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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Shannon

Scottish 'pipe-cleaning'

Scott and I spent our last day having lunch and shopping in the town of Ballynahinch, County Down.  As we approached The Primrose Bar, (my local when I lived here), we passed the Funeral Directors who conducted my mother's funeral.  I recognized one of the men who carried the coffin... he stood inside the glass front door using a saw to remove the door handle.  We smiled hello and I paused to call, "You're supposed to do that on the other side to break in!"  We laughed and Scott and I walked on.  I took a moment to reflect how time, if not  actually heals all wounds, it does made them easier.  A year and a half ago, I never could imagine I'd be joking with the town undertaker.  He was so solemn, intimidating and downright creepy in his top hat, tails and umbrella at the funeral.

I really must tell you about my historic visit to the River Ness by Inverness.  The night before we had dinner at my brother's.  He produced some delicious port and that, as they say, was that.  I don't remember much of the rest of the evening, but I'm told I had a really good time!  Anyway, the next morning I had the worst hangover I've ever had - even worse than the ginger wine episode.  Nevertheless, Scott and I headed out to see the local sights.  Already queasy, the humid, sticky day coupled with a very twisty road made me feel horribly nauseous.  With a screech of tires I pulled into a layby and thrust myself from the car.  Making it to the verge just in time I hurled violently.  Being a projectile vomiter, the nasty substance arced through the air and plunged toward the river.  This would be just fine except for the tourist boat chuntering by just as I deposited my offering.  Horrified faces gaped as vomit splattered over them, and a flurry of flashes went off as the Japanese contingency decided to catch the Kodak moment for posterity.

Embarrassed beyond measure I turned away only to be hit by another wave of nausea.  This time I aimed away from the river, trying to avoid Scott and the car.  Unfortunately, most laybys along the river and around Loch Ness are populated with Scottish bagpipers, who play and pose (for money) with tourists.  It was a very unlucky piper who approached me to see if I was all right.  I'll leave the rest to your imagination, but let's say the poor man required an immediate bath and a dry cleaner.  Not to mention an industrial strength pipe cleaner!


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