Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Vignettes From The North East Of Scotland (Part 1)

Yes. I am back in Scotland again.

It is as beautiful and fun as ever. The local newspaper billboard champions the latest good news. The straths and the glens are green - far greener than is usual in November. The Christmas Fairs are again in full swing, but with the mild air, mince pies and mulled wine does not seem to taste the same.

The life in Aberdeenshire is slower. The waitress in the local tea shop slowly comes over to the table when the bill is requested. She has her hair tied up in a bun, with two stakes, sticking out of the brunette mop, similar to a Geisha Girl.

But this is Scotland. They are biros not bamboo. The waitress reaches into her hair, pulls down one of the biros and starts totting up the bill on the white carbon paper.

'My boss is a little wee bit wary of me,' she says. 'I've lost that many of her pens, that she is considering giving me a wage reduction.'

The ensuing visit to the garage is an experience too. The forecourt has the usual 'For Your Safety' - but in reality 'we hope that if we swamp the place with signs that you won't sue us when something goes wrong' notices. But the experience changes when you go into the shop to pay for the diesel.

There are the shop assistant and a customer in deep and animated conversation. The air is punctuated with:

'He said to her ... and she said th him ... ooh ...really? ... och noo ...I dinna ken ..' and seemed to just short of the Victor Meldrew-ism 'I don't believe it.' They continued with their chitter chatter and as I wasn't in a hurry I didn't have the heart to distract them.

At last they saw me standing in the air. Both leapt in the air. The customer rushed out of the shop and the shop assistand blushed.

'I'm awfy sorry,' she said. 'But I don't see her that often.'

Now you see why I love this place.

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