When I was at school and university I liked taking part in a geographical game called “Pick Your Spot”. The game was very cool as it required only a globe of the world, some knowledge and a lot of imagination, humour and creativity. In a nutshell, one person was chosen to be “the travel agent” or the storyteller. Their eyes were closed or they were blindfolded (depending whether the rest of the party was suspicious or not of cheating). The globe was set to spin, and the “travel agent” randomly put their finger somewhere on the globe. The place where the finger stopped was the place the “travel agent” was supposed to sell to the crowd as a place worth visiting.
I doubt that Generation Z could understand the inspiration of this game. The digital world they know has changed everything in our lives including our entertainment. But imagine that there are no internet devices around. You need to retrieve everything you know about the place in question from your memory – the nature, the people, the culture, some novels, stories and to use your creative juices to present a fascinating story in order to win the game. It was not only prestigious to win, but as the winner you selected the next “travel agent” and you set the globe spinning.
The memory of this splendid game came to my mind when Adrian and I were travelling to Crail in Scotland. If you look to the east on the map of Scotland you will notice that the coastal line between the Firth of Forth river (the estuary of the river Forth) and the the Firth of Tay (the estuary of the river Tay) looks like the split tongue of a snake. It really appears as a place I would dread to put my finger on in the game years ago. What was I going to say to the gang – The film “BraveHeart” came out later in 1995, so I could try telling something about the cold North Sea, the grey seals, the Robert Burns poems (Auld Lang Syne and Comin’ Thro” the Rye were very popular), the murder story of King Macbeth and how Lady Macbeth was trying to wash the imaginative bloodstains from her hands. Actually, I think I could design some unconventional stories (especially detective) to secure the round.
Years later, married to a man who was born and bred in Scotland, having experienced numerous visits to Glasgow and Gourock, seeing Kevin Bridges’ show ( I only understood half of the jokes) and participating as a groupie at the Edinburgh Fringe I was still unprepared for the beauty and magic of this place and its people. It is a beauty that is not bold, it does not hit you in the face, it is not love at first sight. It is a charm that grows on you – the stone houses, the links golf courses, the harbours with their little red and blue ships, white boats and fishing nets and the seagulls on the rocks in the North sea. And you realise when it is time to go home that your heart was touched and it feels very sad to leave.