Saturday 25 November 2006

carol's first céilidh

And that is pronounced "cailee" for your non Scots.

And I went to my first one last night at the Assembly Rooms on tony George Street with my pal Louise and a gang of her compadres.

One of the things I love most about living in Scotland is that it really does have a celebrated cultural identity... and one that they gladly share with visitors and new residents as well.

The closest thing I can compare the ceilidh to is like a line dancing/square dance/polka on steroids. And man, is it FUN!

You get spinned and twirled and crash into people and learn the steps as you go. It is a total hoot. AND many true Scots wear their kilts the way god intended, sans undies, so if a guy does a bit of an enthusiastic spin, you get a little show.

According to Wikipeida, a céilidh is actually the traditional Gaelic social dance in Ireland and Scotland. Before discos and nightclubs, there were céilidhs in most town and village halls on Friday or Saturday nights and are still common today. ( Hello, I went to one on a Friday night and it was packed!) Originally céilidhs facilitated courting and prospects of marriage for young people and, although discos and nightclubs have displaced céilidhs to a considerable extent, they are still an important and popular social outlet in rural parts of Ireland and Scotland, especially in the Gaelic-speaking west coast regions. Céilidhs are sometimes held on a smaller scale in private or public houses, for example in remote rural hinterlands and during busy festivals.

The formality of these can vary. Last night I saw girls in jeans and guys in full -stop head-to-toe highland wear. That's the fun is that you can came anyway you like! (I wore a skirt, although not as twilry as I'd like). It was great because you could easily not know a thing (hello, me) and still participate.

Céilidh music is provided by any assortment of fiddle, flute, tin whistle, accordion, bodhrán (which is like a drum.) The music is cheerful and lively, and the basic steps can be learned easily.

The general format of céilidh dancing is the "Set". A Set consists of four couples, with each pair facing another in a square or rectangular formation. Each couple exchanges position with the facing couple, and also facing couples exchange partners, while all the time keeping in step with the beat of the music.

However, about half of the dances in the modern Scots céilidh are couple dances performed in a ring. These can be performed by fixed couples or in the more sociable "progressive" manner, with the lady moving to the next gentleman in the ring at or near the end of each repetition of the steps.

Anyway, if any of you come to visit, it is a must. You sweat, you laugh, you spin and you feel like a kid. And there's beer. What could be better than that?

Friday 24 November 2006

christmas is coming in Edinburgh

The lights came on last night... making it a different kind of Thanksgiving for me. Grateful, too.

Tuesday 21 November 2006

stealing from Kelly

In honour of her birthday and her fab blog.

I am a pinching koala and tree!
Find your own pose!

Sunday 19 November 2006

highlights of the weekend

1) Daniel Craig both clothed and unclothed in Casino Royale

2) my home made creation of broccoli stilton soup

3) addition of the portable heater to the conservatory, making it nicely useable without wearing coats

4) dinner date with M Saturday night at the Outsider corner table with view of the castle

5) chilly enough to wear my green suede gloves

6) the Observer, the Sunday Herald, a new chick mag and a nice library book

7) No plans ALL DAY

8) AND I have one more day tomorrow!

Saturday 18 November 2006

wille couldn't say it better

Up until now, most of my Scottish understanding has come from Willie the janitor on the Simpsons and Fat Bastard from Austin Powers.

But having real Scottish friends is giving me the real deal. The below is my litmus test to see how many years it takes me before I understand any of the below, shared by my pal Louise.

See how you do.

You know you are a true Scot if …

1. Ye can properly pronounce McConnochie, Ecclefechan, Milngavie,Sauchiehall St, St Enoch, Auchtermuchty and Aufurfuksake.

2.Ye actually like deep fried battered pizza fae the chippie.

3. Yer used tae four seasons in wan day.

4. Ye canna pass a chip/kebab shop withoot sleverin when yer blootert.

5. Ye kin fall about pished withoot spilling yer drink.

6. Ye see people wearin shell suits with burberry accessories –pure class!

7. Ye measure distance in minutes.

8. Ye kin understaun Rab C Nesbitt and know characters just like him, in yer ain family.

9. Ye go tae Saltcoats cos ye think it is like gaun tae the ocean.

10.Ye kin make hael sentences jist wae sweer wurds.

11. Ye know whit haggis is made ae and stull like eating it.

12. Somedy ye know his used a fitba schedule tae plan thur wedding day date

13. You've been at a wedding and fitba scores are announced in the Church/Chapel.

14. Ye urny surprised tae find curries, pizzas, kebabs, fish n chips,irn-bru, fags and nappies all in the wan shop.

15. Yer holiday home at the seaside has calor gas under it.

16. Ye know irn-bru is a hangover cure.

17. Ye learnt tae sweer afore ye learnt tae dae sums.

18. Ye actually understand this and yurr gonnae send it tae yer pals.

19. Finally, you are 100% Scot if you have ever said/heard these words;

how's it hingin

clatty boggin



get it up ye wee beasties

erse bandit

amurny away an bile

yer heid peely-wally

humphey backit

baw bag

dubble nugget

finally …

A wee Glesga wumman goes intae a butcher shop, where the butcher has just came oot the freezer, and is standing haunds ahint his back, with his erse aimed at an electric fire. The wee wumman checks oot the display case then asks, "Is that yer Ayrshire bacon?" "Naw," replies the butcher.

"It's jist ma haun's ah'm heatin'.

Monday 13 November 2006


A nice message.
Especially for a Monday.
For even more for the fact that it came in the post.
On a pretty long sleeved blue t-shirt.
From Mary Jaffe.
That's her hand writing too!
She gets the press and the kudos as she is starting to make these fun shirts in a semi-professional way. They are whimsical and cute and the shirts feel nice. She gets even more props for taking her ideas and making something happen with them. I admire the her creativity and even more her follow-through. I can't wait to announce when you can buy these online... but if you are wanting more information, contact Posted by Picasa

Sunday 12 November 2006

shorter, browner, better

This is how people forget their natural hair colour. Once again, I ventured to a new salon for a re-browning and a bit of a cut. Here's the result. I am oddly UN-bothered. Kicky and a bit sassier. Mostly I have lost the will to care too much. Glad to get the red out.

Besides just sharing my hair saga, this photo has an actual purpose.

It is going to be for my UK provisional driving licence. After 2 + years of driving with my white knuckles here, and making it up as I go, I have to bite it and take the test. Or should I say tests. Theory and practical. My US licence expires in January so I need to get the real deal here before that. It involves way more than you'd imagine and I may even take actual driving lessons here, which is what most folk do. I did the
math and I have been driving (wait for it) 22 years. Time to un-learn the bad habits and get back to Mr. Kedrowski's drivers ed mantra of keeping hands at 10 and 2. Except all on the other side of the road. Maybe even the motorway.

In other news, I am now officially working a 4-day week which I think may save my sanity and my life. I've only have one Monday so far and it was booked solid with coaching and the aforementioned hair. This week's Monday promises to be exclusively my own -- for books and a movie and the gym and catching up or shopping or all or none of those. Sigh. Shades of yesteryear.

It is hard to believe we have only been here 4 months. We are shoulder deep in life. Work, school, schedules, routines, go-to handlers sorted like acupuncturist, hair, dry cleaning, cobbler, butcher, florist, bakery, hardware store, manicures, gym, movie theaters, doctors. We need a dentist. But other than that, we know who and where we are. It is amazing how comforting that is to have sorted. In retrospect it took a lot of psychic energy to make our way. Now on to the next phase. Get to the things on my list that are more deeply connected to the future... not just running to keep up with the present. Posted by Picasa