Thanks for the information, As I just noted in another reply to you, I have yet to spend more than a few hours in passing in Scotland.
I've long had an emotional connection with your country and its people. In the 1960s while going to school, I had a summer job as a waiter in a restaurant here in Toronto. Oddly, most of the waitresses who worked there were from Scotland (though the owner was Greek). At lunch, dinner or breaks, we'd sit and chat at the back of the restaurant. These women had broad Scottish accents and often spoke of "back home" or "in the Old Country". Mostly, I listened to their tales with great interest and said little myself. By the end of the first summer, I had adopted a Scottish accent by association or osmosis (ha, ha) and began to speak of my times in the Old Coutry as well. The ladies, who were quite a bit older than I, often looked at me curiously. But, it wasn't till the end of August, when one of them asked me what part of the Old Country I was from. I said "Helsinki" and they all looked at me like I was from Mars, until I explained it was in Finland. Then, they laughed.
More recently, my son became a Reservist in the Canadian Army. He joined the Toronto Scottish Regiment and proudly wore a kilt and tartan at special ceremonial events. having heard me use my bogus Scottish accent from time to time, he too adopted a thick brogue and told the other soldiers that his grandfather had been educated at Edinborough (which wasn't true).
In light of this illustruous background, I feel a kind of kinship with the Scots and look forward to arranging a trip to Scotland in the near future (my wife, like your husband, happily leaves all our travel arrangements up to me and just goes along wherever I've made arrangements for).
Curtiejoe, Nice to hear about your past contacts with Scotland. You must have been so proud seeing yourson in his kilt. Even though we live in Scotland we always still feel so chuffed(proud) when we see a man in his full scottish regalia. I don't know if you have heard of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which takes place at Edinburgh Castle every year. When it is on, I always get really tearful with the Scottish music playing and all the regiments in their kilts. If anyone is thinking of visitingScotland then I would highly recommend going when the "Tatoo" is on. It is a magnificent sight to see. Och aye the noo!!Curtiejoe. p.s. I see your surname is Halen. Any relation to Van??
It's possible that our family's related to Van Halen. I've done some geneology research online and am pretty sure some of the Halensline is traceable back to the small town in the Limburg Region of eastern Belgium called Halen (I actually visited it with one of my Halen cousins from Finland in November 2004)! From what I've read about the rock group Van Halen, they too seem to hail from either Holland or Belgium. Oddly enough we named one of our sons Alexander when he was born in 1976 (way before Van Halen became famous). He's often been asked if he's related to Alex Van Halen, of course...
Very proud in deed we were, Mary-j, every time we saw our Alex in full regalia with all his Toronto Scottish army buddies. Have heard of the famous military tattoo at Edinbrough and would love to see this moving event one day in person with my wife and son. Begorra, what a bonnie thing that'd be!