Village People

Curt and I have fallen in love with the folks of
Scotland, particularly those of the, ahem, older generation.  The people in the
village we have spoken with have a sweet mellow quality about them.  There are
no sharp edges with these people.  They are good-natured, comfortable, funny,
felicitous and all around delightful. I am twitterpated. 
My favorite store in Aberfeldy — shoot, in
all of Scotland — is called FarmFresh.  It is a combination
deli-market.  The selection of cheeses and meats is mouth-wateringly
attractive.  Everything is high quality and yet the people serving have a humble
dignity.  The shelves are full of simple, wholesome food.  There is an old-world
atmosphere which I find winsome and alluring.  We got one photo of their dry goods section.  We meant to take more pictures but conversations distracted
We were collecting ingredients for
lunch and dinner.  We were unable to decipher the sign pricinng the gorgeous,
plump tomatoes.  We asked an older gentleman to interpret for us and how
kilograms compared to pounds in weight.  Eventually it came down to this
question: “Can you estimate how many pounds (sterling) it will cost to buy this
tomato?”  He fumbled, stuttered, and delayed until I added, “We just want to
know how extravagant it would be to add a sliced tomato to our sandwiches.”  Oh
the jolly laughs that brought!  Curt said with a depreciating tone, “We
can travel to Scotland, but we’re not sure we can eat tomatoes.”  After all that
we threw caution aside and bought two tomatoes, one for today and one
for tomorrow.
The gentleman who sliced our pastrami and wrapped
our fish and cheese is, at the best estimate, on the back side of seventy
years.  With his bald head, white side hair, and clear glasses, he would fit
right in a Norman Rockwell painting.  His eyes twinkled, and he was patient with
our indecision.  He answered questions in that enticing Scottish brogue.  As he
wrapped our fish I had a irrepressible burst of enthusiasm.  “Oh, this
is my favorite store in Scotland!”  His smile was wide as he quietly replied,
“And I think you are wonderful!”  I wanted to ask him right there if he
would be my Grandpa. But I pulled it back in.
Walking home we soaked in the natural beauty: ducks
walking around, daffodils blooming and (rare) warm sunshine.  Two older woman
approached as we inspectged the flower garden and rock wall in front of a
house.  We asked the women to help us identify some plants.  Really obscure
plants like heather.  They gladly launched into a discussion of plants, local
color, grouse hunting and our plans for the day. They described the grouse
hiding in the heather and the community grouse hunt which takes place on August
12 every year.  They wanted to know where we were from, where we had visited so
far, what we still planned to see.  After they approved our agenda and there was
not much left to say, we parted with happy benedictions.  
We are thankful for two things in particular.
First, that we are here in the “low” season.  This area of Perthshire gets a
heavy load of tourist traffic in the high season.  At so many venues we have
been the only visitors or part of a very few number.  It has rained every day,
off and on; but we willingly trade sunny skies for crowds. Second, we are
grateful that home this week has been a small community full of gracious,
lovely folk.  Goodbye, Aberfeldy.  In wine-speak, your finish is excellent.  You
leave a wonderful aftertaste in our mouths.  What fragrant memories we have of
our time here.


2 thoughts on “Village People

  1. Oh, I just love that people there have been so kind and hospitable to you! And it’s true in so many places that older people have such kind, warm manners that should say a lot to us AND especially our children, don’t you think? I love getting into a good conversation with people older than me. I’m so glad for you!! I love, LOVE all your descriptions and enthusiasm for everything there!

  2. i am SO glad you are enjoying the people!! And your descriptions and all–hmmm, i smell a travel book in the works….  Plus your photos are beautiful and catch the things you describe so well. And you are in the right spot to be frugal, aren’t the Scots known to be frugal?
    i’m so enjoying your trip blog…

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