It was World Whiskey Day on Saturday.
So naturally I thought of Scotland. I spent a lot of time in the Highlands near Inverness, and although I never drank much Scotch, I hung out with a number of American dudes, living-like-lairds, with Holland &Holland flasks of Glefiddich in their knickers pockets (so their hands were free to tote loaded, over-and-under shotguns..).
My favorite Scot of all times was a florid, apple-cap wearing, bloke called Robbie (roll the R), who used to drive the “ladies” around in a van while the menfolk blasted grouse out of the sky. I’m not sure whether our husbands were trying to kill us, but Robbie was a bona fide drunk, who sneaked shots of whiskey while he was driving and took us on “behind the scenes” adventures like crashing the barricades at Balmoral Castle and “pleasure cruising” to the Orkney Islands in a November ice storm…
I was the only one who could understand a word he said, with the brogue and the Scotch-slurring around a pipe stem, so I always sat in the front seat and translated. I actually had a bit of a crush on Robbie. He was handsome in a tweedy, broken veined, dangerous sort of way.
And he had the best drinking stories, EVER.
My favorite story was the one where Robbie was drunk (his stories always began with, “I had a wee dram”) and he decided to run a bath. He lived in one of those ancient, fieldstone cottages you see plunked on Scottish hillsides, with sheep grazing in the front yard. While the bath was running, a friend knocked on the front door. The bathroom was upstairs, and Robbie left the water running and went down to answer.
The friend had a problem with one lass finding out about another lass, and wanted to talk about it, so Robbie got out the whiskey. They drank for a while and then decided to go to the local pub to drink some more. They put on their Wellies and waxed jackets, Robbie turned off the lights, locked the door, and the two men set off for town on foot.
When they got to the pub, one of Robbie’s old girlfriend’s was there and he began to “chat her up”. The drinking of Scotch continued, the friend felt better, and Robbie got what is oftentimes described as “lucky,” but in this case was the opposite of luck. He went back to his ex’s house and had such a good time he stayed for the weekend…
As he tells it, when he finally got home, humming a folk tune, hung over and happy and approached the cobbled walk, he could hear something that sounded like stampeding Highland ponies and the windows of the cottage were “weeping”. When he unlocked and opened the door, he was hit with a wall of water, carrying the broken pieces of his worldly goods. It knocked him down and sent him tumbling backwards down the hill. When he landed, dazed and soaked, he had a sodden painting of his “dear ole mum” in his lap.
He says he went into the house, found his Land Rover keys, threw the painting of his mum in the back seat and drove away. He never went back…
Happy (belated) World Whiskey Day everybody!!!
Today I’m not drinking because I do not drink Scotch whiskey – never did.
How come you’re not drinking?