Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Caithness Story

I promised in my opening post to try to capture the lifestyle of this place where fortune has landed me. Today I characterized living in Caithness as like a marriage--the very things that attracted you can also be the very things that annoy you the most. On a good day, I love the fact that I can walk into a Woolworths and buy an Everly brothers CD. On a bad day, the fact that one of the largest stores in town is a Woolworths with many things reminiscent of the 1950s is acutely frustrating.

I was having this conversation with the woman who owns the bike store over my purchase of a bike pump. That is another thing in Caithness that you have to love or to hate. Shopping can rarely be done in a hurry because each purchase involves at least a little conversation. Today's conversation offered a particular treasure.

When I mentioned that I was going next door to the Whats It shop (its real name) for a basket to use while shopping, I got this wonderful story about Caithness. Years ago when there were many Americans here and Woolworths was younger, a woman lived above Woolworths with her American serviceman husband. This woman loved baskets and rabbits. She was "mad as a taffy apple" and loved to take her rabbits riding on her bike in their specially made baskets. Neither my friend nor her husband could recall the woman's name, but they missed her when she moved on as so many of the wives of American servicemen did. I hope that the people of Cleveland or Dubuque or wherever she landed cherished her and her rabbits as much as they did here.


At 9:57 AM, Blogger scorrie said...

did not know that rabbits could be so companionable on a byke run // so next step will be a pannier for rabbits no doubt // so you see I am looking every morning just to keep in touch .// scorrie //

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

'mad as a taffy apple!' what a great phrase... wonder how it came to be........

At 10:00 PM, Blogger ZACL said...

Your comments on this blog rang bells here in my mind and evoked emotions too. To avoid high levels of frustration, I have to visit the outside world periodically. A forty miles round trip eastward to the new-ish retail parks doesn't quite meet the need.

As for being as mad as a toffee apple, I wonder if that's got something to do with the making or the need to cover a good piece of fruit with a crackley sweet, red or brown toffee substance that makes the fruit hard to eat. A good toffee coating could break teeth! This is just a hypothesis on my part, not known fact.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Hmm, I like your speculation about the origin. we went to Wick yesterdya and I passed those shops. They looked kind of sad--sort of imitation American strip mall. Strip malls are just not a good idea in any country.


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