Monday, 5 January 2009

A GUIDE TO SCOTTISH-NESS . . . PART ONE

As you may already know, yesterday, when I was struggling for inspiration, Chele suggested that I post about Scotland since it is after all where I live. Several people agreed and, yes, it seemed like a good idea . . . except considering I've lived here for twenty nine years, I don't actually know all that much about it!!! I've mentioned before I've never even been further north than Dundee! Which is bad of me.

HOWEVER, I realised I'm sure there was SOME stuff I could enlighten you on about my homeland. So here is my very own guide to being Scottish. In case you ever want to come over here and pretend to be a native (for your own special reasons, obviously, I can't really hazard a guess as to why you would try!) Hopefully you'll learn something. Probably not though . . .


NATIONAL PRIDE
The first important point? The passport may state the nationality as British, and Scotland may be part of Britain. But we are "Scottish", okay? We even have our own parliament. And a "first minister." Which I think is kind of like a prime minister, but possibly not as important. I may be wrong there. Politics is something that has always confused me (or BORED me?) ANYHOO, there it is. There are some people who have been known to think that Scotland is not in fact a country, but just an area in England. Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire had a Scottish accent but got asked what part of England he/she was from. (One of MANY things that was wrong with that film). I have nothing against England, I just don't want my country's identity swallowed up by a country separate to me.

DONALD, WHERE'S YOUR TROUSERS???
Next up? Our national dress. The kilt. Otherwise known as? You got it - THE MAN SKIRT!!! If you are a Scottish male, you may be required to wear one at some point. Or at SEVERAL points. Weddings. Christenings. Christmas nights out. I always find it funny that when David Beckham wore a sarong, he was mocked the world over. But when a guy walks down the street wearing a kilt, people for some reason think "wow". Is it because they know that there's no underwear underneath (the mark of a true Scotsman, of course, is that they go au naturale beneath their tartan)? Do they REALLY find a guy in a skirt attractive? Apparently! I, on the other hand, can't help but think "What was wrong with your jeans???"

"FAIR FA' YOUR HONEST, SONSIE FACE"
National dish? The haggis. Er . . . I have never actually tasted this. I'm not even entirely sure what it is. What do you mean, am I really Scottish? Of course I am. I'll prove it. Er . . . two secs while I head for wikipedia world. Here is an explanation, straight from there . . .
"Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish.
There are many recipes, most of which have in common the following ingredients:
sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours."
Now, I HAVE been told, by many people, that haggis is gorgeous. (Hell, it even inspired a poem by the late great poet Rabbie Burns!) But let's face it, the above description??? It's not really selling it to me, I'm afraid. The haggis can stay away from me for the moment. But feel free to try it yourself and tell me how gorgeous it is!
How about THIS part?
"An oft told myth is that a "Haggis" is a small Scottish animal with one set of legs longer than the other so that it can stand on the steep Scottish Highlands without falling over. This myth has become so popular that, according to one study, 33% of American visitors to Scotland believe it."
You want the truth? I believed this myself. For years . . .

MADE IN SCOTLAND, FROM GIRDERS!
Scotland has two national drinks.
There's whisky, of course.
That has alcohol in it.
Then there's Irn Bru.
It DOESN'T have alcohol in it. Yet it is still awesome!
I've always found it impossible to describe Irn Bru to the uninitiated It's obviously full of chemicals and E numbers - which is probably WHY it's so delicious! It also has some of the most memorable advertising campaigns I've ever witnessed. I'll give you some examples, just to prove my point . . .








I'm not even sure you need my guide after all - if you want to be a Scot, the third advert does sum it up fairly succinctly.

But I know you want to read more anyway. Right? RIGHT???

There are many areas still to cover if you want to fit in with the Scots. I've yet to introduce you to the language we use (it's English, Jim, but not as you know it), the football politics (it's very important you don't put your foot in it, particularly in Glasgow), some of the strange "traditions" . . . oh, Part One was only the tip of the iceberg!

Stay tuned!

17 comments:

  1. haha fatastic! I absolutely love it!

    I have been toying with the idea of attending the edinburgh festival this year..

    You sure are selling scotland to me! (minus the haggis part.. hmm) xx

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  2. I think I understood about 12% of that last video. It's like a totally different language!

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  3. it is indeed! see, THIS is why you need a guide! ;)

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  4. I have had haggis.... it's not that bad! Kind of like odd mince meat with stuff in it...

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  5. Wonderful and fun post!
    I'm actually a quarter Scottish, from several generations back. And I've had Irn Bru... oddly tasty stuff. Still not Scottish enough to try haggis, though.

    As for defining yourself apart or in contrast to another country, as Canadian, I can definitely sympathize! I'm sure we are both sick of being told that "it is basically the same country/culture anyways". Hell no!!

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  6. Are there going to be scottish terriers in the next part? Because those are adorable. I own one. :D

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  7. ha ha! love the commercials. All I know about Scotland is that you have kick ass accents. Oh, and of course I know about the kilt. :)

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  8. ooh fantastic post, loved it.
    Now I really find men in quilts really hot, there is something very manly about Scottish men I guess.

    I been to a few Scottish dinner feasts that included me learning the different dances, think it was st andrews day. I had haggis...I swallowed ot with lots and lots of whisky.

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  9. I never knew Mrs. Doubtfire's accent was Scottish! Maybe it's just because when I think of a Scottish accent I think of a REAL thick accent that I can hardly understand. I watched an indie Scottish movie one time and it needed subtitles because their accents were SO thick!

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  10. awesome!...can't wait for the bit on nessie...lol

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  11. Awesome PP! :D Mrs Doubtfire! you're teaching me something here, you see? I'm learning about accents :D
    I like learning stuff about Scotland, especially the ones you tell from your perspective :D

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  12. I enjoyed reading this because I am half Scottish! I was raised in America, and my mom is Thai, but my dad's background is Scottish and I don't know too much about the culture...:)

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  13. I'm part Scottish, so I appreciate this post. I've also worn a kilt before (for Brigadoon), and I felt fun and fancy free.

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  14. Check by my blog in the morning, there will be something there for you!

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  15. Most importantly, what would I do without Scottish Whisky???
    Ditto on the Haggis, I def could not stomach that!

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  16. Definitely didn't know that there was confusion on whether Scotland was a part of England... That's interesting.

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  17. Awesome.

    And I am VERY interested in learning about Scottish football politics.

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