On my recent trip to scotland ,fiona and i was able to get the feel of a truely remarkable country .
The landscapes ,the history, the highlands but the one thing that stayed in your bones was the cold .
Now its cold in many places ,i know ,but in scotland ,its different ,its like an enduring cold every house ,hotel,b and b was bloody freezing ,of course on entry ,they would put a heater on but just in your room , the time of year we thought you must expect it to be cold ,but being ignorant of the geography and visiting many cold places such as norway ,finland even russia in the summer it can get very warm ,but when we enquired about the summer ,around some of the most enviarible beach locations , the answer no matter where you were in the country was , oh on the good days it hits 20 and when it is totally hottest day of the year stuff ,its low 20,s but its refreshing in the water get to 15 or 16 in the summer ,great for swimming !
One has to hold one's tongue when you want to snap out "for polar bears maybe"as they are so serious .
I ponder this as i wait for the car ferry , its -7 not a cloud in the sky ,and at the end of the pier a what looks like a seamonster emerges from the deep ,yes in a wetsuit , but without anything covering his face except his goggles .
"we are repairing some broken bolts holding the cement in place ", as i try to understand him , i say try as i cant understand any body thats male talking english to me , believe me people ,bella does not talk scottish , however after some time ,i just got to ask him how he does this for a living ? i loooooooooooooov the water son, loooooooooooov it , but isnt it cold ? arent you for ever freezing?
yes ,but i am a scot .
Now there was an answer that helped me while away the time on the boat , as i got the same one at bellas wedding , from bellas old coach when she first started triathlon , a rugged guy from aberdeen ,
been a around the world and some but he was telling me of his sea kayaking adventure , with his wife
and a group ,last month "25miles of open water paddling between islands , we camp over nite , and its a great time ,you should try it " try it ,i nearly fainted trying to contemplate it ,evry paddle stroke dripping north sea winter water on you for 25 miles . try it?i could not comprehend it .Isnt it cold ,was the same stupid question i put to him ,and he said , but , i am a scot !
Now strait away ,he switched the subject to the 3rd example ,meet my friend also at the table , now this guy ,is a true champion for us in aberdeen area , helps out with all the triathlons , sponsors what ever he can in the local area and when we were having trouble he built us a pool , you should come and see it .
So, again , i naturally lead in with , thats fantastic , how big is the pool 25 m or 50 , he said quite proudly well more like 1500 by 800, i said 1500 what ? he said yards close to a mile , my new little friend next to me said eye , we held our last 2 races in it . Fantastic set up , all the locals swim in it every day in summer , and again , i fell for it again , isnt it a bit too cold , the builder who was a rugged looking man and proud of his pool said "nooooooooooooooo nooooooooooooooooooooooot at allllllllllllllllllll its 15 or 16c you dont even need a wet suit , again i said most would consider that freezing , and i got the magic answer again
nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, laddie ,i am near 50 and look 60, so that tells you his age when i am a laddie ," i am a scot "!
The fourth example ,well its 2 examples , the first i dissmissed as a complete nut job , you know the type, every villiage has one .
but on the way to bellas wedding , we are in the car and its pretty foggy ,fiona and i laugh about
its only -5 on the outside , till she screams watch the bike rider !
Here was this guy bald , no hat , cap ,beenie , nothing on his head riding along in a pair of football shorts , now not your today football shorts but the 1970 pair , wear if he gets too on one side his
tackle will fall out of its box , the smallest pair of shorts i have seen but in his defence , he wore a long sleeve shirt , no, no jumper or coat .
We thought you have got to be kidding and as i said just thought , he didnt quite have the full loaf , missing a few slices , i looked over to fiona , and said , once its below about 2 you really cant ride the wind chill factors kills you , famous last words , as on sunday , we are travelling to see where william wallace , defeated the english for a great victory , problem was ,the fog was in and -7c so we were not going to see much of anything , but what we did see was nearly as heroic or stupid , which ever you may
think but out of the mist come the sunday bike pack , just like every other country in the world ,
must have been 15 of them all togged up on their road bikes , we rechecked on the towns weather light and yep it said -8 .
i was gob smacked , fiona who doesnt miss a chance , said well it seems your 2c theory has just got blown out the water supa coach, thank you dear .
i caught up to one at the lights , he must have been 65 with snot and crap every where ,i even thought i seen some ice on his moustache , sir " isnt too cold to be out riding "? nooooooooooooooo its bracing soooooooooony , keeps me young !
'can you actually feel the pedals when your riding or are you totally frozen and cant handle the brakes "
soooooooooony , there is no wind today , iam not going to tell you its pleasant ,but i am a scot !
Got me again , i am a scot ,seems the catch cry .
My mind just kept racing whats it mean ?, why are they so proud to be cold ?
that nite , we watched a billy connolly special , the big yin is more a philosopher than a comedian ,
its just he observes people , and normal people are always funny .
To my great relief , he went into his spiel and said , you know i often think why are the scottish so different , than the rest i see in my travels .
He paused , as good comedians do , and then says i think its got something to do with all of us being concieved while fully dressed .
The big yin , may have a point , all i know , is when i walked around stirling castle freezing my nuts off listening, to our very imformative , guide wearing no gloves and a cardigan , and saying how cold it was ,
imagine , in wallaces day , what it was like , preparing for battle days in advance in weather like this ,
My little mind kept slipping into wonderment of whether the scots are brave , and all i have meet are most certainly are , because of their constant battle with the cold , or because they are very angry because they were always cold ?
Another of lifes little ponderments .