Our Twenty Third Year - A Season of Giving.

Scotland Memories

Wednesday, August 9, 2006 - written by Cara Day

Our first morning in Scotland! And our first experience with Scottish food at the Glasgow Airport Holiday Inn. At 7:36 a.m. Jim & Peg Whitmore are already in the dining room. Shortly Sandy & Joe Finnerty, Jan LaDuke, Russ Hanegan, and Kelly Hartford join me for breakfast.

The restaurant is busy with a buffet that includes fresh fruit, compote, cereal, and a hot bar with lots of different types of sausages including haggis. I opt for something a little safe - cereal but I also try the black pudding (can't say I was as fond of that taste. It looks like a dark sausage patty, but it doesn't suit my tastes) and the haggis. Jan reminiscences about Wheatabix which looks like a big rectangular piece of shredded wheat and Kelly creates a color palate with fresh fruit.

As I'm leaving I point Julie and her husband Allen to Roger's table. It turns out "Roger" is really Chuck. I've learned something new already.

It's 8:52 a.m. I finish getting ready before we have to board our tour bus. There's a stiff breeze and mostly cloudy, but there are touches of blue in the sky. I quickly flip through the TV channels. There's Richard Wilson talking about his stint on the "Dr. Who" TV show, the host mentions that there are 138 shopping days until Christmas, talk about commercial space travel on the news, and it seems very curious to see BBC as "regular" television programming instead of selected programs on WILL back home.

I grab my rain coat and my camera, then it's off to see the sight via tour bus before our first concert at Paisley Abbey tonight. Our tour guide, Christopher Robin Fox, tells us that there are 238 pipe bands in Glasgow for a competition so there are groups practicing in various public spaces around the city. Our first stop is St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life on High Street, across from the oldest building. We also drive by Dalton Fountain in front of the People's Palace. Christopher tells us that it's the largest terra cotta fountain. The fountain is near Glasgow Greens, a public park that will be the site of the Pipers Championship. Like true tourists we snap lots of pictures.

We drive out of the city to the Burrell Collection. It's a interesting gallery with oriental objects, tapestries, Dega paintings such as The Rehearsal, c 1874, ceramics, medieval stained glass, and even a Whistler painting. The treasures were a privately amassed collection donated to the City of Glasgow with the stipulation that they be housed in their own gallery. Opened in 1983 at a cost of 8 million pounds which converts to around 16 million dollars.

As we leave the park we marvel over the beautiful purple flowers, which is a "weed" called Willow Hair. Weed or flower - they are still pretty. Then it's back to the hotel for a quick change, then off to Paisley Abbey.

Outside of Paisley Abbey a group of teenagers entertain the tourists (us) as we prepare to go into the Abbey for our first concert. We've come dressed in our sparkley blouses and long black skirts, and the gentlemen in their suits. During the rehearsal there's a lot of excitement as we familiarize ourselves with the space and where to stand, and where we'll sit when Jean sings. The sound fills the air and raises to the high, stone, arched ceiling. We marvel at the thought of the many people who have sung before us in this Abbey that has stood for hundreds of years. Then it's time for dinner up the narrow curved staircase. My favorite part of the meal was a pretty - and tasty - meringue-like cookie topped with cream and raspberries. And then it was time for our first concert. The concert itself it a bit of blur, but several guests stopped to thank us for coming. One complimented us on the "gorgeous, velvety blend" especially on our unaccompanied piece. The ladies told me that they sing in the choir but really appreciate hearing others. One woman said that there's a choir that she wouldn't name that has several prima donnas who stand out but not us. It was just a gorgeous blend. As the concert concluded Deputy Lord Lt. James Wordrope publicly thanked The Chorale and Jean Redpath. He is an emissary of the Queen.

Then it was back to the hotel.

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