In which we prove that we invented everything after all

Wikipædia, the first encyclopædia in the Scots leid.

(and although I’m Scottish, and Scotland’s about the size of a Wal*Mart parking lot, I don’t know anyone who uses the word leid for language. Everyone knows the right word is langwidge …)

we’re shite and we … invented the modern world

(a rant for St Andrew’s Day)

It must have been great to be part of the Scottish Enlightenment. This wee country seemed to blossom, from a muddy backwater to a world leader in economics, philosophy, mathematics and engineering.

And yet, for the average Scot, all that was a long time ago. All it seems we can manage now is to churn out neds by the million. So how did we get from the place described (rather breathlessly) in Arthur Herman’s How The Scots Invented The Modern World to the place where the football fans chant “We’re Shite, And We Know We Are.“?

Urban disenfranchisement of the formerly agrarian workforce, perhaps? Who can say. We even chose the darkest, grimmest part of the year for our national day (hint: St Jean-Baptiste would make a smashing national day …). So, have a happy St Andy’s, get properly munted, and wha’s like us, eh?

tablet recipe revisited

Before revising (and moving) my tablet recipe, it needs some clarification:

  • I damp the sugar with about ¼ cup milk. The amount isn’t critical; too little, and you risk burning the mix. Too much, it just takes a while to boil off.
  • 1kg of sugar is about 5½ cups.
  • 100g butter is about 4/5 of a stick.
  • I now use a 310×480mm (I think that’s 11×19″) large cookie pan for setting. It fills nicely, and makes nice thin slabs.

a great place to be *from* …

[Bit of background here. I’m Scottish, but I live in Toronto. Canada is big, Scotland isn’t.]

There’s this thing I like to call The East Dunbartonshire Conspiracy. I used to live in Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire. It’s a small central Scotland town, rapidly becoming another suburb of Glasgow.

Since coming to Canada, most of the expat Scots I have met are from East Dunbartonshire:

  • The LCBO guy in Toronto Union Station is from Kirkintilloch, about 100m from where we used to live.
  • Another LCBO guy on the Danforth is from Bishopbriggs, where I used to work.
  • The GO Train customer relations person who called me about the new proposed train station at the end of our street (yay!) grew up in Bishopbriggs, and has relatives I think I worked with when I was at Collins, the publishers.

So what’s this all about? Why are so many people leaving East Dunbartonshire for Toronto? Is it the horror of living at 56°N, with dark, windy wet winters? Who can say?