Oct 30, 2011

Scotland/Ireland: 10/29/2011: Tarbert, Skipness

Tarbert Castle

We are headed west.   But we are in SCOTLAND, Mofos!   Drove to Tarbert today and ate one of the best tuna fish sandwiches I’ve ever had and the friendliest service.  (There is something to be said for eating tuna that’s fresh as you watch the ships sway in front of the restaurant window.)  Today was the first bout of serious rain we’ve encountered.  Scotland has been patient with us thus far but I think we’ve reached the end of our dry, blue sky days.   We attempted to tour Tarbert Castle, which is actually just two walls and a bunch of scaffolding all sitting pretty on the top of a wet, rainy hill.   You had to make sure and shut the gate so the sheep wouldn’t get out.  We took a few photos as the rain soaked through my jacket and the wind whipped past my ears.  We tromped back down the hillside dodging leaves and mud and made it back to the Kia, soaked through and through.  
Skipness Castle

From there we went to Skipness Castle, which was another abandoned castle.  This time the drive was more of what I’d expect from Scotland...single lane roads with pull outs.  We (and by that I mean I) drove along the shores of what could only be described as the roughest water I’ve ever seen, the waves crashing onto the shore and swells busting themselves on the rocks which have been worn over time into slabs.  It was beautiful.  Majestic even.  We continued driving until I was sure we were actually going to meet the Hills Have Eyes dudes in the middle of nowhere, when we came upon this tiny village that’s only resemblance to civilization was one red phone booth.  Seriously.  There were about ten homes all in a row along the jagged, rocky coastline and near the end, one red phone booth.  I expected a welcoming party of deformed men wearing other people’s skin.  Just past there was a brick arched bridge that led to the parking area of Skipness Castle.  

Road away from Skipness Castle
At that point the rain had decided to be our friends and was not appearing to let up.  We walked about a mile down a single lane road with fields and horses and sheep cheering us on.  Around the bend was the remains of Skipness Castle, reportedly haunted, standing tall overlooking the water.  Skipness Castle has lost most it’s luster...there is green grass inside and shambles of walls with no ceilings.  The place was a mess.  And most assuredly, my favorite place and castle thus far.  There is something about being near the water, the wind billowing at such a high rate of speed that it picks your arms up and almost holds your hand as it pushes you away.  I could have stood in the pouring rain all day, just letting the wind whip my jacket as I resisted the gentle push of Mother Nature.   I wanted to walk to the graveyard, probably half a mile away, but Jen wasn’t having any of it.  We walked back inside the castle as I tried to get Jen to scream at the ghost and annoy it.  She wasn’t having any of that, either.  Finally, we decided our jeans were soaked enough, our trackers were cold enough, and the ghost wasn’t going to show, so we left the area...leaving behind a little piece of my heart (and I don’t have much  to spare).  
Venison Sausage and mashers
From Skipness we headed back to our very own castle, Stonefield for another night before we moved farther west.  Back at the Stonefield we hung out in the bar for maybe five hours while Jen drank a bottle of wine and I sipped orange and passionfruit juice (I think I may have a problem...that J20 drink is GOOD!).   Eventually we ate dinner...she went back to last night’s leek, potato and seafood soup and I tried the venison sausage and mashers.  OMG.  I now want to go hunt and kill a deer.  This was the best food day I’ve had thus far.  A good lunch and good dinner?  Holy cow.  (For the record, Pepsi ...my friend...seems to be absent from Scotland.  Those Scots do not know what the hell they are missing.  And Taco Bell?  Donde esta Taco Bell?)   
During our five hour bar experience Jen took me back to “old home” week and we talked our parents, growing up together in a small town, and the things parents do that ruin us.  I didn’t want to play along at first, but as the wine flowed and Jen got more animated I decided it was pretty fun.  Jen has decided that the true story of my childhood does not compare to the one I made up, so from now on I will simply tell people the fake one: we ended up living with my Dad because my mom killed her husband at the time.  That does sound more dramatic and does kind of explain my neurosis.   I like it.  And, since I told Jen the story twice (after telling her it was a joke the first time) and she still believed it, I’d say it’s golden.  And I thought I was gullible. 

And, now I don’t need therapy.  I have simply decided all my faults are the real responsibility of someone else.  So really, it’s like I went through years and years of therapy and I am now fully recovered.  If you know of any single men, send them my way.  I have a list of my issues already typed up and ready for their review.  But please, don’t tell them about my family history.  I want to save the story about my mother killing someone for a time when I really need it.  You know, like when they piss me off and I ask them if that shit is hereditary?     

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