Scotland: Cats vs. Beverages

On Friday, I boarded an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin and was astonished to find that seat 29K was an exit row seat.  How did I get so lucky?  What are the chances? Etcetera.  Only after several airborne hours did it occur to me that I must have purchased this very seat myself way back in October, prevailing upon myself to pay whatever addition fee was no doubt associated with it.  And so, to myself of October, I would like to say thank you from the me of yesterday who was grateful for the legroom.

I arrived in Dublin on Saturday afternoon and had an unfortunate two-hour layover, which proved just enough time for me to become terrifically sleepy. In the end I did not fall asleep and miss my connection, though I did fall asleep almost instantly upon boarding the plane. By the time I arrived in Glasgow, I was feeling pretty sprightly, actually, but that was probably because I was on my way to visit Jenny and Baz and I was excited. You'd like them.

They came to pick me up at the airport and after only a brief mishap when I tried to get into the driver's side of the car, we were on our way.  We came home briefly and then went to their friends' house for a BBQ. Very surprisingly, it was a BBQ sort of day. We sat on a balcony in actual sunshine. At one point I asked if I might have some sunscreen.  I know. It was a Glasgow miracle.

Among the most memorable things about my last (and only) visit to Scotland years ago, other than the whiskey-flavored condoms available for purchase from pub restroom vending machines, was the constant stream of beverages I was offered. Compared to Jen and Baz's hospitality, my own behavior toward guests is akin to putting them outside in the back alley and occasionally tossing them some crackers out the window.  [Note to self: up your hosting game.]  I thought that the beverage-offering might be particular to Jen and Baz, but the great take away from Martin and Fiona's BBQ is that it is a widespread Scottish phenomenon. As is the general graciousness: to wit, neither Fiona nor Martin took it amiss that I immediately began stuffing grilled sausages into my mouth, despite the fact that I was a total stranger who had only entered their home 20 seconds earlier.  Thanks for that. It's not that I'm really so ill bred, so much as that I was ravenous. And I apologize for not consuming more liquids; I know it made you all uneasy.  

So, on the plus side, Jen and Baz continue to ensure that I will never, ever be thirsty; on the minus side, since last I saw them, they have acquired cats. And you know how I feel about cats.  Or perhaps you don't, in which case, I will briefly explain:

  1. Cats make me sneeze.
  2. Cats are assholes.

Not necessarily in that order.  Regard this helpful stained glass window from the West End pub we went to last night (it had been an hour since we'd last had beverages). In it, you'll find a harmonious domestic scene from olden times in which a cat is being an asshole.

Because, as I say, Jen and Baz are ridiculously accommodating hosts, I have been provided with a cat-free zone all my own and have been generally protected from feline contact altogether. The cats are totally biding their time and plotting how best to jump on my head, but that's what cats do. I don't blame my friends.  Besides, yesterday, I managed to spray water liberally all over the bathroom from the hand-held shower,  and today I jet-lagged myself into sleeping until noon, so I don't really have any kind of high ground on which to stand.

Between beverages, we had quite a cultural outing yesterday. We stumbled upon a community orchestra in an outdoor amphitheater and heard them play a couple of songs from Frozen while several children from the audience did some very charming interpretive dance. Then we went to see some of the civic art collection at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.  It is, in case you were wondering, not hideous.

Later, after some pasta and a variety of beverages, we made our way through the rain to Cottier's a pub/theatre that was once a church: 

Jen: It's not very old.
Me:  You're a liar.
Jen:  No. It's Victorian.
Me: Can we agree that instead of saying "it's not old" about things that you think are modern that nevertheless predate my country, you just say "it's not medieval?"
Jen: Fair enough.

Cottier's exterior

Cottier's exterior

The theatre (as set up for a wedding reception, but the best photo I could shamelessly steal from the internet.)

The theatre (as set up for a wedding reception, but the best photo I could shamelessly steal from the internet.)

We heard some very beautiful Bach trios and were happy as Larry.  [Helpful Scottish tip: perfect contentment is "happy as Larry." I don't know who this Larry is nor how he happened to lead such a charmed life, but I do know that, in Scotland, clams just don't enter into the thing,]

Tonight, I am promised fiddles (and beverages, of course. Always beverages.) That Larry's got nothing on me.