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Scotland [Nov. 4th, 2005|04:22 am]
Golders Green
- Proverb inscribed on the Canongate Wall in Edinburgh

Back from a week in Scotland.

On a Monday night we travelled up from London to Edinburgh on the Caledonia Sleeper train and headed off in a minibus towards Stirling on Tuesday morning. On the bus were 16 backpackers and one fanatically patriotic Scottish guide. I was the only Kiwi. There were nine Aussies, including V., two South Americans, and four girls from the United States. Before long we were all getting on very well indeed.

We took a bracing uphill walk to Abbey Craig in Stirling to admire the Wallace Monument while our guide regaled us with the stirring story of William Wallace. We stood where Wallace had stood and gazed down at the famous battlefield while learning how and why, on this occasion, his followers had been so successful against the heavily-armoured and mounted English.

After a stop at Callander it was on to Balquhidder to stand at the gravesite of the larger-than-life Rob MacGregor (Rob Roy) and learn about his tumultuous life. The gravestone tells us MacGregor died aged 70, but apparently he was around 63.

Lunch was at Killin. At Tyndrum we had a whip-round on the little bus and bought a bottle of Tamdhu single malt scotch. As we passed more-or-less officially into the Highlands, we stopped for some fresh air and to stretch our legs. The bottle was opened and started doing the rounds. V. had the honour of first swig. Once back on the bus the bottle continued to be passed around till the last drop was gone. Might seem a slightly sacrilegious way to drink a good whisky, but, despite the presence of a few philistines, it was enjoyed by all -- and that's what counts.

Now well into the Highlands, we went on a good long hike in the rain through the forest at Glencoe, up to Signal Rock to learn about the massacre of the MacDonalds. We stood on the rock where the fire was lit early in the morning as a signal for government troops to betray their hosts (so the story goes) and start slaughtering the MacDonald clan. It's also said, because of the complicity of the Campbell clan: "Never trust a Campbell."

In the evening we did our shopping for groceries at Fort William and had drinks and dinner at the backpackers hostel. We had a whole section of the hostel to ourselves, complete with kitchen, TV room, and dining room. I shared a dorm with nine women.

(More later...)

[User Picture]From: strawfellow
2005-11-04 07:38 am (UTC)
Im afraid I'd be classed as a philistine. Can't figure how anyone can drink whisky, unless it's Bourbon - that doesn't count for real whisky drinkers does it?
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-04 08:43 am (UTC)

gold liquid from heaven

You are a phillistine - there's nothing better than a dram of single malt. I suggest an urgent tour of the distilleries in Scotland. There is no time to waste.

As for sharing a dorm with 9 women and then stopping the story, that's unforgiveable.

I think I went on a similar tour with a mad patriotic Scot called James who said that London was a 'cesspit full of wankers'. I also drank whisky out in the open air. What a place ey - so beautiful.

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[User Picture]From: enidw
2005-11-04 08:43 am (UTC)
Really? Whiskey is oh so fine.
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[User Picture]From: golders_green
2005-11-05 10:44 am (UTC)
The Pianogirl is being a little hard on you. I wouldn't necessarily refer to someone who doesn't like scotch as a "philistine". I was talking about people who carelessly guzzle a good scotch without having an appreciation of its quality.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-04-30 11:21 pm (UTC)

Help with Help - Maybe you know specifics

I found you on Google when I entered the search term, "Golden's Green." Reading you posting, I thought you might be able to help me with this. I hope so. Thank you.

- - -

From Metafilter:
Help with "pay what you can" Concept
April 27, 2008 3:13 PM Subscribe
I am researching the growing occurence of pay-what-you-can, or pay-what-you-think-the-meal-was-worth restaurants. There are several operating both domestically and internationally, as explained here. In light of the Radiohead giveaway, the concept has been getting increasing, positive press.

Does anybody know of any other restaurants (or any other retail operation, for that matter), either functioning or defunct, that did something similar; let people pay what they think a meal is worth, or pay according to the size of their portions, or let people volunteer for part or all of the cost of their meal? Those currently existing all tout a community building role and highlight how their clientel cuts across all socioeconomic lines. If that is true, and these places come close to a non class stratified atmosphere, I also want to know if there is any religious or philosophical tradition in any culture where a small group within a community gives away its goods or services for the betterment of the larger community - a sort of "Tragedy of the Commons" in reverse. There is a lot of economic theory and prognosticating as to how it can't work, but the whole movement seems to be defying commom wisdom. Over and over, the media says the current credit markets, for example, are frozen because of a lack of trust, whereas this concept seems to be based on trust. Is it a fad, or could pay-as-you-can be the beginning of a new way people transact business in a more mutually trustworthy way?
posted by CollectiveMind to society & culture (11 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Answer: When I was in London in, um, 1987, there was a restaurant that operated on the "pay what you think it's worth" principle. It had some extremely generic name, like "That Place Around the Corner". It was north of Hampstead, maybe near Golder's Green?

I always, but always, spent more money than I intended to. I was a student, my friends were students, and we went with the intention of not paying much, given the student budgets we were living on. The food was really good, though, and I always felt compelled to pay more. The only strategy for successfully paying little was to not have the money on you. It seemed like the place did well, as it certainly stayed open. I have no idea if it's still there - perhaps some London mefites can find it.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:10 AM on April 28
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