The Scottish People have voted to remain in the United Kingdom. Although it sounded very risky to leave the security of the UK, I’m a bit surprised the independent Scottish people didn’t approve it. I’ve spent a lot of time in Scotland and became really fond of the people and the country (and the Scotch Whiskey). The Scots (never call them Scotch, they’ll cut you) are a very proud and independent people. 25 percent of my ancestry is Scottish so I was glad to see just how great the people were.
One notable Scot I met was Ian MacGreggor Fraser, the creator of the collectible Fraser Cottages. Ian and I became friends when I worked with him on QVC. I know a lot about Scottish history and we would often speak about the country’s past struggles with Great Britain. He even sent me a beautiful hardbound volume of Robert Burns’ poetry. I sent him one of my camcorder books and one of my sales books. I think I got the better part of that deal.
One night during a QVC visit to Scotland, Ian had me bring my guitar to an Edinburgh pub. We had a Scottish dinner, lamb stew slathered over a huge baked potato. I did sample a bit of Haggis which was not bad as long as I didn’t think about what it really was. He had me bring my guitar so I could accompany the patrons while they sang traditional Scottish songs. While I didn’t know any of the songs, like the “national” songs of most countries, they were mostly simple 3 and 4 chord tunes. I have been able to do the same type of accompaniment in many different countries from Argentina to Thailand.
Like most similar situations, the patrons got very emotional singing many of the songs. Some even cried out of national pride. Despite the simple accompaniments I was playing, they bought me drinks after almost every song. Not wishing to look inhospitable, I tried to finish every drink of single malt Scotch that was placed in front of me. It didn’t take long before I was roaring drunk. I’m a happy drunk so it was a fun evening, even though I don’t remember much about it after about 9 PM.
I woke up the next morning, sprawled across a table and covered by a blanket. My guitar had been carefully put back in its case. I smelled sausages cooking. The owner of the bar was making me breakfast. “Ye played real good last night, laddie. I made ye a wee drink that should clear your head,” he said in a very thick Scottish brogue as he handed me a glass of greenish brown liquid. I never asked what it was as I drank it down, but it tasted like the combination of a liquefied barbecue grill and dead frogs. It did clear my head and I didn’t puke.
He made me a breakfast of sausages and eggs, which I really enjoyed after the mystery hangover cure. His coffee was good but strong enough to double as aviation fuel. While I was eating he told me how much everyone enjoyed my playing and how much they laughed when I passed out, face down on the table. “Ye make music like a Scot but ye drink like a Yank,” he said while he laughed. He said they were impressed that I could down a shot of single malt Scotch in one gulp. Hey, after the third shot I could have slammed down battery acid with no problem. I tried to pay him for his hospitality, but he refused. “Any friend of Ian’s is a friend of mine,” he said.
When I got back to the hotel, I found out that chaos had ensued that night with my QVC peers. They all went to a white table cloth restaurant that night. When I didn’t get back to the hotel they put out an alert with the authorities. They thought I had been kidnapped. There was an all points bulletin out for me. Nice to be missed. I called and cancelled the alert.
When I got back to America, my superior asked me why I hadn’t gone to dinner with the team that night. I told him going to a fancy restaurant in Edinburgh sounded dreadful. I wanted to absorb some of the local culture (along with a couple of pints of single malt Scotch). He told me from then on I should stay with the group when I traveled. Yeah, that never happened but it always made him feel better to yell at me. Guess I’m more of an independent Scot than I thought.
I don’t know too much about the current drive for Scottish independence, but I am surprised it was defeated. I doubt if they’ll try again, at least in my lifetime. But the free spirit of the Scottish people remains as strong as ever. I wish them all the best. Now, where’s my Braveheart DVD?
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