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Donald, Whaere's yer Wossname? On:2015-10-25 00:00:00

With all the media attention on Scotland’s wanting, for at least the last year or so to be “a nation once again” (though maybe that was Ireland?…) — but, but apart from that there’s all that nonsense from the SNP who want to be their own little Parti Quebequois in memory of the Auld Alliance, so just to be safe I’ve been embracing my Scottish side of late.
My wife and I have even been going to the odd Caledonian event down here in Texas, that land of all things Scottish. The last one was, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed a Burns’ Nicht Supper celebrating Scotland’s national poet.

Considering the fact that these events tend to be, in the main, attended by couples, and thus having an approximate parity of men and women, there is an amazing tendency towards a considerable lack of trousers in evidence. Yes, almost all the guys wear kilts. And not only kilts, but the full Scots national dress which, I suspect the Scots adopted originally because the English didn’t have one…Nyaa-Nya-Nyaa-Nyaa Hoots Mon!
Now the most amazing thing about our Scottish national dress (apart from it actually being a dress, the sgian-dubh—the black or hidden blade—and those shoes with the laces that are so long and awkward that, unless you trim them with the sgian-dubh, they have to be wound several times round the leg) is the amazing foresight of its designers: our Scottish ancestors not only devised a pouch for the iPhone centuries before its invention, and in Gaelic called a ‘sporan’, but they cleverly arranged to have it worn at the front of the kilt so that for those of us who still have an old iPhone 6 plus there is no risk of sitting on it and bending it.
Kilts, of course, are very interesting with their vast range of tartans, but these sporrans are much, much more fascinating, and stranger far. They can be simple or complicated; bald or hairy (sometimes of a hair-length that would make a hippy jealous); restrained or wild (I’ve even seen shocking pink hairy ones, though not actually on a person)hideous sporran; and often they have an animal component. Indeed one guy at that Supper had a sporran that looked as if he had been chasing a fox very, vey quickly, running at full pelt when the fox had stopped suddenly, perhaps crashing into a brick wall, and he hadn't. The look, on the poor fox's face, of surprise and horror was pitiful to behold.Foxy Sporran
Which beholding brings me to a ticklish subject. Doing research into sporrans by simply looking at them while in use can be surprisingly embarrassing, especially if the researcher is a lady, for example my wife at a Burns Nicht Supper, since the exact location of the sporran is the exact location where most ladies avoid exactly looking: I suspect that this is intentional distraction, Scots frugality hoping it thus less likely that any given she will ask any given he to pay for their meal, or more likely in these modern days of avoiding unfortunate stereotypes, that she won’t ask to borrow his iPhone and accidentally bend it. And of course, having just mentioned stereotypes, I can’t resist wondering if maybe she fears that people looking at her looking at it may well be wondering if she is wondering what's under it. I wonder if we shouldn't just leave that subject…
So! In order to facilitate all this Scottishry, My Mum bought me a Kilt for the Christmas before last. I had to do the actual work of buying it, and all from the US too: researching on-line, and negotiating with a bespoke kilt-maker in Scotland (also on-line), getting the measurements right (on merely the third or fourth try, on line with some last minute, desperate Skyping), choosing the sporran (while avoiding anything too crazy or road-kill like), and finally the ordering (also, not surprisingly, on-line).
An interesting result of doing all the searches and negotiations and stuff on-line was how it effected those annoying targeted adverts you get when doing non-kilt-related stuff. These Ads seem to have a passion for trying to get me to buy something I have just bought. As a programmer I can easily imagine that it’s hard to write an algorithm that can reliably differentiate between merely looking and actually making a purchase from the outside, but this sort of thing routinely happens within a site, say Amazon, where every time you return they try to sell you the stuff you just bought from them.
 Or maybe it’s actually, as my internal conspiracy nut keeps raving, just spite by all the sites that I didn’t buy from, ganging together and trying to make me feel buyer’s remorseful agony. 'But' the evil failed and conspiring sites are saying 'instead of spending thousands of dollars on your  genuine Scottish-made pure wool kilt, you could (for only $59.99 plus postage and handling) have got this identical-ish one made in the Highlands of China’
Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton (whose mother is a Gibson of Clan Buchanan)
Let the win’ blow high
Let the win’ blow low
On line shoppin’ for my kilt I’ll go
All the adverts say Wo-Ho!
Richard buy anither…

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