Tag Archives: Scotland

Shit I Learned In Scotland

In the glorious half term from school I decided that it was about time I ventured up to Scotland to see what it was all about. Not only was it full of stunning natural beauty, but also full of fun and fascinating stories of the past. I learned  more than wee bit of shit while I was there, but here are some highlights.

  1. Loads of different sayings take their origins from the Scots

‘Shitfaced’

Back in the days, Edinburgh was full of high-rise buildings. Of course, being in the days before toilets, people used to just chuck that shit out the window. Literally. If you were in the lower floors and had your head stuck out the window you risked getting shat on. So they would yell out before the bucket load of crap went flying out the window and if you didn’t get your head in quick enough, guess where it landed. They say that those who were drunk were dumb enough to hear the call of pending doom and instead of pulling their heads in, they would look up. And wind up with shit on their faces. Shitfaced. Superb!

City views over Edinburgh

‘Doing a Bouch job’

Thomas Bouch was an English engineer who built a bridge that wasn’t structurally sound, it fell down and killed a whole stack of people. What a massive fuck up! A total Bouch job

‘Soccer’

As much as the English and Europeans love to moan about the fact that we call it ‘soccer’ in Australia, it is in fact their fault. They bloody well invented the word. It derives from the full name of the sport from back in the day ‘association football’. Abbreviation of the name and tapping and ‘er’ on the end (oddly a very Australian thing to do… maybe that is where we get it from) results in the word ‘assoccer’.

‘Going berserk’

The Beserkers were a Viking clan full of fierce warriors who apparently fought in such a massively drug fucked stated that people thought that they were crazy. As such, when people go crazy now, they are going berserk.

Stone circle from Lewis and Harris

2. Seagulls can drool.

I mean, I had no idea until I was sitting on the pier with what has been voted the worlds best fish and chips and this damn seagull is sitting in front of me and his beak is literally dripping all over the pavement. He stopped once the fish was gone and I got to the chips. Clearly not as tasty…. but just wow…..

3. Witches don’t drown in shit.

So the river that used to run through Edinburgh used to be full of people’s shit that they used to just pour in there. When they accused people of being witches, they used to throw them in the river and say that if they didn’t sink and drown that they must be a witch. Well given the viscosity of a pile of faecal matter, most of them really didn’t sink. So they’d drag them out and burn them on the stake. That right there is logic for you. Even better, they cleared all of the shit out of this area and turned it into a nice lovely park full of green plants and wonderful flowers fertilised by the remnant bits of shit and dead witches from the area. One may even say that when sitting down there having lunch that you are hanging in the shit pit.

The old shit pit is now a park….

4.  Braveheart the movie is an absolute load of shit and things really didn’t happen that way at all. 

  • Firstly, the ‘brave heart’ actually referred to the heart of Robert the Bruce, not William Wallace. Robert’s heart was carried into the battle that won the Scots independence after his death.
  • The Battle of Sterling win hinged on the fact that there was a bridge that the English had to cross and were eventually backed into a corner of the river bend and couldn’t retreat. Where’s the bridge?
  • Bruce did not betray Wallace and get him captured
  • ugh…. and the list could go on… very entertaining fiction for the most part.

5. Other random shit

  • The word Caledonia is what the Romans used to call Scotland
  • Fife is the alcohol and oddly enough, pregnancy capital of Scotland being home to the bottling of Schmirnoff, Barcardi and Johnny Walker
  • Half Hangit Maggie was a legend for surviving a hanging and waking up in the coffin on her way down the road to be put in the ground. She kicked on for another 40 years post that….
  • Greyfriars Bobby is also a legend. He was a dog that sat by his masters grave for the better part of 15 years, his love and loyalty never faltered.
Cute little Greyfriars Bobby
  • I still don’t like oysters…. the slimy thing went down and some shell got stuck on the roof of my mouth and gag reflex kicked in… yuk. Just feed me a kilo of mussels instead any day.
  • Stone circles are everywhere up north in Lewis and Harris. I daresay they are cooler than Stonehenge and…. free!
  • And…. I want to go back to Scotland! This country is amazing and the nature is just stunning. I want to go back and climb more mountains and take some more boat trips!

 

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Shit I Learned In Glasgow

Despite only being a whirlwind five days in Scotland, I spent most of it sitting in my friend Paul’s kitchen drinking wine and eating cheese or painting sunsets terribly in the studio drunk on wine. I did however do the odd museum tour and in the grand scheme of me and learning, I learned quite a few odd and interesting things.

Sir Roger

Sir Roger is a famous Glaswegian elephant who went on heat, got a bit violent and then they were forced to shoot him in the head. In the awesome tradition of not letting go of things we love, Sir Roger was then stuffed by a taxidermist, preserved in arsenic and formaldehyde and put on show in the Kelvingrove Museum (ps. Kelvin as in the man who did the Kelvin scale of absolute temperature… science nerds rejoice!)

 

 

The famous Sir Roger complete with broken trunk and bullet hole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Roger of course is a children’s delight. So many of them can’t resist touching him all the time and one child accidentally snapped off his trunk….. so then they glued it back on. Poor Roger.

 

Christ Of Saint John Of The Cross

 

This famous painting by Salvador Dali is also now housed in the Kelvingrove. Once upon a time a few moons ago, some crackpot who thought he was Jesus decided that he didn’t like the portrayal of himself within the painting. Of course the only acceptable way of dealing with such an offensive representation is to go to the museum and throw a brick through the painting. If you look closely you can see where the painting went through repairs.

 

 

The famous Salvador Dali painting equipped with square rip from the offended real Jesus’ brick.

This, however was not deemed enough by another group of crackpots who went to the museum and shot bullets at the painting with a gun. Jokes on them though, the Dali is now housed in bulletproof glass. Epic fail.

 

McDonald’s Is Technologically Apt

 

So I wander drunk into a Maccas at midnight and have a massive flip out when I discover that not only can you order your food on a giant touch screen before you get to the counter, but once you have your drunken cheeseburger and fries, you can sit and play angry birds and other cool games on a touch screen computer. You can also do some Facebooking if you feel so inclined…. what is this socially antisocial world coming to?

 

 

Drunken cheeseburger and Facebook in the upscale McDonald’s.

Painting

 

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend my time with two exceptionally talented brothers that are painters while I was in Glasgow. This opened my world to art galleries and exhibitions I would not otherwise have experienced. It also allowed me one afternoon to sit and paint with a canvas. I learned firstly that drunken finger painting is fun. Secondly I learned to look at things in a context of colors and shadows more. It is incredible to sit and watch my friend Paul paint and to watch his brain process where colors and paints go. Awesome 🙂

 

 

My glorious painting. Now an exceptional masterpiece on a bathroom wall for hilarity’s sake

GOMA Statue And The Traffic Cone

 

Glaswegians have such a good sense of humour that a traffic cone constantly lives on the head or some other part of the statue outside of GOMA. Apparently the council will remove it but someone always climbs right back up there to deposit yet another traffic cone in its rightful place, statue head.

 

 

The GOMA Statue and it’s glorious traffic cone hat

Glaswegians Kick Arse And Balls

 

Once upon a time in Glasgow at the airport there was an attempted terrorist attack. A few guys decided it would be a good idea to fill a Jeep with some fuel canisters and set it on fire whilst driving it into the front doors of the airport. The guys in the Jeep got out and were tackled by some locals. One awesome Glaswegian kicked a guy in the balls so hard he broke his foot. Local hero! And now you can’t approach the front door of the airport by car, you get dropped off a hundred meters back from the entrance.

Well, that’s it! Until next week! 🙂