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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Outlander Premiered on UK TV, and Yes, It was Amazing.

Dearest Readers,

Last Thursday, June 29, was the premiere of episode 1, season 1 of Outlander on the UK television channel More 4.

And it was amazing.

I got together with three friends to watch it, two of which have seen it and read it already.

I was so excited that I wore my kilt and “Scotch on the Rocks” tee.

We played ping pong and ate snacks for a while, then turned the TV on and moved to the couches to wait for the show to start.

There was something surreal about seeing commercials for it, which I haven’t experienced before since I always watched the show online with Starz. But it was also wonderful, as if Outlander was just another cable show available to the masses that might become (more of) a phenomenon.

We did notice that Claire sounded different. And the commercials breaking up the show weren’t the best thing. But those are my only real complaints, and the commercials simply come with cable TV. I’m really only wondering about the sound of the voices….

AND my non-Outlander-fan friend enjoyed the first episode and is willing to come back to watch the second!

Spreading the love, one person at a time.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani

My First Midsummer

Dearest Readers,

One of the things I love about being in Scotland is that there are people from so many more countries than I would get to experience back home. One of those countries happens to be Sweden, and if you know anything about Sweden, you’ll know that Midsummer celebrations for the longest day of the year are a big deal.

Or at least, that’s the impression I get, both from two Swedish Scottish Country dancers hosting a Midsummer for friends and from the website dedicated to the festival.

I recommend watching the video from that website, as it includes more than I was a part of, but we did three things in our Midsummer celebration: games, food, and drink.

According to the Swedes, they usually play seven games all in a row, but we only played three: Kubb, a quiz, and Pen in the Bottle.

Kubb is one of my favorite games. I used to play it in middle school when we had game rooms for the morning or afternoon and it was sunny enough to go outside. Basically, you throw sticks at other sticks to knock them over, and the last stick you knock over is the king stick. Here’s more:

(The people in that video are much better than us.) The only difference is that we played that to knock the king over, you have to face away from it and throw the baton between yours legs. I wasn’t very good at that.

Next up: The quiz. They put 8 questions about Sweden onto objects around the park, which we answered in teams of three. They were multiple choice, and for some reason the answers were listed as 1, X, and 2 instead of 1, 2, and 3. The explanation was that that’s just how they did it. Both teams only got two of the 8 right, and so a tie breaker question was the word for crayfish. My team got it, so we won despite knowing unfortunately little about Sweden.

The third game was Pen in the Bottle, and those of us that never experienced it were told nothing about it before we started. Luckily, there’s a video for that, too.

We did not try it tag-team. I managed to win my round, which was made all the funnier by the fact that my opponent started playing Ginuwine’s “My Pony” (the Magic Mike song) on his phone before we began.

We went to the pub for food and drinks after that, and we all agreed that next time we should go to the pub before doing the games so that we’re all sufficiently, traditionally buzzing for the duration of the games.

After the pub, a group went back to the Swedes’ place for continued drinking into the night, but I went home to get some sleep.

And that’s the story of my first ever Midsummer. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to experience it. Maybe one day I’ll make it to Sweden.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani