Tag Archives: scotland culture

Football, cricket, bowling

My first full day in Forres, at the house where I’m staying, the electrician was drilling a hole through a thick block of sandstone to install a new wall socket in the foyer. To escape the incessant whining sound, and to walk her dog, my host and I went on a walk through a forested park near town and then to a pub for lunch. Fine with me. Afterward, we strolled through another park with stunning, expansive lawns. (They revere their lawns in Scotland in a way I’m only just beginning to grasp.)

We’d just passed a school letting out, and I seen a few young kids in soccer outfits (excuse me, football outfits), so I asked if that was a football field.

“Cricket,” my host said. She gestured to the field to our right, the field before us, and the field to our left, designating: “Football. Cricket. Bowling.”

“Bowling? Outside?!”

She stared at me, appalled. “You mean, you don’t bowl in America?”

“Sure we do, only we do it inside. With lanes and pins. I never heard of outdoor bowling.”

“Oh, well, you’re not missing much. Bowling is all about the grass. It has to be just perfect, as smooth as a billiard table, and it’s always played by stout old people all dressed in white from head to foot. Everything in white. And they take it so seriously.”

“How’s it played? Is it something like bocce ball?”

“I have no idea, it’s way too boring, I’ve never watched them actually play a game to find out.”

We went over to peek at the field; I was disappointed a game wasn’t on just then. Hence, all I have to offer is a picture of what looks to me like a perfect bowling green.

When you can’t go to Scotland …

I didn’t have the good fortune to travel to Scotland this summer, but a couple of experiences brought Scotland to me.

img_2998-1One was a spirit tasting on Whidbey Island, courtesy of Glaswegian Colin Campbell, owner of Cadée Distillery.

The vodka, gin, rye whiskey and bourbon tasted great, but with its signature flavors — Intrigue Gin infused with botanicals, Deceptivus Bourbon finished in 20-year-old port barrels, and a newly released spicy smooth Cascadia Rye — Cadée Distillery has upped its game. Truly superb.

Colin Campbell loves drawing parallels between his “Isle of Whidbey” and Scotland (“We have gray days and so does Scotland. We have whiskey and Scotland has whisky”) and stubbornly insists the accent, despite his thick Glaswegian brogue, is ours. A tasting at Cadée Distillery, 8912 Highway 525, Clinton, Washington, just off the Whidbey Mukilteo ferry, is highly recommended. Cadée spirits can also be found locally at Bev Mo and Whole Foods and Safeway, to name a few.

highland-games-introThe other Scottish-flavored treat was a day in Enumclaw, spent at the Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering. I’ll write another post soon about the games and the sights. Plenty to enjoy, including this introduction to the day as we waited in line to purchase our tickets just outside the gate.

When you can’t go to Scotland, such diversions are the next best thing.