16 May, 2017 by katelaity
While she opened her memorandum book to make the usual copious notes, I decided I ought to do something more energetic and strolled about the deck. The winds nearly knocked me over however, so I returned to the safety below decks. Tansy was not to be found so I assumed change was in the air. Sure enough when we arrived in the harbour at Aberdeen she was he once more.
‘I have a feeling it will be easier this way,’ Tansy said with the usual air of confidence that I had always found elusive. In the hustle and bustle of the harbour there was little time to doubt it as we had at once to secure transport for our belongings and decide on our next move.
As usual Tansy seemed to locate almost by magic a chatty sort of carter who did not feel put upon to be asked to move such humble cargo. I would have much preferred a hansom to the rough passage we were to encounter but my preferences seem to rarely be taken into account by my chum.
How different things might have been had he still been in skirts!
As it was I sat upon one of our trunks whilst Tansy conferred with the fellow who apparently came not from the town itself but from one of the smaller towns outside. I could not quite catch the name of it for like so many of his countrymen he spoke in a thick accent that is nearly incomprehensible to genteel English ears, though I noticed Tansy appeared to have no trouble keeping up with the lively banter. It must be his colonial upbringing which accustomed him to hearing strange tongues of all sorts.
‘What do you recommend?’ Tansy said. I had no idea if this were about lodging or further adventure as I had lost the thread of things while pondering what a ‘tumshie’ might be.
The carter said rather clearly, ‘Perhaps a hunt. Don’t you sassenachs love a hunt?’
I assumed that he meant the English, though I assumed there was some kind of rudeness in the term. ‘A hunt is a civilized ritual. I know that’s an alien notion to the wild hunts of you Highlanders.’
The carter laughed. ‘Highlanders? Does the land look at all high here? We on the lowlands have a very different sort of life, much of it seafaring from these parts. But if it’s a hunt you want, perhaps you can chase the wild haggis.’
Tansy coughed. ‘That might be just the thing for my friend.’
‘Is the haggis sufficiently fierce? Or is that just what you call the fox up here?’ I was not one to be taken in easily. I knew well enough to be on my guard for the Scots were well known for pulling an Englishman’s leg if they might.
‘They do grow to enormous size in the Sidlaws, I hear,’ Tansy said to the carter with a sort of arch air that seemed odd to me.
‘Oh aye, quite large. I have seen them dwarf the poor coos in the fields,’ the carter agreed with a very concerned look.
‘Cows is that?’ Good heavens, what a beast that must be. I’m not averse to riding to the hounds for a little sport but I’m not sure I would want to be put in any danger. However, I was not about to back down and confirm his worst suspicions about our sporting nation. ‘Sounds like a challenge.’
‘Most assuredly,’ Tansy said. ‘And how do you prepare the haggis for feast?’ A womanly sort of question I thought at first but then there must be a lot of carving involved as there was for deer. Not that I had had venison since childhood, beef being generally so easy to find.
‘Boiled in a sheep’s stomach generally,’ the carter said even as his attention was drawn to keeping his horses calm after a dashing hansom swerved too near us. ‘Only way it’s edible after all.’
‘With plenty of whisky to drink, I imagine,’ Tansy said.