Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stories & Photos #3: An Eclectic Mix

Like our squirrel at home who leaps from the roof to the fir tree when I chase him from the bird feeder, Anne and I will leap across the big Atlantic pond next week for our spring fling in Scotland.  We will be busy shopping around our newest book, Golf in Scotland II: Hidden Gems of Scotland and Wales, to golf courses in central Scotland and the Highlands.  We’ll also make a short run to the Dumfries area (southern Scotland) to play golf at a couple of new courses and talk to locals about promoting golf in the south land.  Our next Blog post will come from Scotland.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the stories and photos on this post.
Lunar Eclipse of April 15, 2014

Bad Kimberley!

All day while playing golf at the wonderful Moray Old GC in Lossiemouth we’d been looking forward to our dinner at Kimberley Inn on the bay in Findhorn, Scotland.  When we got there we were met by an infestation of flies--really bothersome flies!  The owner came into the pub area with a rolled newspaper and started swatting flies on every table.  Swat...SquishSwipe...Swat...Squish...Swipe!  After killing the buggers he did make a feeble attempt at cleaning up the carnage.  While this was going on our food arrived.  We had ordered our usual: seafood chowder and garlic cheese bread.  The chowder, the specialty of the house, is usually outrageously delicious, overflowing with a variety of local seafood (including langoustines, scallops, haddock, and more).  This day it was watery and lacked both seafood and flavor. It was one of the worst chowders or soups we’ve had anyplace.  The garlic cheese bread was good, but the screaming of wounded flies was quite off-putting.  Was it a new owner, a new cook, or just trying to get by on the cheap?  Whatever, that meal certainly changed our recommendation of the Kimberley Inn.

Photos from the Oregon City Paper Mill from Hwy 99.

The Mackerel that Fought Back

One evening in Penzance, Cornwall, we had reservations at the Bakehouse Restaurant--supposedly one of the best eateries in the area.  The Bakehouse is noted for its steaks--I should have had one.  Instead I was seduced by the special--mackerel coated (I thought) in a red wine sauce.  What I got was a whole mackerel coated with masala (a very spicy curry).  At first I thought it was quite spicy, but as I ate more it got hotter and hotter.  I’d finished about half the fish when I realized I had no taste left--I couldn’t even taste the chips let alone any fish flavor.  Anne said I was turning bright red and ordered me a glass of milk and then ordered me to drink it.  I greedily slugged down the milk as well as extra Zantac tablets later.  I still love mackerel, but I didn’t love the one that fought back.

More from the Oregon City mill.

I Won a Surprise

Four Australians (two couples) and one German motorcyclist were at breakfast with us one morning at Merlindale B&B in Crieff.  Jacky (the host) said privately that the Aussies were super cheap and that even though they were avid golfers they’d never buy one of my books.  I said I thought I could sell them one (we always have extras we can sell).  Jacky said, “Wanna bet?”  I replied, “You’re on.  We’ll bet a surprise.”  Betting a surprise is what Anne and I will do to settle a disagreement--loser has to get a surprise for the winner; it doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but it does have to be something nice or good.  Jacky said, “No way you’ll sell a book.  I’ll take that bet.”
I’d talked to the Australians about my writing the evening before when we met in the B&B lounge, so this morning I brought a couple of books with me to breakfast; “just to show what it I did.”  It took one of the wives about three minutes of looking at the travel stories book before she said, “Can I buy one of these?”  I said, “Certainly, for £10.”  Her husband handed me a tenner.  Jacky’s husband John, who had seen the transaction, told Jacky who then came to the dining room door and flipped me off (no one else could see).  She paid off the surprise debt nicely--a Ryder Cup ball marker, spiced peanuts, and a pair of hiking socks.  That, and I got two pounds more for the book than I usually do.

From the Oregon Gardens in Silverton, April 15, 2014.

Parking Must Not Be a German Concept

In the spring of 2012 a group of four Germans booked into our B&B home in central Scotland, Merlindale.  To say that their car parking skills were poor would be a gross understatement.  When they arrived and pulled into the B&B’s parking area with four marked parking bays they took up bays 2, 3, and 4 and blocked in the car parked in bay 1.  Jacky, the B&B owner who speaks fluent German (as well as six other languages) couldn’t make the Germans understand how to park in just one spot without blocking others.  In the end she took their keys and parked their big Merc for them.  The next morning the Germans pulled their car into the middle of the drive so that they could load.  When I tried to leave they had their luggage sprawled all over the drive and had no idea how to move it so I could get by.  Jar Jar Binks would have said, “How Wuud!”

I found these ducks at the Oregon Gardens--couldn't find any beavers, though.