Monday, 14 May 2012

It's a yes to Edinburgh!

Only one day to spend in Scotland! Such a short time to form a bunch of half-arsed, incoherent, patronising opinions about the Scots.

It's tough, but I can rise to the challenge.

1. Scottish men are handsome. I ponder this problem. Would I call Alex Salmond handsome? Maybe the men I see are not Scottish! Maybe they are Italians, French and Swedes with stylish clothes and good haircuts visiting Edinburgh? Hmm. Would I find handsome men in Glasgow? Or Ullapool? I decide to keep an open mind until I can conduct further research.

2. Scotland is culturally xenophobic and schizophrenic towards the English. On the one hand, it's all front-up arrogance, with What the fuck are you doing here? And on the other, it's that creepy and pathetic I-want-you-to-like-me attitude. We're friends, right?*

3. It's a YES from me to Scottish Independence! Not that I have a vote. But if I did, I would.

Reasons: Edward I came up here as a way of deflecting home-grown hostility away from the crown to an outside enemy, and he conveniently made that enemy Scotland. I feel a little guilty about this. I think the best way to even things is to give stuff back and store our nuclear submarines somewhere else, maybe off the Falkland Islands. That's far enough away.

(But I would make a concession to the Union. I agree the English couldn't possibly agree to Scottish independence until we've spent all their oil money.)

4. The Victorians were a bad thing for Scotland. Tartan has to be stopped.**

5. The Scots should make as their marque the Scottish Enlightenment. Honestly, this is such a big thing in the whole world of human thinking! Your tourist board should do something about it. You should make me associate Scotland with the world's leading scholars, instead of midges, kilts, and Balmoral.

6. You have imposing architecture. Please please please, in a frenzy of 'new brush' management, don't knock it down, clean it up, or mess the urban scape about with ugly mismatched buildings done on the cheap.

7. You have pleasant, courteous, and friendly service staff. (Okay, the man at the pie shop was a bit grumpy. He doesn't know how choosing pies is a big thing for us.)

I was especially impressed by the staff at Edinburgh castle and in the totally fantastic National Museum of Scotland. Particularly the man who accepted my dramatic reenactment of the Eduardo Paolozzi figures. He was gracious. The fact that he could take 20 minutes of it and still remain courteous impressed me deeply.

8. Incidentally, I am also impressed by Alex Salmond. He acts like a proper politician. Deft, committed, intelligent. He makes David Cameron look like a mummy's boy.

Thanks to our one day in Edinburgh, the Scottish will be delighted to hear that la famille Grit has resolved to extend the education of Shark, Squirrel and Tiger about your lovely country! Next year we plan to explore north of Edinburgh. It will allow me to test my theories about a) handsome men b) whether on Sundays everyone still wears black and no singing is allowed c) I have to take my own carrots.

Now the photos.

*After extensive conversation with Dig, in which he reminded me what I said about the Welsh, I quietly concur the xenophobic schizophrenic traits might be mine.

** I have rethought this opinion. If the people who wear tartan are Americans - and let's face it, you're going to need their money when you're independent - then you should carry on with the tartan.

1 comment:

kelly said...

I am married to a Scotsman and whilst he is, of course, handsome, I suggest a visit to Dundee to balance out your recent visit.

We argue regularly about independence in this house. I am for it, he is not.

And the anti English thing....I once worked for a company who told me after I'd been there a year that I had been a gamble as they weren't sure I'd be trustworthy what with being English.....can you imagine the uproar if you replaced English with another ethnicity !?

That said, the West coast will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I urge you to visit Findhorne, you'll either love it or hate it.