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All posts for the month September, 2006

A GUEST BLOG

Published September 28, 2006 by jean cohen

Stop already with the emails about updating my blog. You try being interesting, clever, satirical, and funny on demand. My Muse and I have been otherwise occupied. I’m really trying to get going on The Great Ex-patriot Novel, but I’m getting nowhere fast. It’s not like my mates don’t provide plenty of material; Weybridge is a little Peyton Place, filled with swirling intrigue. But it’s all so banal. And, of course, there’s the looming matter of being deported, which is growing nearer. And I’m horny. Strangely, I want very much to have nice, uncomplicated sex…with Jerry. You figure it out, because I can’t. I have no idea how my mind works.

Despite a busy week socially, the creative well is dry. Thankfully, James came through with a guest blog. In the interests of honest journalism, I have not edited it, except for spelling.

James & Teresa’s Guest Blog – aka The Eagles Were Landed

Saturday 16th September

It is the occasion of Teresa’s birthday, and we head off to Heathrow to catch the BA67 to Philadelphia. Luckily, there was plenty of room, and our standby tickets were no problem. We boarded the plane, and discovered our seats were in Traveller Plus. However, we didn’t have much time to settle before the crew kindly moved us into a couple of spare seats in Club. The next seven hours passed very comfortably with fine foods, wines and cocktails aplenty. A particularly nice touch was Teresa being presented the gift of a bottle of Heidsieck champagne to help her celebrate.

We landed on time at Philadelphia International Airport, and proceeded to Immigration. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no major queue, and even more surprised to find that the locals had to walk further to get through immigration than us ‘aliens’. After a couple of minutes friendly grilling from the gun-toting officer, we were out and heading downtown by cab.

We arrived at The Latham Hotel, and checked in to our room. WOW! The room was really lovely, and it had some additional features – gifts from the hotel placed there by Alex (the General manager, and a nephew of Jeano), and a nice bottle of red wine added by Stuart (Jeano’s stepson). This was all totally unexpected, and a really nice touch! We freshened up, and headed out to explore. After a walk around Rittenhouse Square, we found ourselves ensconced in The Black Sheep Pub. As this sold all the regular British beer, we settled in until the weariness of the days travel got the better of us, and we returned to the Latham to sleep.

Sunday 17th September

We rose early in anticipation of the main event. Jeano had scored us two tickets for Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants, and this was going to be a blast. Teresa donned Jeano’s coveted McNabb shirt, thereby proudly displaying her allegiance to the Eagles. I, on the other hand, sported an NEC Harlequins rugby shirt. This was a cunning ruse to confuse the locals, and hide my support for the Giants. It appeared to work, and I was relieved, having only seen about 10 Giants shirts among the 68,500 crowd! The game started, and the Giants were soon 7-0 in the lead. My joy was short-lived though, as the Eagles then proceeded to score 24 unanswered points, and sack my QB no less than 8 times. By the 4th quarter, I had pretty much resigned myself to copious amounts of abuse from, well, from everyone around me, plus doubtless a text or three from Jeano in the UK. However, the mighty Giants fought back, and tied the game at 24-24 by full time. It’s fair to say the crowd were pretty pissed at this point, but not as pissed as they were when Plaxico Burress caught a game winning TD reception in overtime to win the game! Eagles 24-30 Giants. GO GIANTS!!! GO GIANTS!!! (Jeano will probably edit that bit out, but if she leaves it in, I will not reveal the content of the text she sent me after the game – very unbecoming of a lady!) The subway journey was ‘interesting’ on the way back into town because a) It was crammed full of unhappy Eagles fans, and b) it went past all the stops we stopped at on the way there. Fortunately, its first stop was our stop (some place called Walnut-Locust), so we were OK. We freshened up, and hit the Black Sheep to celebrate – sorry – commiserate

.

Monday 18th September

We bid farewell to the Latham Hotel, but not before we met Alex. A thoroughly nice bloke he was, and certainly seems to have the respect of his staff, judging by the way they hung on his every word. We left him with some gifts from Blighty, and made our way to 30th St. Station to catch our train to Manhattan.

I will end my guest blog there, since the remainder of the trip was a fairly usual beer/shopping/sightseeing/shopping/beer/sleep type of affair. I will mention we managed to meet up with my friends Mark and Andy who were over from the UK the same week. It’s always nice to bump into friends when on foreign soil.

So, in summary, thank you Jeano. Thank you for the tips on places to go. Thank you for putting us in touch with Alex for accommodation. Thank you for the shirt you lent Teresa. Thank you for he excellent seats at the ‘Linc’ for the Eagles game. And thanks to the Eagles for giving me the result I never dreamed I’d witness. Sweet!!!!!

 

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SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY

Published September 20, 2006 by jean cohen

Sunday morning I was up early despite ending up at the Grotto Saturday night. It is better to not report on Saturday night’s events, although I will mention that it involved turning up at Lou’s sister’s house…at 9:30 at night…without calling first.

I can’t say we receive an enthusiastic welcome.

I tore my house apart, looking for my Game Day Donovan McNabb jersey. Then I realized my jersey was actually IN Philadelphia, and going to the Eagles game without me. I had loaned it to Teresa. I had to make do with my second best, everyday green Eagles shirt. James and Teresa rang, to say they were standing outside Lincoln Financial Field. "James", I said, "isn’t it, like, early in the morning?" "It’s 10:30," he replied. "Yeah, and the game starts at 1:00." I guess they were chuffed.

Lou went to the Grotto to watch football (the boring English kind), so Karen came over for a girls day, and made Sunday Roast. Honestly. I could have ordered take away Chinese, but she just LOVES to peel vegetables and "cook" them. It was really all delicious, especially the roast potatoes.

Karen and Lou were too tired for Live Music Sunday night, so I walked up to Pinkie’s to pick her up, and we walked up to meet Caroline. Vickums is in London this week. My Eagles shirt caused a great deal of ridicule from the New Yorkers, and that really cute new bartender from Washington, DC. Thankfully, he’s not a Redskins fan.

The singer was Paul Stroble, who was fantastic, as always, except when he played…yeah, he did "Sweet Home You Know What". The New Yorkers (Pat and Colleen) yelled across the bar, "Yo! Jeano! We didn’t ask him to play it for you!" Right. Everybody joined in, singing it to me VERY LOUDLY.

Dearest Pinkie, who is much more technical than me when it comes to mobiles, (I’ve killed two just since I’m back), kept her browser set to Fox Sports for updates on the Eagles game, and it was looking like we had it sewn up in the Fourth Quarter. NOT! The Giants scored late, sending the game into overtime, prompting a slew of taunting texts from Philadelphia, as well as derisive comments from the other end of the pub. I swore I was going to burn my Eagles shirt, but Pinkie convinced me it was too cold to walk home in just my bra. The Eagles snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and lost. New season; same old team. I didn’t even care that Man United had also lost on Sunday. Who actually pays attention to soccer?

At the end of his second set, I went over to chat with Paul, who said that he just "likes" "Sweet Home Alabama" and it usually goes over well with the audience. I presented him with a carefully chosen list of songs to learn to replace it next time: Another Fall in Philadelphia (Hall & Oates); Streets of Philadelphia (Bruce Springsteen); Sailing to Philadelphia (Mark Knopfler); Philadelphia Freedom (Elton John); The Theme from Rocky; and Galveston, just because I like it.

 

 

 

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

Published September 19, 2006 by jean cohen

It was a rather peculiar weekend. First of all, I was at the pub four nights in a row. I NEVER do that. Honestly. And I met some natives who made me feel distinctly out of place.

On Saturday, I went to Portsmouth with Lou and Karen. They were meeting up with an old friend of Karen’s and his fiancee. I’ve been to Portsmouth several times (I know…big yawn), including the infamous time I missed the ferry to Le Havre and hitched a ride on the Europa, which had just returned from the Falklands War. Another time; another story. I was eager to morph into Tour Escort mode and explain all about the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson’s HMS Victory, but was told to button it.

Karen’s mate, Jeff, was lovely. His fiancee, Elaine, was hard work. The afternoon was spent pubbing, which meant lots of time for lots of chatting. The first problem: Jeff and Elaine are from Sunderland, in the north of England, as is Karen. Karen has been living in the south for a long time, and her accent has softened. I understand almost everything she says. Not so with Jeff and Elaine, beginning with the introductions, at which I understood her name was something like "Illiane" and kept calling her that.

I think Karen and Lou wanted a diversion in case it was awkward. Voila! Bring along a token American, (Jeano! We’ve run out of things to say. Act American.) I didn’t understand anything they said, and Lou, bless his little piss-taking heart, kept pointing that out, in a very loud voice. "You’re nodding and smiling, but YOU DON’T HAVE A BLOODY CLUE…" It was true. I didn’t. Karen carries a little trinket (sort of like worry beads), which is two pennies with a magnet in the middle. She plays with it when she’s nervous. I swear I heard the Queen say at one point, "For fuck’s sake, stop rubbing my head!"

Note to American readers: If you think you can come to Britain and talk to the natives, think again. Two recent examples: 1) Walking down Monument Hill from the Grotto with the Irish Lad, I say "Busy at work?" Reply by Terry: "Yes, she’s on nights." ??? 2)At the Volunteer on Friday night, Lou says that the owner is a "Mennonite". How strange! My ex-son-in-law is a Mennonite. "Excuse me. Do you know Dale from Ephrata, Pennsylvania? Oh. You’re not Plain People. You’re a Man United fan. Well, have you ever been to Pennsylvania? Maybe you saw the movie "Witness? Never mind. Another Zinfy, please. Make it a large."

Anyway, it was a long afternoon. At one point, the guys went off to play pool, leaving the ladies to try and keep a convo going. Elaine appeared to be under the impression that I worked for the CIA or something, and answered all questions (even about the plans for the wedding) with one syllable answers. I got up to go to the loo, and Karen hissed "Don’t leave me!" Still, we had a nice afternoon. And Jeff and Elaine invited me to the wedding. I guess if the reception is boring, they can always say, "This is Jeano! She’s American."

IT WAS BETTER THAN RUNNING INTO THE QUEEN AT SAINSBURYS

Published September 16, 2006 by jean cohen

Proper football has begun at home, and I spent a good deal of time surfing the all news channels, trying to get highlights of the season openers. The only game that was actually on telly was the Vikings game – at 2:00 in the morning. I don’t think I would tune in at 2:00 AM if the Vikings were playing naked. The Eagles won. Happily, the much detested Giants and Cowboys lost.

It was an ordinary week, with friends popping in, Live Music on Thursday night (excellent singer; Mike Dobie, whom the Grotto has poached from the Hog’s Head), until last night. Lulu was over for a Girls’ Night, and Karen rang, asking if we were up for a pub crawl. Does the Pope insult Muslims? Of course we were! We headed to the British Volunteer, which is generally a nice pub, but the goddamned footy was on, so they weren’t playing music. We had a few drinks, but decided eventually that "there’s no place like home" and trooped off to the Grotto.

Okay. Pay attention. EWEN WAS THERE! I expect there were also some other people around. I vaguely remember kissing Justin, Mike, Mark S. Leechy, that cute guy whose name I can never remember, and the one who is a cop. But I was focused on the corner. Yes, License to Kill Ewen was sitting there, larger than life!

Let me say I did not behave too badly. Ewen was sitting with Leechy, who had him in a death grip, rambling on about his troubles. It was the right thing to do to grab Ewen and drag him over to the other side of the pub to flirt shamelessly with him. I had forgotten his thick Glaswegian accent, but on Ewen it’s kinda cute. I told him all about our trip to Scotland, and bemoaned the scarcity of men in kilts. Get this. Ewen said, "I have a kilt. I’ll come around to your’s wearing it." "Okay" I replied. "But just the kilt. Don’t bother about a shirt, or socks or anything." Well..that last part wasn’t actually true. I only THOUGHT it.

With Lou translating, I was able to ascertain that Ewen has moved back to Weybridge. He spends two weeks a month doing his Secret Service thing, and the rest of the time he will be hanging out locally. We had a lovely long natter, and exchanged mobile numbers.

When I rescued Ewen from Leechy, Leechy just grabbed poor Lulu, and carried on talking to her about what happened. Even though I tried to ignore her, she kept sending me evil looks across the room to come and save her. Like there weren’t plenty of other people there to drag her out of Leechy’s clutches. Lou finally said, "Jeano, Lulu is boring a hole in your back. Go save her." So I called over, "Lulu, I need to speak to you NOW!" She knocked over four people getting around to the other side of the bar.

Although Ewen is hunkalicious, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to chat with Mike (the American owner) about Week One in the NFL and Notre Dame, which is both our favorite college team. None of my friends are even remotely interested in REAL (American) football. We made some wagers on Sunday’s games; Mike and Pat are Giant’s fans, but I forgive them. James and Teresa are off to Philly today to go to the Eagles-Giants game tomorrow. Note to James: I am expecting a brilliant guest blog.

In closing, as I alluded to the Pope putting his foot in his mouth this week, I’m including here a Quiz sent to me by James. I think it’s pretty apt, albeit a little long.

How Soon We Forget . Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following multiple choice test. (The events are actual cuts from past history. They

actually happened! Do you remember?)

1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by:
a. Olga Corbitt
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

3. During the 1980’s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
4. In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Kylie Minoque
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones & The Monkees
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a U.S. Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kid
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Meatloaf
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9. In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Tarzan
b. Hillary Clinton (to distract attention from Wild Bill’ s women problems)
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

10. On 11 September 2001 four airliners were hijacked; two were used as
missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one
crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted to a crash by the
passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Beand. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Lawrence of Arabia
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly& nbsp;between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonny and Clyde
b. Ned Kelly
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

13. In 2002 the Sari Nightclub in Kuta Beach, Bali, was blown up killing 189 young mainly Australian tourists by:
a . The "Bundy" Polar Bear
b. Ho Chi Minh
c. Paul Keating
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

14. In July 2004, three London Underground trains and one London Bus were
suicide bombed by:
a. The Spice girls
b. The Beatles
c. The Four Tops
d. 4 ‘British’ Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

Nope, ………I really don’t see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you?

So, to ensure democratic western Christian civilisation never offends anyone – particularly fanatics intent on killing us -airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile (or target) certain people. They must only conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, people in wheelchairs, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification,
Secret Service agents who are members of the U.S.President’s security
detail, 85-year old World War II veterans with metal hips, and Boy Scout
groups. They must never "target" a turbanwearing 17 to 40 year old
male who appears to have a suspicious package tied around his body. This would
be unjustified discrimination!

CATCH UP

Published September 13, 2006 by jean cohen

I’ve been lazy again about blogging. Sorry.

Scary Fairy flew back to New Jersey on Tuesday, after one final Thai meal and several bottles of Zinfy at the Grotto, and I got back into my normal routine. Tea Lady duty Tuesday morning, lunch with Pinkie, and a bus trip to Canterbury on Wednesday with Paula and Jack.

I love Canterbury, despite having been made to read Canterbury Tales, in the olde English, at school. Even though I’ve been there several times, Paula and I visited all the "hot spots"; Thomas Becket’s tomb, the Black Prince’s monument, the entire cathedral and, I’m pretty sure, every damn chapel. If you haven’t seen the old movie "Beckett", with Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton, it’s well worth renting. We had a lovely lunch at a haunted pub, and managed to get in some shopping, as well as a horse and carriage ride.

Thursday night was…Live Music. Everyone was there. I didn’t care very much for the singer, but we go for the company and the booze. I do have one piece of news to share. I had mentioned that Leechy had gotten engaged, and devoted blog space to tweaking the happy couple (hopefully) not too unkindly. Well, whilst we were off in the Highlands, Shirley committed suicide. I’m NOT making this one up. I can’t think of anything remotely humorous to say here, so that’s all I’m going to say. I did speak to Leechy when I got back, and he is truly gutted.

I’ve registered for on-line university, so I’ll soon be back in the grind of classes, writing papers, etc. I don’t have any particular goal in mind; I just like learning and it keeps the brain functioning. I will have to be very strict with myself. No pubbing unless my homework is done!

On Saturday, Allison and I went to a charity do for her Women’s Institute. No, we weren’t posing for a calendar. I decided to make a fancy lunch before the do. I need to keep in practice. Despite grams and litres, as well as centigrades, the

meal came off perfectly. As so often happens, after I had made the plans, I was invited by the guys to go to a Harlequin’s Rugby Match the same day.

I couldn’t get there in time for the match, but agreed to meet the guys at the Sorting Room in Twickenham afterwards. Oh, my! I turned up to find Jarvo, James, Scotty, and some other large males in ‘Quins shirts were quite a few drinks ahead of me. This is really funny. There was a bloke at our table, whose name I never got, with whom I had an interesting long natter about baseball. Rounds kept been bought, and finally, this bloke said goodbye to everyone, kissed me, and left. "He was nice," I said. Replied James, "We don’t know who the hell he is. He walked out of the Stoop with us, and just came along." It was brilliant to spend the evening with the guys, especially Darling Scotty, who is a special friend. I’m going to London next week to visit Scotty. I was able to goad James into making a wager on the Eagles-Giants game on the 17th, especially since Teresa and James will be at the game. I believe it’s safe to say James will not be able to recall exactly what the wager was, so I will come up with something interesting to ask for when the Eagles win.

I consumed far too much Zinfy, and was quite ready to leave when Teresa came to pick up James and me.

 

 

 

SCOTLAND FOREVER (At least after my visa expires)

Published September 7, 2006 by jean cohen

First, I must start with a correction. I received 1,762 emails (all from Pinkie) stating that Terry had NOT made the Pimms for their party. Pinkie did. Well, all I can say is that Terry accepted kudos for their potency quite graciously and never ‘fessed up that cooking was his domain and potent potables Pinkie’s.

Now, back to Scotland.

On Thursday morning, our merry band of travelers set out for the coast to visit St. Andrews and any shops we might have missed. Margaret and David stayed behind to pick up Stephen and Sharon at the train station, and prepare for the party they were having in the evening. St. Andrews is lovely. There’s a golf course every two feet, but, sadly, the male golfers were all wearing those really silly pants instead of kilts, so the ladies grew bored rather quickly. We stopped for a genuine Fish ‘N Chips lunch in a little fishing village called Anstruther, We were not the first famous Americans to visit. The walls were papered with pictures of Tom Hanks and his family during an impromptu stop the year before. I highly recommend the prawns. We headed back to Kirkcaldy for a rest, and to change into our party clothes for the Do at David and Margaret’s house.

What a lovely evening! Margaret had prepared a huge amount of food , and her sister, Irene, came over to meet us also. Stephen and Sharon were, I think, a bit nervous about meeting "Stuart’s Americans", but a few bottles of wine soon sorted everyone out. Karen reported to me that Stephen had said to her in the kitchen "Your friends are a nice couple." I must confess that my first reaction was "I hope they think I’m the girl." Stephen’s chance remark provided endless hours of entertainment for us, as Mary’s and my "relationship" became a running joke. Stephen is quite unlike Lou, although he looks a bit like Stuart. Sharon and Stephen invited Karen, Lou and me to visit them in Liverpool (home of the Beatles!) and I see another road trip in my future. And, of course, I invited David and Margaret to come and visit me in Weybridge. Actually, if I don’t get this visa business sorted out soon, I may have to hide out from Immigration Services in Kirkcaldy. I’m sure the Scottish Cow would find that terribly amusing. And I’d have to take a Berlitz course in Scottish.

We had to make an early start home on Friday, as Mary and I had a date for the theatre with Pinkie and Vickums. In honor of our last morning in Scotland, I had haggis for breakfast. I don’t know what the big fuss was about; it tastes like scrapple. Note to readers from everywhere except Philadelphia: a Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast meat made from the parts of a pig they can’t use for anything else.

David and Margaret drove over to our hotel to say goodbye, and told us, quite seriously, that they had wanted to offer us accommodation at their house, but as we were Americans they knew we would each require our own bathroom. Gee, are we Americans so shallow and demanding? Don’t answer that.

The trip back home was, sadly, a nightmare, due to horrendous traffic, and we didn’t make it home in time for the theatre. We ended up at mine, ordered pizza, and sat around reminiscing about our adventures.

Note to readers: In answer to the question of what the title of the previous blog meant, it means "Where is the bar?" Obviously, a most important query.

 

 

 

 

CAITE BHEIL AN TAIGH-OSTA?

Published September 3, 2006 by jean cohen

Karen, Lou, Mary and I set out early on Bank Holiday Monday on our road trip to bonny Scotland. We’d rented a full size car (with air-conditioning) and after loading the boot with all our shit (don’t they sell Fosters in Scotland?) We motored off up the M-something, merrily singing along to the first of the 56 CDs we’d brought. Well Karen, Mary and Lou sang along. I was told to be quiet and sit still. I had agreed, don’t ask me why, to not smoke in the car, so after the first fifteen minutes, I was kinda grumpy. Okay. I had a right hump on. So I sang really, really loud along with Billy Joel. (The Americans got to pick the music.)

We made a couple of pit stops for smoke breaks, and stopped for lunch and shopping at Gretna Green. I couldn’t resist taking the piss out of Lou by whispering (over and over) that Mary and I would be happy to act as witnesses if he and Karen wanted to tie the knot. Note to American readers: Gretna Green used to be just like Elkton, Maryland; the Old Forge Blacksmith Shop and Wedding Chapel is still operating. We peeled rubber getting out of the carpark.

After crossing the Forth of Fife, our first stop was at David and Margaret’s house. David is Lou’s dad, and Margaret is David’s partner. This is really, really odd. David and Margaret seemed to think that Lou is called Stuart. They are absolutely lovely people, incredibly friendly and hospitable. Lou and Karen were staying at one of the two houses David and Margaret have in Kirkcaldy, (long story) and David insisted on coming with us to check in at our hotel to make sure we were well taken care of. I was especially grateful as I don’t speak Scottish and hadn’t understood anything anyone said to me once we crossed the border. After a respite to relax and freshen up, Margaret and David took us all out to dinner at a lovely local golf club.

Our plan for the next day had been to drive around the beautiful countryside, visit a loch, look for men in kilts, and, of course, shop. David and Margaret kindly offered to act as our tour guides. We did see a few lochs, stopped to check out Gleneagles (site of the G-8 Summit) and had drinks in a genuine Scottish local, where the bar staff wore….kilts! The first bartender (nice butt) had only to open his mouth and we guessed (correctly) "Australia!" The second one (Moderately cute) was from Canada, and…this is true…the third one (not even remotely attractive) trying really hard to pass himself off as a Scotsman was from Utah! We did spot the genuine article in the carpark and surripititously snapped a few pictures.

Our plan for Wednesday was to take the bus into Edinburgh for the day, as the Festival was on and the city was jam-packed. David and Margaret stayed in Kirkcaldy to prepare for the arrival of more guests, Lou’s brother, Stephen (who is called "Stephen") and his partner Sharon.

Edinburgh is a beautiful city, and we did the proper tourist route, beginning at Holyrood Palace, walking the entire Royal Mile, and ending up at the Castle. There were several hundred stops for shopping and pubs (for Lou), and to watch various street artists performing. A brief call to David provided a recommendation on where to eat dinner. Lou, however, told us we were going to "Jimmy Choo’s" so I was definitely up for buying some shoes. Lou’s gotta stop watching "Sex and the City." Anyway, we had an excellent meal at Jimmy Chung’s before catching our bus back to Kirkcaldy.

Mary and Lou both took about a million pictures, and I will be posting some soon. The details of the rest of our Highland Fling will continue tomorrow.