Summer Love-In: Let's Play a Game

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


As you (hopefully) have worked out by now, the theme of the Summer Love-In is, imaginatively enough, summer. So far, we've had a wonderfully diverse collection of posts that have each taken a different approach to the summer theme, from summer playlists to summer weddings to summer wardrobes; swimming in lakes, oceans and the North Sea; carefree days by the beach and dreaded nights of exam trauma; and, of course, those magical, memorable summers that made us who we are. Endless spins on the summer theme.

But Zan of Oversized Clichés has spun the theme further than anyone. In fact, she has spun it so far that her post actually has nothing whatsoever to do with summer. At all.

In fairness to Zan, she has a few other things on her mind at the moment, like working towards her PhD and getting married (again). So you can't expect her to read EVERY word of EVERY email that she gets. Come on. She's a busy lady.

But! It's ok, because a secondary theme has magically emerged from the Summer Love-In, another thread that flows through many of the posts and binds them together. That thread is the place where summer has quite a different meaning, the place that made me who I am: Scotland. So far, Lauren and Linsey have both touched on it, and we have two more posts this week with different takes on this crazy country and its so-called summers. So, actually, Zan is just ahead of the curve. Nice work, lady.

So sit back, relax and enjoy Zan's unique and somewhat questionable take on bonny Scotland, and then give her a huge CONGRATULATIONS in the comments because she got married two days ago! Yaaaaayyy!

Scottish boys in kilts by Lillian and Leonard Wedding Photography

So while Kirsty is off in California exploring the great and crazy land that is the United States of America I figured that I'd explore the great and crazy land that gave us Kirsty - Scotland.

Full disclosure here, I've never actually *been* to Scotland. Yes I went to school in the UK for a spell, but no I never made it up that far north. Shame on me, I know. Nevertheless the fact that I have never been to Scotland is actually a benefit in this particular instance because it gives us the opportunity to play "Based On Nothing But Hearsay and Stereotypes Word Association Game". As you can tell by the title this is a truly great game. Here's how we play. I give myself the word, "Scotland" and then tell you what I associate with that word. You read this post and chuckle along (or at least, that is what you say in the comments so that Kirsty won't regret having asked me to guest-post). Everyone got that? Okay! Onward!

For the record, I've never eaten one of these bad boys. Via Gastro Traveling

*Scotland* - Deep Fried Mars Bars! 

You are probably wondering about this one, and to be fair I wonder about it myself. When I first moved to England I lived in a flat above a Peugeot dealership, which was charming. There was also a tiny chip shop across the alleyway. The aforementioned chippy served mediocre fish and chips, but was notable for serving deep-fried Mars bars. I never tried one but I did ask the surly counterclerk, "Why in the world would anyone want to eat that??" to which he replied, "Dunno, but they like them in Scotland." The two have been linked in my mind forever since.

*Scotland* - Sexy, sexy, sexy Highland Warriors.

This is a more recent association. I decided I wanted to do some summer reading that was utterly and totally mindless and with the help of some fortuitous googling I was led to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon [Ed: I have read these and they are AMAZING]. Outlander (published as Cross Stitch in the UK) is the story of Claire, a WWII era nurse from England who travels back in time to the 1740s while visiting Scotland. She falls in love with a Scottish warrior in the years just before the Jacobite rising. In this series we have two of my favorite pleasure-reading genres, Time Travel and Historical Fiction with the added bonus of Romance Novel. Clearly I don't need to explain to you how amazing these books are. I'm on book three now, and I figured I'd just share an excerpt: "Give me your mouth Sassenach," he said softly, and bent to me. His head blotted out the candlelight and I saw nothing but a dim glow and the darkness of his flesh as his mouth touched mine. Gently, brushing, then pressing, warm, and I opened to him with a little gasp, his tongue seeking mine." Actually, I am too embarrassed to excerpt any more of this but I will say that the Outlander books have been rather educational in addition to being entertaining! I've learned about parritch and even picked up some Gaelic sweet-nothings to whisper to my honey.

Highland cattle
Highland cow by Horrgakz

*Scotland* - Highland Cattle, also known as Justin Bieber Cows.

Being married to a cowboy I now know more about cow breeds than I ever thought I would. I have my favorites, and nicknames for all of them, Hildegard Cows, Oreo Cows, Rodeo Cows, and Justin Bieber Cows. The Bieber cows are from Scotland and if you need a visual reference you can check this blog post of mine.

*Scotland* - Curling

A sport that I find totally inexplicable, given to the world by the good people of Scotland. Curling's popularity is confounding. Why is this fun? Why is this exciting? Why is this in the Olympics?! I truly do not understand. I had lots of time to ponder these questions since the remote ranching town we lived in while we were in Canada had Scotch founders, so while it didn't have a movie theater or a book store it DID have a curling arena. Natch.

*Scotland* - "Sunshine on Leith" and "500 Miles"

How can you NOT like The Proclaimers? I mean, c'mon, identical twin brothers in a rock band? What other country has given the world that? Well done Scotland! Also, The Proclaimers' CD was one of the first I ever owned. I think I actually stole it from my Dad, but nevermind the details right now, I distinctly remember having Ace of Base, The Indigo Girls, Hanson, The Beatles and The Proclaimers arrayed proudly on my bookshelf. Man, I was a weird kid.

Swirling and twirling by Lillian and Leonard Wedding Photography

*Scotland* - Ceilidh Dancing

My husband is from a part of England so far north that it is nearly in Scotland. For his 60th birthday my father-in-law had a Ceilildh dance for his party. This is a man who is pretty much the epitome of "staid" and when I heard he was "having a ceilidh" I almost fell out of my chair in wonderment. A country that can produce a dance that is toe-tapping enough to induce my father-in-law to dance? Amazing, truly amazing.

*Scotland* - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

This is kind of a weird book from the 1960s that I happened upon randomly and read because I had heard that Muriel Spark (the author) was someone I should know about. The story is interesting, about a teacher in 1930s Edinburgh who exerts "undue influence" over the girls at the school where she teaches. There's a love-triangle, the glorification of fascism and a homoerotic vibe to the whole thing. It's a good read, and a young Maggie Smith stars in the film adaptation which is pretty good in its own right. I love Maggie Smith, she is pretty fabulous and also Scottish (by descent)!
*Scotland* - Gretna Green

Hubs was so enchanted with me (that's right, enchanted) that he wanted to get married right away. He made a joke about going to Gretna Green and I just stared at him blankly. Being an American I would've understood a reference to Vegas, but Greta Green wasn't in my playbook. For other Americans out there, "Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings" and apparently 1 in 6 Scottish weddings are held there. The traditional way to get married at Gretna Green is to go to an old blacksmith's shop, since anyone can marry you in Scotland the smiths became known as "Anvil Priests". It's a much cooler elopement tradition than Vegas if you ask me, but it was a bit impractical for us -- especially considering that Hubo made this comment after knowing me for all of one week.

And that's it for the game! I'm sure I could go on for hours and hours but that last one reminded me that I'm gonna have a wedding in less than two weeks, a wedding for which there is still much to be done, so you'll forgive me if my mind only has a few minutes to loan to Scotland (all the other minutes are claimed by such thrilling topics as "Seating Charts" and finding shredded "crinkle paper" to put in the favor boxes). Of course, big burly Scots with heavy accents do me in whether or not they're from the 18th century, and I find the whole kilt thing charming. Children speaking Scots Gaelic are among the most adorable beings in the universe and I have a weakness for windswept moors. One day, soon hopefully, I'll be able to actually visit Scotland and confirm a few stereotypes. Hopefully it'll live up to expectations, even if there's no time-traveling involved.

6 boats moored

  1. I'm afraid my additions would have to be rain and cold and midges. Rain and cold because that has been the weather each time I have visited Scotland and midges because I refuse to go anywhere with water in Scotland in the summer because I know I will be eaten alive. Yuk.

    However, I have had some great times in Scotland! Looking forward to enjoying New Year Edinburgh style this year, which will only add to the good memories.

    Oh, and - congrats to Zan!!

    xxx

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  2. Congratulations Zan!!! Can't wait to see your pictures. Also this post was very funny. At least you've got your Scotland associations right.

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  3. Rosie (aka Kirsty's Mum)28 June 2011 at 10:46

    This was great, especially as I also love the Diana Gabaldon books, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (a girl in the class above me on school was one of her creme de la creme in the film!) Wonderful to have someone saying something positive about my homeland. And most of all, have a wonderful wedding day x

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  4. Bahaha! I love this post! And I have to say that I was reading on my phone and didn't pay attention to who it was in the intro, and totally knew it was Zan. <3

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  5. My addition would be drinking lots!!! I briefly dated a scottish boy, and for him and his scottish family and friends - one bottle of wine, was never enough...

    Zan, I really enjoyed your post. I'm marrying a farmer too. Would love to marry a sexy cowboy though, with a stetson hat and leather chaps. So jealous. Is it like the movies - where he rides a horse for most of the day, catches cattle with a spinning rope, lives on a ranch, and goes to rodeos?

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  6. OUTLANDER. YES.

    also ZAN!!! I've probably congratulated you 50 times by now but I don't care. one more is always good: CONGRATS! :) :)

    this was hilarious.

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