Monday, 18 August 2008

Highland Games

We had our village Highland games on Saturday. Throughout the summer, Highland games are held in towns and villages all over. It is a day for meeting people and for people to participate in or watch 'the games'. There are heavy man events involving tossing the caber, throwing the hammer and athletics for all ages. There is usually a hill race and there are Highland dancing and piping competitions. It is a huge event in our tiny village with lots of people helping. Crowds come from all over and it is popular with locals and tourists. 

My wee girl has been excited about the games for the last week. She was eating all her dinner to be strong for winning races. She is of the mindset to win and is not fobbed off by the notion of it being fun to take part. She wants to win. At everything. Getting to the car is a race. Going down stairs is a race. Eating breakfast is a race. And now her brother is walking it won't be long before she has someone to win races against every day. She was confident she would win a race at the games in her new flashing trainers. And she did! She won the three-legged race with a little girl on holiday from England.

And she loved watching the Highland dancing. She wants to learn but I have resisted taking her to classes as they are on Saturday mornings. I run around all week in and out of town for nursery. I can't face being tied to Saturday mornings too. And if she likes it, and sticks with it, it means expensive costumes she will grow out of quickly and summers spent going to Highland games. I am not really keen on going to Highland games. I just like our own one as it is a village event and a sociable day. 

For the first time in years my husband was at home for the games and we went as a family. At the end of the day I joined him in the beer tent and had a couple of gins then spent the evening alone as the kids slept and my husband played in the ceilidh band for the dance. I knew the whole village was there and it would be a great night but I had no babysitter so I poured myself a vodka and tonic and then another and went to bed. My husband got in at 5am. It had been a great night. A wild ceilidh dance and house parties after. Next year I will plan ahead and book a babysitter. I love nights like that with music, dancing, drinking, laughing, partying and stumbling home at the end.

There is a man who a lot of people are not keen on. He is odd, grubby and there is something unsettling about him, particularly when he is drunk. He is nicknamed, but not to his face. I was just chatting with my good friend about how tolerant and polite Highland people are and how maybe we should be more upfront about how we really feel when I heard that this man had sat in company all evening drinking top shelf (malt whisky) and never once put his hand in his pocket to buy a round. Eventually, a local estate owner who is not a toff but a self-made man told him "you are obnoxious and you have a strange sense of humour" to which he just giggled. 

1 comment:

Hadriana's Treasures said...

If you can I would definitely advocate doing Scottish Highland Dancing lessons. I did them when I was little and I really enjoyed them. I had to stop when my youngest sister was parents couldn't take me. If I could find some around here (we are between Carlisle and Newcastle) I'd take our little girl. I'd much rather those lessons than ballet.