6/18 Third-Degree Burns

Today we set off to Alloway, a small town close to Ayr where the famous Scottish poet and bard Robert Burns was born. It was nice to be able to see much of the Scottish countryside we hadn’t visited yet on the way to the southwestern part of Scotland. Our driver was pretty cool, but he was no Jimmy. Jimmy rocked!!!

The first spot we hit up was the Burns cottage. It was a small, quaint cottage which was preserved to look exactly like it did when Burns lived there (though I am not sure if it had life-size models of people and animals and a video screen at the time). We watched a video about the history of the cottage and looked around the gardens. The gardens were very impressive and had the biggest roses I have ever seen in my life.

After that we walked through the Burns museum and gift shop, where I saw a book entitled “A Midge in Your Hand is Worth Ten Up Your Kilt,” or something like that. I thought it was pretty hilarious, and made me wonder how the Highlanders dealt with wearing kilts up in the Highlands with all the little midges swarming around. That would certainly not be a good place to get bitten!

We then headed over to another area where we watched a video of the famous Burns poem “Tam O’ Shanter.” The poem is basically about a guy who drinks too much at the pub and has these weird visions of witches and warlocks on his way home. The video will definitely never win an Oscar, but I thought it was really neat because it ties in so well with my subjects of folklore and storytelling in my book I am working on. Plus, it was hilarious to see the looks on everyone’s faces after it was over because it was WEIRD. It was really difficult to follow as well because it used a mixture of old Scots and English, and the narrator spoke very fast.

After that, Chelsea and I looked around Alloway, visiting the Brig O’ Doon, which is a bridge that is featured prominently in “Tam O’ Shanter,” where Tam escapes Nannie the witch. We also visited the Burns monument and looked around the lush gardens surrounding both it and the Brig O’ Doon.

One thing that I noticed was that the people in Alloway were very cheery. Random strangers passing by would say “Jolly good day!” and stuff like that. It was almost so cheery that it was kind of creepy; evidently these people living in Alloway are very content with their wee village. One thing is for certain though, they are all about some Robert Burns there, even more so than the rest of Scotland (and that is saying a lot).

After a nice lunch at a local café, we loaded back onto the coach and headed back to Edinburgh. I had decided that I was going to leave for Isle of Skye a day early, so I bought a phone card and started calling around to make reservations for the next night. I was able to book a room at the Kyle Hotel so I packed up my stuff (midge repellant, check!) to get ready to go.

Later on that night I accidentally locked myself out of my building. I had to go to the security desk and get them to let me back in. The security guard was very nice who walked me to my room and she told me I was going to have a great weekend on the Isle of Skye.

I enjoyed this trip to Alloway and was glad to learn more about Robert Burns, who I have an immense amount of material on for my book. Alloway is a beautiful wee village and I can see why the people there are so cheery, though I am not used to seeing everyone THAT cheery. From the looks of the houses in the area, it appears that most everyone living there is very rich, so that could help too with the cheeriness.

 

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