Friday, 27 October 2017

Advice for Americans in Scotland?

So Gail, what's this I hear about you organising a bicycle tour in Scotland for your American friends in May next year?

Yes indeed Bertie, that is so. (I see you have been peeking at my emails again.)

Well Gail, as one who was so nearly picked as Ambassadog a couple of years ago, I feel duty bound to try to ensure your guests enjoy our fine country to the full. May I ask a few questions?

Fire away little Bert.

OK, so you are starting in Edinburgh. I am guessing your friends have romanticised ideas about castles and so forth. Perhaps you should suggest they watch 'Trainspotting' or read some of Ian Rankin's crime novels, so they develop a more rounded view of our capital city before they arrive. That way we can avert disappointment, I feel.

Er, yes, well, maybe Bertie. Or maybe not. Anything else?

Oh yes, plenty. I understand that cyclists enjoy their food and have good appetites. Have you considered the breakfast arrangements?

Well of course Bertie, our hotels and B&Bs will inevitably serve generous portions of porridge, I'm sure.

Um, so are you also sure that folk accustomed to breakfasting on tall stacks of blueberry pancakes with butter and maple syrup, and maybe a side order of eggs 'over easy' and bacon, will find oats boiled in salty water a satisfactory way to start the day? I somehow doubt it.

So then Bertie, we can always add in some tattie scones and black pudding to fuel us up the hills if necessary. So what now?

Oh, it's just occurred to me, am I correct in thinking Americans drive on the right? Will they not find our traffic most confusing?

Bertie, rest assured that my friends have travelled all over the world with their Bike Fridays, and they are a capable and resourceful bunch. Why one of them is a retired USAF pilot, so I'm confident his spatial skills will run to figuring our which way the cars are coming from on a roundabout.

Point taken Gail. But another thing - I do hope they will come prepared for our weather. I mean, even Canadians complain here about how the dampness and wind makes everything feel colder than indicated by the thermometer.

Don't worry Bertie, I shall tell them to pack a full set of waterproofs and thermals. And at least we can assume that the bike trip will not have to be cancelled due to forest fires, unlike the last two occasions I have visited the USA.

Well Gail, I think we have covered enough for the time being. Oh, just one final issue - I believe your friends have said they are interested in visiting historical sites along the route. Now readers of this blog will probably already have deduced that history is not your strong suit, at least not unless it involves rocks that are hundreds of millions of years old.  Might I respectfully suggest you spend some time between now and May swotting up on kings and queens and battles as so forth, to avoid being a total embarrassment as a tour guide. Look, I found this on your bookshelves - a good starting point I think...

PS I am delighted to report that, although I shall not be taking part in the bicycle tour, at least one member of the American group has stated her intention also to come to Aberdeen for the express purpose of meeting Yours Truly.


  1. oh I bet your friends will like your fabulous land... and I agree with you... Ian Rankin is a MUST... the mama loves his novels and me too ;o) scotland without john rebus? a no go if you ask me.

  2. Hari OM
    My word Bertie lad... if I were you I would be working on Gail to get a dog-trailer fixed to her bike so that you can go along to ensure correct navigation and historical accuracy!!! Though, admittedly, you have at least got her going early enough to get prepared. I notice no mention of route at this point... which might be of rather more pressing concern! Re the weather... if there is any month that is likely to hold the most promise of 'best', May is surely it! hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

    1. Gail says: The basic plan is to follow the Union and Forth & Clyde canal cycle route from Edinburgh to Glasgow, then do the same route as last May, National Cycle Network Route 7 from Glasgow to Inverness (possibly cutting off a corner to avoid to much of the outskirts of Glasgow!)

    2. ...beautifurs... even when wet... jus' sayin'... &*>

  3. You are a GREAT Ambassador Bertie, you are right to keep Gail on her toes....when my Peeps were in Scotland they had to be training by a PROPER Scottish peep on all the wonderful foodables avaliable.....Mmmm, white pudding, bridies, drooool!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  4. Bertie and Gail what a fine event Gail and you are planning! Bravo and oh mom says if she was 30 years younger and had a bike she'd be ready to sign on the dotted line for this adventure. I say bravo to the one person smart enough to be coming to visit YOU Bertie...because we all know this is about you. Sending loads of luck as these plans materialize we know Gail will have the purrfect route for all
    Hugs madi and mom

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  6. Don't forget deep fried pizza at the chip shops! Nothing like it here in the states.
    Bonnie n Kenzie

  7. We are sure glad Gail has you to keep her focused on all aspects of the planning, BErtie! Sounds like you have things well in paw!
    Jakey, Arty & Rosy

  8. Miss Gail is SO very much Lucky that YOU are there to see to all the most imPAWtant DeTAILS of this grand planned adventure.
    We just want to add... you could get a Pull behind/Beside Cart thingy... and attach it to Miss Gail's Bicycle... so that YOU could travel along with the group.

    1. Totally agree with you. Bertie should have a pull cart that can attach to Gail's bicycle so that he can be the tour guide.

  9. Bertie, you'll be the highlight of the trip!

  10. Goodness Bertie, I thought that it was you they were all coming to see, and the cycle tour was just an add-on !

    Inca xx

  11. Bertie know we Canadians complain about all weather!

  12. Bertie and Gail: Having not ridden a bicycle in almost 40 years, I am opting out of the bicycle tour. However, I will send the muzzer over to dog sit if needed. She badly needs a wire fox fix frequently. (as if a Jack Russell is not sufficient.) Also, I have been assured that many B&Bs offer a grand breakfast, while others feature the black pudding and Haggis you have mentioned. They can always pack energy bars. Teka Toy