Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Endless Vacation 2/3: Scotland

Manchester, England to Dundee, Scotland

Took three trains and about six hours to get to Dundee, Scotland, but it was worth it. Saw Glasgow for about two blocks/20 minutes, but it seems like a beautiful city. We traveled most of the way with a mother/daughter combo. The mom had some humorous stories about traveling through South Africa, Australia, and California. When Michelle got sick from the train rocking back and forth, another passenger offered her some anti-nausea medication. I can't imagine people back home doing these things.

European trains have bathrooms and snack bars. Why doesn't the R5 have these? Americans love snack bars.

We're staying in Dundee with Michelle's cousin Sam. They've been pen pals for a few years. They have a lot in common but never thought they would meet. They both love Tori Amos, which makes me wonder if it's genetic.

Sam made us a delicious dish of curry, vegetables, and rice. Her son Frankie is a charmer, and he's got a fast wit:

Sam: "Stop leaning back in your chair."

Frankie: "You didn't hear a thunk did you?"

After dinner, we drank pear cider and talked for hours.

Mars bars = Milky Ways.

Scotland has been eye-opening. Learned a lot about Michelle's grandmother and great-grandparents. Michelle's dad had a rough childhood, and I'm not sure if he'll appreciate what we learned, but Sam's parents gave us a wealth of info in such a small amount of time, as well as a photo of William Matchett, Mr. Muir's grandfather. [I'm not going to post the notes I took from our meeting. Too personal.]

Sam dropped us off downtown while she went to law school, and we took in the sights, including the McManus Museum, which claims to have the biggest collection Scottish Victorian art in Scotland. I wrote down some artists I plan to look up later, such as Sir George Reid and especially Edward Atkinson Hornel. Strangely, his art reminds me of the work of John Baizely from Baroness (They're a metal band!).

Eventually we met back up with Sam. She took us to the Law, an extinct volcano overlooking Dundee. Even through the fog, you could see a way's away.

Then we met with Sam's sister, Lori, and her newborn for dinner. They were both lovely and the conversation went into the night.

In Scotland, they put put mustard in their mac & cheese.

Holding Sam's baby, i felt a creeping sense of contentment. His every move was adorable. I'm going to become a father within the next five years. That's reasonable, right?

Back at Sam's house, we engaged in some singalongs before bed. Sam grabbed an acoustic guitar and played a song she wrote about her daughter April, who has severe autism and spends most of the year in at a specialized school. It's the kind of lovingly sad song that only a mother could write. Then she covered "When Doves Cry" by Prince and "What's Going On" by 4 Non Blondes.

Dundee, Scotland to Manchester, England

After a quick breakfast, Sam took us to the Dundee train station. We only need two trains this time, but it's still going to take six hours.

Has Mogwai's "Like Herod" ever been used in a horror film? Because it should be. Or perhaps a sexy sex scene in a rom/com. Either/or.

-Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling
-Garbage - Garbage
-Franz Ferdinand - Tonight
-Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
-Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
-Garbage - Version 2.0
-Mogwai - Young Team
-Morrissey - Years of Refusal
-Kasms - Spayed
-The Horrors - Primary Colours
-The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys
-The Kinks - Come Dancing With The Kinks: The Best of The Kinks 1977-1985

Reading List
-Harold Evans - My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times

Record Purchase
-The La's - The La's

TOMORROW: I don't speak the language and I don't have any money. Heading to France.

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