I saw a photograph this week of fresh scallops and tatties. A lucky friend had acquired both locally. There was also a picture of plagues of horrendous midges. The price of living in some parts of Scotland. Putting up with these wee horrors is worth it for the good food and low mileage for harvest to plate.
It is strange how things change. Years ago a meal like this would have been regarded as something those with less money would have eaten. Nowadays the humble fish and fresh tatties are regarded as more a delicacy. In some places almost fine dining. And what of the healthy seaweed of our shores? Valued for its rich minerals and many benefits: would our creel-bearing ancestors have laughed at this outcome do you think?
For so long traditional Scottish fare was not appreciated or regarded as particularly wholesome or of quality. Take our once lowly porridge, for example, the bane of many a youngster's breakfast ordeal. Where once we longed for crispy cereal: preferably covered in a sugar coating, we now reach for our very own superfood. I have to say as someone who had to eat porridge every morning, I couldn’t have cared less if it was super or not. I longed for what my counterparts were eating which wasn’t warm oats! My taste buds thankfully have changed.
I love the way we Scots have finally awakened to how much quality we have in so many areas. Be it music, language, food, traditions, or culture we are starting to really value our homegrown things. There is a confidence in the air that what we do, how we live, and what we have given to the world in terms of creativity is way beyond what you would expect from a nation our size.
Perhaps all this innovation in science, economics, and the arts has come about from a feeling that we must prove ourselves to others. Whatever the reason over the centuries we seemed to have punched way above our weight. Thankfully we seem to be recognising that and taking pride in what we have achieved.
Our humour still revolves around our insecurities. We love nothing better than to laugh at ourselves. But now we have the self-confidence to take that humour and enjoy and savour it. Gone are the wee voices in the corner of our minds saying ‘aye weel we’re nae that guid really.’ We can laugh at our culture but can still take pride in it.
I often wonder if having our own parliament brought about this self-belief, or was the shoots of this budding confidence already growing. Are we far enough away in history to be able to shrug off the events that smashed our combined self-esteem?
Whatever the reason it is gratifying to see how proud we have become of our heritage. Of course like any culture, there are things we rather previous generations hadn’t done. There are also the many social challenges that abound not just in our wee corner but in every country on the planet. Hopefully, one day we can overcome more of these issues. Although there will always be those that for one reason or another will need help. None of us can be strong and full of confidence and laugher all the time.
So what you may well ask has the photograph at the top of this thread have to do with all this. Well, since I am not in Harris or rather Scalpay or more correctly Spalpaigh na Hearadh: I had to look for something else to present to you.
Lately, I have been posting photographs of books and festivals, trees, and the occasional beach. Given most of my blogs revolve around nature, writing, and dogs that only left me with one option. And the somewhat tentative connection to this blog: Bosie has finally at the of seven found some confidence. She no longer threatens to run away when someone looks at her outside. They are presented with her back as she sits looking and facing the other way. She also ignores other dogs instead of trying to disappear inside herself. Perhaps in the end it is age that allows us to develop that self-belief after all.