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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

O.M.G Scotland!!

OK. I know I've been 'radio silent' for the past few weeks, but now I am back in force. Sometimes life travels faster than my fingers can record, but eventually I have a moment. I have so much overload this will probably be more than a single post. Maybe. I tend to ramble.

We decided to take a trip to Scotland for Labor Day. First, we needed to visit the Hub's Aunt Cathie. That was a given. She is a wonderful person and to be this close and not visit would be a shame. And second, we needed a good end to Bean's Summer vacation. So the plan was to head out, via car, to Glasgow on Thursday the 29th of August. We started out at high noon. 

The drive was simply amazing. The trip was very short by Coffey family road trip standards, at five hours and forty five minutes. We traveled through the Lake District via the M6. We chose the M6, even though it was a toll road (five pounds fifty) because one of the Hub's coworkers told him a fabulous story about driving at German Autobahn speeds and in scant traffic. I beg to differ, but tons of amazing scenery and the portable DVD player made the trip very enjoyable.

We did have a mascot for the trip. Enter Harmony Smurf.

I must admit that Aunt Cathie lives outside of Glasgow proper, but a twenty minute train ride and you're in the heart of Glasgow.

Our first night was just getting settled and reacquainted with (Great) Aunt Cathie and Uncle Brian. We had not seen Aunt Cathie for three years and Hub's cousin Brian for seven years. Uncle Brian won a special place in the Bean's heart simply for the shared love of 'Tom and Jerry'cartoons. Brian, having two boys of his own (now 15 and 17) enjoyed rough-housing with Bean.  We had spaghetti for dinner and remarked how different the weather was from England. There was a stanch 10 degree temperature difference and the wind had a bit of a chill.  Good think I brought my scarf. And my fleece. And my parka. And my rain coat.

It was really an odd sensation driving into Glasgow.  The other times we had visited we were in a taxi (no so) fresh from the airport. I was usually passed out from jet lag and missed the entire drive from the airport.

Friday we took the train into Glasgow. We traveled all the way to Scotland to find the much sought after monster truck, Captain's Curse. Here is Captain's Curse ravaging the miniature model of the city:

I have warned you before and I will stand by my statement: kids don't care about history. This means we did not take in any of the fabulous museums, galleries or historic places of interest. Nope. What captivated the Bean for almost the entire day?? Yep, the constant construction going on all over Glasgow. That is pretty much all he wanted to do.

So many thanks to 'Sir Robert McAlpine'. You made the Bean's trip. The fact that the crane operator waved at Bean was icing on the cake. You'd of thought we'd seen Sir Elton John. While we were watching the construction taking place, I happened to glance behind me and saw this van:

Some of my friends and I have a running joke about a mobile mammography unit, and apparently the Scottish ran with the concept. It takes so little to make me giggle.

I went into my first TK Max. Yes, I mean TK, and not TJ Max - like we have in the states. Same adverts, same logo, just the difference of one letter. I realized I need to frequent them more often. They have some killer stuff and at great prices, even when I do the exchange math in my head. I am awful at converting the UK/EU sizes to the US counterpart. And most stores do not carry many half sizes in footwear which means I have to try on shoes and boots. This minor setback probably makes the Hubs happy. I got to browse the store by myself, too. I am sure that most moms will agree, especially the moms of boy children, that attempting to try on anything with a child in the dressing room is like, well, wrangling cats. Plus, the availability of good English beers has expanded my boot.

We then sought out a place to have lunch. I like going to dine in the ancient pubs, but unfortunately, most of them have age restrictions. Even during the day. So I eventually put my foot down and the Hubs conceded to eat in the TGIFriday's. Yes, I am ashamed. All the places to eat and we went into a chain of an American restaurant. It turned out OK. When we were in Scotland in 2006, we took a snap of the Wellington Statue which apparently is famous for the traffic cone mounted on either the rider or the horse's head. When we went in '06, the cone was on the rider's head. This visit it was on the horse. (Notice the 'apparition' in the window -maybe I've recorded a ghost? Probably not, but it looks cool anyway.)

I asked our waiter about this, after noticing his 'flair' pin of the statue (with cone) he donned on his suspenders. I wanted to know where I could get one. He told me the cone bit was a running gag among the locals. Much to my surprise, he gave me his flair. Score! The Hubs is usually the one who manages to get the good swag. One trip he got a ScotRail Jacket from the Conductor of the train (no less!) and another trip he got a beret complete with the ship insignia from a retired Royal Naval Seaman we met in our local pub the Horse and Barge. Ah, the magic of beer and Johnny Cash!

We ended our day back at Aunt Cathie's where she had prepared some beef stew. Uncle Brian mentioned going to the aforementioned Horse and Barge to have a couple of pints. Once I had sent the Bean off to slumberland, we left Aunt Cathie in charge (she raised three boys - I felt she was qualified) and we headed up to the pub. Just our luck, a Beatles tribute band, Just John and Paul were on the slate for that evening's entertainment. I have to admit, I was not a huge Beatles fan, but after this night you can count me in!! They had a mixing board with the missing Beatles member's vocal harmony and instrumentation tracks coupled with their live musical accompaniment. They really rocked the house. Some how they found out we were not only from the US, but from North Carolina as well, and embarrassed us accordingly. I only regret that my phone was dead from the ample photos I took and was not able to get a photo with them. This was the first night out that the we had without child in a while and we stayed out until a blazing 12 o'clock!

The next day - we were headed to OBAN.....

Until next post....



  1. And Auntie Cathie was so happy to see you, Chris, and the bean!...AlthoughI'm sure everyone's joy was tempered by the absence of grandma and grandpa???!!!

    1. I had to control my uncontrollable sobbing! It was not the same with out grandma and grandpa! Maybe next Spring???

  2. Not sure when, but we'll be there some time next year :)