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ReportsFriday, 20 July 2001
--> Inverness, Scotland (UK) I was trying to contact my host in my next town for a long time, but she came back from her holiday last night. Why not spend an extra day in Inverness?
Chilling around a bit, wandering through the city, touring around town and even having a late night interview in a pub...
This morning Per had to go to his work, flying mail to the northern British Isles, at 5.30 am. He had invited me to come with him and fly up there, drop the mail and return again before 9am.
But as enthusiastic about this last night, that fatigued I was this morning. I really had to skip this trip for me, how great the experience would be…
So I slept in until later, when Per was already back.
When Tonje went to her job at the restaurant, Per took me out into town. He showed me the impressive ship locks and saw how the boats got moved up into the higher canal.
We drove to the west part of Inverness, trying to do some seal spotting in the water, but there was no show on for us today.
In the centuries old city centre of Inverness we rambled through the old roofed Victorian Market, which dates back to the 1860’s. It was a sort of a small mall, without the big commercial giants in between the rest.
A walk through the streets, enjoying a Scottish bagpipe player, took us to the higher-ground historic Inverness Castle, where we had a good panoramic view over this city.
Let me tell you what I just learned about the Scottish bagpipe.
The bagpipe is a musical instrument with reed pipes that are moved by air pressure from an attached windbag. Bagpipes are considered reed instruments, because they bring their sound forward by passing air over thin pieces of reed. The music is played on one or two pipes. A mouth blowpipe inflates the air supply in the bag.
Today, we know that the Romans did indeed play the bagpipes. Early in the 6th century Procpius, a Greek historian, declared that the bagpipe was the mechanism of the Roman Infantry while the trumpet was used for the Cavalry. The bagpipe was first used among the medieval clan societies of the Highlands in Scotland. Later the British military used it for playing at assemblies and to motivate soldiers into battle.
(more info here)
As we got back to the apartment again, I settled down behind Per’s laptop, as he prepared a turkey dinner.
Per had to fly of again at 7pm and I stayed in their home, as Tonje would come back from work at 9. I really caught up in emails I wasn’t able to answer before…
After she had a little meal for herself, she took me to the local pub, just a few streets ahead. The place was pretty crowded – as normal for Friday nights – and with the pleasure of a pint of Guinness Tonje introduced me to Harry, the local journalist.
Harry basically lives in the pub and knows a lot that goes on in this town. And as his interest in my project grew, the less space he had on the lit of his cigarette box, where he made little notes.
“And what was your surname again?” he asked.
“Sorry Harry, but that just won’t fit on there,” referring to the fully written inside of the box.
He would take a look at the website that night and give a call to the Johnsen’s in the morning, in case he needed some more information.
As he left, Tonje and I enjoyed another beer and had fun of all the Scottish, as we shared our views as real foreigners.
And even while talking in English to each other, a few men even heard I was from The Netherlands. It is an accent thing. And that while Tonje almost speaks with an Irish accent.
Just before the alcohol started to work, we got home and I changed the couch into a bed again.
Tomorrow I’ll go to Fort William, passing the Loch Ness…
Good night again, Inverness.
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