Boxing day. The day where the majority of people are overcome by food / drink regret, before saying “ach fuck it” and opening another “family” sized bag of crisps or getting stuck into the leftover trifle. I’m not going to add myself to that group today. Well, what I mean is that although I will undoubtedly plunder Grown Up Boyfriend’s fridge very shortly to seek out the afore-mentioned leftover trifle (GUB’s mum sent us home with a joyously filled tupperware tub of it: she had sherry and she wasn’t afraid to use it…), I choose not to have food / drink guilt this year. I bloody enjoyed every morsel I scoffed yesterday AND I can feel smug that I started Christmas morning with a 10km (yes, really!) run and did a 5km one this morning. Yes, I am that smug fucker on Instagram!
I’m currently having a purely medicinal hair of the dog. You know when you have a spiritual / emotional hangover? Like, you physically feel fine, but you have an overall feeling of unease? Yeah, that’s the story today. I knew it was a spiritual hangover when I I started greetin’ at The Great British Bake-Off Christmas Special.
Anyway, to ward off the post-Xmas day bleugh, here’s Part Two of my “Top Bits” of 2017. Oooh – and a late entry of high points is the fact that between GUB and myself, we have MASSES of malt whisky in the house! We each bought a bottle and then we were both gifted a few more. Bloody fantastic!
That might get us through to New Year’s Eve, I suppose 😉
Oooh and GUB was gifted these very posh and funky Norlan whisky glasses:
I think we I should maybe just check that they work…
If you missed Part One of these ramblings, it’s here.
6. Best Theatre Experience
*Every time* I go to the theatre I say the same thing: “Wow, that was so good! I love the theatre – really need to go more often!”. Then, cut to a year or two down the line and I *finally* go and see something else and utter the same words after. Sigh. Anyway, the other night I went to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh (which, years ago, was like a second home to me – I’d go and see EVERYTHING they put on – but I’ve been useless in recent years) to see How To Disappear, a new play by Morna Pearson. The Traverse specialises in new writing. which I love to support, and this was a great play. It deals with the controversial issue of those on long-term benefits being assessed as fit to work when that is, actually, bollocks. But, without giving too much away (in case it gets revived and you go and see it – which you should) it uses a very weird back story to achieve this and gets very bizarre – in a good way! Loved it.
That being said, I’m going to state my favourite “theatre experience” as something a bit different. Back in August, I went to Edinburgh’s famous Prestonfield Hotel to see the Taste of Scotland show. This really was All The Scottishness in one evening: you get a three course meal, plus additional haggis (obvs) plus a full stage show of Scottish music and dancing. And unlimited wine and beer is included (see, told you it was All The Scottishness). Even better that I got a half price ticket cos I am pals with one of the main performers 🙂 Anyway, we are talking Scottish dancers, a piper, fiddlers, singers, a backdrop of wee films of Scottish scenery – basically, the whole Braveheart nine yards. Fair to say, it’s really “for the tourists”: it’s the equivalent of crack for folk from other parts of the globe – their joy was extremely evident. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this would just be FAR too cheesy to be enjoyable, but you’d be wrong: yes, it involves eye-watering stereotyping of “scottishness” but it is a very high quality show – the performers are brilliant and the food’s knock out too. Get it on your list for next summer!
7. Best Scottish Trip
Skye. Natch. We had a week of unbroken sunshine in Carbost in early May this year and it was simply perfect. I wrote a blog post about the Fairy Pools, as on this holiday I *finally* got round to going to them. This holiday was very special: Skye is always sublime, but this trip had to following added bonuses:
- GUB cooked fresh langoustine (bought from The Oyster Shed in Carbost) – we ate them sitting in the sunshine with garlic butter and crusty bread
- I finally went to the Fairy Pools (see above)
- Went on a boat (with the wonderful Wild Skye trips) and saw a sea eagle (but no bastarding otters, dolphins etc – see blog post here)
- Found a wee hidden gem of a walk to a Bearreraig Bay, which I’d never done before
- We ate a wonderful lunch at the Loch Bay restaurant
- I ate a lot of cake.
- There were cats at the holiday lodge
- Finally visited the beautiful, beautiful island of Raasay – blog post here
GUB and I are currently in discussions regarding our holiday for May 2018. I *must* not book Skye again – there are other places to go (repeats this as a mantra…)
8. Best non-Scottish Trip
I generally do not go abroad. Well, that’s not strictly true – I like a wee city break, but a “sunny” foreign holiday is never top of my wish list. But GUB suggested that a week in Lanzarote in November would be a jolly good idea – and I’m so glad I listened to him (hey, there’s a first time for everything…). It was a fabulous place: so much to explore, with amazing scenery and great food. And no need to go *anywhere* near the shitey tourist bits – so greasy English fry ups and irish bars in no way featured on our itinerary, thankfully. It was more about tapas and cava. And cheese, Lots and lots of cheese.
9. Best Scottish beer
Hmmmm, this isn’t an easy choice as I’ve sampled quite a few new (well, new to me) Scottish beers this year. I’m going to go with the Campervan Brewery‘s Leith Juice. I visited this new brewery in Edinburgh back at the start of December (blog post here) and tasted a few of their beers – this was my fave: to me, it tasted kind of citrussy, but with a real smoothness – very, very drinkable.
Honourable mention: Glasgow’s Shilling Brewing Company’s “Goonies Never Die” – yummy stuff.
10. Best Gift
Tricky to choose, but I’m going for the Pickering’s Gin Baubles which my best mate gifted to me for my birthday. Pickering’s gin is distilled in Summerhall in the south side of Edinburgh and it’s up there with my very favourite drinks. It’s kind of spicy and tangy an smells SO good. You can visit Pickering’s and get a tour. It’s definitely worth a trip – even for the building itself, which actually used to be the Vet school for the Uni of Edinburgh. It’s now not only home to the distillery, but also has a bar / cafe and is used as a venue for theatre productions etc. Cool place.
The gin baubles are currently hanging off GUB’s Xmas tree as I don’t have a tree (bah humbug!). Miraculously, only one has been drunk so far! This is, of course, unless GUB has been drinking them behind my back then refilling them with Aldi’s £9.99 a bottle gin. Hmmmm – better just go and check…
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my nonsense throughout the year. And hopefully I’ll have more to say in 2018. If you feel like a bit more of “Let’s Talk Scotland” on a more regular basis, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I try not to moan TOO much – honest!
Whatever you are up to over the festive period, have a good time: and make time to do what you want to do </end hippy dippy advice and guidance>