Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Edinburgh 1.7.09: Officious Misses and Communion Tokens

To the Scottish national library yesterday, with folderol at the desk issuing a visitor’s card: two lasses talking at the desk, neither helping (or even acknowledging) those waiting for a card. When I was finally called to the desk, the officious miss I drew greeted me not with a hello, but with a “You’ve filled out only half of the form,” and a peremptory order to complete a form she provided me with on the spot, which was not offered online at the section of the website with forms where we’d downloaded and printed the application form weeks back.

She then tsked-tsked that I had written the date as 1.7, and told me it was 30.7, instead, writing 30 July in a big scrawl over my script. Whereupon I sweetly asked, “30th July?” and she caught herself, said, “I’ve gotten ahead of myself,” and softened to a quasi-humanity.

A few hours reading about Hugh Montgomery and James Hamilton and the settlement of Ulster, and then we walked to Jenner’s, where we had tea and bought two bottles of Montepulciano wine for the dinner. We stopped in Sainsbury’s and got plums for a cobbler, and then home to cook.

Made grillades and grits, using polenta for the grits, with a nice peppery rocket salad to which I added a sharp vinaigrette with a mustard bite. And then the plum cobbler, which turned out good, if I say so.

And I amused the table by trying to scoop out a dip of very hard-frozen ice cream, which went flying through the air and landed neatly in my dish.

Before dinner (well, tea, Ian called it), Margaret Berwick stopped by and she and Ian presented me with a gold token struck for the 400th anniversary, a replica of the 1909 token devised by John White. They gave Steve one, too, in some metal like pewter, and to both of us, replicas of communion tokens from the past. Very kind and very touching.

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