Creepy Isle of Skye Mannequins!

skye1
skye1

If you're a long time reader of this site, you know my affinity for creepy mannequins in historical settings, so there was no disappointment when I made my way to the Isle of Skye and visited the Skye Museum of Island Life. Skye is a beautiful place, that's no joke, but I'm pretty sure I don't think I would have enjoyed living there in the olden timey days. In the first place, you'd have to speak Gaelic and also live in a hut with grass for a roof.

That's a picture of the local blacksmith on the left there. He would have been like your best friend, what with all the horeshoes you had to get made and farm implements that needed to be fixed.

skye2
skye2

The main problem with Skye is that it's just too windy. Actually, if Scotland in general could get a grasp on this whole wind situation, it would make the place a lot more tolerable.

I spotted the museum from the side of the road and decided to pull over. Normally, I'd take a pass at places like this, but the museum charge was a little over $3.00 (US) so I figured I'd take a chance.

The museum consisted of a number of cottages representing different parts of island life - the schoolhouse, the blacksmith shop, the weaving cottage, and the farmhouse. For some reason, they had pictures everwhere that said no photography. Which is odd, because it's not like we're dealing with museum quality exhibits here. So all of these pictures were taken illegally.....by someone else....and then passed to me. The farmhouse probably had the best creepy mannequins of all. Here an old timey farmer and his wife were warming themselves by the fire, because it was probably July and still windy and cold as shit.

skye-farm

That's the farmer's wife over there to the left. They were setup in their chairs next to the fireplace and conveniently close to the bedroom in case they needed to "get some lovin' on".

I also kept bumping my head on everything. I think everyone was shorter in the olden days.

Overall, it was a cool museum and didn't feel too "tourist trap-y" until I got to an exhibit labelled "How Things Used to Be".

This was basically a collection of invoices and receipts from back in the 1920s and 1930s when they used to use their crazy currency here and so all the prices read like: 1d 2s, two guineas, one crown, two bob, penny farthing etc.

So start saving your Walmart receipts now. You never know when they might end up in a museum one day.

Glasgow Nachos!

Weegee nachos. Mmmm. Aye! 

Weegee nachos. Mmmm. Aye! 

A little over a month ago I made the short rail journey to Glasgow to....well....uh...partake of Glaswegian culture.

And to ride their world famous tiny subway.

And, of course, to sample the famous Glaswegian nachos.

But first, I had to partake in some of the sights. Like the fine example of WeeGee (as the Glaswegians are called here) Early Modernist Brutalist Architecture like the example that you see there to the right.

Watch out for Neds. 

Watch out for Neds. 

I think that was a police station or something like that at one point. This kind of early-to-mid 60s style was a HUGE hit over in the UK. You can see these types of buildings all over the place.

The first thought being when you see one of these monstrosities is, naturally, "What the hell were these people thinking?" I think this is, believe it or not, a police station.

I think I'm lost. 

I think I'm lost. 

Glasgow's subway is equally as charming. Dubbed "The Clockwork Orange" because it only goes around in a circle, the line features really tiny subway cars and some creepy stations.

In all fairness, the subway is in the midst of a major overhaul and rebranding right now, so perhaps I just stopped at the wrong stations.

The other strange thing about the subway is that they're using what looks like the same font as Facebook for all their signage. Many of the entrances for the subway are on streets with normal shops, so when you enter the station it kind of feels like you're entering some kind of Facebook Outlet Shop.

But there were plenty of cool parts of Glasgow, too. 

The Kelvingrove museum (there to the right, can you tell I got Hipstamatic?) is one of those cool old timey UK museums that they used to have during the days of empire, with plenty of exhibits about "the colonies."

Kelvingrove all fancied up. 

Kelvingrove all fancied up. 

Didn't linger too long on the artsy-fartsy part but did manage to see Dali's Christ of Saint John of the Cross. That was pretty cool and fairly painless as artsy things go.

But you're not here to read about art, are you? No, it's a UK nacho review that you're here for and a UK nacho review that you will get.

This day in Glasgow I managed to have fairly decent Tex-Mex food not once, but TWICE! My first meal was at Taco Mazama in the West End and I later dined at Pinto Mexican Kitchen in the City Center. The nachos that you see pictured above were purchased at Taco Mazama.

As to the nachos, overall a fairly decent basket. To their favor, Taco Mazama didn't try to dress the nachos up for you, they simply gave you a basket of chips with melted cheese. The RIGHT melted cheese, mind you, white and not some type of off color cheddar (although Gloucester cheese on Tex-Mex over here seems to work pretty well). The salsa had plenty of chunks of red onion in it, which was a welcome suprise. Taco Mazama is a chain and, luckily enough, there's one directly across the street from my office in Edinburgh so I can visit whenever I like.

I had the veggie burrito at Pinto's which was fairly tasty. One cool menu item that I noticed while dining there was that Austin, Texas favorite, breakfast tacos!

That'll probably need it's own post.

The Oldest Pub in Scotland

Now I know that there are a lot of contenders out there for the Oldest Pub in Scotland, but the Sheeps Heid Inn, in Duddingston, Scotland is the real deal. Either that or they've got a really good marketing team working for them.

Old tyme-y in Scotland. 

Old tyme-y in Scotland. 

The pub is called the Sheeps Heid Inn because the area around Duddingston, right outside Edinburgh was known as the place to get something butchered if you needed it. "Sheep" being pretty self explanatory and "heid" being Scottish for - ready? - "head". This continues with the annoying Scottish tradition of trading normal words for "Scottish" ones, even though they're more or less the same thing. The most egregious case of this being the use of the term "auld" for "old." Hmmm. Ok, you took a word that was pretty short to begin with and then made it longer.

Thanks, Scottish people!

Although the pub bills itself as the oldest in Scotland, I think they might be fudging a bit. The history of the Inn is written on the inside of the walls of the pub. I don't remember the exact wording, but the story was that Duddingston was known for selling parts of chopped up animals and they THINK - not for sure, now - that there was a  pub around then called the Sheeps Heid.

So then found the present building and, since it was so old (or "auld" as they'd say), they decided that this must have have been it.

Skittles lane! 

Skittles lane! 

But they can't prove it.

What they CAN prove however, is that they do have the oldest skittles alley in Scotland!

No, I'm not talking about the candy. I'm talking about bowling!

As in drinking a bucket of suds, throwing a ball down an alleyway and writing on an overhead projector!

Skittles is pretty much the same concept as good old fashioned bowl-a-rama American bowling, as you can see from the picture of the "auld" skittles alley in the back of the Sheeps Heid.

Except that nothing is automated. There's even a little wooden platform, way in the back of the alley, for the "auld" pin monkeys to stand on and stay out of the way of drunken Scotsmen hurling twenty pound round stones down the alleyway towards them.

But you'll notice no space for overhead projectors. The Scots may have invented the steam engine and built the longest railway bridge in the world (that collapsed) but they were still lacking in skittle score keeping technology.

Loch Ness and the Afternoon Disco, Part II

Inside the disco. 

Inside the disco. 

Click here for the first part of this post! After my disappointment with not meeting Nessie, I hurried back to Inverness so that the entire trip wouldn't be a waste of time - I was planning to make the afternoon disco!

I had a few minutes to kill until the bus showed up, so I stopped and ate a sandwich and drank a beer that I purchased at the local Nessie shop. This turned out to be more of a chore than I thought it would be because the counterperson, who was probably about 16, wasn't sure if she could sell me the beer. She had to call her manager/mom to make sure that the purchase was kosher. Fortunately for the both of us, it was.

The bus brought me back from Drumnadrochit and dropped me off at the fancy Route 66 American Diner. It was approximately 3pm, which meant that the afternoon disco was in full swing, but I faced a dilemma because I wanted to see a bit of Inverness while there was still some daylight.

REALLY Scottish McDonalds! 

REALLY Scottish McDonalds! 

I wandered around the town a bit, which, like most towns in the UK, had a fairly compact and traffic-free centralshopping district. Inverness came to prominence as a trading town in the middle ages and was considered to be the capital city for the Central Highlands of Scotland.

Most of the town signs were in English/Gaelic, including the McDonalds! (It says "Welcome to McDonald's" if you couldn't figure it out. And no, I didn't eat there.)

I found the local museum, which was free (hooray, free museums!) and learned probably more than I'll ever need to know about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Rebellion.

Finally, having met my Scottish history quotient for the day, I felt that it was time to make my way to the real purpose of my quest - The Afternoon Disco!!

The disco! 

The disco! 

From outside, the Afternoon Disco pub looked like any other Scottish pub. 

The bar is called MacCallums and is in downtown Inverness, not too far from the train station.

Inside, however, it was a different story.

I arrived shortly before 5pm and the place was already packed. The lights were out in the pub, and the dance floor was illuminated with flashing disco lights. There was a singer belting out favorite standards on the stage, backed by a tape machine.

People were coming and leaving in waves. This was a big destination for bachelorette parties ("Hen Nights" as they say over there) and there was a contingent present all festooned in pink shirts, balloons, feather boas and penis lollipops.

I tried to take a picture of the crowd, but it doesn't really do the Afternoon Disco justice. If you look at the pic at the top of the story, you can see the clock on the wall showing that it was just a little after 5pm.

The singer was actually pretty decent, but the main problem with the Afternoon Disco was that it too a really long time to get Afternoon Disco Juice from the bar keeps.

I was tempted to hit the dance floor to wow the locals with my signature move - The Robot  but I didn't want to upset the locals and make them jealous of my dance movies, so I merely observed the disco unfold and drank my disco juice.

I didn't want to tarry too long at the Afternoon Disco, as I felt that it would spoil the magic.

I'm just happy to know that  if I'm ever in the vicinity of Inverness and need to hear some tunes, hang out with some penis lollipops and it's 3pm in the afternoon, I know exactly where to go.