Wordsworth was indeed worthy of his name.  The first time I read his poem, oh-so-many years ago (in fifth grade or even before) the inner eye he spoke of, upon which those daffodils flashed and set his heart a-dancing, was something I could experience. Even though the only daffodil I had set eyes upon until that point had been a human-sized concoction (confection) of yellow and green crepe paper around my friend Dolly playing the “daffodil fairy” in a school production (I was a generic fairy in a salmon pink frilly dress and waved a wand and everything). The phrases “wandered lonely as a cloud,” “the bliss of solitude,” and of course “a host of golden daffodils,” were set indelibly in my memory. And while I have seen daffodils between then and now, it was riding in the taxi to Ringo’s home in Aberdeen, Scotland, that the true meaning and impact of Wordsworth’s wordsmithy struck me.

All in all, the whole trip to Scotland and London was an exercise in realizing (as in making real) my childhood fantasies, gleaned from Enid Blyton. Hiking in the hills, picnics in the open img_0051 with sandwiches, pork pies (in a word, ghastly!), and ginger beer to wash it all down – okay so that last was in a pub not at the picnic – gorse bushesimg_0057 dotting the hills,  ruined castles by the seasideimg_0058 – very picturesque, to name but a few. Back in town I even spotted (and then snapped) a “Thistle Lane”img_0052, though to my disappointment I didn’t find a “Honeysuckle cottage.” The castle [Dunnottar castle may have even had dungeons though we didn’t visit any. What we did get to however, was an equally dim, dank and sinister, “Whig’s vault” a dungeon-like chamber  img_00621where in the late 16th century the they (those in power) imprisoned some 122 prisoners, for nearly 2 years. Many died, some trying to escape but most due to the appalling conditions there. The dark history aside, the castle trip was lovely, especially the walk back to the town along the sea cliff. More gorse, a bunny sighting, Englishmen (sorry Scotsmen) walking their dogs… very much like being in the pages of my favorite childhood books.

Having dispensed with the golden from my title, I must attend to the silver. The silver darling. Silver darling is the name given to the eponymously-colored fish, herring, that are so abundant off the coast of Aberdeen, and which formed the economic foundation for this port city for many centuries. In fact it wasn’t until the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the fifties (195os) or so – this is information from Ringo, a very reliable source – that it’s economic structure changed. Until then, it was the silver darlings that sustained this part of the world. By the way, the kippered herring, yet another Enid Blyton-ism, was left unsampled though not for want of trying. Ringo and I even bought some for our breakfast, but then circumstances conspired to prevent this edible experience. Another untried delicacy was haggis, though we did get some pate (very nice) in which haggis was one ingredient. But back to the darlings, which, in another guise were the basis for what was likely the best meal in my trip in which I had a fair number of very nice ones.

The guise? A fancy restaurant called the Silver Darling (in the singular which is apt for it is) overlooking the Aberdeen harbor, which Ringo had already told me about (in fact it was one of the pieces of bait she dangled in my direction as inducement to visit her over this Spring break) and described as the “best seafood restaurant ever.” (Actually the best bait to hook me on line for the trip was the prospect of seeing her again after 6 yearsm but the restaurant didn’t hurt ;))  It was certainly up there – what with oysters (in a delectable tartare concoction with salmon) and a tender rock turbot and also a scrumptious desert. A real darling of a restaurant.

To end this post I’ll return to the gold and offer a daffodil wave. More backblogging about Spring break (next stop London) in a couple of days, weeks…maybe not… TTFN