Saturday, December 12, 2020

Please, Sir, Can I have some more?

More breakfast fun in Scotland . . . 

On our first visit to Scotland my wife and I took my parents with us. It was 1989, and after exploring the Loch Lomond area we drove north to Fort Willian. As we approached the town we saw a vacancy sign at the Innseagan Hotel, and decided to spend the night there. We enjoyed a quiet evening, and in the morning the four of us went down for breakfast. As usual, there was a table filled with an assortment of cereals, and another table with a tray of tiny glasses set next to pitchers of apple and orange juice.

I proceeded to scoop some corn flakes into a bowl, and to fill one of those tiny glasses with orange juice. As I made my way to a table I heard a shout.

"Sir . . . Sir . . ."

"Yes", I replied.

"Please, Sir. You can have cereal, or juice, but not both." I had to return the juice. That was my introduction, and a still lingering memory, of Fort William. Good times.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

A Breakfast Request

A Scalpay week. Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it. A week in a Gaelic speaking B&B sounded even more fascinating. A chance to practice a language I’d been studying for a few years. I also had some unfinished business on Harris: a minor island easily reached from Scalpay by a bridge. And so I booked a week-long stay on Scalpay in the best time of year to do that, late spring. 

On the first day I made the circular walk to the Scalpay lighthouse, and was late getting back to the B&B. I was the only one staying there, and as I climbed the stairs to the room my host Annabel asked what I’d like for breakfast. I tried to say what I wanted in Gaelic, and as I did she nearly gasped, a look of puzzlement on her face; it was as if I’d asked for fried cow-pooh and boiled bull testicles (maybe I did.) 

I repeated my request in English: I'd like a bowl of corn flakes, two fried eggs, toast and coffee. She was still puzzled, a puzzlement that puzzled me for a few puzzling seconds. Then I realized most Americans want the full Scottish breakfast: porridge, eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, potato scones, tomato, mushrooms, kippers, and black pudding (I felt my arteries harden as I wrote that). Such a breakfast would leave me incapable of doing anything but having a heart attack, and then resting in peace, forever. She was very happy with my selection. It meant she did not have to get up at 4am to start cooking.