Scotland – Deep Fried Black Pudding & Other Life Lessons
Trying our very best to avoid summer, we headed on a week long excursion to Scotland. In between hunting out patches of 3G signal, collecting blisters like Pokemon and mistaking wire washing up drainage boards for giant toast racks, I managed do some character building* and find myself**. *The character of a miserable bastard **A miserable bastard up a mountain
But I also learned some things. You don't always have to share a yurt with ancient tribesmen off their faces on home made alcohol to further your knowledge of this world. Sometimes you can learn just as much from reading the nutritional information from the back of a jar of gherkins.
Lesson 1: People Love Roadside DIY
We got a flat tyre. The culprit, a rogue screw. The obvious natural habitat of a screw – a road. Not a toolbox, B&Q or embedded within a fetching oak effect bookcase - a road. Where do all these hitch-hiking screws come from? Is someone assembling flat pack Ikea furniture on the hard shoulder? Is this some kind of new extreme sport? Can I have a go – we do need a new shoe rack.
On the plus side, this automotive setback was a chance to prove my mad 'man skills' and correctly diagnose a proper 'mechanical' issue with a vee-hicle. This involved a lot of tyre kicking, glancing at the other tyres and some light car rocking with final damning confirmation that there was indeed a sharp, pointy object, embedded in another altogether softer and more inflatable object. Textbook.
The man in the garage gave us the screw as a souvenir, which I thought was odd as I haven't got any ongoing DIY projects, so I just tossed it back in the road.
Lesson 2: Kayaks are Machines of Death
The Inuit built Kayaks to kill baby seals. Not quite – they built sea kayaks in such a design so they would travel in a straight line upwind. By doing so Inuits could track in a straight line to the poor defenceless cute baby seal undetected before clubbing them over the head - to death.
As such, I have concluded that kayaks are more deadly than all guns and that should be banned immediately. I am also launching a kayak amnesty in which the doomed craft can be handed in to the authorities without fear of prosecution and replaced with pedalos fitted with loud horns. Because I care.
Lesson 3: (Deep) Fry Me a River (of Blood)
I saw it on the menu and I wanted it. Not that I particularly wanted to actually eat and digest a deep fried cylinder of black pudding, but you just don't get that sort of opportunity in England. Jamie Oliver would literally jump out the nearest bush dressed as a giant broccoli and smash it from your hands. But Jamie wasn't there to save me. As I bit into the ridge of batter, stretching across the formidable girth of my lunchtime treat, I could actually hear my heart sobbing to itself, preparing for salty Armageddon.
Lesson 4: People Will Let You Poop in Their House for Money
I mean a rental holiday home. The owners never leave you much toilet paper, I think they look to reign in your weekly bowel movements. But in their heart of hearts they know that you are going to go to town on that en-suite. After my deep fried black pudding I really couldn't make any promises.
I also noticed a few constants in the holiday home rental circuit. If you own a holiday house, there are a few things that you have to provide by law. These include:
A laminated word document directing the finer points of the property. i.e stuff you haven't been bothered to fix. There will be garage doors needing the skills of a safe-cracker to open and recycling schedules that rely on complex stages of the moon.
You must also provide a plastic ring binder folder with accompanying plastic sleeves, stuffed with:
- Menus of Chinese restaurants that have gone out of business - Directions to the closest donkey sanctuary - Business cards of local hair dressers
Finally and most importantly you must include important information such as the whereabouts of the water cut off switch in bold, possibly BOLD AND CAPITALISED, and most definitely in Times New Roman. Otherwise your holiday makers will just assume that there is no water will perish in a fate second only in infamy to death by kayak.
Visit Scotland, its lovely and you almost certainly won't die.