It was six years ago that Bill and I were in Scotland to see friends and to tour all of Scotland. We hired a guide because, no matter what you heard about my driving, I do not drive on the left side of the road. Bill wanted to hunt Red Stag. I wanted to see why men wore skirts, and if we should try it here in New Mexico. The two-week trip had lovely fall days and we enjoyed the rain so much people thought, “those crazy Americans,” not knowing we come from a semi-arid desert.
We saw our friends Margaret and her son Callum Anderson, and Margaret’s mother, Isobel Brown, when we first got there. They are the best of all of Scotland. On a previous trip, I had met Isobel and Callum when we had stopped for tea on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. We started talking and have been friends ever since. We sent them magazines and New Mexico tourist fun things, including chile, and we get great Scottish books from them.
On our second week, we stayed in a hunting lodge that had typical help to work on the Red Stag hunt. The house was large and looked a little like Downton Abbey, with lots of wood, lots of staircases and beautiful wall coverings. I enjoyed hanging out with the cook and housekeeper. I shared some of our recipes, but did not know if they could get the ingredients.
Speaking of Scotland, I liked Haggis. If you have ever eaten a hot dog with gravy, that is Haggis. According to Google, “Officially Haggis is where they mix chopped heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep (or any other animal), minced and mixed with beef or mutton suet, and oatmeal. It is seasoned with onion, cayenne pepper and other spices.
The last day of our vacation we had tickets to the Highland Games which had a visit from Queen Elizabeth II.
The Highland Games are sporting and athletic events that involve throwing and lifting heavy things, from rocks to bags of stuff called a sheaf, to outright tree trunks. They have shot put, tug-o-war, caber toss and hammer throws—and even running track (which leaves the outdoor ring and runners go up a nearby mountain and back.)
The caber toss involves picking up a telephone pole and tossing it end over end as far away as you can. It is IMPRESSIVE. Did I mention that Wildlife West hosts Celtic Games also? Just look up the time and place.
In Scotland, we were sitting on wooden bleachers when the rain began at 8 a.m., and even with an umbrella, my hair looked like a wet dog, as it growled around my head, like a biker after a hard ride. The tug-o-war was interesting as many guys—big, weight-lifter guys—lined up and grabbed both ends of a rope. 
The referee waved them on and they pulled at one another until one team fell. The guys from Balmoral Castle lost. That is the Queen’s team. Ach, Ow!
Then it happened. At 3 p.m. promptly, the rain stopped, and three black cars came in and went around the track. It was the Queen herself, and her husband, Prince Phillip. The second and third cars held Prince Charles, now King Charles III, and her Royal Highness, Princess Anne.
The people stood as the cars went by and then stopped to let the Royal party off at the presentation stage. Her Majesty got out and walked up the stairs alone; Prince Phillip walked behind her. Charles and Anne got out and came at the end.
I was thrilled to see such an international leader in person. She did not have assistance coming or going. She must have been about 91 at the time. She presented trophies and was given flowers from the little girl dancers, who were terrific. I don’t think anyone told her the big guys from Balmoral lost, but everyone still had their heads. Promptly at 4, she got back in the car and the group made one final loop of the people who waved and applauded. She left and the rain started again.
I still looked like a wet poodle in a long skirt, no kilt. I send condolences to anyone who had been a fan of Queen Elizabeth for the last 96 years. She served her country for over 70 years. You don’t find politicians like that in the good ole U.S.A. But then we don’t bow to ours. Roaring Mouse, God bless the Queen. Out.