In the last couple of years, wherever you go in Scotland looking for tea towels, you will find at least one of the Scott Inness range; they describe themselves as ‘Delightfully Distinctive Designs from Scotland’. It’s a good, and accurate, strap line. I love them. They do conjure up all aspects of Scotland for me: Caledonian Pipes, Thistles, Highland Cow, Scottie Dog and Tartens. If you are fortunate to come across a shop with more than one design, you are then in the position of having to make a choice (or buy the full set). The day I bought this I had to show restraint (because I had already bought ‘An Improbability of Puffins’ and the ‘Forth Bridge’). Pick one, I said to myself. It had to be the Caledonian Pipes. Why? Two reasons (a) I love the sound of the pipes; it gives me the same sort of ‘Wall of Sound’ that a Male Voice Choir does. I don’t mind if it is traditional music of a Marching Band, or something like the Red Hot Chili Pipers. It is a sound that hits you, overwhelms you, immerses you in a distinctive culture and musical tradition; you can feel a sense of history. I have been to the Edinburgh Tattoo on several occasions, back in the day when I could sit on those hard plastic, bucket seats that feel like you are sitting in a corset, with no room to cross your legs and, these days, no room to accommodate my spine. It’s not the same watching it on TV; you need the atmosphere, the sound, the venue, the wind blowing across Edinburgh Castle. Caledonian Pipes represent all Scotland means to me and (b) I have a number of tea towels of Highland Cows, Tarten and Thistles but nothing about the ‘Pipes’, so that made my choice easier; you don’t often get a tea towel with ‘Pipes’.
The fact is that I love the Scott Inness designs; they brighten up the kitchen. I love the little name tag, in pink, that is sewn on them; I love the vibrancy of the picture against the stark white background. I enjoy wiping up with this one; I almost feel I need to play Rod Stewart or Kenneth McKellar, on the iPod, singing ‘Flower of Scotland’ while wiping up. It takes me back to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Arran, The Uists, Orkney, Ullapool, Gairloch, Skye or wherever. Maybe I do need a full set of Scott Inness.
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