watching the 12-year old boys playing football. Oh, and remember, it is called "football" and not "soccer". If you don't like football, keep your opinions to yourself, but do go and watch the boys play. If the striker misses the net by a 100 yards and all the parents shout "unlucky" every time he misses, just except it as a way of encouraging the kids and not as a general lack of football knowledge. The Scottish seem to like their kids the way they are but keep encouraging them. At the kid's football game you also get a chance to check out the other Scottish mommies. They seem to be very interested in you when they hear you are not from there. If the grannies approach you, excuse yourself and go take pictures of the flowers next to the football pitch.

When the mom and dad starts arguing about who's doing the dishes, don't get intimidated and start cleaning up. Scottish men seem to find it harder to stand up to their wives than other men across the globe. If you start washing the dishes you might get the Scottish women to believe that washing dishes is in fact a "man's responsibility". If the wife drinks more Budweiser than the husband, you might want to consider helping. Never say no if she offers you one of her Budweisers, this means she likes you. She would normally offer you something else if she didn't, like Heineken or Tennants. Make it clear to them that you only consume food and drink in moderation. They will feed you until you can't stand up or offer you something more to drink until you fall down. They only do this because they  are very hospitable, not to harm you in any way. If the 17-year old girl looks strangely at you when you greet her on Day 7 of your stay, it is not because she cannot stand her roomie anymore and wants you to go, it is because she is like any other 17-year old teenager or is maybe just suffering from her previous night's party. When the 12-year old boy mentions that he cannot wait to get back into his room, don't feel offended, apparently that is a sign that he likes you being around, NOT that he wants you out of his room. If the wive goes away the weekend to go watch a concert by Pink, don't think that she wants to get away form her guest. She might just be  socialite who loves going to concerts.

So, to make that Scottish experience the best holiday experience you have ever had, do it with a Scottish family. To protect their identity I won't mention their names or surname, or that they live in Insch. But to Dave and Fiona, you made me feel like a VIP in First Class. Thanks for opening up your house, your hearts and your Budweisers. To Hayley and Aidan, thanks for shacking up together to give me a place in your house to sleep. Your mom might not agree, but that might have been more of a sacrifice than a couple of American beers. It didn't go unnoticed. To the village idiots, Tosh and Johann and the others who's names I couldn't catch because of the pronunciation, you guys are great. You are NOT idiots, you just speak funny. Your names will be mentioned in South African homes and around BBQ fires across our beautiful country. And if you ever come to South Africa you are welcome to come and have a real South African experience in my house with my family. I might just have to warn them first.....


  1. Thank you very much. If your dear Wife reads this - it was him who caused the arguments. He insisted on doing the dishes and mopping the floors and he enjoyed it that much that he is going to continue this at home.

  2. And I thought the Scots drank whiskey☺

  3. You have the Forbes all worked out!!The village idiots love to party! Thankyou for joining us. ps for all of you out there that know Daves history of years of backache/operations/painkillers etc that is him hammering in posts with a sledgehammer!!!