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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - February/March 2004
Touring in Scotland


I like to write about what senior citizens can do while traveling in Scotland, but this time I am going to tell my favorite story which can happen to anyone while touring about in Scotland. We have never had a bad experience while visiting there, but this one is not one we want to repeat. Chris doesn't like for me to tell the story and I think you will see why near the end of the tale.

Anyone that has visited Scotland has their favorite place of some kind and ours is a restaurant in Arbroath. They have great seafood and they are located right on the harbor in an old building that was once used to store goods unloaded from the ships. There is a pub inside along with the restaurant. Their biggest claim to fame came when Cromwell's ship bombarded the harbor and a cannonball came through the wall and killed the owner. The cannonball that killed him is on display on the bar in the pub.
We wanted to make sure the restaurant was open before we looked for a B&B. We never make reservations in advance. We just find a place. As we drove along the harbor wall, we could see the restaurant a couple of blocks away, and right there on the harbor was a B&B with a vacancy sign, so we said why not. We knocked on the door and a gentleman answered. He said yes they had room. He was a guest himself and he would help us as the manager was off somewhere drunk. We should have stopped then and there, but we were within walking distance of our restaurant, so we checked in. The place was clean, so we stayed. The other guest told us about a pub that only locals go to and that night was a ceilidh. He gave us directions, which were in the opposite direction of the restaurant, but only a few blocks away. It was hidden in a residential area with a 2 x 2 sign showing where it was.

Chris asked about washing our clothes. "The guest" said they have a washing machine and he would do the washing for us and even furnish the soap. Typical Scottish hospitality. The washer was a small one you loaded through a round door in the front, in which he shoved all our clothes and forced the door shut. Chris thought this is not going to work. He then said he'd put our clothes in the dryer for us later. So, off we went to eat.

The restaurant was as good as ever. We decided to go to the ceilidh, so we headed out following his instructions on how to find the pub. He was right about the location, it was in an unexpected location and it was not a tourist pub. It was small and catered to the local Scots. "The guest" said he would meet us there around 9:00 PM.

Chris and I went in and had a seat and no one recognized us as tourists until Chris decided she wanted a drink. She told me to get her a bourbon and coke, so I went to the bar, opened my mouth and immediately was asked where I was from. When I ordered her drink, there was a blank look on the bartender's face as he had never heard of such a thing. When I explained how to make it, he searched around and found an old bottle of Jack Daniels. He mixed the drink, but they did not have any ice, so Chris had a warm bourbon and coke. To save face, I ordered a scotch and returned to our table.

The entertainers started coming in. They were locals and were not a band, but just people who liked to play music. There were 3 accordions, 2 guitars and one fiddle. The fiddle player was the only female in the group and must have had claustrophobia, as she would not play until the backdoor was opened, which had been nailed shut. It took at least a half hour to find a hammer and to get the door open. Then the music started and it was very good. It was all traditional music and no one did any singing..

We stayed until about 9:30, but "the guest" had not shown up. We headed back to the B&B, but took a long way back just to get in a walk. "The guest" came the other way, so we missed him. When we arrived back at the B&B, the police were parked out front and stopped us to ask if we had called them. They wanted to make sure because they said they had a lot of calls from that address. The police left and we tried to get in, but the door was locked. We had been told they never locked the front door. We knew the owner lived a few doors down, so found him and got a key and went back to the B&B. While back at the door, the police came and again wanted to know if we had called them. We assured them it was not us that called. Now we began to be concerned.

We went inside and since we were the only ones there, upstairs we went to go to bed. I looked out the back window on the way up and there were our clothes hanging on a line. It was raining and it was too late to do anything, so we went to bed.

The next morning we came down for breakfast, which was cooked by "the guest" as the manager was still drunk. Our clothes were not out on the line, but we found them. They had been placed on every heater in the house to dry because the dryer was broken. I had breakfast in the dining room with my underwear staring me in the face from the heater. Chris finished a quick breakfast and went about gathering up our clothes, which were still not dry.

As we left the B&B, we had spread some of our clothes on the seats of the car to dry and laughed at this adventure. We wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but we don't want to do it again. There are three ways to recognize an American in Scotland. One, they will be driving a new rental car. Two, they don't wave at other cars when they have to stop on a single carriage road. And three, their underwear is drying on the backseat.

Hope you like these stories, as next time it will be the farmhouse near Culloden and the cairns. .

Dick & Chris Lucas


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