Aussies OS

My brother and his wife are currently touring the old dart and I thought you may be interested in an extract from their recent newsletter.

On the Isle of Skye we went to a Highland Games, great entertainment, the spectators sit on a grassy rise surrounding a flat arena where several sports – including highland dancing – were going on at the same time. Loved the tossing the caber, some of those laddies are big blokes. I can now tell you for certain what a Scotsman wears under his kilt and a maidenly blush comes to my cheek as I write this CYCLAMEN LYCRA BIKE SHORTS!!! I have the photos to prove it!!

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South again to the Lake District & more brilliant scenery, picturesque cobbled villages with hilly backdrops. BUT every nook & cranny overrun with tourists! Apparently they get over 4 million tourists a year and the tourist season is only from Easter to the beginning of September, all this in an area of 55 x 60 km. The roads just can’t cope with that sort of influx; according to a local man, one day this Easter the traffic jam was 80km long to get into the place. So it’s very difficult for anyone to get a carpark let alone us in our monster. All the carparks are ‘pay & display’ even in little areas in woods leading down to the lakes. A lot of these roads are one car wide with passing bays and quite a few are signposted 6’6 wide a problem for us as the camper is 7’3 wide. But still a place worth the visit, very, very beautiful.

Talking of millions of tourists “¦ we went from the beautiful Lake District to Blackpool, where they get well over 7 million tourists a year just to see the street illuminations & beach; now earlier I said I like a bit of tack, but really, there are limits! 8 km of flashing, moving street lighting & bingo halls, fortune-tellers, amusement-arcades and rock sellers. We were there 4.30ish and decided it would be better at night Russell worked that out all by himself, him being in the lighting game for 30 years so we hung around in a car park ’til 9 o’clock when it was dark enough then drove along the esplanade – and what did we see, the lights don’t get turned on until September!!

I didn’t know how much the Welsh dislike the English apparently if an English person enters a pub where the regulars are speaking English, they’ll change to Welsh. The road signs are in Welsh, but ironically anything requiring money is in English. B&B signs, caf© advertisements, ffliipping llaughable!! Very How Green Is My Valley scenery. Spent a lot of time in Snowdonia National Park”¦dozens & dozens of mountaineers.

We drove through St Winifred’s Holy Well, the Lourdes of Wales but didn’t have any ailments worth dunking. Sickies have been cured here since the 7th C; I did wish for stronger fingernails but even for me, that seemed a little trite! Famous people from Wales are given much space in the guide books, apart from coal & slate. Went through the village birthplace of Lloyd George, Llanystumdwy, pr. Thlan-ustim-dooee. (note to self must do lesson in Welsh llanguage without covering listener with spit). Dylan Thomas is made much of. The tourist office pamphlets tell you which Welsh legends are legends & which are “legends” to drag in the tourists! One which is genuine is in St. Briavel’s, villagers gather in the street on Whitsunday and have done so since the 17th century to chuck cheese around chanting:

“St Briavel’s water and Whyrl’s wheat
Are the best bread and water King John ever eat.”


Residents from all social strata then feast on the hurled cheese! PASS!

If anyone booked a holiday in Rhyl, sight unseen, they would be in for a shock tens of thousands of caravans on site in parks covering acres and acres but miles of fairground along the Esplanade. The Welsh don’t live in Rhyl they don’t like it Liverpudlians and Manchurians only. We both loved Dinbychy Pysgod ( Tenby) nicknamed the Welsh Riviera and reasonably so with its pastel coloured houses high on the cliff overlooking a gorgeous beach life guards included. A little island offshore houses monks and seals. Once a medieval stronghold, it’s still a walled town with big arched gates really picturesque.

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5 Responses to Aussies OS

  1. mark says:

    Misread that as “those ladies are big blokes”. Insert double-take here…

  2. James Hamilton says:

    Hi Wayne

    I might be able to put your mind at ease a bit with the kilt thing. I have been to Highland Gatherings many times (in Jakarta believe it or not) and have met Scottish Heavies and been out drinking with them.

    The reason the heavies for the lycra shorts is to protect the audience from being distressed by unpleasantness when they do some of the throws which requires them to whirl around and causes the kilt to lift. As soon as the events are over and the drinking starts – the lycra gear is discarded. I know this for a fact – no photos but the memory is etched on the brain.

    I remember at an official function for visiting competitors the guitars came out and scottish folk songs were sung. A heavy was asked to do a song and he happily obliged – he sang an obscene ditty about Santa Claus written by an Australian, Kevin Bloody Wilson. Someone had sent him a cd from OZ and it was his favourite. So when we talk of the evils of cultural imperialism we need to look to ourselves before criticising others.

  3. woodsy says:

    I know, I know, the worst case of sub kilt exhibitionism I remember was a couple of rugby players dancing on the bar at the Singapore Cricket Club, and, rather than being offended, the girls loved it.

  4. Geoff Honnor says:

    That wasn’t the night when the Gordon Highlanders – “the last British regiment east of Suez” – farewelled Singapore was it Wayne?

    I was there, dancing eightsome reels as I very vaguely recall……

    I wore a kilt a few times during my two years in Aberdeen. To a Burn’s Night and a couple of weddings. I was firmly instructed that underwear was only for “the unglish.” Running around in Aberdeen in a kilt without undies in January is not for the faint-hearted.

  5. James Hamilton says:

    As a regular kilt wearer I can attest to the problems of inclement weather but must also say that after initial concerns there is a distinct feeling of liberation and empowerment.

    As a scottish heavy said to me at Top Gun Bar in Blok M, Jakarta late one night, “I love this tropical weather – I can see ma willie again. Yea noo in Scotland our balls don’t drop until we turn 40, thats aboot the time we can afford central heatin'”

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