Funny moment in Scotland
The day after we arrived in Scotland, we took a trip to Edinburgh. Saw a good deal of the Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. However, a couple of our team members (Austin and Marni) came over late and missed the Edinburgh day. After they arrived, we were focused on camp preparations and then camp itself. The Saturday after camp was scheduled as a much-needed day of rest with no responsibilities. However, Austin and Marni were wanting to get some sightseeing in before boarding the plane back for the States (they had to leave early too). They asked me if I wanted to join them in Edinburgh for the day on Saturday since I had already been there and could serve a pseudo-guide (talk about the blind leading the blind, but I agreed).
Austin and Marni were going to hitch a ride with Tom and Leigh Ann Fraley who were driving over to the Edinburgh area to look for a place to live (Tom was the camp speaker). All 5 of us were dropped off at the Glasgow airport on Saturday morning so Tom could pick up his rental car. He rented a Vauxhall, but the one they set aside for him had a flat, so he got upgraded to a Saab. After a couple of circles around several airport roundabouts, we managed to find the M8 to Edinburgh and off we went in our blue Saab. (Let me say, I wasn’t driving the car, but it could go! And it was a much smoother drive than the van ride we took the previous week over the same stretch of Scottish highway.) We made it from Glasgow to the Edinburgh city centre (that’s the Scottish spelling by the way) in about an hour and 15 minutes. (Like I said, the Saab could go, and Fraley was not afraid of testing it’s ability to transport us quickly — while always observing the posted speed limits of course.)
So then we walked around Edinburgh checking out the usual sites. We got rained on. Marni and Austin tested the fried Mars bar at a fish-n-chips shop on the Royal Mile. We purchased some souvenirs. Ate lunch at a pub that turned out to have a rather Bennigan–ized menu, although over there the bacon cheeseburger comes with what Americans might refer to as Canadian bacon. Much different experience that. And then it was time to meet the Fraleys to head back to the camp outside Paisley for dinner. When we neared Paisley, we called the camp to see where everyone was. A group of people had gone to ASDA to buy some food items to take home as souvenirs.
(Aside: ASDA traces its history to the 1920s from two separate enterprises: a family-owned butcher shop and a cooperative of sorts of dairy farmers. Today, however, ASDA is part of the Wal-Mart family, and it looks very much like a mini-Wal-Mart Supercenter inside with a green color scheme instead of the Wal-Mart blue. The running joke in Scotland is that “ASDA” stands for “Americans Stealing Dollars Abroad.” Regardless, ASDA had a great selection of biscuits (cookies), crisps (potato chips), shortbread fingers and tea that made great gifts for people.)
So we stopped at ASDA to pick up some more souvenirs. After finishing there, we decided to drive back to the camp. But we really didn’t know the way, and we didn’t have a Paisley map to guide us. So Fraley and I winged it. We’d driven from the camp into Paisley several times over the week; we figured we could feel our way back. So on we went. We took a couple of turns that looked familiar. We knew that the camp was up on the hills above Paisley towards the east. So we took a right on a road that sorta looked familiar and appeared to take us in that general direction. After driving a little while though, it was clear that this was not the road we wanted.
I saw a fish-n-chips shop and told Fraley to let me out. I’d go in and ask directions back to the camp. I jumped out and ran in. There was a tall, thin older gentleman at the counter waiting for his order and a couple working behind the counter frying away; looked like a father and daughter. I waited at the counter for a spell waiting for the owner to look up from his fryer. He did, and I asked him if he could tell me how to get back to the Lapwing Lodge scout camp just outside Paisley. He’d never heard of it. No problem. The older gentleman said “where?” I repeated the Lapwing Lodge scout camp. “Oh! You’re miles away!!” he belted in a classic Scottish drawl. But then he proceeded to give me what seemed like simple directions back to the where we needed to be. All the while, I had his comment repeating in my head (You’re miles away!! You’re miles away!! You’re miles away!!) while trying to retain the directions he’d given.
So I exited the establishment and looked for Fraley’s blue car (with You’re miles away!! banging away in my brain along with the directions.). Where’s the blue car? There’s the blue car. So I jog across the street up to the passenger door of the blue car and jump in yelling “You’re miles away!!” as I sit down.
Then a woman says to me: “You’re in the wrong car!!!”
And I look up flashing to the woman; then to the back seat where 2 other ladies are seated; and then to the blue Saab in front of this blue car where Austin and Marni are plastered to the rear window laughing about as hard as anyone can without pulling their diaphragm. I blurt out, “I am SO sorry!” and jump up out of the car walking to the blue Saab that is now rocking (literally) because of the 4 adults inside it laughing hysterically.
I get in and wait while the 4 of them regain their composure. Fraley shares that he saw me cross the street and wondered “What is Bill doing getting in that car?” Then it dawned on me that I was fairly lucky. Thankfully, I did not jump into the car of some 300-pound guy who punched me in the face BEFORE telling me I was in the wrong car. And it was also to my advantage that none of the women in the car were armed with mace because that would’ve really put a damper on an otherwise fine day.
Eventually, things returned to normal, and we drove back towards Paisley. But in all the commotion, we were unable to take advantage of the directions I’d received. We had to call Lance to get additional directions. We made it home for dinner though, and we shared our adventure with everyone else. Who, as you can imagine, laughed heartily.
Glad I could oblige.