Friday, 30 October 2009

Saturday 3 October 2009

After rising at an ungodly hour, we ate a hearty breakfast and set off for The Isle of Skye, breaking off only to visit Eilean Donan Castle to take some photographs. Apparently it’s featured in a lot of films and TV shows and is popular for weddings. The castle is closed this afternoon as there is a wedding going on. It’s likely to be a gothic ceremony as the sky is overcast and looking bleak in a particularly Scottish way.
As we approached the West Coast of Scotland the heavens opened and clouds descended to shroud the peaks of bleak scarred mountains, a phrase for which I apologise since I seemed to have been momentarily possessed by a Bronte sister.
I can’t help finding this scenery very beautiful, however. It appeals to my sense of the gothic. Brilliantly white foaming rivers were pouring down the sides of the mountains. The mountains themselves, when in sunlight, were a complex mixture of colours which ranged from a rusty salmon pink to a lovely shade of pistachio. I’m Ok there, as the Brontes would never have used the word ‘pistachio’.
By the time we got to Skye the rain had passed and we crossed the Skye bridge to be greeted by the sight of ‘A Taste of India’ emblazoned across the first restaurant we saw as we arrived on the island. Hoorah!
We had fish and chips in a sea-front restaurant in Portree, one which had apparently been frequented by Hugh Firmly-Wherewithall. A photograph of Hugh being firmly gripped by the manager lest Hugh escape before the photo was taken had been mounted and hung on the wall.
It seemed a popular place. Half of our coach party were there, as well as six well-dressed men conversing in gallic. At that point our tour guide waltzed in with his young friend and commandeered a table. He has a very loud and carrying voice, and either didn’t realise or didn’t care that the entire restaurant was privy to his conversation.
‘Oh! I didn’t tell you about the Thai girl my brother brought back from abroad!’ he announced to the young friend.
‘No! Thai girl! A girl from Thailand. I’m sure he bought her on the internet. Anyway, they came to London and stayed at my house, and when I got back I found she’d Feng Shuied right through. The walls had been repainted, half my furniture was in storage and the rest had all been shifted round.
‘I was livid!’
I ordered their recommended fish and chips, having toyed with the idea of the Cullen Skink, and made a visit to the toilet before it arrived.
Bizarrely, the mirror had been put in the toilet at a level where, unless one was six foot nine, one would have to stand on the toilet to use it.
This evening I had prawn and apple cocktail (surprisingly delicious), scampi (with vegetables rather than chips… odd) and mandarin cheesecake. We have now discovered that every dessert comes drizzled with the same red fruity sauce, although it has not as yet been properly identified.
The Blue Knights were in full kilt regalia tonight and very nice they looked too. A different musical duo (violin and accordion) were also trying to get people to do Scottish Country Dancing. Why don’t they just play the music? It’s nice enough as it is.
The angry barman, who for reasons of his own has decided that we are his new best friends, looked at me and nodded at the large lady playing the violin.
‘She’s got a right attitude problem,’ he said. ‘I’m tempted to smack her over the head with this!’ and brandished the empty wine bottle he was clutching with a desperate white-knuckled grip.
‘O…K…’ I said slowly, and decided that this might be a good moment to leave him and The Blue Knights and retire to my room. I might have been suspected of stealing hotel memorabilia and chased with a stick, and not in a nice way.

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