Fred and M

I met Fred and M many years ago.  Fred was in the military with my late husband, Baggy, also known as Stuart Bagot.  I got along with them great and we all became great friends. I spent time with them after Baggy’s death and it helped me a lot.  I wanted them to meet my new husband, so I asked if we could come visit while we were in the United Kingdom.  They said of course, so the trip was planned.

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Fred who’s real name is Andrew Graeme was a very close friend of Baggy’s.  Baggy had trained him up in II Para.  All of the unit seemed to earn nicknames.  Baggy got his because he was so skinny that his uniform hung on him like a bag of shit.  Fred got his because he could swim really good and hold his breath for 2 minutes.  His sergeant started calling him Freddy the Fish, so he became Fred.  They had not seen each other for many years because Freddy had gone AWOL.  Baggy said his Lieutenant would keep calling him into headquarters and telling him that he had got a post card from his friend. Then after Fred moved around for a lot of years he settled in Germany where he met M.  Many years later they moved to Scotland and started the recording studio.  He got hold of Baggy in Blackpool and their friendship was rekindled.

Fred has done many things in his life but he mainly worked in the music industry.  He has been an editor, truck driver, written many articles, taught I believe for a while too.  He is a fantastic cook.  I love going to visit just to eat his cooking.  He also likes spending time on the internet, as you can see in the above photo, but he does enjoy playing with his outside toys; tractor, digger, chainsaw and such things.  He is always good for a laugh.

Mechthild Graeme better know as M is probably the closest friend I have.  She was born and raised in Germany.  We have just always got along great.  She is also one of the smartest woman I know.  She like Fred has done many things in her life.  She was a DJ for years.  She worked for some American company for a very long time too.  Of course, she is the business side of the recording studio.  She knows three languages, German, English and Gaelic.  She decided if she was going to live in Scotland she should learn Gaelic.  She is now teaching English as a second language to people online.  M just can’t stay still.  The other day when we took a relaxing day she did too, but for her that meant working in the yard.  She is an amazing woman who I am very proud to call my friend.

Besides Fred taking us all over the highlands to show us the sights and making us wonderful meals we put a big dent in the 32 gallons of beer that Fred had made.  We also played Malefitz which is a German board game.  We had to teach David how to play because he had never even heard of it.  That is what we usually did after dinner.  On the norm the women usually won but one night Fred won.  I have never seen him get so excited.  We will never hear the end of it.  Poor David though never did win.  We have so many laughs playing this game.  We also had to have David watch Funny Bones which is a movie that takes place in Blackpool.

Thanks guys for all the fun!

 

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Day 3 in the Highlands

I told M that I wanted to take David to see the sock tree.  I had driven past it many times but never stopped to check it out.  Off we went again with our piece of paper with places to go. Clootie Well is not far from Fred and M’s house, so we started there.

The Clootie Well is a rather weird remnant of an ancient tradition once commonly found in Scotland and Ireland, of holy wells to which pilgrims would come and make offerings, usually in the hope of having an illness cured. The tradition dates far back into pre-Christian times, to the practice of leaving votive offerings to the local spirits or gods in wells and springs. With the arrival of Christianity, the practice was simply adapted to the new circumstances.

The holy well at Munlochy is said to date back to – and probably beyond – the time of St Boniface or Curitan, who worked as a missionary in Scotland in about AD620. Pilgrims would come, perform a ceremony that involved circling the well sunwise three times before splashing some of its water on the ground and making a prayer. They would then tie a piece of cloth or “cloot” that had been in contact with the ill person to a nearby tree.

As the cloot rotted away the illness would go away as was believed back then.  They even would leave their children there over night in hopes of making them well.  Not sure if that worked or not because I think it would have scared them more than anything else.  It is a very eerie place.

Today people leave pieces of clothing but they are made from man-made material and don’t rot away. David said the  whole place smelled of mildew from all the damp clothing. This isn’t great for the environment but people still believe that it might work, so they leave all kinds of articles of clothing.

David and I tied a couple of Fred’s socks to a limb. I wonder if that means Fred will get double healing, since we tied his sock there.  I hope he can be fixed but I doubt that there is anything that can cure him of crazy.

https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/munlochy/clootiewell/index.html

 

Our next stop which will be a big surprise to everyone was Black Isle Brewery.  We were given a tour by one of the brewers, Sandy.

This is from their site

Welcome to Black Isle. We are the UK’s premier organic brewery, making world-class beers from the finest organic malt and hops grown on farms without chemicals, just as nature intended.
We have our own organic farm where we grow malting barley for brewing and even have our own brewery house cow, who eats the malt from the brewery mash tun and gives us 20 pints of fresh, creamy milk every day.
Based near Inverness, this is our beautiful, unspoiled, unpolluted, wild, and more than a little bit wet highland home – and we love it!

It was a great place.  Well worth a visit. They have won several awards for their beers.

https://www.blackislebrewery.com/

 

Fred got to talking to the girl that waited on us and she mentioned she had written a couple of books.  Fred got into telling her about his film studio he was starting.  We finally managed to pull him away so we could go on our next adventure. One of the lighthouses on Moray Firth.

The dolphins were out but were not playing so I didn’t get any pictures of them.  It was a nice day, so I did get some nice photos.

The last stop of the day was at Clava Cairns. There is not a whole lot known about the cairns except that they are believed to be around 4000 years old.  It is believed that they were used for burial.  I just always thought it was a peaceful place but the day we went there were several tours there.  I guess it is now a tourist attraction.  I just thought of it as a cool park in the country.

There are a lot of stones circles and cairns all over Scotland.  Many people have them on their land.  They just don’t say anything about them because they want to be left alone.

Well the boys did pretty good on this day because we were out of the car a lot.  They tried to make up for it when the got back in the car by talking even more.

We headed back home after the cairns where Fred cooked yet another good meal.