Monday, June 27, 2011


I have been working as a caddy at Royal Dornoch. Not so much for the money, though that is nice, but it is good exercise, and a wonderful office and a way to meet some interesting people. Yesterday was a busy day for the caddies. We were told that there was a big group and we would be needed for a morning and afternoon round. I showed up at my appointed time and was randomly assigned two bags for a group of 20 Americans. Introductions were made and I was working for Jay and Paul. I asked the perfunctory where you are from question. Jay was from Florida and Paul was from Davis, California. The Davis that was the next city over from where we lived in Winters. Paul said he played his golf at El Macero Country Club. I told him I knew a member at El Macero, Kenny Yamauchi, who I played a lot of golf with when we lived there. His jaw dropped and he said that he knew Kenny very well and his son worked with Kenny and played golf with him all the time. Small World #1. When we got to the first green I noticed Paul’s bag had a Poppy Hills logo, which is where my son works. So I commented upon that. Paul asked me my son’s name. I said Darin Dodd and he works in Tournaments and Competitions. His jaw dropped again. He said he had just checked his e-mail that morning and had received an e-mail from Darin Dodd at the NCGA just that morning. Small World #2. We had a great fun round and when we finished I took his golf bag to load on the coach they were traveling in and Small World #3, the coach was run by the Golfing Dodds of Scotland.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Old Folks at Home

Things are very different this time around. Though we had been to Dornoch many times prior to last year's 6-month adventure, it was still new enough that it was like an extended vacation. Lots of new things, lots of pictures to take, lots of new experiences. This time, it was almost like coming home. There are still the cultural and mechanical things that I don't understand and still chuckle about. The dryers, or lack thereof. The washing machines with the tub about the size of a stew pot. No garbage disposals. Drying clothes on the line in a country where it rains all the time is such a mystery, but it's a homey thing to do, hanging laundry, and I've gotten rather fond of it. Especially since no one expects me to iron.

Stan is in Golf Heaven, golfing and caddying. He's doing all the cooking, which has been the norm since he retired, bless his heart. I'm working my 40 hours a week, joined an exercise class, enjoy the indoor bowls on Monday afternoon. I have a scone at elevensies every day, warmed with butter and jam, and a cup of tea. We've bird feeders in the yard that bring us great joy, when we aren't cursing the damn jackdaws. I'm buying yet another feeder that is "jackdaw proof." Stay tuned. We've got our blackbird that begs raisins off us at the sliding window, takes them out of our hand now. I've a garden to putter around in. We sit in the evening like we do no matter where we are, him doing his crossword, me doing some kind of needlework, in our companionable evening quiet time, savoring this odd life we have carved out for ourselves. I have so many times been whacked upside the head by the gods for commenting on my good fortune that I am hesitant to do so, so I will stop here before tempting fate any further. Suffice it to say contentment is the word of the day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gardening in a Different Land

I am no gardener. Given good dirt, I can grow things. But I don't fuss, add bone meal, fish oil, adjust the pH or whatever real gardeners do. If it grows with a bit of neglect, that's always worked for me. Benign neglect, I think it's called. So, we clean out the backyard, with many glances at the very well manicured, lovely British garden next door, buy some flowers, put them in the ground, add water (easily done), and sun (not so easily done), and see what happens.

Apparently, here benign neglect gets you lots of trouble. Neglect the midgie threat at your own peril. Eight bites on my face that erupted with great gusto. I looked like I had chicken pox. Probably in the 18th century I'd have been thrown overboard for the pox. Crusted, oozing things. In the healing process they resembled acne scars. On a 54-year-old wrinkly face. Not a good look. I think I frightened the mail lady and I know our neighbor next door was wondering how close she should get to me. Avon Skin So Soft and hydrocortisone cream are now staples in my garden kit.

There were some interesting plants, some vaguely familiar, some completely new to my brain cells. So, let's let them grow and see what happens!! Last weekend several of my more happy flowers were suddenly lasso'd and dragged to the ground by one of the let's see what happens plants. Goose grass, as near as I can tell. Sticky thing that trails in and around, sticks to stems and drags things to the ground, apparently trying to suffocate them. Then there's the lovely pink-stemmed plant that grows on the mossy wall, quite dainty and lovely, until I discovered it ranging all over the back yard where I hang laundry and venturing into places it had no business growing. When did these things happen? The only saving grace for the last one, which I think is some kind of weedy geranium, is that the bullfinch likes something in it, so a wee bit of it is left on the garden wall. Another plant that benefitted from my daft gardening ideas was a nettle. We've a lovely 3 x 4 foot stinging nettle bush out there just daring us to try to remove it.

There are, however, the volunteer foxgloves and all variety of flowers that have popped up. Some of them weeds, no doubt. But one girl's weed is another luntatic's flower.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ghost of #3 Church Street

I am not a huge believer in the paranormal, but I cannot say I am a nonbeliever after some recent events...

Last year I bought a new pair of Ecco Golf shoes and only wore them a few times before we left Scotland. I left them here so that I would have a nice new pair of shoes upon our return. When we arrived this year they were with our other stored items. I played with them for a few weeks and all was well. Then I must have misplaced them as they were gone. I asked everybody I rode to golf courses with if I had left them in their cars. No luck. I asked up at the clubhouse if they were in the lost and found. No luck. I asked if I could look for myself in the lost property room. Not there. Julie and I turned over the house looking under beds, sofas, and chairs. No joy. I asked the golf pro if anybody had phoned about picking up shoes by mistake. Nothing. I then turned over the house again, top to bottom. No shoes. I resigned myself to the fact that I had lost a pair of $150 golf shoes. A week to 10 days passed and no shoes. Then I was locking the front door before bed one evening and there sitting on the arm of the sofa in plain view in a spot I had walked by 5 or 6 times a day for more than a week and not 10 feet from where Julie works for 8 hours a day were my pair of Ecco golf shoes. I woke Julie and asked if she had found my shoes. No luck. She had not seen them. But there they were and the eerie thing is . . they had been polished by the Ghost of #3 Church Street.