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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Friday, 6 March 2015

Tattoo Time!

It's Tattoo Time! I've added a new tour date (by request) and it is timed to allow you, our guests, to attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

A night of pipes and drums

Music, Military displays and fireworks...

Followed by the Jamie and Claire week-long tour of purple heather, for the romping within...   Attention!  By The Left Fooo-ut, Quick Romp!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Meet Susan and Joe

Susan and Joe are planning a trip of a lifetime: two weeks, private tour, around Scotland, guided by us.

So, calling all Jamie and Claire Tour Alumni, Outlandish Spirits and other travellers familiar with Scotland,  where shall we take them?  We'd love to hear your contributions.

Here is what Susan said when I asked "why?" of this trip.

"My mother was born a Moncreiff. After she passed away last May at the ripe old age of 92, I found my heretofore intermittent interest in my heritage unexpectedly rekindled. At the same time, I was making repeated trips across the breadth of the United States to deal with her estate, and a friend suggested carrying along the Outlander series to while away the hours on the journeys. Aside from the gripping nature of the stories themselves,  I found that in many ways these books told my own ‘back story’ with an immediacy that names and dates on a family tree never could.  Diana Gabaldon’s website mentioned the Jamie and Claire Tour, and I was off and running with the idea of a trip to Scotland.

"Meanwhile, my husband enjoyed the first book of the Outlander series but was not as taken with the sequels as I was. However, he is a passionate photographer and was intrigued with the idea of photographing the Highlands. He is an Ian Rankin [Inspector Rebus] enthusiast as well and has always wanted to see Edinburgh. Enter Scot and Samantha MacKenzie, and a marvelous tour of the Highlands began its incubation."

I ask again, expert travellers, where shall we take them?  Two weeks with a very open wish-list is an amazing opportunity for both Susan and Joe and also ourselves as guides, eager to show them Scotland's hidden gems, so tell us where YOU think are the not-to-be-missed locations.

Here are just a few photos of some places they have requested.

Edinburgh - city of Inspector Rebus and Jamie and Claire

Sandringham's Belhurst (Starz location) and other Outlander locations

Standing stones and the Western Isles

Where else?  Add your ideas through comments on this page or on FaceAche Scotland For Outlanders.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Snowdrops at Leoch (Starz)

Just a wee photo of Starz's film-set for Leoch from an angle you might not have seen.  We took the images while on our walk yesterday - the castle is just down the road from us.

Friday, 20 February 2015

What the Hell is Fish Tea?

Followers will know of our penchant for Fish and Chips, well, here we give you, the savvy traveller, the correct patois for your visit to Scotland for ordering the right thing in the Chippy without looking like a dunderheid  (translation: person of low IQ).

The picture above is of our lunch today.  We made a special research trip to our local chippy for this blog post, so appreciate it!

The Fish Supper

When you go into a takeaway chip shop, you can ask for the following options:
"a fush supper" translation: a battered fish (usually cod or haddock) with a portion of chips.
"a special fush supper" : a breaded haddock and a portion of chips.
"a single fush" : the battered haddock or cod, without any chips.  Expect to be given a crispy yellow battered sea beast the size of a juvenile shark.

After placing your order you will stand around awkwardly as nothing will seem to be happening.  Do not fret.  Your fish will be getting cooked.  This is the time when you turn to other customers (usually leaning awkwardly against the tiled walls or up against the front glass of the deep-fat frier despite the sign "Warning! Hot! Do not lean on the frier") and you will nod knowingly at them, and they at you.  You will mention the temperature of the weather outside (measurable by how close the customers are standing to the lethally hot frier).  You can talk about "fitbaa" or "footy", that being the national sport of soccer, but be careful to keep your comments about any given teams neutral until you ascertain whether your conversant is for or against said team and thus your new friend or your sworn enemy.

Now back to the fish, which will be cooked by now.  This will be announced by the person behind the frier shouting "Specialfushsupperandasinglefush", or whatever you have ordered (you do remember what you ordered, don't you? If you appear unsure if this is your order or the man's next you, you will be considered "Glaicket" - person of slow mental faculty).  Make your way to the till.

You will hear the following, asked of you by the girl at the till who will wrap your dinner.
"Ye waan sawl nn vineguh wi' that?" translation: Would you care for salt and vingear to be splashed liberally over your fish and chips?
The correct answer is "aye".
You may at this point request optional extras:
"gote ony broon sauce / gote ony ketchup?"  these being popular vinegar based condiments, or  "gonny gie us a pickult egg wi' 'at", this being a hard boiled egg, steeped in a jar of vinegar for about a year.

You pay, she wraps your purchase in newspaper, you leave, you eat.

All of the above would be used in a take-away situation.  If you choose to "sit in", then the vocabulary changes and you must use the following phrases or look like a numpty (translation: a person of low IQ).

Fish Tea

Sit in fish and chips is a more grand affair.  This is for middle class people or working class people on holiday at the seaside with the weans (children) who want to splash out, look respectable and have a dining experience that they can tell their neighbours about when they get home - "Ye should ha' seen the fush we had in Saltcoats! Ach it was rare!"

When your table is approached by the serving girl, she will ask you
"D'ye know whit yer wantin'?" translation : I'll take your order now please.
The correct answer is 
"I'll have a fush tea, please, love."

A Fish Tea is a battered haddock or cod, chips, served on a plate, a pot of tea and a side plate of buttered bread (so you can make a "chip butty", that is, a chip sandwich.)
There may be no pronounced Ts in the middle of the word butter - "buh-hur" - depending on your dialectical region.  Don't be confused by this - it' not butter anyway - it's margarine.

The tea will be regular black tea of a blend associated with the region: PG Tips, Breakfast Tea, Builder's Tea.  So do not expect or ask for decaf tea, lemon and orange zinger, jojoba and walnut or any other "gurrly tea" as your server will scowl, ask "whit?" and behind your back call you an "Eejit!"  (translation: a person of low IQ).

If you are in a middle class area, there will be salad with your Fush Tea.  The salad will be a handful of shredded Iceberg lettuce on the edge of your plate, soused with a brown "dressing" mostly made from malt vinegar (there's the vinegar again).

Again, you can request some optional condiments, indeed they may already be supplied in half-gallon-sized plastic squeezable bottles on your table, those being Brown Sauce, Ketchup (aka Red Sauce) or Tartare Sauce (a white vinegar based sauce with green bits in it, from undetermined source).

Pour your tea after it has "steeped", that is, brewed.  Butter your bread (with margarine), put chips onto half the slice of bread, "clap it shut", that is, fold it to form a rudimentary sandwich, and you are ready to enjoy your Fush Tea.

This blog was inspired by a music video we came across the other day.  It's from Lancashire in the North West of England, but the sentiments are the same.  Listen and watch The Lancashire Hotpots with their song Chippy Tea.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Snowdrops at Lallybroch

We were on a wee reconnaissance trip today for our Starz Outlander 1 day Extension.   Guess where.  We went to visit the owners of the castle and talk about our coming visits.
The Snowdrops are in full bloom at this time of year in Scotland and Lallybroch has more than an even share.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Introducing Scotland - The Kelpies

As the winter deepens, it is time for y'all to study up on some Scotland trivia. 
What's the picture above?  Don't know?  Well most Scots do, so here's the video to 'splain it all.  It's part of our Introducing Scotland series, covering things and places that visitors might not know about this fine country.