Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear...

It's hard to believe that a week ago I was up in the Highlands of Scotland...where to begin?! For starters, the Highlands are the most beautiful country I've ever seen, aside from some bits of Wisconsin, and the friendliness of the Scots was definitely welcome after the brusque Londonders I've come to know and love. We set off for Glasgow on the train, and arrived to discover that the Rolling Stones were playing--which meant that there were no rooms to be had in the city. Nevermind! We rented a car and drove for several hours looking for a place, before finally finding a room about an hour north of Edinburgh, in a little city called Glen Rothes. The next day we set off for St. Andrews, another little town on the east coast. I dragged mom and dad to the castle and the cathedral there (although they didn't climb the tower with me) before we took off again, this time for Aberdeen. The roads in Scotland are well-kept, but VERY narrow and very twisty. Add to that the famous Scottish rain, and more than once I was wishing Dad would put some room between him and the car in front. (I also had to remind him from time to time to drive on the left...) After Aberdeen we headed north again, into the Highlands proper, toward Inverness, another good-sized town on the north part of the country. Here we stopped at the battlefield of Culloden, where Bonnie Prince Chairlie made his last stand against the forces of George II. All that I knew about the prince was that he escaped "over the sea to Skye" from a song I learned in eighth grade, but at the little museum I learned how this was the end of a series of conflicts, and the way of life for the Highlanders, as the wearing of tartans and playing of bagpipes was outlawed. On the way out I resolved to take up the bagpipes again--but rest assured, my chantor is still in Green Bay, so I won't be subjecting you to any renditions of "Awa Whigs Awa!" any time soon. (Dad also bought me a CD of songs from that time period, so now I have all these great Scottish tunes on my iPod. "Belt on yer broadsword and fight fer Prince Chairlie!")

After Aberdeen we took a long, beautiful sweeping drive down Loch Ness and Loch Lommond, through the heart of the Highlands. It was misty, which only served to make the greenness of the hills all the more startling. I have never seen happier sheep or cows, grazing mightily upon the hills. But you never got tired of it, somehow, around every corner was a new breathtaking vista, each more beautiful than the last. That was the day Dad let me drive the car for awhile. It was easier than I thought it would be (well, it was an automatic...) the hard part was keeping my eyes on the road. We stopped for the night at Fort William, a little touristy town on Loch Lommond, where we had the best meal so far--served to us by a man who was closing up shop in a week to go and raise racehorses in America. What a weird world we live in.

We came back to Glasgow and did a little shopping and sightseeing before catching the train home the next day. That night I dragged Mom and Dad to see "the Canterbury Tales" on the West End--I couldn't let them go without seeing a show! And the next morning I had to say good-bye. It was wonderful to see my parents again, and I was really depressed on the train coming home. It was so exciting to see familiar faces here in London, and now it just feels like the daily city again. Never thought I'd think of London as ordinary! Next time--I'm going home to see THEM.

Since I've come back, things have been busy. My flatmates found us an apartment in north London, so I'm moving on Thursday. I'll have a double bed (yay), a bathtub (yay), and my own washer and dryer (yayyyyyyy), all for £300 a month. Don't do the math. Meanwhile, I'm looking for a J-O-B. Everyone keeps reassuring me "it'll happen!" but the problem is as long as I don't have work, I keep agreeing to do little theatrical things for friends (for free) which means less days I could be working or looking for work. I need to keep up with the theatre to meet people and be hired, but I need to find a job so I can continue to pay for my theatre fixation. It's a problem.

Meanwhile, it's September! When did that happen? And I'm not setting off for school again. Weird! I will be moving though, so that should help. I am determined to have a grown up bedroom, which means no postcards blu-tacked to my walls, so if anyone wants some mail, send me your addresses, and I'll send you a card.

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