Tara Rankin and Àdhamh

GreatScot! Travels, Tunes and Tales – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 9

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Well, hello again! You may have noticed but I took a day off. Kind of used Thursday as a bit of a rest day before gearing up for the last 10 days of the trip. I just drove up to Pitlochry for lunch with my friend Susan. She had just come off a long tour and was getting ready to head out again, but there was no way I was going to miss some time to chat and catch up, even if she is much in demand as a blue-badge tour guide for Eyes on Scotland and Outlander Tours!

After that, it was back to Glasgow for dinner with Maggie (and there might have been a glass or two of wine involved). Then it was just one more sleep until Ginger and Summer arrive and the mad rush of Outlander touring begins.

Friday morning, I packed up my stuff in preparation for our relocation north, and then it was FINALLY time to head to the airport. It was then that I discovered that a flight from Dublin is not considered an international flight. (I wonder how the Irish feel about that!) I quickly relocated from international arrivals to the Starbucks across from domestic arrivals. Seeing that no green tea was available, I bought some water and settled in to wait.

Once they arrived, we hopped in the car to head back into Glasgow for the night. However, it is bank holiday weekend in the UK and I have to say that the traffic on holiday weekend Friday in Glasgow has much in common with Atlanta. Eventually, thought, we passed the stalled car and things cleared up. At the hotel, the girls took a quick shower (OK. Summer insists hers was sexier than that, not that G and I were watching) and then it was time for dinner.

Based on my experience last time in Glasgow, I had booked us a table at Mother India in the West End. As last time, the food was fantastic. We started with vegetable pakora and then Ginger had a paneer dish, Summer had Chicken Tikka and I had lamb with leeks. (Yes, Mom. The lambs are still cute, but someone told me they are as large as their mothers by the time they are food.)

Dinner complete, we headed just down the street to our final event for the day. And when I say final, I mean I knew we would be there until tomorrow. An Gealbhan never ends early. As we approached the Argyll hotel, a familiar figure came into view. Many hugs and greetings with exchanged with Àdhamh Ó Broin, our host for the evening. He explained that things might be a bit more chaotic than usual as the Sutherlands Bar was without a bartender for the evening! Shock…horror….a Gaelic evening without whisky would be a tragedy. Luckily, Àdhamh is multi-talented and was able to man the bar until help arrived.

As a special treat, Àdhamh had arranged for a couple of special guests for the evening. So after kicking off with a song of his own, he introduced the lovely and talented Tara Rankin who favored us with some Gaelic songs a capella, as well as some Cape Breton tunes played on the piano. I’ve been friends with Tara (and the rest of her family) for many years and I took the opportunity to deliver a hug from her Mom as requested. Later in the evening, we were also treated to a talk on Scottish weaponry by a friend of Àdhamh’s, Allan Sutherland. I have some longer videos that I will edit and post when I get back home.

We rounded out the night with some fabulous Gaelic stories. And no…I don’t think any of the Cape Breton ones had a happy ending. I think Tara was amused by how my face lit up every time I recognized a Gaelic word. It was twice as amusing to hear Tara and Àdhamh translate for each other. I’m pretty sure she picked up some new words.

Eventually though, it was time to call the night to an end. Our new friend Asifa gave us a lift back to the hotel so that we didn’t have to find a taxi in the West End after midnight and it was greatly appreciated. Back at the hotel, we all collapsed into bed to refresh ourselves for the next day’s adventure.

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

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GreatScot! Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 6

So today started a bit earlier today with a threesome for breakfast. During conversation, we decided that since we only had Lu for a bit longer we would spend the day playing tourist in Glasgow city centre. The best way to do that would utilize the Hop on/Hop Off city tour offered. My mom and I often use these kind of tours when we travel to new cities. It’s a great way to get your bearings in an unfamiliar city and figure out what sites to go back and visit. It also provides transportation between the sites.

Breakfast done, we got our discount vouchers from the concierge desk at the hotel and went down to the convenient bus stop to wait for the tour bus which arrived fairly quickly. With a quick glance up at the sky — it was more sunny than cloudy — we decided we would chance sitting upstairs in the uncovered portion of the double-decker bus. Taking our seats, the bus pulled away and we started our circuit.

After zipping past the first few stops such as the Glasgow Transportation Museum, we alighted at the Kelvingrove Art Museum. Entering and making a donation, we wandered through the galleries looking at the treasures within. We admired the works of the Glasgow Boys as well as Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali. We also listened to a bit of the free organ concert performed on the grand pipe organ in the 2 story atrium.

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I think the Kelvingrove needs to update!

After a quick stop in the Kelvingrove cafe for a cuppa, we made our way back out to the tour bus stop to find that it is now raining. However, sun is visible in the distance, so all is not lost. Back on the bus, I managed to snap some lovely pics of the bowls lawns next to the museum as well as a shot of the Kelvingrove and the University of Glasgow. We also made our way past the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the alma mater of one Sam Heughan.

 

We departed the bus once again at George Square to sneak a peek at another Outlander filming location. Lu and I posed in front of the same archway where Frank and Claire dashed through to get married at the Registry Office. That box ticked, we also made our way to the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art and I took some pics of the statue with the requisite orange cone on its head.

Unfortunately by this time, we needed to get Lu back to the hotel to grab her bag and make her way to the train station for the trip home. After some final hugs and farewells, Lu left and I settled in for a solo night. I passed the time eating dinner in the lounge bar and people watching. My steak and salad were excellent, but all to soon I was sleepy and headed up to bed.

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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventures. I have no idea what they will be as I have not planned ahead at all.

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

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Great Scot! Outlandish Mutual Appreciation Society – 2nd Outlandish Adventure – Day 3

So…I woke up extra early this morning to watch a little TV. Everyone does that at 5 am, right? Luckily all the technology gods smiled on me and I was able to watch Outlander episode 115 – Wentworth with no problems. Hmm, maybe on second thought that wasn’t the best way to start the day. Going back to sleep afterwards wasn’t really an option either. Haven’t completely decided if that was due to the bright sunny skies or Black Jack Randall. Either way it looks like I’ll be facing the day on about 3 hours sleep. Oh well.

Since I was up (and hadn’t had a chance to stock up on any food), I headed out to Crieff bright and early…about 8 am. It was such a beautiful morning that I couldn’t keep from snapping a few pictures of Loch Faskally and the local pet pheasant.

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I headed out towards Crieff and made it through at least two weather changes as I went through Sma’ Glen and by the time I arrive at the Hydro it was raining pretty good. My stomach reminded me that I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I stopped into the Winter Garden cafe for a pot of tea and a slice of millionaire’s shortbread. So maybe that wasn’t the most nutritious choice, but it sure hit the spot and the view was lovely.

After breakfast, the first item on the agenda for the UK Outlander Gathering was the morning Fayre where many vendors were set up to display and offer for sale goods based on or inspired by Outlander. There were also several areas set up with demonstrations and other goodies. More on that in a bit. The first person I had a chance to speak with was Gillebride MacMillan, otherwise known in the Outlander world as Gwyllin the Bard. I had the opportunity to meet Gillebride last October when I was last in Scotland. I screwed up my courage and greeted him a hearty ‘Ciamar a tha sibh?’ He responded that he was well and then told me that my accent was wonderful, whereupon all the other Gaelic I knew promptly left my head. Probably just as well, I mean why screw up a perfect record?

Next, I spoke with Mr. C. of Acanthus Pies who supplies the lovely meat pies to the Outlander production. We had a great time chatting and looking at the lovely pies he brought. After the Mr. C, I had a chance to talk with the lady who runs the Mary Meander Tours and Outlander Dinner experience in Linlithgow. I’m greatly looking forward to a chance to attend one of their dinners in a week or so with the Outlander Podcast girls and I expect many pics and stories will follow. Lastly, I also got an awesome hug and picture from Ronnie Goodwin who was looking mighty fine in his kilt. Ronnie, whom I had also met last fall, was one of Dougal’s Highland lads in Outlander and many of you may have caught a glimpse of him in the last episode – The Search.

Now on to the different demonstrations going on. There were several different things going on demonstration-wise. First, there was an area set up with a wool waulking table and person teaching Gaelic waulking songs. I somehow neglected to get a picture of this though. :-( I’m sure that was partly because I spent so much time looking at the Outlander Costume area. Terry Dresbach had sent several of her team members to demonstrate and talk about techniques that they used in created costumes for Outlander – including Liz Boulton who many of you likely know from Twitter. Liz talked and showed samples of several of the different embroidery techniques she used in creating costumes.

About this time, I noticed a bit of a stir near the entrance to the room we were in. I couldn’t believe who had walked in. None other than Ron Moore and Terry Dresbach, live and in the flesh. They very graciously spent the next couple of hours mingling with fans — talking, signing autographs and posing for photos. And no sooner did the shock of that wear off than I started noticing other familiar figures including Maril Davis (Co-Executive Producer), Ira Behr (Writer/Co-Producer), Toni Graphia (Writer/Co-Producer), Jon Gary Steele (Production Designer) and Michael O’Halleran (editor). All were speaking with fans and posing for pictures. I even spied a few of the Outlander Drivers as well — Kenny and Davey. I took the opportunity to speak and get a few pictures with most of them. It very much turned into a mutual appreciation society as they warmly expressed how much they appreciated all the support from Outlander Fans.

I have to take a moment a talk just a bit about Terry. As many of you may know, I help admin Terry’s blog and it is something I am very happy to do. It was so wonderful though to finally get a chance to see Terry in person and collect on the big old hug I told her was the only payment I required. As you can see from the pictures below, it was well worth the wait. I was also able to hand off the 7 lbs of stone ground grits I had brought her from the US to her designated carrier (Ron ;-) ).

Eventually, most everyone had a chance to speak and get pictures and then everyone headed upstairs for a casual lunch.  After lunch, we trooped downstairs to hear talks about Jacobite history and some special presentations from Terry, Ron, Maril, Ira and Toni. It was all simply fascinating. Terry even brought some of the costumes for attendees to get an up close and personal look at.

Eventually though, the Outlander production people had to pack up and take their leave. I can say that I was thoroughly impressed not just by their willingness to come to the Gathering and share stories and experiences, but I was all very impressed by the Gathering attendees as well. Everyone one was most polite and mannerly and there was not mobbing or crowding. Everyone waited patiently for their turn for an autograph or picture. I saw Ron tweet after the event that it was the best fan event he had every been to and I have to agree. The UK Outlander Gathering attendees have done a superb job.

The last event on the day’s program was the formal dinner and Ceilidh. After a quick change of clothing for most attendees, everyone reconvened in the main meeting room to find that it had been completely transformed. Lighted candelabra adorned every table and the covered chairs had decorative plaid bows. The effect was simply stunning. Finding our seats via place cards, we enjoyed an excellent meal of Leek and Cheddar tart, Haggis stuffed chicken breast with potato and veg, and a dessert of creme brulee with shortbread cookies. Finally, hot tea and coffee service finished the meal (oh and there just happened to be some tablet on the tray as well).

Finally it was time to burn off some of the calories just consumed. Scottish band Skipinish took to the stage to play a mix of new and traditional tunes and call some Scottish Country Dances for the attendees. At this point though, my coach was most definitely about to turn into a pumpkin, so after a couple of songs, I said my goodbyes and hopped in the car for the trip back to Pitlochry. The trip was luckily uneventful except for an owl that swooped out in front of the car.

Tomorrow the plan is to head back to Glasgow for a few days of fun and mayhem. Stay tuned to see what trouble I can get way way into (and hopefully talk my way out of). ;-)

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

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Outlander Season 1A Episodes 101-108 Gàidhlig Roundup

With Outlander launching on Amazon UK Prime Instant Video this week, I thought it might be a good time to have a post that consolidates the links to all of the episode posts I did deciphering a bit of the Gaelic from each episode.

Episode 101 – Sassenach – http://wp.me/p4jvVh-li

Episode 101 – Sassenach Follow-up – http://greatscotblog.com/2014/08/11/outlander-episode-101-more-gaidhlig-bits/

Episode 102 – Castle Leoch http://wp.me/p4jvVh-ms

Episode 103 – The Way Out http://wp.me/p4jvVh-mI

Episode 104 – The Gathering http://wp.me/p4jvVh-n8

Episode 105 – Rent http://wp.me/p4jvVh-nA

Episode 106 – The Garrison Commander http://wp.me/p4jvVh-nW

Episode 107 – The Wedding http://wp.me/p4jvVh-o8

Episode 108 – Both Sides Now http://wp.me/p4jvVh-ow

I hope this helps those new to the series!  And for those who have been following all along, don’t worry! I’ll be continuing my attempts at translation into the second half of the season as well!

Credit to @Heughligans for the picture

Outlandish Reflections on a Plaid Carpet Premiere

What a weekend…

Well, it’s been a few days and I’m still not down from the high of all that I experienced at the Outlander Premiere on Friday night. It’s almost hard to know where to begin, but I have heard that the beginning is a very good place to start!

First of all, for those who are a bit wary, this is not going to be a recap of the actual first episode, so those who are determined to be unspoiled on August 9th need not worry! There are some excellent episode recaps out already that have that covered. What I am going to do is give you a window into my experience. Hopefully, this will allow everyone who wasn’t able to attend to feel at least a part of the excitement.

Tell me if you’ve heard the one about 6 women trying to get ready in a single hotel room…

That’s right, you heard me. Before we could go anywhere, it was necessary for 6 of us to get dressed, hair styled and made up. Not that easy as you might imagine. Especially as all of us had brought more than one outfit and it was necessary for each of us to try everything we brought on and get the consensus of the group on THE outfit that should be worn. Through that process, we took the time to order in a lunch as we feared—and were correct—that this might be the last meal of the evening.

Appetites dealt with, it was time to begin the shuffling required to get everyone shower, mirror and straightening iron time. Luckily, we had our own personal stylist on hand. It’s always nice to be friends with someone with red carpet experience. And while there may be no ‘Words heard on set’ tweets from Maril due to the filming hiatus for the premiere, I can report that the following words were heard in our hotel room:

Suck in…Lift your boobs….do you mind if I stick my hand here and adjust this…

And the best of all…

I usually get dinner first before I let someone do this.

But, right on time, we were tweaked, looking perfect, and all ready to go! We requested our UberXL vehicle and headed out for our special night.

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Pinch me…

I think all of us were still pinching ourselves that we were really going to the Outlander Premier as invited guests and we really had no idea what to expect.  Soon enough, however, we pulled up to the Spreckels Theater to join a line of others waiting for the Will Call lines to open. Coincidentally, a band of kilted men came by to help us pass the time. I mean, really, what could be more fun and appropriate! I couldn’t resist having my picture taken with them and was given an Outlander bandana of my very own.

I won’t show a picture, but I was amazed to find that even two of Diana Gabaldon’s children were waiting in line behind us. I figure they are in store for a pretty interesting evening since I’ve heard Diana say that they have never read her books as, in the words of one daughter, “I don’t want to read sex scenes written by my mother.” However,  it doesn’t surprise me at all that Twitter0c2dc2ethey didn’t expect any special treatment.

Pretty soon it was 6:30 and the Will Call line began moving quickly. I made very sure that I stuck close to the lucky girl who actually won the tickets as I knew my +1 status was dependent on her!

Once we had our tickets in hand, we walked behind the Step and Repeat Backdrop and Plaid Carpet the stars would soon walk and entered the atrium of the theater. It was a wonderland of trees, stones and kilted men. I truly felt I was walking through the trees at Craigh na Dun. Once in the theater lobby, we were able to peruse a selection of blue vases—a la Claire’s shopping in Inverness.

I can’t begin to list everyone I met from the Outlander Twitter and Facebook worlds. As with all Outlander-related events, meeting people in person that you normally only tweet and Facebook message with is one of the best parts of the evening.  I quickly ducked into the actual theater for a moment to see where my seat was. Turns out it was in the Orchestra level in Row S. This was one of the last rows in that level of the theater, but the venue was so small and intimate, I was sure I would have no problems seeing anything on stage.

Keeping my eyes wide open…

I then went back out to the atrium to people watch as others arrived.  I had the immense privilege of speaking with several key executives including Chris Parnell (Sony) and Karen Bailey (Starz). However, the highlight by far was the chance to speak with Bear McCreary. He graciously stopped and spoke with me for three or four minutes. I wish I could remember in more detail what he said—or what I said for that matter. I do remember telling him how much I admired his use of instrumentation in his work and he said how amazed he was at all of the support from Outlanders so far. I’m also crushed that I didn’t remember to have someone take my picture with him but I did get some video of him with Kathy. I also spotted Zac McGowan, Luke Arnold and Jessica Parker Kennedy from Starz’s Black Sails walking through as well. Last but not least, I also had the opportunity to speak briefly with Jolie Lash of Access Hollywood. She is the one who has put together some of the funniest cast interview filmed during her set visit to Scotland back in February, including the “Sexiest Gaelic Words” and “What is it about a man in a kilt” videos.

At this point, the greeters started clearing the lobby for the big arrivals. One of these days I’m going to learn that sometimes it doesn’t pay to always follow instructions, but alas this wasn’t the day, so I took my seat.  Others who didn’t follow directions got some great pictures. As I stated earlier, there are no bad seats in this theater.

It really starts to get real or should that be reel…

I had just settled in my seat when I noticed a bit of a buzz. Ushers were escorting the cast to seats among the crowd in the Orchestra level. I would never have expected that to happen. I managed to get some video of them but I apologize for the quality and the sound as I was just a bit excited.

First up was Lotte Verbeek (Geilis Duncan).

Next, crowd favorite Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie)

And entering to a great ovation, author Diana Gabaldon along with Co-executive Producer Maril Davis.

Also to the delight of the crowd, Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) were next. After Sam was seated, I realized I had a perfect view of his face in profile from less than 20 feet away. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think I would be able to see Sam out of the corner of my eye while watching Outlander. I could actually see during the screening which scenes he paid close attention to and which were the ones where he grabbed his water bottle.

And last, but most definitely not least, one of my personal favorites, Tobias Menzies (Frank/Black Jack Randall).

Once everyone was seated, the house lights dimmed and out stepped Bear McCreary to give a live performance prior to the screening. He began with a couple of traditional Scottish folk songs: The haunting ballad Loch Lomond and then a fiddle tunes “Clean Pease Strae” and “Comin’ Through the Rye.” Next, was the very first live performance of the theme for Jamie and Claire that Bear wrote especially for the show. It was so haunting and evocative, I swear I could feel the wind from the moor and smell the heather. Lastly, Bear’s wife Raya Yarbrough took the stage to perform the song from the Outlander opening title sequence—a modified version of The Skye Boat Song. It literally gave me chills. I took a few short video clips but you will have to excuse my inability to keep quiet.

Loch Lomond –

“Clean Pease Strae” and “Comin’ Through the Rye”

Jamie and Claire’s Theme

I am also posting a video that someone else took of the entire performance and posted on YouTube. The video quality isn’t wonderful but the sound is pretty good.

Everything I thought it could be and so much more…

Once the live performance was over,  the curtain lifted and the credits started to roll. You could hear cheers and smatters of applause as names we know and already love flashed on the screen. Costume Designer Terry Dresbach received applause and cheers but the largest ovation by far was when Diana’s name was displayed. Thankfully for those not able to attend, Starz has released the opening title sequence on YouTube. Prepare to be amazed by the haunting vignettes and music. I will warn you that it is very addictive though. I’ve been finding myself singing the song for two days now.

I promised no spoilers for the episode content and I will hold by that. If you are interested in reading more about the actual episode, I highly recommend you read Candida’s A True Fan’s Review of Outlander Episode #101: Sassenach. She does a brilliant job and I understand the review has already been read and appreciated by those at the highest levels. As for my own reaction, I honestly can’t think of anything I would have changed. There were favorite lines, surprises, passion, action and humor. All of the things long time fans have appreciated about Outlander since 1991. Perhaps the best summary of my feelings is this tweet I sent to Maril Davis (@TallShipProds).

But wait, there’s more…

Not only did we get to be among the first to see a screening of the premier episode of Outlander, but there was also a moderated panel discussion afterwards. Even though jet lagged and tired from a day full of press interviews and a ComicCon panel discussion, the discussion among the participants was enjoyable and insightful. There were some great moments, especially when cheers went up for Gàidhlig tutor Àdhamh Ò Broin. Also, I think Ron Moore gave the best summary of Outlander Season 1 ever. I predict that the phrase “and that doesn’t go so well” will become a new catch phrase among Outlanders everywhere.

Here is a video released by Starz of the entire Q&A panel discussion.

The Clock Strikes Midnight

All too soon, the Q&A session was over and I knew my magical evening was drawing to a close. After lingering a bit in the lobby, trying to make the evening last as long as possible and speaking to friends, we finally exited the theater to the sidewalk outside. There we were privileged to have the opportunity to speak for quite a while with Karen Bailey, Sr. Vice President for Original Programming with Starz, and her husband, Palmer. It was great to hear some interesting tidbits about things that may be coming up for Starz and its productions.

Waving goodbye to Karen who was off to another event, I and the rest of my party adjourned to the nearby Westin hotel for a drink, some nibbles and the chance to discuss the night’s events. I sent a few congratulatory tweets to those I knew had made such wonderful contributions to the production including Terry Dresbach and Àdhamh Ó Broin.

Finally, even drinks and food couldn’t prolong the evening any longer. We hopped in our UberXL and made the journey back to Kearny Mesa, a tired but thoroughly pleased party. Sadly our group of six wonderful ladies had to split up and go our separate ways, but we have wonderful memories we will share forever. Thank you so much to Marisa, Candida, Darcy, Jen, and Kathy for sharing this fantastical evening.

Watch out world. Outlander is coming!

Credits to @Heughligans (Plaid Carpet picture) and @Candida_LN (Forest Lobby picture)