Saturday, December 31, 1988

Hogmanay in Scotland (and the bringing of the haggis) ...

I arose bright and early for some breakfast with J.P., Kenny and his family, and then we went outside to take a walking tour of St. Andrews. We walked through the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Rules Tower (picture #1), along the cliffs of the coast, past the ruins of St. Andrews Castle along the coastline (We didn't feel like paying to get in, though. Guess we've reached a saturation point for ruined castles.) (picture #2)

Then we took a stroll along one of the 4 1/2 golf courses for which St. Andrew's is most famous. It happened to be the renowned Old Course, the oldest course in the world, where the British Open is played every 4-6 years. We took a look at the 17th green, which is notoriously impossible. I learned that Tom Watson once shot 10 over par on that hole alone.

Afterward we started to make our way back to Kenny's house (located right on the St. Andrews University campus), and during the walk we stopped at a second-hand book store, where I found 2 more James Bond paperbacks that I needed.

We sat around Kenny's house for awhile, until the haggis was brought out. Now I had never had haggis before, but I was well aware of what it was... a mixed bag of meats, oatmeal, spices and onions, cooked and served in a sheep's bladder. I had a taste, but decided after that to pass... not because it was cooked in a sheep's bladder, but because of the onions. J.P. loved it, though (or he was just very, very hungry). I had some delicious sausage instead.

Well it was no accident that J.P. and I happened to be spending New Year's in Scotland. We thought that would be the perfect place to ring in the new year, and with Kenny as our guide, we figured we'd get as close to an authentic Scottish hogmanay celebration as possible.

Things started off quietly as we headed down to Ma Bell's, a very nice local pub not too far from Kenny's home. We enjoyed a few drinks with some of Kenny's friends here. Had some brilliant moments here that we won't soon forget, but more is still to come. Kenny (pictured, but who was definitely NOT drinking soda that evening!) decided it was time to head somewhere else, so we attempted to get into the Rugby Club. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful.

So we headed back to Kenny's house and watched some TV with his parents for awhile. Well so far I wasn't seeing too much in the way of anything out of the ordinary when it comes to a Scottish New Year's celebration, but Kenny assured us that the true celebration doesn't commence until after midnight.

I guess we'll soon see as it's 3... 2... 1... Happy New Year, 1989!!!


John-Paul said...

Curious note...Kenny sported two badges on his beret. One is a Lenin pin, the other for Hitler Youth. Kenny was an odd duck.

Rick Reitz said...

I always thought the pins he wore were his attempt to emulate you... but that he didn't quite get it.