Monday, October 6, 2008

Edinburgh MSG free

Edinburgh Castle from Prince Street Gardens

The Royal Mile

Chip the Bruce storms castle with plastic sword as hordes of tourists flee behind him

Fighting breaks out between the Clans

Castle successfully conquered, renamed Hunter Castle
King Chip, bonny brother and successor to the throne, Prince Scott, Princesses Olivia and Allison and of course, THE QUEEN

My love affair with Walkers salt and vinegar potato chips abruptly ended this weekend because I think they had pickled my brain over the last seven weeks. Seriously, I had a thing for the zing of those Walkers' chips, provided presumably by the heaping teaspoons of MSG in every bag. Maybe, just maybe, MSG has been the cause of my vague perpetual headache, nausea and unwell feeling that I had naturally attributed, as a person would, to a new fast growing brain tumor. Chip has always been such a strong support during all of my hysterical, fake health scares over the past 25 years and hopefully he solved yet another Julie health mystery as we left for Edinburgh and I reached my big paw into the chip bag five minutes into the drive while complaining of my nagging headache. Today I am jonesing. But we are looking into the methadone equivalents for me in other brands of chips, without MSG, as well as a day treatment program.

Well, we loved our trip to Scotland 22 years ago and loved it again this weekend. The people are friendly, the buildings are historic, beautiful and heated (take a memo, England) , the Scottish history and people are crazy (I am quoting the Greyfriars Church docent, a Campbell, who proudly told the story of how the ancient Campbells enjoyed a meal and drink provided by the MacDonalds before slaughtering them all in their sleep) full of emotion and murder and treachery against one another unless insulted by non-Scots. Then they all will band together and come after ye. Our two days were filled with walking the Royal Mile and surrounding city sights, exploring Edinburgh castle, having a pint in old Bennets Pub, lunch in The Whiskey Connection (where I drank a potent beer called Innis and Gunn that was oak keg brewed and tasted like whisky--weird, but in a good way), a view of the New Parliament building which the locals hate (google it if you like architecture--Olivia in her words, "It looks like a Tiki Tiki Bar"), thousands of cashmere scarves brushed against my cheeks but none purchased ( can't pull trigger on gifts for self-aargh, banking crisis!), a tour of the Greyfriars Church and cemetery where the Disney story of the little dog comes from.

Greyfriars Bobby, a little terrier, lay upon the grave of his former master for 14 years, keeping guard and all the while being cared for by the locals until he died. He was secretly buried in the cemetery near his master (dogs not really allowed) and now there is a tombstone marking his grave. Would Minnie do the same? Oh, that's funny.

It wouldn't be Scotland if you didn't see one of these

Windy wedding

The Nans

Wee lad in a kilt

Like everywhere else, Saturday is wedding day in Edinburgh, even at the castle. If you wait for a sunny, warm day, you just wouldn't get married. This hearty family withstood the most ridiculous wind for their wedding pictures, and the bagpiper just kept playing to keep warm I guess. The nanas' hats flew off repeatedly and everybody's kilts were flying up (rumors not true--black briefs are all I saw).


  1. I think they invented tea in Scotland. They needed something to carry you through until you could reach for the pint in the evening. Such weather! And I say this from Wisconsin. Can't decide which is worse -- our long and cold season or their long and windy/rainy/chilly season. Toss up.

    I love the idea of family week-end expeditions. It's easy when everything is close by. Where are you going next week-end??!

    So what's the most exotic (aka yukky) thing you've eaten thus far?

  2. The cold pork pies, with their jelly layers, are positively the grossest thing to me so far. I can not really look at them. Olivia scrapes off the jelly and pie crust and eats the meat which is almost worse to look at. Overall, I think the UK has globalized a bit. Indian food is now very upscale eating in Oxford. Can't find the old fashioned curry houses too much anymore. Fish and chips served in fancy white Habitat type serving dishes. You know, globalization has come to restaurants. Many people hate Jamie Oliver here for his preaching of better cooking and eating habits. He succeeded in convincing some schools in the north change their lunch menus which had kids so irate that moms were handing fish and chips through the fence of the playground. I guess having a salad with dinner here is a bit posh. I eat rocket nearly every day on sandwiches or in salads. I am obsessed, but my brother in law said it's because my personality is so bitter. True. Off to Italy at the end of the month for some really good food. Start in Pisa and finish in Rome. Florence and Pompeii on the agenda.

  3. Love the photos! My favorites were
    the "wee lad" and the "Nans".

    Are your headaches better now that
    you are MSG free?

  4. Cold pork pies are especially good with some nice mustard.

  5. I have enjoyed the blog. About the dog. I think minnie would maybe mark your grave but that probably is not quite the same thing.

  6. No offense taken, George. I think you are quite right about that dog of mine.