You Asked, I Answered

Here it is!  My 50th (!!) article for aNewsCafe’, inspired by your questions, comments, and ideas.  There was a wide range of requests, fortunately some overlapping, so I shall do my best.  I answered one or two questions in the comment section of my previous post already, and will weave the rest into what will hopefully be a column that is both entertaining and informative.

My husband and I went to my favorite little restaurant a couple of weeks ago, which got me thinking about a few of your questions.  Fiona, the talent behind The River Bothy, first came to my attention after I’d seen her items – soups, sandwich fillings and desserts – for sale in stores in the area.  When I heard she was opening up her own cafe’ not far from here I was excited to try it, and I was not disappointed.  Her food is fresh and delicious, with a decent selection of things you don’t always find in the Highlands (best salsa I have had in more than a decade!), plus good old Scottish standards, done to perfection.  Our lunch the other week was an example of that: Scotch eggs, which Sem declared to be the best he’s ever had.  If you don’t know what a Scotch egg is, it’s sausage meat wrapped around a soft(ish) boiled egg, all of it rolled in a thin layer of breadcrumbs and, I believe, deep fried.  It had that crispy crunch which you can’t get just from baking.  The side dishes were tasty too, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

I thought of some of you for two reasons: one, because of the food, but also because the proprietress is someone I would consider a local artisan, in a food sense.  She epitomizes the Highland businessperson, to me, by which I mean she applies herself to something she’s good at, and builds from there.  Her menu has expanded and she also now has gift items for sale, created by local artists and craftspeople.  I believe she does some outside catering as well.  There are so many people like her, up here in the far north!

There were those of you who asked about crafts, textiles, and the people who create them.  I’m lucky enough to know a few of them, as a returning customer and friend.  There’s Ali, who is the creative force behind Alsorts Arts & Crafts, for example.  I first met her when she ran a pet food delivery service, of all things.  Unfortunately that business fell through but she did not let it deter her.  Before long she was back; first, running a pet food charity and then, starting up Alsorts Arts & Crafts.  Though she had some health setbacks, she now appears to be doing quite well in all respects – a real success story.  Originally she sold hand-knitted and crocheted items (I had to have the fingerless ‘dragon’ gloves pictured below, and I also have a winged pig which lives in our car), and then she started glass engraving, which is when things really took off.  She does everything from wine glasses to framed portraits of all sizes; we commissioned ‘Bella’ for a dear friend, which Ali was able to create from only a partial photo.  She sets up a booth at many of the craft fairs around the Highlands, as well as selling her stock in various shops.  She can do slate-engraving as well, and her husband makes charming wooden planters in the form of trains and trucks.  They have a menagerie of rescued animals from dogs to parrots to hedgehogs, and it has been good to see her flourish.

Determined, undaunted, and resourceful is how I would describe many small business owners in the Highlands.  This week we stopped off at the local community center because another one of the people I admire, Cara of Puffin Croft Farm, has a table of goods for sale there every Tuesday.  She makes ‘jumbleberry jam’ among other things (muffins, shortbread, sausage rolls, and so on), and when we walked in she smiled and then said ruefully, “I knew I should have brought some of the jam with me!”  Along with a small shop at Puffin Croft Farm she runs a produce delivery service, has just opened a B&B, and, as the main attraction, has a small petting farm with chickens, goats, pigs, sheep, donkeys, rabbits and geese.  “One of my sheep had a lamb last night at 10:30,” she said, “and I was up with her and the lamb until 1:30 this morning.  Buttercup is a first-time mother who kept looking around behind her as if to say, ‘What is THAT thing?’  I had to hold her in place so the lamb could drink, and I stayed with them to try to help them bond a little.”  In the early morning hours she would have had to muck out stalls and feed all the rest of the animals before heading over to our community center.  It’s little wonder she forgot the jam!  But I’m happy to say she’ll be bringing some in next Tuesday for me.  (Note: Buttercup has bonded with the adorable Clover, and seems content and happy to be a mother now.)

I support local businesses whenever I can.  Our own wee fountain pen business keeps us ‘ticking over’ as they say, and I know how important it is to have returning customers.  So when I need a gift my thoughts turn immediately to those who are trying to make (or supplement) their living by selling beautiful, hand-crafted things.  There’s a group of women across the Moray Firth in Lossiemouth who I came into contact with through a dialysis-friend of ours.  I’ve bought a couple of things from them; one, a made-to-order blanket for Sem, and also a handmade baby gift, as yet to be given (so I shall say no more).  The ladies of “Knits By Lossie Lassies” (found under that name on Facebook) are friendly and helpful, and I like knowing I’ve supported people who are doing something they love.

Then we have Wendy and Robyn, the mother-daughter team at Burra Bears, in Shetland (https://www.burrabears.co.uk/).  I haven’t met them but when I stumbled across their Facebook page I was hooked.  They make teddy bears out of sweaters that people send or bring to them, turning them into huggable remembrances of beloved relatives.  Other Burra Bears can be found in shops around the Highlands and Islands, too.  Those are made from, according to their website, “our own Fair Isle fabrics in pure Shetland wool which are produced at the local textile college.”  They sell a bear on their Facebook page each Friday, and when I saw ‘Stanley O’ da Sheepgreen’ (pictured below) I knew that I wanted him – and I was darn lucky to get him, too, because the Friday bears often sell almost immediately!

Of course I cannot fail to mention – especially since a few of you asked about him – Paul Jones of Phoenix Glass and Felting Phoenix.  I have already written about how I came to know him, so I won’t repeat myself.  I will say that since that article was published I have purchased my own family of wee Highland ‘Coos’ and a Gingerbread House lamp.  I also received a little dragon as a Christmas gift, to add to my collection.  Paul is currently looking into whether or not it’s feasible to make a Lewis Chessman (specifically, a Berserker) out of glass for me, but that might be a step too far in terms of glass-craft.  We shall see; if anyone can do it, Paul can.  As ever, he is a delight to deal with, and my next request for him will be something for this year’s Carr Fire Auction.

Keen-eyed viewers will spot a piece of Matthew Grigsby Art in this photo!

While Sem and I were out on this sunny, windy morning, we passed by a window with an inner ledge big enough to accommodate a small white and brown terrier who was standing there squinting in the sunshine, basking in the warmth of the sun through the glass, a heavy curtain behind him.  How I wish I’d gotten a picture!  I don’t know how much that doggie in the window was, but it reminded me of another question, this time about dogs in Scotland.

The dog of choice up here in the Highlands, for work or as a pet, seems to be the border collie.  But I have noticed in recent years that there are all kinds of dogs happily wagging their way around towns and villages, from Lurchers to King Charles Spaniels to scruffy mutts of indeterminate origin.  One thing’s for sure, though, and that is that the Scots (and it seems the British in general) love their dogs.  We saw so many dogs enjoying this sunny morning with their owners, but they get walked in all weathers, here – it takes more than a little rain to deter a Scottish dog owner!  People take their dogs everywhere, and it’s not uncommon to see them sitting obediently with their owners on the train, or waiting patiently outside a shop.  Sem and I would love to have a dog, but we really can’t, not with our life the way it is… but also because Smartie would shred a dog to bits, if one dared enter her domain!

Sem’s father had working sheepdogs for sheep as well as cattle, many years ago.  Sadly, I haven’t seen any sheepdogs at work up close; the one crofter I know personally doesn’t use sheepdogs to move his sheep.  He and his wife do the herding themselves, with the help of their small grandson, since they only have a few dozen sheep.  I’ve seen crofters on quad bikes in distant fields working in tandem with their sheepdogs to move their large flocks.  The dogs seem to thrive on the work, and know just where to go and what to do at the briefest of signals from their owners.

In writing about things Sem and I have seen while we’re out and about, I’m trying to tap in to the sort of ‘day in the life’ article request, though I know it’s not quite what was meant.  Perhaps it should wait for another time, to do it justice.  (Note to Barbara Byers: some folks do still go to the shops to “get the messages” every day, up here!)  On a perfect, coinciding-with-this-article day, I would be able to say that while we were out today we heard the sound of bagpipes on the breeze, but I’d be lying if I did.  That isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen sometimes, though!

I can’t put this next question any better than Adrienne Jacoby did, so I will quote her:  “… are bagpipes as endemic to the culture of Scotland as we like to make them out to be?”  The short answer is yes!

Being of German ancestry, I used to joke that in Germany, if a child starts to ice-skate on a frozen puddle a booth will appear as if by magic, offering beer and bratwurst for sale.  So it is with Scots and bagpipes: present for every occasion.  As far as I can tell every school has a pipe band, as does every county, and many towns as well.  They are out in force for all the Highland Games, of course, but there are other instances as well, such as performing to kick off Gala Week in each village in the summer, and playing carols when the village Christmas lights are switched on in December.  When they ‘open’ the river each February for salmon fishing in our former village, first the school pipe band performs near the river, and then a lone piper walks down to the river’s edge, playing a tune while the first line is cast.  Really, any reason will do!  When the rowing club in our former village built a boat, for example, there was a piper on hand to ‘pipe’ the boat into the water.  It was supposed to be the maiden voyage but I had it on good, whispered authority that the builders had floated ‘The Bunilidh’ in secret the night before, “to make sure she disnae sink tae the bottom and embarrass us all.”

Last November at 6am local time, to mark the centenary of the end of WWI, a thousand pipers all across the UK stood at War Memorials and piped ‘Battle’s O’er’, a traditional Scottish lament played at the end of battle.  In our former village a young man who has his share of problems both mental and physical went out in the cold, early morning in full regalia and did his part.  He returned at 11am to play again for the Remembrance Day service.  I’m given to understand that pipers around the world joined in as well, each in their time zone, each in their turn.  If that doesn’t hit you right in the heart, I don’t know what would.

Various bands use bagpipes in their music, and you won’t find a Highland Games Dance without them.  For those interested in music, I point you to Runrig (particularly when Donnie Munro was their lead singer) and Skipinnish (particularly when Robert Robertson was their lead singer).  For ‘Celtic rock’ I direct you to the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, though I don’t know much about them other than they apparently put on a hell of a show!

I have no clever segues for the remaining questions.  My apologies!

Erin Friedman asked for book recommendations – I asked my husband if he knew anything specific to the Lowther Hills and/or the McLeod clan, but we came up empty.  I’m also not sure how far back in history you want to go, but between us we can recommend the following, in no particular order:

Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
Crowdie and Cream* – Finlay J. MacDonald
Isolation Shepherd – Iain R. Thomson
The Silver Darlings – Neil Gunn
A Scots Quair – Lewis Grassic Gibbon
The History of the Highland Clearances (incl. Gloomy Memories by Donald McLeod) – Alexander MacKenzie

*A good adaptation of  Crowdie and Cream was done for the BBC.  I don’t know if it’s available in the States but it is one to look for, if you do read and enjoy the book.

Jon Lewis asked about golf stories: unfortunately neither Sem nor I play golf, though we are surrounded by courses.  I went to pilates classes run by a woman who moved to Brora (a village south of here) all the way from Edinburgh just to live near the golf course there.  Our only other link (ha!) to golf is Sem’s father: he had many jobs in his time, and one of them was building golf courses.  He built the nine-hole golf course at Avoch (pronounced ‘aach’) in the 1930s.  After the war his boss sent him back there because it had been used for tank training and was in dire need of repair!  He also extended Royal Dornoch Golf Course to a full 18-hole course.  Oddly enough, he was not a golfer.  He had a set of clubs so that he could test sites on the greens and make sure the course made sense, but other than that, he did not go on “a good walk, spoiled” for pleasure.

I believe, in one way or another, I’ve managed to answer the questions you’ve all asked.  I didn’t single everyone out by name since some of you had similar requests, but I do thank each of you for your ideas and questions!

What is there left to say, in this 50th column?  Only two things: firstly, thank you, sincerely, for reading my stories and for all of your comments, always.  And secondly… here’s to many more!

Deb Segelitz
Deb Segelitz was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and is astounded to find herself living in the Scottish Highlands, sharing life with her husband, a Highlander she stumbled across purely by chance on a blog site. They own a small business restoring and selling vintage fountain pens, which allows Deb to set her own schedule and have time for photography, writing and spontaneous car rides in the countryside. She is grateful to the readers of ANC for accepting her into the North State fold.
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46 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Deb, great article again. To my favorite pastime, movies, I finished Happy Valley and watched a mini series set in rural Scotland, Retribution(One Of Us). And I have to ask, is it always raining over there? I love the way all these movies incorporate the beautiful scenery. I watched Witnesses, a French movie, and like the UK movies the scenery was breathtaking.
    Can’t wait for your 51st article or your 100th.

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thanks, Bruce!

      We really enjoyed Retribution (One of Us) as well. If you like the occasional odd movie, we just watched one set in Glasgow (scenery not so beautiful!) starring the ever-excellent Robert Carlyle called ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson” which had us laughing.

      It does rain a lot, here. Having said that, we’re in the middle of a two or three week dry spell that has the farmers a bit worried, but everyone else is loving it. Generally autumn and spring are wet, often with gales. Here on the coast we get less snow than they do inland, in the winter, and summers can be variable. But it is often overcast or rainy, to the point where doctors sometimes actually warn people about rickets!

      Really the main rule seems to be that if I hang clothes out on the clothesline to dry because it’s a beautifully sunny day, within five minutes it will start to rain!

  2. Avatar erin friedman says:

    Thank you for the reading recommendations – and ALL the delicious details of life in Scotland. Congratulations — looking forward to the next 50. 🙂

  3. Avatar Erika Kilborn says:

    Always a pleasure to read. Thank you for another glimpse of life in the Highlands. Your pieces always make me want to jump on a plane and head for your neck of the woods.

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thank you, Erika, I’m glad you enjoy them! Come on over, the weather’s fine… at least for the next few days. After that, who knows, in Scotland :-).

  4. Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

    Deb, as far as handmade art and crafts go, I would hold up your articles as among the finest words and photos to be found anywhere. And I mean that sincerely. Your gift is a craft we all get to share, wherever we are, and it’s rather magical.

    I learn something new every time you write. I admit I’m delighted to hear that bagpipes are as prevalent as we would hope, because it really completes the picture to imagine them playing in the background as you write (shhhhh, let me keep that mental image).

    Thanks for sharing your life Deb, and here’s to fifty more amazing tales o’ Scotland!

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thank you, Matt! What a lovely thing to say, I’m all a-blush now :). I’m so glad you enjoy my stories!

      One of the best things about living in our former village was on Highland Games Day, when the wind was just right… even though we lived around half a mile away from the sports field, the bagpipes went on all day, carried up to us on the breeze. I loved that!

      I will love writing for ANC for as long as Doni – and all of you – will have me!

  5. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Bruce beat me to the saying, looking forward to your 100th column. Robert Carlyle really is ever-excellent. His portrayal of Rumplestiltskin in “Once Upon a Time” was my favorite part of the series. My little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Whimzy, would fit right in in your neighborhood. Sweetest, gentlest pup who has ever owned us.

    Thanks for all your observations and stories. Keep ’em coming.

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thank you, Beverly! I’m so glad you enjoy my column.

      We watched the first season or so of “Once Upon a Time” and Robert Carlyle/Rumplestiltskin was my hands-down favorite, too. We actually stumbled upon the movie I mentioned to Bruce by putting ‘Robert Carlyle’ into the search feature in Netflix (or maybe it was Amazon Prime). He’s superb.

      Whimzy would have a lot of pals here!

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        I will have to find Legend of Barney, I really liked Mr. Gold in Once. And Robert Carlyle was the evil sadistic Sergei in Human Trafficing.

  6. Avatar Eleanor Townsend says:

    Thanks for this great start to the day, Deb. Fifty columns so far, and each one as enjoyable as the next. I am so happy you are with us on ANC!

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      You are so welcome, Eleanor! I’m glad you enjoyed it – and I’m happy to be here, too! I’m grateful that Doni took a chance on me, fifty columns ago :-).

  7. Deb, you are so kind and accommodating to put together this epic piece that contains readers’ wishes. Thank you. (I love the photos, and the one of the inside of the Scotch eggs made me want to try to make them.)

    You are a gem. Thank you for sharing yourself, your talents and your life with us. I appreciate you so much.

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thank you, Doni – it was fun to put this one together, and interesting to find out what questions the ANC readers had.

      You can get Scotch eggs at the grocery stores, here, but not one of them has held a candle to that one. Usually we have them with a salad, just served cold – and for that reason the ones in the stores are hard-boiled. These, though (in the photo), were warm, just soft enough the middle, and delicious. Completely different experience for me than what I’ve been eating these last almost-11 years, here!

  8. Avatar Candace C says:

    Deb, thanks for the “ride”, loved it all!

  9. Avatar Barbara Cross says:

    Matthew, You said exactly what I thought and you expressed your comments so well to Debbie… We all seem to Smile though her wonderful writing of life in Rural Scotland. Thank you Debbie for your time and gift of writing.

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thank you for your kind comment, Barbara… but please, don’t call me Debbie. After all, I would never call you Babs or Barbie without being invited to do so. 🙂

      Debbie is a fine name for Debbies. I’m just not one of them. That’s why my name is always listed as Deb, in my column.

  10. Jon Lewis Jon Lewis says:

    Thanks for the fun and gallant response to my golf inquiry. I’m thinking a first-hand investigation is in order to answer all my questions 😉 When I do make it to bonnie Scotland (an ancestral home of sorts, with some of my mother’s family being Scots. The Crawford clan, for those scoring at home) for an amble around the links, I will pay a call if I’m in the vicinity.

    And congratulations on your 50th column. That’s a career in any league!

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Jon, sorry I didn’t have any more stories for you! But you’re right, it does mean you need to investigate first-hand :-). There’s always a kettle ready here, to boil a cuppa – – or a wee dram of whisky if that’s more to your liking.

  11. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    I need me some Scotch eggs badly. Have you happened to run into The Jesus and Mary Chain?

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      You do! They are tasty!

      I had to Google The Jesus and Mary Chain which tells you I haven’t run across them, but I asked my husband if he knew them. “Oh hell aye,” he said, “they were fucking marvelous!” So there’s his enthusiastic review! I’ll have to see what I can find on YouTube…

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        I’m late to the party, but I had to say that Sem’s reply to your TJ&MC question made my afternoon.

  12. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    Great reading. Thank you. I recall a magazine photograph of a woman riding a bike in the Scotland area. Years ago. Oh, how I wanted to do that. The green hills! I just might do that before the bulb goes out. Meanwhile, I do want a great fountain pen. Will Google and try and find your site. Again, many thanks for bringing where you now live, so alive. And you are so alive. Yay!

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thanks, Linda, I’m glad you enjoyed it! There are lots of cyclists here during the tourist season, it seems like a really popular cycling destination.

      Here’s a link to my fountain pen site – my ad pops up here on ANC every now and then, too!

      https://www.goodwriterssales.com/

  13. Avatar Barbara Cross says:

    Deb,
    I do apologize for the slip of the fingers… I have a daughter Debbie so it just came out out of habit…I’ll not make that mistake again oops!!! I’m embarrassed.

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thanks, Barbara :-). No need to be embarrassed!

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      I know two Dianes, and two Dianas. Gets tricky.

      • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

        I can understand that – just like there are Deborahs (my name) and Debras. When it comes to different spellings, or a one-letter variation in a name, well I’ve accidentally done that myself (I have friends who are a Tonya and a Tanya), and have had to apologize for the slip. But I never just shorten or change someone’s name if they didn’t invite me to. If a Michael and a Jennifer introduce themselves to me using those names, I would not in a million years just start calling them Mike/Mikey and Jen/Jenny. And yet, I have introduced myself to people as Deborah, and they have immediately said, “Hi Debbie, nice to meet you.” Uh…?

  14. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    The sweater bears remind me: my dear aunt left me a tourmaline mink shrug. Like where am I going to wear mink in Redding much less in Fall River? When another aunt died and left two mink jackets to my cousin, her daughter ferreted out a lady who makes teddy bears from mink garments. I followed suit – is there a pun there? – and now have a precious mink teddy bear sitting atop a dresser right here in my computer room. If I had any notion of how to attach a photo of him, I would – but I don’t.

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      One of my mother’s friends did exactly the same thing with a mink coat she was never going to wear. It is adorable. (And yes! I started grinning the moment I read that a lady who made teddy bears from mink garments was ‘ferreted out’!)

  15. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Thank you Deb for this great article. You answered so many of my questions. Fibers, dogs, books and bagpipes. I had no idea what scotch eggs were, but they look and sound amazing. Thank you for the links to the artists in your area. I can’t wait to look at their sites. I look forward to every thing you write.

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      You’re welcome, Joanne! I’m glad I could answer so many questions, it was good to know what folks are interested in hearing about. Enjoy your site-perusing!

  16. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    I feel so unoriginal when I write, “Deb, I really enjoyed this.”

    But Deb, I really enjoyed this. Having Scottish ancestry myself, your column scratches a lot of itches.

    When I worked out in the Gulf of Mexico, I got the chance to get to know a Scottish heliport crew based on a huge floating “hotel vessel.” Those guys were a hoot, and my copilot and I loved hanging around with them and listening to their stories. They were all a little hard to understand at first, but we soon adapted to listening to three of the four of them. The fourth guy, the oldest, was from a different part of Scotland than the younger chaps. (I wish I could remember where, but I don’t.) They called him “Mad Mike.”

    I mentioned to one of the younger Scottish guys that, while I’d learned to understand the younger three guys, I had trouble following Mad Mike’s conversations.

    “Don’t feel bad,” the younger Scottish chap said. “When we go out drinking in New Orleans before flying home the next day, WE can’t understand him either.”

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Never feel unoriginal for saying you enjoyed something I’ve written, please, because I am always so glad to hear it! And I’m glad you did enjoy it, with all its itch-scratching goodness.

      Hahahaha I’ve met a few Mad Mikes in my time here, too. Sometimes all I can do is blink, point to my head and say, “I’m sorry…. my American ears made no sense out of that!”

      Because we are so remote up here, if there’s a bad accident or if someone needs urgent medical attention that just can’t be provided at our small, local hospitals, they will be helicoptered down to Inverness (110 miles from where I live now). They used to have a small, bright yellow helicopter that we all called “the budgie” – that has been retired and they use a different one, now. But we once watched a pilot land the budgie on a tiny level bit of ground right next to the main road, a feat of skill which was astounding because the rest of the ground there was steeply banked towards a field. The pilot found that one small bit that he could juuuuuuuuuuuust make work for him, and after a lot of circling (and fevered calculation I would imagine), he set ‘er down gently in a place I would have bet money would never have been sufficient. See, there’s nowhere else along that stretch where he could have landed – the road skirts around a hill, so the other side of the road was all hill – there was that incline on the one side, then the road, and on ‘his’ side it was all a down-slope. But he got it down and stable, and the EMTs hopped out, jumped the guardrail, and ran for the accident scene.

      I also once saw the budgie briefly touch down in a field of sheep next to the medical center across from where we lived at the time, then take a short and agile hop over a fence to land in the very small parking lot behind the medical center.

      All of this to say… you helicopter pilots are amazing.

      • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

        “All of this to say… you helicopter pilots are amazing.”

        I’m repeating myself, but since I’ve been retired from flying for a few years, I can report that the older I get, the better I was.

        Gosh, I can imagine that Scotland is an amazing place to fly.

        • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

          Heh! I fully intend to embellish my awesomeness one day. Heck, I can say anything to the folks I meet here – no one knows me before the age of 41, in Scotland!

          If you like hills to hop and high winds to do battle with, Scotland is the place for you! They do some amazing hill and sea rescues, too.

  17. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    Am I the 50th person to say how much I enjoy your columns? They’re so vividly drawn, I’m not sure whether I want to plan a trip to Scotland, or go some place I haven’t “been.”

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      I don’t know if you are the 50th, but thank you for telling me! I’m glad you enjoy them – and that you liked Sem’s response to R.V.’s TJ&MC question, too.

      Scotland awaits!

  18. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Deb . . . . thanks so much for your answer to my question about the pipes. When my husband and I were first married, we had a music store in Paradise, CA.There was an old, retired Scotsman living in town. Frank Knight LOVED his pipes and thought it very generous of himself to come and play for me for several hours a morning or two a week . . . . which was okay . . . . until I brought my first baby home from the hospital. He was a dear old guy, but a single pipe in an enclosed room doesn’t quite have the same cache’ as a rank of them marching over the hill.
    Oh, Deb . . . . every article you write makes we want to come visit!!

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      You’re welcome, Adrienne! Your story about Frank Knight made me laugh. I love the bagpipes but I’m not sure I could handle several hours, a couple of times a week, in an enclosed room!

      There is such a wildness to their sound, but they can be oddly tender, too. I like to hear the lone pipers during their competitions at the Highland Games, watching them pace solemnly while they play a pibroch. But I also like when the whole band marches down the main village street going full blast. There’s nothing quite like the bagpipes!

      I’m glad you enjoy my articles – thank you for telling me!

  19. Avatar Connie says:

    I feel like I am repeating myself every time I read your articles, but thank you for making it so as I read I imagine I am right there experiencing your words! Good job Deb! I always look forward to your articles and stories. Thank you!

    • Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

      Thank you for telling me, Connie – I always appreciate it, and I’m glad you enjoy my articles!