St. Andrew’s Highland Games

Dearest Readers,

Today, I finally went to a Highland Games. I decided to head to St. Andrew’s 33rd annual games to watch some people run, throw things, cycle, and dance, and I was not disappointed.

When I arrived, the only event on was the Highland Dancing. Lucky for me, I made it just in time for the sword dance, which was a delight to watch. I especially love the little kids, who are just the cutest while trying to get their feet in the right places. I saw them do other dances throughout the day, as well, like the ones I know as the angry Irishwoman dances and the sailor dance. If you know what those are actually called, feel free to share!

Look at these Highland Dancers being their majestic selves.

The Heavyweights did their best today, but after some decent shows of throwing heavy things, the caber proved too much for the lads. There were no successful attempts. Still, there were a lot of smiles among the men, and that’s the important part.

The runners and cyclists of all ages were focused and ready, and it looked like everyone was having fun no matter what place they came in. Indeed, even in the De’il Take the Hindmost race (the last cycling race, where the person in last every lap drops out until three are left, and those three battle it out for places) people were smiling and cheering. By that point, many people had cleared out, but those remaining were there to support.

I’ll admit, it wasn’t the best Highland Games I’ve ever been to. It rained on us multiple times (ah, Scotland), the number of people made it difficult to see sometimes, and the announcer wasn’t as enthusiastic and dramatic as others I’ve heard.

Even so, it was exactly what a Highland Games is supposed to be: people gathering together to hang out, laugh, have some friendly competition, eat food, and show off their prowess.

It was, in short, quite a lovely day, and I don’t regret the long bus ride to and from St. Andrews in the slightest.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani

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The Blogging Blues

Dearest Readers,

I’ve been gone for a while, and by that I mean I missed posting the last two Sundays (gasp!). I would like to say there are legitimate reasons for this, but really I’ve just gotten a tad lazy outside the time I’m spending working on my dissertation.

It’s also not easy to find things to share when I’m spending my free time largely knitting and watching Netflix, although I do believe I can do better both in blogging and in doing more with my time.

So, I will be back this coming Sunday, and I am going to try to post a couple extra times to make up for what I’ve missed.

I hope life has been treating you all marvelously.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,
Dani

The One Thing I Miss the Most About America Right Now

Window screens.

That’s right, dear reader.

Window screens.

The UK, for some reason, doesn’t automatically put them in windows. And sure, the problem of a hundred mosquitoes flying into your room while you’re trying to survive an 80+ degree Fahrenheit night without AC isn’t much of a problem here, given the lower temperatures and relative lack of mosquitoes compared to the hundreds I’m used to encountering nightly back home.

And sure, it probably saves money on building costs for things like uni residences.

But at least in America we don’t have to worry about things that shouldn’t be in our room randomly crawling or flying inside, causing us to capture them and place them back outside.

Like honeybees or wasps or hornets, which aren’t comforting for people like me who are definitely allergic but would rather not find out exactly how allergic (fun fact: bee/wasp allergies can randomly be more mild or more severe each time you’re stung).

Or big spiders in the middle of the night that want to make residence in your curtains. Don’t get me wrong. I like spiders. I’ve seen some of the biggest spiders in the world (a tarantula in my bed, scorpion spiders crawling over my boots) and one of the most dangerous (wandering spider next to my naked self in the shower, anyone?), and those encounters were wonderful and terrifying in equal measure. So a spider the size of a silver dollar normally wouldn’t bother me.

You know, as long as it’s outside, or can easily leave.

I don’t need that hanging out in my room, not when I don’t have the protection of a mosquito net or the convenience of a lack of hiding places that I might just randomly reach into.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that America might get a lot of things wrong and do many things differently than the Scots and Brits, but I will always believe in, and miss, window screens.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani