Sunday, January 23, 2011

If It's Good Enough For Haggis....

We are just back from another preparatory hike for our excursion to Kilimanjaro at the end of February. It was fine practice indeed. While we lacked the altitude, we had wind and snow in spades. Out of the wind, it was -16, and with the chill factor, -26! Brrrr. Even still, about 5 minutes in, most of us found ourselves peeling off layers as we were too warm!

Happily I did not have the slightest trace of a hangover despite having attended a Robbie Burns dinner, complete with scotch tasting, the night before. Fauntleroy suggested our first out of home Burns supper and settled on The Old Mill. The setting was fitting, replete with real wood fires burning in hearths scattered about the ‘mill’.

Before heading out, we met for a drink at our ‘hosts’. As we were a party of six, we wondered what four strangers would round out our table. Fauntleroy joked it would be a gang of old Presbyterians that would be mortified at dining with assorted homosexuals. I said we could all just play it straight and say that CJ was a woman of low moral standards instead and we were all dating her.

Upon arrival, we received a scotch ‘passport’ and were told if we sampled all six on hand, we could enter a draw for a free bottle. “You had me at scotch” I said to the wee lass at the door.

As we admired our surroundings, massive stone fireplace, gorgeous parquet flooring and fabric walls, a fiddler made her way by playing a tune titled ‘Stop Ye’re Tickling Jock’. Rather! Can’t you get a special shampoo for that these days? We moved to our first sample giggling.

Something in one of the first two did not agree with me and even in the dimly lit room (which I appreciate all the more as I get older) everyone commented on my red glow. I must have had a mild allergic reaction as my face and ears were quite flushed. Best cure for that is something medicinal thought I, so we moved on to the next station. By the end of the evening, my normal colour had returned but I am a little leery of overly peaty scotches now. Too bad.

From there, it was pretty much down hill. Address to the ladies, and response to the gents aside, Fauntleroy was not impressed. Given his vast experience and heritage, I too expected better things. The final straw for both he and CJ was the non-existent dancing.

You drank, you ate (while people sang so loud you couldn’t talk to one another) listened to some speeches and then got the hell out. The 48th Highlanders were fantastic (if a little loud in a relatively confined space ~ those bags are best heard across a loch I think) and brought in the haggis.

A lot of people turn up, not turnip that comes with it, their noses at haggis. Really, it tastes like oatmeal with some sausage meat in it. But even oatmeal can be bad, and so this was. Wallpaper paste is the only descriptive that comes to mind.

I did, however, get a wonderful idea as the haggis was marched in perched atop a serving platter balanced on two poles. Not actual people from Poland you understand, but the wooden variety.

Rather than go with the two porters that come included as part of our Kilimanjaro package, could I not upgrade to 6 or 8 and have them carry me in one of those portable thrones?

Actually, maybe 9 would be better. The extra one could be like a spare tire and until called into service, could fan me with a large palm.


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