Thursday, July 4, 2013

kilted Crow


"Thaur waur nae roads in th' highlands tae spick ay until th' industrial revolution. th' few roads 'at existed afair 'en waur th' few military roads constructed by general george wade in th' early 1700s tae connect th' british army’s garrisons. onie travel therefair was by pony ur oan fit. wadin' ben th' damp bracken quickly soaks yer breeks an' withit a regular means ay dryin' yer clase yer health quickly suffers. in th' worst-case scenario, a braw leids tae pneumonia leids tae death. if thes happens afair ye breed th' next generation, it’s called ‘eugenics’ an' academic puff-buttocks write papers abit ye.

"Th' kilt offers a practical alternatife, as th' baur lower leg an' fit quickly dries. th' kilt was therefair a pragmatic solution tae a common problem. th' kilt, however, wisnae worn oan aw occasions. if breeks waur considered mair practical fur a particular activity 'en they waur worn withit hesitation. th' highlanders waur quite content tae “go abit bare-arsed in their shirt-tails” when an' if th' situation permitted!"
*

All this and much more did I learn about kilts and Scottish history as Crow sipped a wee dram of an old single malt whisky from the Isles of Islay on a rainy Canada Day. We see a lot of kilts here in Nova Scotia at this time of the year but he was reminiscing about older times than ours. In centuries past he spent a long time in the Highlands with the Glengarry MacDonnell Clan, who still remember him in their crest and motto - The Rock of the Raven. As you well know, Crow still rocks.

It was fascinating to learn that there were no clan tartans as we know them now until the middle and late 1800s. Prior to that they were woven on standing looms of yarns plucked from goats and dyed with whatever natural colors could be found in an area. Only worn by people from the far north of Scotland, who recognized one another by the particulars of weave and color in their tartans, they became popular around the same time that Queen Victoria bought her castle in Balmoral. While her new holiday home was being rebuilt she gifted already rich landowners the crofts and small-holdings of many Highlanders. That's how it happened that so many Scots came to live in North America and the reason why this province has its name.

Anyway, it was too wet the other day to watch a parade so in between fits of laughter at Crow's perfect brogue I started a new picture of him with some friends. With any luck it will eventually become a half decent colored picture. We'll see what develops.

Meanwhile, if I hear this guy is planning a visit to Halifax for next year's parade I will definitely go whether it's raining or not. I think all the pipe bands should have instruments like his:



Happy celebrations wherever you are.


* Thanks to Robert MacDonald, Kiltmaker, Vancouver BC

32 comments:

  1. Fascinating lesson on the Scots and kilts. Love the brogue, the punk bagpiper who made me laugh, and most of all your drawing of a kilted Crow, Susan. Glad your Canada Day was so colourful. Good luck with the painting- looking forward to seeing it.

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    1. I ended up learning far more about kilts, tartans, plaids, bagpipes, whisky and Highland history than I knew I required. It has been interesting and I've developed a whole new respect for those hardy souls who probably still wish there'd been more distance between them and the English. Unfortunately, that didn't work for Ireland or India either.

      I'm glad you liked the sketch. It's back under cover now the brick dust is flying again.

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  2. Susan, absolutely delightful! And I do so love your artwork.

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    1. That's very kind of you, Tom. Thanks :)

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  3. It may not have been a Bunnahabhain, but who cares? Almost any Islay Malt is able to make one's wings feel feathery. Sláinte, Crow. :)

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    1. Simply reading the descriptions is a heady enough experience for me, but Crow is the connoisseur:

      Here's tae us; wha's like us?
      Gey few, and they're a' deid.

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  4. Good to know. But really, it could totally be Argyle as long as it's in a kilt and Liam Neeson is inside it.

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    1. Come to that, Sean Connery still looks pretty good in one too.

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  5. Good morning dear Susan,
    What an interesting post. I didn't know anything about the history of the tartan/kilts. I had a Scotch grandfather, a highlander too but didn't know anything about what happened to the people. Thank you for the lesson! I always end up wandering around the internet following your trails! :)

    And crow is looking quite regal! He's just missing his crown. Now that's an idea!

    Hoping it's not too hot there or too humid...ugh. I'm still recovering from the recent heat wave and so thankful for the fog that finally made it back in to our house!

    I hope you give crow lots of pretty colors and that your table is finally free of the dust? Have they left you in peace? I feel like I've lost touch recently with the stupid weather getting in the way, making me crazy... Made me almost paranoid..

    Well off to the nursery for me. Seems it never ends, the work around here... xoxo

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    1. I'm glad to hear to cooling mists have brought you some relief from the heat there. I'm sure they'll be helpful to the grapes as well.

      Yes, the Scottish history is fascinating and offer further proof that empires only ever serve the wealthy and powerful.

      It's very hot and humid here still. Those dog days of summer seem to arrive earlier every year. At least we have the weekends off from the brick and eventual new window work but, yes, it continues. I doubt Crow will have his finery colored until the ongoing racket stops, but perhaps there'll be another drawing soon.

      You haven't lost touch at all and it's always a joy to see your comments.
      xoxo

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  6. Ah, those buskers! I like the joyful faces of Crow and the children, Susan. You always post something thoughtful, delightful, entertaining. <3

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    1. Thanks, Gina! It's a great pleasure to know you've been by to visit and that Crow and his friends have made you smile.

      I hope all is well with you and yours and that you're enjoying the best of summer (without the humidity we're getting).

      Much love <^^>

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  7. So delightful to see McCrow in all is regalia! And thanks for the tartan history!

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting
    Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

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    1. McCrow sends his salutations :)

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  8. sic a braw laddie..... both un 'em.

    I must admit a weakness for a man (or a bird) in a kilt... in fact i married one (the homo sapiens), but it ended badly. at the wedding dinner, they put the head table on a raised platform, with no modesty skirt.... until the revelers were treated with an eye level view of what a 'true' scotsman wears under his kilt. some blushing ladies quickly pinned something in place, while i sat, horrified, in the spotlight asking him why he couldn't at least cross his legs. he seemed to be enjoying the whole thing. in retrospect, it was clearly an omen of ill to come. it was all downhill from there. I didn't make this up.

    may the weekend respites from chaos be long, and the unrelenting dirt and noise of the work week be short.

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    1. Hah! Ye're a troo Scot.. or at least you've known one. I loved that story and never for a moment doubted it was real. It sounds like your ex was pleased to show your wedding guests what you'd signed on for.

      Thanks for the guid wishes, lassie. They told us today it would just be another two weeks - for the brickwork. They still don't know when the windows will arrive! Ah well, this too shall pass :)

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  9. on a bit of a rabbit trail, i heard or read somewhere that the Trump empire no longer serves Glenfiddich at any of its holdings, after said brewery gave the owner of a small farm, who wouldn't sell his wee property to them for a golf course, a 'Man of the Year' award

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    1. I remembered having read about that debacle but hadn't heard the end. What a truly great comeuppance for that jerk. Local Hero, with a similar tale, is still one of my favorite movies.

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  10. Ok, that was the coolest video I've seen in a long time. My son even liked it. I told him that's the kind of bagpiper I want at my funeral. That should liven' things up a bit.

    Thamks!

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    1. The Badpiper is surely one of the best street musicians I've ever seen myself. I'm delighted you and your son both enjoyed his performance.

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  11. Hi Susan
    I enjoyed reading this post with a suitably dignified Scottish attire for his lordship crow. Great !!
    During my thirties, I went through a period of “Scottish Mania" to become immersed in their music, custom and dance.
    By the way the Royal family is advertising in our newspaper, Balmoral and other estates as B/B’s which are available to all commoners, to bring in more revenue.
    E.g. -Balmoral Estate-Rental Properties sleep from 5 to 13 people available at 480 pounds per week. Many others also listed as “holiday retreats all fit for a king”!!
    Thanks for all the prior posts.
    Best wishes

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the picture and the post, Lindsay. It's pretty amusing to learn commoners can rent holiday homes at Balmoral but I did see that almost all of them are unavailable during a Royal visit. So much for rubbing elbows with the hoi polloi :)

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  12. As you may remember, I ride a motorcycle, a British motorcycle, a Triumph. At a yearly rally I attend in New Mexico, more and more of the riders choose the kilt as their attire for the Saturday night dinner. I looked into it and found a great set of kilts made of the rugged brown canvas "Carhartt" material, of work clothes, fame. The price tag drove me away. Besides, I'm of Italian descent. Even though I don't ride a Moto Guzzi or a Ducati, (or even a Benelli), more traditional garb for me would be an Italian knit button down shirt and some goatskin loafers.
    Good to stop in and see Crow. He looks as handsome as ever. How does he keep the aging process away so keenly?

    Peace

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  13. Hi Spado,
    It's good to see you again. I bet you'd look very bonny all kilted up for a formal dinner but Armani and a pair of goatskin loafers would probably suit you better.

    Crow, who sends his salutations, has been around much longer than any of us and hasn't aged a bit since I first met him.

    Best wishes

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  14. Loved this history, and the marvelous drawing. And how I do love me a good bagpipe tune!

    Saw this on a friend's facebook wall today and thought of you:
    http://now.msn.com/raven-asks-for-help-from-gertie-cleary-in-nova-scotia-canada

    Cheers, Susan.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Lydia. Thanks so much for attaching the news link - it was amazing to see the raven continue to sit still while she removed the quills.

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  15. This Scotsman has never worn a kilt. I have no idea why I am bothering to tell you that, but I am. And the bagpipes are fine at a distance of maybe half a mile or so. I do like haggis though.

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    1. I thought it was a law that every Scot must wear a kilt at least once a year.

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    2. Scots do not pay too much attention to laws

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    3. and more power to 'em for aw that!

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