Putting aside the fact that I don’t have an endless spring of flowing free cash nor a stinking rich significant other (all applications will be considered) or indeed a vast untapped inheritance, I thought today might be a good day to consider what makes a person return home in the wake of my own homecoming to Edinburgh after 10 months of diverse travel. I suppose the fresh, rather cutting wind sweeping along Edinburgh’s Princes Street today, may have whipped up a curious state of contemplation in me enough to prompt such deliberation.
Our weather here in Bonnie Scotland is certainly not high on most people’s reasoning to enjoy this eclectic and rich culture, but it does have you scuttling into coffee shops, where wistful thinking is always welcomed (J.K Rowlan territory). So here I am, thinking that weather might actually form part of my appraisal of returning to Scotland. Is it true that I like the unpredictable and constantly changing nature of Scotland’s weather? Yes I think so; I like the freezing flurry of cold wind against freckled skin, even though it’s now summer. For one thing it cools my consistently ruddy cheeks and barely penetrates my seal like blubber, so yes, 10 degrees totally rocks if you’re me!Then there’s the inherent beauty of Scotland’s wild spaces and her abundance of preserved architecture from Pict settlements to Edinburgh’s picturesque Georgian New town. I can’t seriously overlook our proud history of invention, creativity and now politics nor the indelible dark humour that pumps like blood through the veins of Scottish culture. And with more Castles and Churches than I have freckles (that’s saying something) you’ll also never be short of a fortress or a prayer during a Zombie apocalypse; what more could I want?As you might expect, my conclusions for returning, moulded slowly over a delightful coffee in a fine establishment called Artisan Roast on Broughton street (Edinburgh)helped me to realise that it’s simply the people in our lives who interact and embrace us that ultimately anchor most of us to home. Returning home is certainly bolstered by fun venues, eclectic festivals, tasty fresh food, creativity and art, an air of sophisticated learning and progress and of course the tangy, cheap Whiskey found lurking in the notorious Central bar in Leith not to forget a warming folk song or two in the Royal Oak just off the Bridges. Indeed there are many reasons to return and ‘bide at hame’ but there’s nowt quite like folk!The banter of Scottish folk is well-known but did you know that we have men, so skilled in the art of spitting that they can bring a buffalo down in one feld swoop such is the size, speed and adhesive viscosity of their produce. I was reminded of this ancient sport today by an elderly gent who released a turbo charged globule of spit that pole vaulted over my head, missing my tanned freckled cheeks by what we would call ‘a baw hair’! That’s a close shave in English!
I giggled nervously after the assault knowing I was one step away from an OCD meltdown but I was also in awe of the velocity, trajectory and general surprise of the incident (you can imagine how such a substance might halt traffic, now consider what might have become of me had I been encased?!).
The nice thing about this sport is the gruff apology that followed indicating that Scottish men have clearly evolved since I left… This is certainly not what people would deem to be an acceptable reason to return home and embrace Scotland for, but it did make me consider the uniqueness for good or bad of her people and made me laugh uproariously. Scotland to me is familiar and easy and if your heart is softened to it, as mine is, there’s no better place on earth. Her people, spitting Olympians included can be a little odd (often dependent on postcode), a little reckless depending on how much alcohol is swirling through the blood and sometimes downright nuts, but I think in all honesty the cap fits. There are few caps I’d rather wear and simply being back amongst friends, family has highlighted the joy that is Scotland and her people. There’s certainly something in the special banter that makes our differences so sweet and our humour so silly. Sadly we don’t all say bye bye to our local bus drivers quite as enthusiastically as this wee woman, herself an advocate for the nation!
The brutality of not being submerged in such a culture, can surely only be compared to a fish gasping for air on dry land. Thankfully I’ve dived back into the place I call home and in spit of itself it’s still a wonderful wee country to return to.