Monday, August 10, 2009

Lo! The Flat Hills of My Homeland

Scotland has been on my mind these last few days. I'm not really sure why this has come up now, exactly, although we are coming up on the sixth anniversary of the last time that I went.

I want to go back so bad I can almost taste it. I want to revisit many of the things that I did see, and I want to bring Mat with me so that I can show him these things and these places, so that he can understand where my family comes from. His family is French-Canadian (although franco-ontarienne and not quebecoise) and has been in Canada for many generations--so many so that no one really knows (or cares) how long. My dad, along with his parents and his sister, came to Ontario in the late 1950s; they travelled around a fair bit because my grandfather was an electrician for the Post Office (I think--I will have to double check that with my dad) but our family is from Dunfermline, in Fife initially. My great-great grandfather on my mother's side was from Glasgow (the Gallowgate to be precise) and came to Canada as a Barnardo Boy--orphans that were rounded up and farmed out to the colonies as domestic labour. My g-g grandfather was treated well by the family that got him, from what we can tell, which was not typical for many of these children.

I also want to see the things that I didn't see: Campbelton, in the south, where my dad was born; the pub my dad's grandfather owned; the Isle of Skye; the north; more of Charles Rennie MacIntosh's work; woolen mills.

My parents went last summer--my dad for the first time since he was 16, and my mum for the first time. They did a two week driving tour and saw more of the country than Mila and I did. My mum loved it so much that she's going back for ten days this fall. She and her sister are travelling to Loch Ness to run in a marathon (or a 5K in my mum's case) and then doing more sightseeing.

There is a knitting camp in Stirling next August, and I would love to go to that. Stirling was my second favourite place (the first being Dunfermline, where I got to spend the day with two of my great-aunts and eat my own weight in Scottish food) that Mila and I visited while we were there. The castle is wonderful, and the town is quite nice, too. We had lunch at a little pub, and Mila didn't know what Yorkshire Pudding was, so she gave her share to me (and regretted it later when she saw how awesome it was).

Unfortunately, it looks like I'm getting married next September, and all of my spare time and money for the next little bit is going to get funneled into that. I reckon it would probably cost me about $2000 Canadian to do two weeks in Scotland, and that's just not viable.

Maybe in a few years. I hope.

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