|The beautiful Holy Loch in Scotland - no "Nessie" here. Only MY heart!|
That was my first mistake. They did NOT have "toilet paper!" They had what looked and FELT like the thin bakery sheets with which you pick your donut out of the display case. They were even in the same kind of dispenser. Those sheets were waxy, thin and stiff! Arrrrgh! This was NOT starting well...
He apologized as our old Austin-Healy lurched and chugged along. (It only had 2 of 4 gears and reverse.) He’d bought it for $100 off a "guy" he knew. Yeah, that "guy" had sure seen HIM coming. As we struggled to climb hills and maneuver in traffic with only two gears, I chuckled.
Old churches, quaint hotels, older buildings with European architecture, things of great beauty dotted the landscape. Rosy-faced Scots smiling and waving. Purple heather covering the gentle hillsides of the highlands. It was just gorgeous!
As we drove I encountered something very strange and confusing. At most congested intersections in the towns was something called a Roundabout. (It took Utah over 40 years to get one of these!) This was the most frightening and strange thing. Drivers in Scotland did not drive straight through busy intersections or simply turn left or right. No, they had to make it difficult!
I had noticed something was wacky when I got into the Austin-Healy the first time. Tom was sitting behind the steering wheel – on the RIGHT hand side, normally the passenger side of the car in the States! Uh, oh. This was going to be a big problem for me. How on earth would I learn to operate a car from THAT side?
Yes, Scots CAN jump five feet straight UP! Boy, did I get to see that!
I think he spun around after that and wobbled back inside for another drink… Poor guy, I think I added TEN years onto his age that day!
Coming around a curve on a hill of trees, we were suddenly faced with a terror right smack in the middle of the road! Yeah, a FLOCK OF SHEEP, just standing there, not even moving off the road. I couldn't believe it.
In the first place (#1) in the States there would NEVER be sheep on a road. Sheep belonged in a pasture, a fenced pasture!
Number 2, (yes, #2!) they would have parted like the waters of the RED sea before Moses, in fear with a car honking at them!
The sheer fright of possibly being hit by a car would have scattered them like leaves in a wind IF THEY WERE IN THE US! I've seen lost sheep jump six feet in the air over a fence to get away from a CAR! Not so here… The sheep, bleating loudly, SLOWLY began to move. Just like THEY had a right to be there!
He said ALL livestock had the right of way in Scotland, and you’d better not hit any. My jaw just dropped in disbelief.
What kind of place was this when ANIMALS had the right to the road and CARS did not? Are the Scots crazy??!!
|In Scotland "shepherds" are just called "herds."|
That was impressive - a whistle-commanded dog!! Finally,after about five minutes, we were able to drive on. I sighed and thought to myself, "Can this place get any weirder?" (You have to realize I was 21 and dumb as a stick, as all young people that age are.)
I figured it was a probably pile of fresh cow POOP or dirty straw that somebody had lost off their truck (lorry) on the road. Why would a farmer do that, leave his dumped pile of crap/straw on the highway? Didn’t these people care about other drivers?
First the sheep, now THIS?
It was the size of our CAR! and PISSED!
I KNOW I swallowed a kidney!
|This photo by Graham Turner shows the lethal horns Highland cattle have....|
Why were there no FENCES to keep that thing in? Who let it just lie down on the road? (Oh, right, livestock had the RIGHT of way here!)
Shaken, I embeded my finger nails into my car seat and tried to calm down. (That was too close for comfort.) I peppered Tom with questions, to which he had no adequate answers.
I shuddered. Scotland was a scary place! I looked back to see the monsterous Highland cow disappear in the distance. Whew! (I want you to know here and now, that when I departed Scotland for the States, I took with me, not one but TWO hand-carved sailing ships made of gigantic Highland Cow HORNS! And told the story of my first encounter to everybody!)
Jane Thomas's photo. http://jane-firthofclyde.blogspot.com/
|The locals that time of the year, were bundled in sweaters and hats, or scarves, boots and jackets over skirts or heavy pants. Although the temperature here was about 45 degrees, they dressed as if it were the Arctic. I was starting to feel the chill myself.|
Tom frowned at me, at the look on my face. It was not a happy face.