Countdown

Only hours remain before I get going; only days before I should set foot in Scotland again.

I won’t talk about how it’s a much belated visit et cetera. I’ve already mentioned it often enough; more importantly, I somehow don’t much feel like writing. To tell the truth, I’m mostly writing this because of a vague feeling that somehow I should.

I spent the day packing my rucksack and doing various other final preparations, a good deal of the time while listening to some of my favourite albums. (Not because I won’t hear them for twelve days, nothing untypical about that; because I won’t be able to listen to them for twelve days.) By now, just about everything is done and I feel once more that mixture of anxiety and impatience. I can’t wait to go and at the same time I’m jittery about going. Mostly I’m afraid of what might yet go wrong. Currently the biggest anxiety is oversleeping and not getting to the gathering point in time. Once through that others will follow: fear of a social phobia fit preventing me from setting off at all, of the train getting delayed, of the bus having a road accident… I guess that just like the previous two times I’ll only belive I’ll get there if and when I’m already there.

Ah well, calm down, boy. Don’t forget what we said in the army: the worst kind of death is dying of twitchiness.

 

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Caltongate future open again

After Mountgrange, the firm behind the development plan, went into administration, and negotiations between the city council and the new owner, Lloyds Banking Group, proved unsuccessful, the area is expected to remain derelict for the foreseeable future.
BBC: City’s biggest development plan in a decade collapses
I have noticed the controversy, including Unesco’s threat to launch an inquiry into Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site status if the scheme went ahead. Well, that’s over for the time being; and pretty soon I’m going to see the place with my own eyes.

 

Knoxplex

Way back, when my interest in Scotland was still but nascent, my sources of information about it were few and thin. My high school English textbooks were understandably mostly concerned with England and (to a lesser extent) the USA. Encyclopedias let you know that, say, Alexander Fleming or David Hume were Scots, but you had to look them up for some other reason first. (Moreover, you were as likely to find out they were English.) Friendship/L’amitié, a Slovak monthly magazine for high school students of English and French, was somewhat better than the textbooks; still, the centre spread article all about Scotland in one of its issues told me probably more than there usually was within a whole year’s scope. There were BBC World Service radio broadcasts, but, of course, there were jammers too.

Things only changed after the fall of the Idiot Curtain. Media found out “English” and “British” weren’t exactly synonyms, though they’d sooner write about another alleged Loch Ness monster sighting than about the ’97 referendum. BBC World Service was no longer jammed, never mind they talked about Asia or Africa more than about Britain, let alone Scotland in particular. Now and than I even came by some miracle into the possession of a history book like Ronald McNair Scott’s Robert the Bruce or Tom Steel’s Scotland’s Story. And twice in the 90s I visited Scotland myself.

One of the best sources before I achieved access to the Web was my sister. She studied English at a university and one of her teachers not only was Scottish (if I remember correctly a Donald McLean) but also in the habit of sometimes photocopying a few pages from some Scottish books for his students to use as prompts for conversation. (Or so I gathered.) Naturally, my sister was then sending them to me.

For me they were invaluable as almost the only texts I could get hold of which were written both by Scots and about them – and often focused on today’s, rather than historical Scotland. Yet necessarily they were pretty random with regard to topics (I had a few about the Reformation or the HIDB but none about James IV’s reign or Gaelic), and I had no way of assessing their importance. Thus for years I thought that Knoxplex (ay, finally got there) was a concept as well-known as Caledonian Antisyzygy. No way. In fact, try Googling it and you’ll probably get back here. Go figure.

Apparently this term, coined by Dr Anne Smith in The Scotsman, didn’t catch on. Yet it’s as close to my heart as the Caledonian Antisyzygy. Because reading about either for the first time I experienced the joy of finding something reasonably precisely describing some trait of my own mentality called typically Scottish.

And GoogleBooks know the 1987 book The Scots: a portrait of the Scottish soul at home and abroad by Iain Finlayson from which my sister’s photocopy was made. I managed to reconstruct the whole passage (don’t know what else was in the original article though):

Briefly, if we are enjoying ourselves and haven’t recently suffered, we tend to look nervously over our shoulders, fearing the Hound of Heaven as Sir Henry did the ditto of the Baskervilles. For we know surely that if we haven’t suffered before pleasure, we shall inevitably suffer immediately after it. The victim of Knoxplex is convinced that he is only truly alive when he is suffering, or working (one and the same thing, usually). He has invented his own means of coping with this, though.

We cope with Knoxplex in four ways. Some hope to cheat the Hound by pretending that their pleasures are in themselves painful duties. This manifestation of the disease was first noted by the poet Burns in the eighteenth century and succinctly defined by him as ‘unco guidnes’. Some convert their pleasure into pain. Again this was noted by the Bard –

‘See Social-life and Glee sit down
All joyous and unthinking.
Till, quite transmogrify’d, they’re grown
Debauchery and Drinking.’

– leading to overweight, heart-disease, cirrhosis of the liver, bronchitis . . .

The third group are simpler in their approach. Immediately after experiencing pleasure they spare the Lord effort by punishing themselves. It is a peculiarly Protestant response to procure absolution without confession. Football hooligans provide a clear-cut example. Before and immediately after leaving the stands they ensure that they receive a punitive wound, bruise or at the very least, pneumonia. The fourth group offer the most serious symptoms, however. They simply eschew pleasure of any kind altogether, accepting that it is by definition sinful. They work all the time.

Personally, I was always inclined to treat Knoxplex in the first two ways described, although at various times of my life I tried, in one form or another, all four. But the basic aspect could be reworded like this: “The longer our pleasure lasts or the greater it is, the more anxious we get about the inevitably approaching suffering, because the longer or the greater that will be”.

This also applies to luck. The longer I’m lucky, the more I’m afraid of what misfortune I’m in for. On the other hand, this has some advantages. When a misfortune eventually does come, it doesn’t break you down. You simply say, “Oh yeah, just what you’d expect”, and carry on. Likewise, when good luck comes after a significant period of bad luck, you rest assured that in all probability you have already paid for it.

So I’m not overly afraid my Scotland trip (less than four days to set off!) will be a disappointment. So far, this year has been much more trying than the previous two. Being a Knoxplexian I see that as a good sign.

 

Cothrom 64

An dàrna iris agamsa, agus rinn i toilichte mi le iomadh rud:

Mar a bha mi an dòchas, tha an Dealbh-fhaclair san gach iris (faclan ceangailte ri arc-eòlas san iris seo). ‘S toil leam an dòigh aige: caochladh fhaclan co-cheangailte ri aon chuspair.

Tha e coltach gur ann cunbhalach a tha Langanaich Alison agus Saoghal Sheonaidh cuideachd. Thug cuid de na beachdan orm meòrachadh domhainn a-rithist; a bharrachd air sin, tha ùidh mhòr agam ann an cuspairean na h-irise seo: Alison a-mach air litearrachd agus meadhanan ùr-nodha agus Seonaidh a-mach air inimrichean.

Thug aon de na h-aistean fada sùil air Åland – tha e daonnan inntinneach coimeasan a dhèanamh air mion-chànanan is na coimhearsnachdan anns a tha iad air bruidhinn. (Feumaidh mi coimeas mar seo a dhèanamh eadar Gàidhlig an-diugh agus Teacais na h-ochdamh linn deug latheigin.)

Tha e inntineach mar an ceudna dè cho beag ‘s a tha an saoghal Ghàidhlig. Leugh mi mu dheidhinn Daonnan ann an Trioblaid (cheannaich mi e bho CnanL), Seton Gordon’s Cairngorms (luaidh Ruairidh e sna Litrichean), Cearcaill Còmhraidh Fìobha agus bhidiothan Guthan nan Eilean (tha Anna Desseyn agus Gordon Wells le chèile a’ postadh ann am FnaG an-dràsta ‘s a-rithist), albam Bi Beò (nì an còmhlan ceòl airson na bhidiothan)… Ged a tha mi a’ fuireach ann am meadhan na h-Eòrpa, tha mi gu faireachdain mar a bhiodh mi pàirt dhen t-saoghal.

 

Stirling Castle Palace restoration

Well in advance of Stirling Castle Palace’s re-opening in Easter 2011, Historic Scotland has begun a series of YouTube videos showing the restoration work. Six apartments are being refurbished to look as they did in James V’s time.
BBC: Restoration work at Stirling castle on Youtube
YT: Historic Scotland: Stirling Castle Palace Project | Overview
I seem to remember that back in ’97 we weren’t allowed into one of the Castle’s blocks, though I’ve no idea whether it was the Palace. I apparently won’t see its interior this time. But I’ve a feeling this won’t be my last visit there. Anyway, I always cared about historic buildings’ exteriors more.
 

ETA: After the completion of the ‘Stirling Heads’, this part of the restoration works was covered by a CalMerc article and a new Historic Scotland YT video.
ETA 4/6/11: The BBC published several pictures of the renewed Palace a few weeks before its reopening to the public.

 

Townee

Some time ago I came across another video from Guthan nan Eilean and it made me reflect on how much of a townee I am. For although I often came across harvest scenes in literature and films, I never understood how the whole process actually worked.

And no wonder I am. I’ve spent the best part of my life in towns and cities. True, there were some holiday summer camps, and three “agricultural” summer jobs – but I spent these mostly among other town boys like myself. (And the jobs always simply meant picking something – twice hops* and once strawberries, raspberries, lettuce…) It wasn’t living in the country; it was playing at living in the country.

Funny thing is, I like to think I’d love living in the countryside more. Cleaner air, nicer scenery, less noise (less noise!), more walking, woods, hills… Deep in my heart I know better. An entomophobic finding rural life easier than municipal one? I guess not.

Pity one can’t have the best of both worlds. Seth Peake in Patrick Gale’s The Aerodynamics of Pork was talking about something slightly different when first visiting his lover, but the principle is the same. The lover lived in a lighthouse and Seth expressed it finely:

I love thunder and rain, as long as I’m safely indoors.

So I’ll probably be a town-dweller, country-visitor until the end.
 

* in fact I didn’t even work in the fields then: once it was a hop-picker machine shed and once the oast house

 

Quote: David Gemmell: Waylander II

Fear is like fire in your belly. Controlled, it warms you and keeps you alive. Unleashed, it burns and destroys you.

The nearer the trip is, the more nervous I get. Of somehow failing to get to the departure point in time. Of failing to get to Scotland for some other reason, not necessarily my own fault. Of being disappointed after looking forward to it too much. Of having to spend most of my time with Czechs spoling it all. Of… But as David Crosby sings, I won’t give an inch to fear. It’s good it’s there; I won’t let it get the upper hand.

 

Holyrood according to Rab

The Caledonian Mercury has already been with us for six months, and it lived up to my expectations. It’s still one of my homepages, and rare is the day when I don’t read at least one new article through.

Of course, by now I have a few favorite Cal Merc writers, one of them being Robert McNeil, who goes under the nickname of Rab. He specializes in biting, sarcastic, witty articles about the weekly First Minister’s Questions. Ready to ridicule anybody, he loves best to make fun of Labour and Mr Gray (admittedly, after watching several of the debates myself on the BBC I concluded Mr Gray’s just asking for being ridiculed – both by Mr Salmond and by Mr McNeil).

I thought I would miss those articles during the Parliament’s summer recess. Luckily, Rab decided to post in the meantime his memories of the very first renewed Scottish Parliament back in ’99 – and they’re just as good. Try for instance the one about the very first two meetings. To give you a sample of his style I’ll end with a few appetizers:

– History records that the first words spoken in the Parliament were those of Winnie Ewing. History, as usual, is wrong. I was there. The first words were from a Scottish Office civil servant – himself, I believe, an Englishman from York – saying: “Right, excuse me”, as he tried to call the meeting to order.

– After Winnie was sworn in, she sat down in the chairperson’s chair, and everybody looked at her to see what came next. Which was odd because, in a strange coincidence, she was looking at everyone else to see what came next. Quickly, it became clear that the show had been under-rehearsed.

– Tommy [Sheridan] took the rest of the official oath “under protest”, and sounded to me like he promised allegiance to Her Majesty’s “hair and accessories”, rather than her “heirs and successors”.

– Donald Gorrie, a Lib Dem, called for “proportional praying”, meaning different faiths would get so many days according to the number of their adherents.

Incidentally, just today a new one in the series appeared.

 

Five-year-old PinkNews

Europe’s biggest and world’s second biggest [according to the website itself] online gay news source, pinknews.co.uk, founded and still published by Benjamin Cohen, announced on 21 June that it was 5 years old.
PinkNews: PinkNews.co.uk is five years old today
Unluckily they don’t say who’s supposed to be the world’s biggest one. Or why they stopped presenting themselves as Stonewall‘s website and why the latter’s website doesn’t even mention them. Or why so many of their articles are so tabloidish. Or… but no. Despite everything, the website is one of my homepages, because it is the best gay news source I’ve ever found.

 

Perham’s new adventure

Mike Perham’s advertised announcement about his next adventure says (in the form of a press release by somebody else on his blog) it will be an attempt at a solo round-the-world flight, making him the first person ever to both sail and fly solo around the world.
Mike Perham’s blog: Mike Perham announces plans to fly solo around the world
I believe he can do it, even though he’s only just begun taking flying lessons, and I wish him success – but if the truth be told, I’m rather disappointed. For some reason, flying has no appeal to me. And after all the declarations in his book I’m currently reading of how he was born for the sea, this feels (erroneously I hope) a little as though he was driven more by the idea of being the first again than by anything else.

 

2nd Reid Yaird Free Tribune visit

I was telling everybody that I went to be a guest at my rehab’s last Tuesday’s Free Tribune (incidentally a pretty misleading name even in the original) as a part of my aftercare. I was explaining that I wanted to soak up the atmosphere of the place again as a prop against the danger of relapsing, out of sheer exaltation, the very first night in Scotland.

Of course, this was a downright lie. I haven’t imagined for a split second that my going or not going would make the slightest difference to whether I do or do not relapse when I get there.

Why did I go? My therapist emailed me in March, saying she’d rather like to see me again, and I kind of promised her I would before the travel. It also occurred to me I might test my camera by taking a lot of snaps of the hospital’s park – a place as full of cherished memories as only a few others for me. I took almost a hundred, including those of my most beloved spots – namely, the Obelisk, the Beavers’ Pond and the “Keith Burn”. (I’ll have to shoot a better, longer video of the Burn than this in October.)

As regards the FT itself, I realized several things. That I actually learned to like Deamhan’s nagging me (he’s my community’s head therapist, but unluckily wasn’t present this time). That by now I’d probably know there somebody whenever I arrived. (I expected to see Laluh who’d relapsed; instead there were Terzl and Holubová on a repeat stay.) Relatedly, that I’m beginning to regularly meet people I’ve certainly, probably or possibly (as the case may be) met there before but can’t put a finger on when.

Most importantly I all of a sudden realized something I had half-forgotten: how much in common we have. I mean, despite all the differences, you hear somebody who can even be a total stranger to you say something which makes you inwardly exclaim “Exactly my case!” or “Exactly my point of view!” so often as would never happen to you in real life. (We call life outwith the rehab by the same expression which is used for life outwith the Net. It does make sense, if you think about it.) Point is, this doesn’t only apply to directly addiction-related topics.

Maybe this is why I feel so strongly about the three months I spent there. Maybe this is why I like to be returning. Because only at the Tech I had a more constant and intense feeling of mutual understanding, of camaraderie – and of being allowed to talk things which really matter.

 

BBC News Online redesigned

Since 14 July, the News section of the BBC website has a new design. The most visible changes are a new layout (with the left verticle menu bar converted into a horizontal one), a new font and a larger video screen.
BBC: Improvements to the BBC News Website
I’m the kind of person who usually dislikes such changes to layouts or graphics. “Every change is for the worse.” However, this time I only have two issues with the new look: first, I can’t approach this page directly from the UK page as before (and suspect the BBC of intending to sleazily discontinue it in future). This isn’t so bad, but the change in font really is. As far as I’m concerned, the new font is miles worse than the old one.

 

Internet addiction?

I’ve recently read an interesting article by David Bateman. He contemplates the old question about the effects of the Internet on social interaction, and describes his experience of a “digital native [who doesn’t] remember a world where the Internet did not exist”, when he tried the experiment of living without it for 24 hours. That set me thinking about my own addiction to it.

Of course, our starting points are different. I was probably older than Bateman is now before I even noticed something named the Internet existed at all. On the other hand, ever since I became connected my ordinary day has meant spending most of my leisure time online. When my provider fails to connect me or when I’m unable to download one of the pages I’m used to visiting I do grow restless. So I suppose I am addicted – up to a point.

Because there’s a difference between intending to do something and being unexpectedly unable to, and between knowing beforehand I’d be offline. I already have, more than once and for more than a day – on a rambling weekend with my friends, for example. I never missed it on such occasions, cub’s honour. In fact, I once compared myself to somebody who love their work but are grateful for holidays all the same. Sure, there were things I jotted down for looking up once I’d be online again, but I wasn’t impatient to do that. Not even to check my mailboxes.

That said, switching the laptop on was always one of the very first things I did once I did return.

And as regards social interaction? Let me put it like this. Comparing the two years on the Net and some ten years or so before that, I’m spending much less time communicating with people, in real life and via the Net, than I used to. But I’m spending much more time communicating with people that I want to communicate with. Because the majority of those are more easily accessible.

 

Quote (Robin Skynner, per John Cleese in Monty Python speaks!)

Trying to change your life is like steering the Queen Elizabeth; you start turning the wheel, twenty minutes later the boat just slightly moves right.

Just today one of the two last guys with whom I was undergoing addiction therapy that I’m still in semi-regular contact with emailed to confess he’s had a few months’ relapse and was currently heading for a detox in his city. Better luck next time, Danny boy; get back in touch when you can. You’re still one of my best friends.

 

Civil partnerships approved by Ireland’s parliament

Having passed without the need for a vote in the Dàil on 1 July and by a vote of 48-4 in the Seanad one week later, the Irish civil partnership bill only needs to be signed by the Uachtarán to become a law.
PinkNews: Irish parliament approves civil partnerships bill
PinkNews: Ireland’s upper house passes civil partnerships bill
Given what Wikipedia says about Mary McAleese and GLBT, it seems improbable she wouldn’t. Which would mean another huge step forward in a country stereotyped as Catholic and thence homophobic, even though Ireland wouldn’t have gone as far as Spain and Portugal, which legalized same-sex marriages.

 
UPDATED: Mary McAleese did sign the bill into law. Marriages may start from January.

 

Hitchhiker’s 42

I noticed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the first time several years ago in a local bookshop which also used to sell a (very limited and constantly changing) selection of books in English. Unless I’m much mistaken, I bought something else instead, deciding to buy this one the next time round. But the next time round it was no longer on offer.

I only heard about it again after getting on the Net. Since then I saw it mentioned or hinted at so often that I decided it must needs be a very famous or at least a cultish book. So I bought it and quite recently read it.

To tell the truth, I was slightly disappointed. I did enjoy it, but had expected even more. The best comparison that occurs to me is Monty Pythons not at their best. On the other hand, the words with which the book describes the book [sic!] looked to me so much like Wikipedia as to be almost uncanny. I couldn’t resist putting them to my userpage there.

I was also surprised how many of the jokes and catchphrases I encountered on the Net without associating them with the book had actually originated there. You know, things like “So long, and thanks for all the fish”. One of these is so cultish it even has a userbox template on the Wiki. I’ve seen the template several times on various editors’ userpages. What troubles me is…

I’ve already mentioned here, probably more than once, that my life seems to be rather full of embarrasing symbolism and coincidences. I often create the symbols myself, admitted. But why the heck did I have to find out about the origin of “the 42 answer” just a couple of months before my 42nd birthday?

 

Six new World Heritage bids

The 38-item UK longlist of nominees for future Unesco World Heritage sites contains six in Scotland: the Arbroath Abbey, the Flow Country, the Forth Railway Bridge, Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings in Glasgow, Shetland’s Iron Age settlements and St Andrews.
BBC: Forth Bridge seeks world heritage status
If I understand the article correctly, a shortlist of six (for political reasons this would presumably mean one or two Scottish ones) will be published by the UK government in 2011 and the Unesco asked to consider them in 2012. I’ve never been to Arbroath, Caithness & Sutherland or Shetland; of the other three I consider the Forth Bridge deserving it the most – but would prefer to see St Andrews make it. I’ve spent some very pleasant moments there.
 

Postcript, 2 Aug 15: The 2011 UK shortlist had 11 sites, of which 3 were in Scotland: the Flow Country, the Forth Bridge and Shetland’s Mousa, Old Scatness and Jarlshof. Of these three, the Forth Bridge was nominated in 2014 and awarded the World Heritage Site status in July 2015.

 

Midges

A year or two ago my sister mentioned that in her mind one of the things firmly knit to Scotland was midges. This surprised me, as in my memory Scotland didn’t have any. In fact, one of the country’s appeals to me was my memories of its being almost void of annoying insects of any kind. We concluded that the explanation lay in the fact that her visit took place in the middle of summer, while both mine began just before the start of September.

This time I’m going in mid-August. When I came across a website featuring a midge forecast for Scotland, I naturally bookmarked it, and as my visit gets nearer I began visiting it daily. So far, things are getting worse. For the first time, there are even the highest, “nuisance levels” marks today. On the other hand it looks the little fuckers are only really troublesome in the Highlands. Well, I’ll have to wait and see, that’s all.

Fuckers? Actually, what exasperates me about midges isn’t the bites but the noise. I can’t remember ever feeling a midge biting me. I just always discovered the swelling afterwards, and that usually pretty soon disappered. On the contrary, I can be almost fast asleep, but when a midge flies near to my ear I’m immediately wide awake again. A single midge I can’t find and kill can mean a sleepless night for me.

But the website told me something else of interest. Its subpage starts a section named “How a midge hunts” by the words “the midge ‘smells’ carbon dioxide from your breath in an odour plume and starts to fly towards you, picking up a whole load of body smells as it does”. So it all begins with one’s breathing out? That would confirm an ancient theory of mine I never saw mentioned anywhere, whether as a scientific fact or as a myth. It says that midges won’t approach you when you’re reasonably drunk. Only I thought they didn’t like drinking alcohol; apparently, like people, they don’t like smelling it in somebody else’s breath.

 

Mìle leumadair còmhla

An dèidh buidhne de 400 leumadair ann an Linne Mhoireibh an-uiridh, chunnacas tè eadhon na bu mhotha far chosta tuath an Eilein Sgitheanaich. Thathar a’ smaoineachadh gun tàinig grun bhuidhnean beaga an tòir air sgaoth mhòr de dh’iasg còmhla.
BBC: 1,000 leumadair gam faicinn far an Eilein Sgitheanaich
BBC: Dolphin ‘superpod’ seen by wildlife spotters off Skye
Tha bhidio goirid air an duilleig Bheurla.
Eadar dà sgeul, na dìochuimhnichibh nach e “common dolphin” an aon rud ri “bottlenose dolphin”!

 

Aon-chànanas

Chan ann ainneamh a chluinneas mi fear sam bith a’ gearan nach eil ach Beurla aig a’ chuid as motha dhiubh aig a tha i mar chiad chànan. Agus ag ràdh gu bheil slòigh eile dà- (no eadhon ioma-) chànanach, no aig a’ char as lugha ag ionnsachadh cànanan eile san sgoil. Cha chreid mi gur ann cho sìmplidh a tha cùisean ge-tà.

Nise, cha bhi amharras oirbh gu bheil mise a’ moladh aon-chànanais. Ach chan eil mi cinnteach cia mheud Frangach, Gearmailteach, Spàinneach amsaa a tha eòlach air dàrna teanga, mur eil feum aca a bhith eòlach air tè. Mur eil iad a’ fuireach thall thairis, ag obair anns a’ ghnìomhachas turasachd no mar manaidsearan do chompanaidhean ioma-nàiseanta, pòsda aig cudeigin le chiad chànan eadar-dhealaichte…

Anns an àrd-sgoil, bha againn uile ri Ruiseis agus aon theanga eile a dh’ionnsachadh. A dh’aindheoin sin, tha eagal orm nach tèid aig an dàrna leth dhinn air pàipear-naidheachd a leughadh no air còmhradh a dhèanamh ann an tè dhiubh. Agus iad sin gun àrd-sgoil… gu dearbh, ‘s ann glè thric a bhios daoine a’ faighneachd dhomh, “Fileanta sa Bheurla, agus ag obair nad chlò-bhualadair? Carson nach eil thu nad eadar-theangair?”

Tha fios agaibh, tha urram aca do dhuine aig a tha barrachd air aon chànan. Ach chan eil iad den bheachd gum b’ fhiach dhaibh fhèin cànan eile a dh’ionnsachadh. Tha eadhon an abhcaid seo againn:

Tha dithis nan suidhe faisg air rathad air choireigin nuair a ruigeas càr. Tha an dràibhear a’ faighneachd: “Hello, do you speak English?”
Crathadh cheann, crathadh guailnean.
“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”
Crathadh cheann, crathadh guailnean.
“Parlez-vous français?”
Crathadh cheann, crathadh guailnean.
“¿Se habla español?”
Crathadh cheann, crathadh guailnean.
Fàgaidh an dràibhear gu mì-thoilichte. An ceann greise, faighnichidh fear dhiubh dham fear eile, “Saoil gum bu chòir dhuinn cànanan cèine ionnsachadh?” – “Carson?” – “Uill, thèid againn air bruidhinn ri coigrich.” – “Na bi gòrach. Nach fhaca tu am fear sin? Dè cho mòran cànain a bh’ aige, cha b’ urrainn dha bruidhinn ruinne!”

Agus cha chreid mi gu bheil daoine sna dùthchannan eile cho eadar-dhealaichte bho na daoine an-seo. Uill, ‘s dòcha na Lochlannaich, ach san fharsaingeachd…