Back to Mine.

It’s been some time since I’ve disturbed your Internet Experience with tales of self-gratifying frolics through thorny gorse in bloom and terrifying close encounters of the Highland bovine kind. You’ve undoubtedly thought, “Gee, this guy is boring the crap out of me – he never posts and what is there is thin and runny like vegetable soup and what will my Friends think when they see my name associated with that FunkyGuy in a social forum so prestigious as that of the blessed LiveJournal?”

Well, I wish to make amends, here and now, replete with a stunning visual account that is sure to put you off a more dedicated inspection of this wee, wistful web-page in the near future. Thanks for hanging in there with me, and thanks for continuing to read on. Like you had the choice…it’s all automated. ๐Ÿ™‚

My vacation from my vacation has just started, and it’s extremely nice to get a few moments to bask in front of the computer to catch up on much-neglected reflection and sedentary attention to all things virtual. Turns out these things *do* matter, though they have no real substance, and are a pleasant reprieve from the hyper-reality of three weeks of GoGoGo from the Lowlands to High and Left coast to Right.

Wanna come along?

It seems that I’ve given you a choice, and if you’re still here (you fool) let me make you a nice cup of tea and show you to your seat. Now I’ll tell you that the prize for completing my last academic essay and putting so much effort into STASIS was a magical visit from my dear friend from home, the crab-clawed mermaid known to most as Krystine, to me as PooP. Her first time outside of the States, I’ve been telling her for ten years how necessary this place is, and it never quite computed until now, but it did indeed compute. You could see it on her face as she emerged from the dark bowels of Waverley Station, instantly falling in love with the breathtaking scene of the City Centre that so many people before her have also done. An instant connection was made, and I felt the ultimate synergy between what I’ve always wanted and what I have. That would be to have her see what I’ve been yabbering on about for so long. And to be there to watch. And to feel the same way.

The first week was spent frolicking in a rainy and ancient Edinburgh, and my guest fell into Her arms just as I did years ago, and still do.

The small city that lies within Edinburgh Castle provided entertainment for one of the lovely days away from University. We almost didn’t come out.

Wasting no time at all, we hit all 567 licensed publicans inside the remnants of the old city walls…in one night. What you choose to believe is secondary to the flow of this yarn, of course, and I ask you to be patient, imaginative, and courteous while I continue on. *ahem* So we had 567 pints and a flaming ashtray courtesy of the Buca gang, which successfully indoctrinated PooP as one of the newest members of this prestigious organization. In fact, her Buca handle is by far cooler than mine, which I absolutely intend to take directly to the highest Courts of the Justiciary to rectify immediately, as it’s not so much that mine is uncool as it simply sucks rocks. No more needs to be said about it here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But what’s in a name, after all?

Amazingly, we handled our alcohol with great poise and aplomb. Going dancing afterward was nigh impossible, however…

Old friends and new were gathered for a pleasant evening, with plenty of corruption all around, as Tibs here would agree.

The lovely fraulein_doktor made an appearance, as well.

Camera-whores, the lot of us.

PooP made friends with great alacrity…sometimes TOO MUCH alacrity.

And what might be considered threesomes threatened to infringe upon the evening in great measure. Just ask blu_matt.

Evil Me
And though I tried to put a hex on those who opposed us, in the end it was a futile gesture. But my glass was refilled, amazingly.

The first week was spent under the constant haze of impropriety and non-sobriety, but we still managed to see the lovely sites of Edinburgh, visiting many well-known monuments, buildings, and areas, and many hidden ones as well. It was as a holiday should be, with dinner, dancing, and many introductions to my friends out here on just about every night. In fact, I seem to have been removed from the equation completely, as my guest was offered numerous places to stay should she intend to return. Ah, the perils of being boring and smelly. That’s what I get.

The second week was mostly a sleep-fest, as in our advanced age these brittle bones and sundered constitutions have a mean tendency to buckle beneath the weight of too much enjoyment. To counter this, much self-flagellation and joyously hacking over a long friendship took place, and we seemed to emerge from the other side a bit stronger, and more comfortable than before. But it *is* a holiday, and one never knows what faces we wear when Real Life is safely across the ocean. Overdoses on sausages were common themes while at home this week, as were some lovely folk that were kind enough to join us for a bit of Yankee Cookery and stinky dairy products, which we have since designated as ArseCheese. Thank you, IJ Mellis! And thank you evils, blu_matt,retrogoth, fraulein_doktor, and the unimportant people who don’t have a LiveJournal account for making those evenings so lovely.

When we once again emerged from the house, it was over to Glasgow for the blessed presence of my dear friends Jennie and Lindsay, who treated us to a brilliant night out and the most wonderful hospitality imaginable, as they are wont to do. They opened their home to us for the evening, and with bellies full, we prepared ourselves for four days of driving along the wondrous circuit of Scotland’s coasts. It’s a route that I’ve driven many times, northward along the A82 through the North-Western Highlands, past Fort William and along Loch Ness, overnight in Inverness, and either back south through Badenoch and Perthshire, or as this time, on to Aberdeen and down the eastern seaboard. I’ve posted plentiful pictures at a more accessible site, which can be seen here and here. And of course there are more, but only a few need suffice here.

Lovely Loch Ness, without taint of brontasauri.

The spires of majestic Inverness at sunset.

Poop at Rannoch
A perfect scaled shot of the majesty of Rannoch Moor, where our feet were sucked into the ground by bottomless mud and one quickly learns to walk on dry areas to stay upright. The moss was thick like a blanket in shades of russet red and pine green, and at one point I tested its comfort factor by flopping down on the moor and trying a quick snooze. I nearly froze my nards off. So did she, and she doesn’t even have ’em.

One of the most haunting areas of Scotland is undoubtedly at Glencoe where the infamous massacre of the local Macdonalds was undertaken by government troops under Campbell of Glenlyon in the dead of winter, 1692. As chillingly resonant as the village is and its sheltering vast mountains above, there is a lovely stretch of pristine woodland right down the road over the River Coe. An Torr hides Signal Rock, where the fire said to mark the beginning of the massacre was lit.

Birch, pine, and leaves crunched underfoot as stalks of sunlight pierced the foliage above and threatened to wake myriad wee folk below.

Most people know the story of wide-eyed and poorly-disciplined children who are drawn to sunlit clearings in deep forests, beckoned by dancing lights and whispers on the leaves. Krystine would not listen to my genuine pleas, and instead wandered off the marked path toward gently undulating mossen stones and the lilting laughs of hidden faces in the trees. I was frightened that she might be abducted, and I had to negotiate not a few times with promises of biscuits to the guardians of the wood…

Some were kind enough to pose for me.

Others were a bit shocked and not very pleased, and we had to hurry out of there for fear of leafy retribution soon after.

Jumping to the other side of the country, we spent some time at the burial cairns near Clava, dating from around 2000 B.C. This stone here was falling, and I valiantly jumped in to save the integrity of such an ancient structure. I’m really strong.

We sped along Loch Ness to spend two days in Aberdeenshire with my friend Kieran, who is the only other person in the entire country focused on the same subject matter at uni as myself. Also lovely and gracious hosts, he and his girlfriend and their sweet pup Pippa took us around the North-East where we saw many things, drank MUCH wine, and talked until the wee hours of the morning about subjects mundane and spectacular. After hesitantly tearing ourselves away from new, good friends, we crawled along the East Coast to St. Andrews, which is absolutely the most enchanting place in the country, if not the entire world.

Every new destination was PooP’s favourite, but nothing eclipsed the ancient university town perched on the North Sea. Cathedral, castle, and old streets abound, and it was pretty much perfect when some smart bloke on the radio played the Cure on BBC Gaelic just as we entered the town, and the rain pissed down, just like Robert Smith’s make-up.

The remnants of St. Andrews cathedral, still reverent and powerful even in ruin.

Could it be any more perfect?

And on this street by the sea and the tides, we passed by the university Chaplaincy, where a sweet old feline perched, obviously mistaking it for a good place for Cat-a-holics.

Friendly as can be, I should have never touched him, because we either had an avatar of an angel or just one damn dependent kitty on our hands. He followed us for two entire blocks until a retirement home caught his attention…or maybe the smell of Ben-Gay.

Not sure if we were glad to be free of the furry burden of such a recent and one-sided friendship, we hopped back in the car and headed back to Old Edina, where the last of our days were spent before dropping my enchanted visitor at the Glasgow airport.

It took precisely 2.7 seconds to convince her to come back before the year is up, and much to the delight of both myself and many of my dear friends in this splendid place who instantly bonded with her, it looks like it’s going to happen. And now I have some time to relax and entertain myself by pretending that I’m creating some epic monument to three weeks of fun and wonder by attempting to condense the happenings of such a varied experience down to just under 3 megs of web-space. School once again looms ahead, but I’m more solid for having taken in parts of the country, and more stable and comfortable now that I’ve had a chance to bring a lovely person to a lovely place and give her a taste of what I love so dearly.

And now your tea is gone, and your ass hurts from this long tale, and it’s time to go home to Milk and Honey, or whatever beckons you from behind the leafy canopy. Please make sure you ask their permission before you take pictures, and always remember not to fuck with the faeries. I’m still pulling moss out of my ears.

Cheers, dears.

28 Responses to “Back to Mine.”

  1. avalokita Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 11:31 am

    Wow, those pics are beautiful. I need a vacation.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 11:32 am

    Come on out. There's plenty of beer to go around.

  3. agntprovocateur Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 2:28 pm

    breathtaking…. all of it!

  4. kratkrat Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 2:37 pm

    Again, your ability to tell a story is absolute magic, my friend. And those pictures!! Each one a winner, from the great scenery to the interpersonal… all captured some essence of your new home, and I thank you for sharing.
    Gotta say, though, that shot of Glencoe may well be my favorite. Haunting tale associated with it, but that view is amazing!

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:32 pm

    Oh, man. That shot was pure luck. So glad you liked it!
    Thanks for your kind words about the story. More to come, I'm threatening!

  6. Anonymous Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 4:33 pm

    Back to Mine
    Hi, I want to go live in your photo album! (Not in Scotland, mind you, just in those pictures :)! ) Seriously, I'm *soooo* glad youse guys got to have such a great vacation!! As my own distant college major was wont to put it, "We are the chorus, and we agree" (Sophocles or somebody). Except for the liver part.
    Have a lovely re-entry!
    –Kirsty (OK, he's living in Scotland, he just *may* know more than one. This is the one from RenFaire.)

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:33 pm

    Re: Back to Mine
    You're still the only one I know, amazingly enough!
    Andhow could I forget? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. blu_matt Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 5:51 pm

    I think I can speak for myself, the rest of the gang, and Scotland as a whole and say that we're glad to have you, and Krystine for the brief period she was here.

  9. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:37 pm

    That's a lot of speaking there, my friend, and I couldn't be more pleased to hear it.
    Thanks for saying so.

  10. lilitufire Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 6:23 pm

    Glad you and she had such a good time. I always enjoy your travelogues, and I live here!

  11. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:40 pm

    Excellent. Glad it's working then, and passing the Indigenous Test. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. diotina Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 6:58 pm

    *got a giggle out of the cat-a-holic bit*
    Lovely pics, as usual. Glad to hear the wee ones weren't all in hiding.

  13. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:42 pm

    Oh, man. They were *definitely* out in full force.
    That cat was a dear. We should have brought him to the forest and given him perma-playmates.

  14. nickys Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 7:24 pm

    The tree pictures are particularly good.

  15. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:44 pm

    Like I said, those aren't trees…

  16. evils Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:38 pm

    Wow those pics look fab! Can we kidnap people for a drinking tour of Skye at some point during the summer? Can we? Can we? Pleeeeaaaasssseee? I know where the King of the Faeries lives! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:45 pm

    In a word: FUCKYES.
    How's that for definitive?

  18. evils Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 8:53 pm

    FUCKYES – Oooh I think that about covers it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. seolta Says:
    April 7th, 2004 at 2:01 am

    OMG!! Can you guys kidnap me please??? I am sure I owe the King of the faeries a drink..
    (Can you believe that i'm native and never been to skye?!!! for 30 years!!!! …this cannot go on any longer!)

  20. evils Says:
    April 7th, 2004 at 2:21 am

    You must come a drinking, a dancing, walking, climbing and falling over. You'll find the King at Castle Eoghan (oops wrong sp) in the Fairy Glen, where there's 365 hills (erm and lots of sheep). The Fairy Flag lies in Dunvegan Castle and you have to pass the Fairy Bridge in order to get there. Apart from the little folk there's many accommodating hostelries along the way! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. seolta Says:
    April 7th, 2004 at 6:14 pm

    oh pleeeease can we go?? can we, can we??? ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. jadesy Says:
    April 7th, 2004 at 12:06 am

    you can kidnap me for that one!
    woo! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. jadesy Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 10:25 pm

    Those pics are fantastic!
    It was lovely to meet Krystine, she seems like a complete sweetheart, a shame you couldn't convince her to stay! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Was cool to see you both at ascension anyways.

  24. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 6th, 2004 at 10:56 pm

    Re: Wow
    Oh, I have a feeling she'll be back out here, regardless of where the hell I am at that time. ๐Ÿ™‚
    And yes, nice to see you, as well.

  25. velvetdahlia Says:
    April 7th, 2004 at 7:10 am

    Amazing pictures– thanks for the vicarious thrill!

  26. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 9th, 2004 at 7:59 am

    It won't be long 'til you're out here seeing it for yourself!

  27. scotis_man Says:
    April 8th, 2004 at 4:21 am

    There's the Monster
    If you look at the picture of Loch Ness, you can see the monster trying to get out of the picture by climbing the hills to the right …
    Great Pictures!!

  28. FunkyPlaid Says:
    April 9th, 2004 at 8:00 am

    Re: There's the Monster
    That's not the Loch Ness monster.
    That's a giant, animated block of poo dragging itself up from the waterline.
    More believable, ya know?

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