I have a couple of friends in Scotland, our former tour guides, Bill and Steph, with whom I occasionally trade correspondence. My most recent interchange with Bill was quite amusing (well, it was to me at least), so I thought I'd share it here:
From: Scott Harris
Sent: 18 December 2006 21:52
To: Bill Cassells
Subject: Holiday greetings from the US
I just had to drop you a note... I'm reading a book right now by Iain Banks called "Raw Spirit - In Search of the Perfect Dram", and I can't help but think of you and Steph on the farm. It's actually a book on tape, so it's narrated by a fellow with a wonderfully robust Scottish brogue, making it all the more appealing.
Anyhow, just wanted to say Hi, and if you've not read the book, you might find it amusing. It's a delightful read, and I'm learning a lot about whisky, among other topics! Perhaps something to read during the long dark winter up there?
I hope you all are doing well. Have a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2007.
To which, I got this reply:
From: Bill Cassells
Sent: 21 December 2006 04:34
To: Scott Harris
Subject: RE:Holiday greetings from the US
Great to hear from you. Are you planning a return trip yet? Especially now as you have all the correct gear to wear. Have you been ravished yet by women who cannot contain their lust for a man wearing a kilt???
The book is great. Obviously written just about the time of the Iraq war and the writer hates Bush and Blair – as you will have seen (heard?) by his acid and strong language comments about both. I have to be careful recommending that book to your fellow Americans as some might be upset by Ian Rankin’s political comments (or thinking about it – maybe you have a sanitized version with all of that stuff removed … would be interesting to know?). He is a well known Sci Fi writer and also does the Rebus books (crime/detective) so Whisky was well out of his mainstream!
Best regards to all for Christmas and the New Year
Bill & Steph
So, I sent off this reply to Bill and Steph, with warmest wishes for the holidays:
From: Scott Harris
Sent: 21 December 2006 09:47
To: Bill Cassells
Subject: Re: Holiday greetings from the US
Yes, indeed, even in today's America of shameful curtailment of our Bill of Rights, the book is wonderfully non-censored. It's pretty acid, indeed, even by my own standards, but the Bush/Blair parts move by pretty briskly, and the rest of the book is well worth it! I'm enjoying it greatly. (And he does spend a fair amount of time in Granton on Spey, I guess you noticed.)
I haven't firmed up any plans for a return trip yet, but indeed, the thoughts are formulating in my mind. I'm thinking of an inner-outer Hebridean journey, starting in Islay (Ardbeg must get a visit), hitting Mull, Iona, Jura and the like, and definitely ending up on Harris. Kind of a roving tour. (Becky will have to do the driving, obviously.)
And, as to the kilt, I have been making quite the sensation. Since I spent waaaaay-too-many quid on it, I figure I have to get my money's worth, so I've been wearing it everywhere I go. I am, in fact, wearing it today for no particular reason except that it's misty, rainy and cold outside, and it reminded me of Scotland. So I headed to the bank and the pharmacy in it, and I have to say that the young ladies give a much more cheerful "Have a nice day" than I'm accustomed too. (In fact, when all six of the young ladies at the bank said "have a nice day" in unison as I was leaving, I began to suspect they might have noticed.) I'm enjoying it much more than I have a right to.
Anyhow, always good to hear from you. All our best for the Holidays and the New Year.
Scott & Becky & the boys