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Miller journey to the British Isles: part 1 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, March 25, 2013 8:34 AM


Louise Miller and her husband, Robert “Cookie” Miller of Ottoville, took a trip to Scotland, Ireland and Wales in the fall of 1998 with Bob and Arlene Bendele, their close friends and neighbors. The following is an excerpt from the journal Louise kept throughout their journey, accompanied by photos.



We drove to Detroit in Bob and Arlene Bendele’s van. Bob is driving today and it is a beautiful day. We are leaving Detroit International in a Continental Airline 480. This plane took us to Newark International Airport in one hour and 10 minutes. We then boarded a 757 to Glasgow, Scotland, crossing over Boston; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and then Dublin, Ireland.

We arrived in Glasgow at 6:25 their time. It was 59 degrees. So tired! We slept for an hour or so, then walked to a shopping area. Arlene was surprised by the chunky heels. We ate at a pub. I had a light-colored burger, fries and a “lager.” Later, I had a latte at a Seattle Coffee Shop. We are eating with the group from Globus Travels this evening, at the Thistle Hotel.

The group, 23 altogether, met in the hotel for a drink and dinner. We met a couple from Annapolis, Maryland. Al and Jackie Herbert joined us and we took a cab and went to a pub, where we laughed heartily over a lager. They explained to us a tennant is a half-pint or a heavy. Al is a retired police captain in Washington D.C.

We had breakfast at 8 a.m. We are trying to get a grip on their money. One hundred pennies equal a pound. Two 50 pence equals a pound. Twenty tiny silver equals a pound. Prince Charles 50th-birthday crown is 10 pounds.

Scotland was a ship-building and coal-mining country. There is a lot of unemployment. Now they are into electronics and finance. Scotland is a mere 300- x 600-mile country. We are going through Dumbarton. There are stone houses and stone fences. They have had the wettest summer ever but it is getting drier and warmer now. The highlands are cooler.

There are 13 miles of sea between Scotland and Ireland. There are five million people in Scotland; 66,000 people speak Gaelic.

The rainy weather made for lots of mud and that mud made kilts necessary. The bag they carry is called a spurren and it contains oats. The tartan plaid that they are famous for means criss-cross thread and their hat is a “tam.” We did see a wedding party where the groom wore a kilt.

Their yield signs say “Give Away.” A burrough or boro is a city and lochs are lakes. They have Rowen trees and the birds get drunk on the berries. I believe we call these trees Mountain Ash. We crossed the Speen Bridge and then had lunch. We shopped some in Ballater, Scotland, and ate at Braemar’s downstairs. Cookie had lamb.

We passed Hollyrood’s House, which is the Queen’s residence for working. No tourists are allowed inside when she is in residence.

We are staying in Edinboro. The big department store, Jenner’s, is on the corner. Edinboro is the capital of Scotland,and is built on volcanic rock. We can see Edinboro Castle (high on a hill) from our hotel room. There is a park between us and the castle. We strolled into the park in the afternoon, watching an old gentleman feeding the pigeons. Don’t you know, we left our umbrella on a bench. Actually, the umbrella belonged to our daughter, Lynne. It was the kind you can fold up.

Pitts was the name of the prime minister who started the income tax and that’s where we get the saying “that’s the Pitts.” Losing your umbrella was “the Pitts.”

We joined a tour into the castle. It is huge! There is a chapel inside called St. Margaret’s. It only holds 18 people. Our local tour guide was married there in 1976. One room in the castle holds a very, very long table, supposedly for the Queen’s important dinners. The walkways between the buildings are all cobblestones. Good for horse, but not the easiest walking for humans. The buildings look old, solidly built and certainly elegantly furnished. The cannon on the grounds is shot at 1 o’clock every day but Sunday.

We ate in a converted bank nearby. It reminded me of the former bank on Lima’s Square, with a very high ceiling, lots of marble and so elegant.

Some famous Scottish people are Beatrix Potter, who died in 1943. They say she was a very stern lady who owned 4,000 acres. There was Alexander Graham Bell and Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote Treasure Island. And of course, there is Henry VIII, the often married king, and his daughter, “Bloody Mary.”

The story goes that Mary had migraines. Orange Jelly seemed to help ease the pain, hence Marmalade (Mary laid) came into the language. She also was the source of “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow.”

Our tour guide is Julie from London, England. She has a charming accent. Julie works as an actress in children’s theatre during the winter months and says most nursery rhymes have their origin in England. She described a car accident as a “nahsty crunch.” The hood of a car is the bonnet and the rear is the boot.

We stopped to eat in Graesmere. I had cream of cauliflower soup. It was super soup!

Pictured: St. Patricks

See next Saturday’s paper for the second installment.


Last Updated on Monday, March 25, 2013 10:33 AM

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