Embarrassing Bodies, Monsters, Time Travel and Other Adventures in Scotland

So, Embarrassing Bodies. From which I assume that the British version of the FCC does not frown upon nudity, no matter the gender, or the close-up.

I’m flipping through the channels the other night, here in Scotland, because I have no idea what is on where, or even what channels this tv has. Or even what time shows start, because in UK, one cannot assume that a show starts on the hour, or the half hour. Some shows start at, say, 6:55, or 8:20. Anyway. As I’m flipping, “Antiques Road Trip,” not to be confused with “Antiques Roadshow,” is ending and something called “Embarrassing Bodies” is beginning. Could you resist? No. You could not. Even if you’re being all high-minded right now and pretending you could.

“Embarrassing Bodies” has a great concept. These two doctors roam around Britian, and set up clinics where people can come if they have anything weird going on. And then most of them are assured whatever is going on is perfectly normal and not life-threatening, or, at the very least, treatable. The message is, “All of our bodies are pretty weird. It’s normal.” I get it, and I probably would have appreciated it when I was doing the whole puberty thing and everything about my body felt weird. Hell, I appreciate it now. (Weird things continue to happen in your 50s. But that’s another post.)

And it’s all filmed. Which really calls the whole “embarrassing” thing into question. I mean, if you’ve got something seriously peculiar going on, that embarrasses you, would you agree to have your whole appointment, and your embarrassing body part examined, on film? But whatever. When I say “it’s all filmed,” I mean, it’s all filmed. Not only all kinds of private parts, penises and va-jay-jays, and other…orifices…but privates that are experiencing something odd, like extra parts, or extra holes, or cysts or tumors, or stuff that is supposed to remain inside coming out. All right there on the giant television in my Airbnb. Close up. Zoomed in. We are not a pretty species close up.

Anyway, still in Scotland, but we braved the Highlands this weekend. And two things did not happen while we were there:

  1. We did not see Nessie.
  2. When I flung myself at the standing stone at Clava Cairns, I did not go back in time 200 years. (Obs. I mean, here I am writing a blog post. Which I could not do in, say, 1819. I mean, I could write it, but what would I do with it?)

So, Outlanderand the Loch Ness Monster be damned.

But! But but but. We took a tour with the most awesome guides, Dave and Susie from Inverness Tours. They took us all over the Highlands, to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle and a cool pub for lunch, and Dave told us all the good stories—history, myth and legend—about the Picts, the Druids, the Celts, the Scots and the Clans. There were MacDonalds and Frasers and Grants and cattle stealing and dirks and mysterious markings on stones and  St. Columba and those damn Redcoats and horrible slaughters in battle and pagans. Pagans are my favorite.

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Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness

Of course the stories were the best part. But the second best part was Clava Cairns.

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Dave with my cousin Rob

At Clava Cairns, we saw burial cairns and stone circles that are 1500 years older than Stonehenge, and that were created by the Druids. Dave and Susie taught us how to use dowsing rods to locate energy and ley lines in the stones and in the ground. It was magical—literally and figuratively, and when those dowsing rods moved in my hands, I totally got the shivers. Dave told us how one cairn was lined up precisely with the sun on the Winter Solstice, so that the sun created a path of light directly to the center of it. As the sun set, the path would be crossed over slowly by the shadow of the largest standing stone, opening and closing the connection between the physical and the spiritual worlds. (I’m sure I’ve got some details wrong here but you get the idea.)

Who wants to come back with me on December 21?

And now we return to the terrible and the mundane. Here’s Mitch McConnell at the Royal Highland Show. I know the traditional representation of McConnell is a turtle, but look at this sheep. McConnell as a sheep. So many layers.

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P.S. Lichens and moss. You can’t see enough lichens and moss.

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One Response to “Embarrassing Bodies, Monsters, Time Travel and Other Adventures in Scotland”

  1. Thanks for this, Liz. Loved reading it.

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