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Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Week Later

I would have expected to have a final report posted long ago. The crud from the plane kept me from work on Monday. I went to the courthouse Tuesday through Friday, getting progressively better, but I didn't feel real, didn't feel whole until this weekend. I'm simply glad I waited until after we left Scotland to succumb to the crud.

The trip was a delight, from beginning to leaving the UK. I walked 34 miles according to my pedometer, which was set rather accurately. My regret as to walking is that I didn't find the Caledonian Canal until the last day I walked, Friday. Actually, it's lots longer than I could have walked, but I wanted to find it to get to Moray Firth. Friday morning I found the part I've marked with a circle on the map. The path I'd been searching for was the one marked with red arrows, the big one being Moray Firth where dolphins are supposed to play when the tide is rising. I didn't see dolphins or puffins. I saw the highland cow, a magnificent beast, but not when I could get close enough or still enough to get a picture. I've got to figure out how to get train engineers and bus drivers to stop for my photographic pursuits--or to go back to Scotland and take a picture of a highland cow! Look at the reflection picture on the part of the Caledonian Canal I did find! I knew where I was, since Bettsy and I had walked that way one early evening and when she needed to get back without the long walk, we took the city bus. I decided I could walk longer and get back in time for the breakfast we had scheduled at 9 A.M., but the city bus was much later than I imagined, and I had her worried by the time I got back about 10 minutes late. They were thinking of calling for help. Oops!

I need to sit down and write the rest of my book It's Dingwall, Y'all! while the memories are fresh. I know I'm going to use my difficulty in understand the natives who didn't work with the public. Especially in the bar in the hotel, I made some friends who unless they were talking directly to me and being careful with their language, I couldn't understand what they said. I can come nearer listening to others' conversations in Spanish than in English flavored so fully with the delightful Scottish brogue. I know the people there will talk about the Alamo and how the Texian defenders tended to be from Scotland--at least the leaders. One man even claimed that Dallas, Texas, was named for Dallas, Scotland, population 202. I found at least three of the monkey puzzle trees, though the one in Dingwall is by far larger and older than the other two. The tunnel described in the research I did on the web is much more extensive than I expected it to be, and I'm absolutely convinced I can have the kids figure a way to get into it. The bartender at the Tulloch Castle when we were there showed us the entry and said if she were strong enough or had strong men to do it, we could see underneath the rectangular metal cover into the ancient tunnel. Don't you figure with access that easy and in several places, kids there know how to do it?

Best of all, I met some neat people, like Robert who we met waiting for the train from Dingwall to Inverness, and the librarian at Dingwall, the museum curator, members of the Inverness Culloden Rotary Club, and several other people. I know I can get the questions that arise answered, and I look forward to getting the book done and perhaps going back there for a book signing tour. That would be fun, right? I know Bettsy wants to go. Do you?

If you're from Dingwall and got this blog from my business card or from a search engine, feel free to write me! Thanks for reading.

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