Sunday, 12 June 2016

Tourists and chavs

Sun 29th May

                          Lady Watson had decreed that since today we were to be beseiged by one of the most wrongly named sporting events, the Edinburgh Marathon, which was running past our front door that we would vacate the premises yesterday and head for the sunnier climes of Stirling castle as this one of the "to do" things on her 2016 calender.I say it is one of the most wrongly named events as it takes place mostly in East Lothian but I would imagine that the East Lothian marathon wouldn't appeal to most Kenyans who flew along past my house faster than the boy racers on a Saturday evening.
I think I'll bag a tourist
                          So up the M9 we sped heading for a castle that I had never visited before.When we arrived we were confronted by hundreds of tourists with their buses in tow taking more photographs than Lady Watson which is saying something.
Thought I'd lost her-dammit!
16th century castle with 21st century scaffolding
                           On these occasions the one thing I thoroughly recommend is an annual Historic Scotland pass which can save you fortunes especially as it was £14 each to get in and they give you free entry into English Heritage sites after one years membership so ours is paid off after about a couple of months.
                    The castle has withstood eight sieges with the last one being an unsuccessful attempt by Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite forces in 1746.Since then it went into disrepair until Queen Victoria became not amused about the state of play.
The only pre 1707 Scotsman I have any time for and he was still a bit niave
                                 As soon as Elizabeth 1 of England had left this world King James V1 of Scotland was on the first East Coast train south and hardly ever came back  consigning his return ticket to the bucket.After that Stirling Castle became a military base from then until the sixties when the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders marched out and the ministry of works marched in.The ministry of Works eventually evolved into Historic Scotland.
Where's me dinner?
                                  The castle is well laid out with plenty of visitor attractions including Royal buildings,gallerys,a museum for the Argyll and Sutherland highlanders and plenty of nooks and crannies for tourists to get lost in,never to be seen again-there is a god!
No s**t!
                                   There is a castle exhibition after you pass the guardroom showing life in the castle showing life throughout the ages with exhibitions about dress,jewellery,music and even entertainment with a jester who would look evil in any horror film.Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves except one woman who complained that she couldn't get a mobile phone signal.Imagine these poor   middle age scientists couldn't even get a mobile phone signal down there.I bet heads rolled for that one.
What can I say
              We then headed through Queen Anne's garden,which later was the scene of Wedding photos being taken which seemed surreal in amongst all these well clad tourists.The bride's pure white meringue dress contrasted with the dankly coloured anoraks of other castle visitors.The garden led towards the palace with which to educate the visitors was populated by guides dressed in 16th century garb informing us of life and the going ons of the inhabitants of these building.The buildings and furniture have been well restored and looked after.
             From here we headed out to the inner close which contained the entrance to the Argyll and Sutherland highlanders museum which  was my favourite exhibition in the castle.The Argyll's were formed in 1881 with the amalgamation of the 91st and 93rd regiments.
Thin red line.
There are different rooms dedicated to the various campaigns from their inception up until their deployment to Afghanistan.
Action Man circa 1916
Mad Mitch phoning for a pizza.
Action Man 50 years later.
 There are plenty of weapons,uniforms and memorabilia on display to keep boys of all ages happy.My favourite was the painting of Mad Mitch and his Highlanders ready to retake the crater in Aden in 1967.
The battle for Hill 282 in Korea
Today's a la carte menu.
         From there we moved out to the courtyard and followed the path towards the armoury visiting on the way the displays of tapestries and Renaissance type dresses.Lady Watson was drooling over one that she want to wear that evening but I thought it was a bit too dressy for our local pub.
16th century Primark.
            We finished off our castle visit with a look at the armoury where the gunpowder was stored.They have all the clothes and shoes that had to be worn.Not the kind of job I would like.
I was born 400 years to late.
No it's not my house.
     On our way out of the church we were  amazed to see the sight of a chav wedding party.The wedding partys dress was in contrast to the drab coloured clothes worn by the other castle visitors.The photo session almost ended in disaster with the sight of the bridesmaids almost falling their length on the cobbled entrance to the castle.I think the castle builders could've been a bit more forward thinking all these hundreds of years ago and saved the embarrassment of these naive young ladies in their high heels.
Kaffee und Kuchen Stirling style
Here be dragons!
   The excursion was rounded of with a trip round rural Fife before finishing off the day with a visit to the Gothenburg for a couple of foaming ales.
Scene of the Shug memorial games day-26th November 2016
         See you when I see you.

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