Wednesday, June 9, 2010


We went to the west coast on our car journey. I put on my shorts and trainers in hopes of seeing the sun. At the very least I would be comfy while driving. The drive was great and there were patches of sun interspersed with patches of cloud and patches of rain. As they say the weather was a bit unsettled. We stopped for a forgettable lunch in Gairloch and then went ot Inverewe Gardens.

Inverewe Gardens is a remarkable place. It is the grounds of an old estate, Mackenzie family I believe. There are plants and trees from everywhere. There are winding paths through the estate that must cover 25 acres. The azaleas were in bloom, as were the rhododendrons. There is a walled garden with roses and thousands of other plants. There was a pond with blooming water lilies. The forest walk had trees found in North America. It had eucalyptus from Australia. There are even palm trees. They say this is where the Atlantic current ends so it has a moderate climate that is conducive to growing a wide variety of species. Really quite brillant!

We paid our fee and set off to tour this beautiful place. As we got just outside I noticed one of the gardeners with a helmet and some kind of net across his face. I figured he must be spraying something. We got out to the garden proper and I was besieged by midges (pronounced Midgeeeees). Midges are like a cross between a mosquito and a pit bull. They are small and don't warn of their attack like mosquitos. They land on your skin and send in armies of things like chiggars to chew up your skin. They are like poison oak with wings. They attacked every area of bare skin they could find. They set on me like, like, like ... Darin on a burrito, or Lacey on a plate of ribs, or Julie on a cheesecake, or Bobby on dinner. They are voracious and did not stop chewing on me until I was screaming surrender and sprinting back to the car. They trailed me. I think they were organizing a mission to pick me up and carry me back to midgeeee headquarters. But I made it to my car. As sson as the door closed they formed up on the wind screen to send me a message. They landed en mass on the wind shield and spelled out...
"You Are In Scotland,
Wear Proper Clothes, You Twit."

My legs maybe scarred for life and the itch is fierce. Oddly enough, they did not like Julie quite so well and she was unscathed. I must be a delicate flower. Next visit to the west, no shorts for me and I will find a full body bubble or I will just stay in the car.

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