Thursday, June 21, 2007

Holidays are over

So my holiday season is over. I've been on and off (mostly on) holiday since the start of the month, hence the lack of posts. I'm back now, and I'll try and do a post a day. That will allow me to finally get to the end of those pesky music videos.

The last week was a long-long-weekend In the Lake District. My folks are there for a couple of weeks, so my brother and I joined them for a bit. England, even the very north, is very different to Scotland: I know it's a cliche, but Cumbria really is very quaint. I'm familiar with the area after spending almost 6 weeks there making a geological map (as part of my degree), so it was nice to return. Every village there seems to have a nice old pub and an excellent baker. The region seems very proud of its produce, with all the pubs and restaurants serving delicious local dishes. Happily for me, sticky toffee pudding (invented in the area) was abundant and wonderful. Whilst we did manage to climb a hill, the focus seemed to be food: for a gourmet/gourmand like me, it was an excellent few days. It seemed like the whole break was a succession of meals, pubs, farm shops, and afternoon teas. Yum. And we were there whilst the Westmoreland Food Lovers Festival took place, from which I brought back a load of nice eats. King among them was confit duck, which I had not eaten before. Yesterday I cooked it, and it absolutely blew me away: instantly one of my favourite foods ever. You could call it love at first bite...

A highlight of the trip was noticing this excellently-named vicar at a church we walked past. Gay Pye. Gay. Pie. The comedy writes itself.

And so to the Faroes. Simon and Niall covered this in great depth, and far more eloquently than I ever could, so I will not bleat on too much. The country was an unexpected delight. Friendly locals, wonderful scenery, international football, puffins, and pretty good beer all made for a fine time. I did not expect to go half-way to Iceland and end up with sun-burn, but I'm such a pasty white-boy that the first day of sunshine completely enreddened me. I'm taking the copyright on that word, by the way. The whole place was like an amplified version of the North-West of Scotland: windswept, pretty, desolate, full of interesting weather, and expensive. For a nation with the same population as any of the suburbs in the city that I live in, they were doing a pretty fine job of surviving. Everyone seemed to have a nice house, living standards seemed universally high, and even the local youth did not seem as annoying as the neds of Scotland. Transportation had obviously been heavily invested in and was an example to most other countries; the free buses in the main town, Torshavn, were a boon to us. The locals were very friendly and welcoming, and a perfect example of the benefits of being Scottish and traveling: your reputation precedes you, and pretty much however you behave you will be perceived as a funny, happy drunk.

The football was good fun too, and the 2 matches that we attended were certainly a contrast. The Italy match was played in Torshavn in what can only be described as shitty weather. 30 (30!) Italian fans turned up to watch their team cruise to an unconvincing victory against a spirited opposition. The Italian fans had literally no impact on the town at all.

Match-day for the Scotland game was everything that the Italy game wasn't: boisterous, fun, loud, and lively. The Tartan Army, and many local fans, boarded a specially-laid-on ferry to take us to the famous ground-on-a-hill in Toftir. Here's (ta-da!) my first YouTube video, in which you can see the fans waiting on the car deck to disembark and make our way to the stadium. The quality is not great, but I was only pissing around with my phone.

Once inside the ground, after a walk up the aforementioned hill, the atmosphere was really good. Unusually, there was no segregation of the fans, which meant that there was a nice party atmosphere. Scotland won, but the Faroes played well enough to not go home disappointed. And I give full respect to the Faroese number 9, who beat us to the pub in Torshavn and was already well into his first pint when we arrived.

So, the Lakes: good, the Faroes: good. Back to work: not so good. Midsummer's day and, whilst it's nice and light, Aberdeen has spent most of the day in foggy gloom. Where are you, summer?

That'll do for today. To finish off, here's an excellent story about an Australian man stabbed during a "masturbation marathon".


Blogger Jenny said...

a.) I was wondering what happened to you.

b.) I totally forgot you were doing that thing with the music videos.

c.) I looked at that Wikipedia page and learned a new word: tarn.

d.) I hope you did not sample any Earl Grey that tasted like elephants during your afternoon teas.

e.) I'm not convinced that "enreddened" will catch on, so I suppose that the copyright's all yours. Over here, we merely say we got burned. Or turned as red as a tomato.

f.) At first I found the masturbation story really funny, but then by the end I found it really interesting. Sure the woman stabbed the guy, but I wonder why it was an offense? Yeah, I know it's wrong to hurt people and stuff, but this guy was on drugs in her house and wouldn't listen to her appeals to stop masturbating in front of her children. I suppose maybe calling the police would be better than stabbing him, but it didn't sound like she gave him much harm...

7:32 am  
Blogger swishfish said...

a) Holidays and weekends don't tend to motivate me to post.

b) So had I.

c) See also fell.

d) I didn't even sample any Earl Grey tea that did not taste of elephant.

e) I don't think that it will take off either. That was a "joke". I think us Scots have the world lead on getting burned, thogh, we are very, very white and many have the dreaded ginger gene.

f) I just like the tone of the first half of the story where the reporter cuts loose and goes into lurid detail. That must have been a fun story to write.

8:15 am  
Blogger swishfish said...

PS, I wasn't being sarcastic in saying "joke", just admitting that it was rubbish.

8:27 am  
Blogger Jenny said...

Well, your blog is most certainly informative. I did not know about that definition for the word "fell," either.

I'm not really sure what to make of your cryptic sentence of "I didn't even sample any Earl Grey tea that did not taste of elephant." So either you mean to say that you didn't have any Earl Grey tea, or all of the Earl Grey tea you had tasted of elephant.

By "ginger" I assume you mean the bizarre term you Brits throw around for redheads...I always think it sounds so funny when I hear redheads referred to as "gingers." I am not a ginger, although my hair is strawberry blonde. Generally I get a deep burn at the beginning of summer and then tan the rest of summer.

(And the "joke" was rubbish. :))

3:54 am  
Blogger swishfish said...

Over here, "strawberry blonde" is usually a term used by someone who is in denial that they are a member of the ginger race.

10:00 am  
Blogger Jenny said...

LOL - I am not a ginger!

5:21 pm  

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