Thanksgiving with Leslye, David. Lachlan and Janice
Scotland, 2008

(or "The Year the Dog Ate the Money", or "The Year of Mamma Mia")
How Does a Dog Gain
160 Pounds in 5 Minutes?

David and Leslye have a
beautiful Samoyed named
Wilson, who's as gentle as
anything but as willful and
stupid as--well, a Samoyed.

But not that stupid, as it turns
out.  He knows how to open a
purse, and as it happens, he
has a taste for banknotes.

Shortly before Janice and I
arrived, he got into Leslye's
purse and ate 160
pounds--about $220 in real

(Stop me if you've heard this

So, the rest of us followed him
around for the next four days,
examining his stools and
excavating them as if they
were ancient Grecian pottery.  
Over a four-day period, about
60 pounds was recovered,

In case you're wondering, this
is what a 20 pound note looks
likes after it's been processed
through a dog.
I'm sure that Leslye and David lead rich and rewarding lives when Janice and I aren't with them at Thanksgiving, but I swear, I think they just spend the whole
year looking for offbeat and fun things to do during the few days in November when we're with them.

Here are a few of the highlights of this year's trip.

Janice had arrived on Monday, but she picked me up at the airport when I got in from Paris.  We stopped for wine and
hijinks at M&S.  

Which reminds me, I don't know what it means, if anything, but I think the UK is starting to embrace Thanksgiving as a
holiday.  Not only were there Thanksgiving displays in the stores, but people were trying to learn more about it and
thinking that it might be something that everyone should observe.

Leslye had arranged for Janice to speak to the local chapter (?) of the Rainbow Girls, which is what people in Scotland
call Girl Scouts.  When we arrived, the girls were coloring pictures of turkeys and Indians.  Janice did a great job
(tactfully omitting the part about how Pilgrims were giving thanks for not being in the UK anymore) and was immediately
signed to a repeat performance next year.

The day began with a brisk walk around the estate where we kept an eye on the
dog, waiting for him to poop.  (See box at left.)

The day of days.  David and Leslye entertained sixteen of the most charming and
interesting people in East Lothian, Janice and me at a wonderful dinner in the
greenhouse in the backyard.  Here it is after the table was set in the afternoon,
and after the guests arrived in the evening.
Friday was a day of rest and a nice long walk along the beach.  We visited friends in the evening, and apparently, I left my camera at home.

Saturday, Janice and road-tripped over to the Kingdom of Fife.  (Look it up.)  Along the way, we were passed by a van (see photo) which claimed to
provide "mobile kilt repair".  I bet they had some stories to tell.

We had lunch in the village of Anstruther, then drove up to St. Andrew's to
look at the golf courses.  In case you're wondering, there was so much frost
on the ground, the courses looked like beaches--unless maybe they actually
were beaches.  In Scotland, you just don't know.

That evening, we went into Edinburgh for the Christmas festival and dinner
at The Dome.  The Dome is a grand old bank building that's been converted
into a restaurant and bar.  Here are two shots of the ornate Christmas tree
in the main room.  One was taken with a flash; one without.  I thought the
difference was interesting.                                                              

                                                        As always, it was a Thanksgiving of fun and friendship not
                                                        to be forgotten.

                                                        I know that someday (maybe soon), David and Leslye
                                                        will get tired of looking at us at Thanksgiving, and that
                                                        will be a sad day indeed.

                                                        In the meantime, I'm just hope they're out there looking
                                                        for fun things to do next year!
The movie was so awful that it could only be enjoyed in a room full of Scots wearing ABBA-inspired sequins and feathers.  (Oh God.  It sounds like a
Mike Myers movie.)  Lucky for us, Leslye had reserved "gold seats" for us on the couches up front.  We felt special!

Janice won a bottle of Glug in the raffle.  Here she is trying to hide it from us. As if.
On Wednesday evening, we attended what must have been the social event of the year.  There was a very nice young man in
town who was going off to Rwanda on a six-month mission trip.  (Below left, he's talking to David; below right, he's with his
proud mom and dad.)  To raise money for some of the
things he wanted to do while he was there, he organized a Mamma Mia  party on the day after the DVD was released in the UK.

When Leslye emailed to ask if I'd be interested in going to a Mamma Mia night in Scotland and asked Janice and me to be the
"paparazzi", I knew the trip would be memorable.  It was a blast.  Guests were encouraged to come in costume, and lots did.  
(Not me, of course.)
There was everything from turkey and dressing to apple pie.  It was a wonderful
...and here's Janice, soaking up the ambiance.