Week four of Rhalou in the wilderness. Against the odds I survived last week’s Texas Chickensaw Massacre. I’ve since learned the following 10 cool things about life in Scotland:
1. When Scottish people talk about Ken a lot, they are not telling you stories about their mate Ken. Ken is not a person. Ken means ‘know’. Who knew? Not me. Now I do. That was embarrassing.
2. ‘Getting the messages’ has nothing to do with messages, or post, or Facebook. It means food shopping. I learnt this new phrase at the weekend when Ultraboy’s mum asked if I wanted to go with her to get the messages and I brought my laptop. I suspect she now thinks I’m a total idiot. Especially after I was six hours late for dinner. (Turns out dinner is lunchtime here).
3. When you go out for a Chinese meal in Scotland, it is perfectly socially acceptable to order chips with your main course. If you happen to be having dinner with a Scottish friend, do not criticise them for ordering chips with their noodles. Eat the extra chips and smile. Chips are great; Chinese is great, chip plus Chinese, what’s not to love? If only you could order hummus with your Chinese too. Then I would die happy.
4. You can get £5 notes out at cash machines. Yes! Just one £5 note! How cool is that? In the great city of London it costs £10 just to leave your front door. But if you live in Scotland, you can buy a newspaper and a pint of milk and still have change for some chips.
5. Everyone says hello. Not just a nod or a wave either. Every single person you pass on the street greets you with a genuine smile as if you are their oldest friend. This is excellent for morale if you happen to be a lonely freelance journalist with no mates.
6. Everyone in Scotland really does know each other. Which might explain why they all say hello to you in the street. Even if you don’t know who the hell they are, they all know exactly who you are. It’s impossible to get round Morrisons, down the high street, or out of the Chinese without having to stop while your boyfriend shakes hands with someone every five minutes. I imagine this is how it must feel to be a WAG. Minus the miniature handbag dog, perma tan and enviable shoe collection.
7. ‘I’ll see you at the back of 9’ means some indefinite time after 9 but before 10. Actually I have no idea what it really means. If anyone would like to enlighten me, that would save me from much confusion and potential social blunders, thank you.
8. It’s rude to giggle like a schoolgirl every time a Scotsman says murder, burger, or weirdo, even if he is your boyfriend.
9. Scottish people are really hardcore and almost all of them are expert ultra runners and extreme sportsmen/women. But even the ones that aren’t ultra runners are badass. I discovered this at a kettlesize class last week (thanks to the lovely Jan for taking me). The gym full of teeny ladies swinging kettle bells above their heads with ease put my meek efforts to shame. I started with a 3kg weight and still couldn’t walk for a week.
10. Nobody in Scotland really eats deep friend Mars bars or drinks Irn Bru or wears a kilt. But they do eat haggis, and haggis is actually really tasty. Vegetarian haggis is anyway. Eat it with mashed turnips and potatoes and you could probably run ultra marathons too.