Daily Update – Scotland, August 1, 2013

Contributions by AK Bell, 20th century philanthropist, included this library. Parks, housing for the poor, and community water resources are among his many  donated works.

Contributions by AK Bell, 20th century philanthropist, included this library, appropriately named the AK Bell Library. Parks, housing for the poor, and community water resources are among his many donated works.

We are quickly adapting to life in Scotland. Yesterday, with a copy of our lease agreement showing our local address, we obtained library cards. That may not seem like a big deal. However, to me it means a great deal. Not only can we check out books, but we can also truly call ourselves members of the community.

We visited a different grocery store called Lidl. Other than being bigger than the convenient Salisbury’s Grocery on our block, it was rather ordinary. Their local cherries at $3/lb. were excellent! And their unusual selection of housewares and toys gave the store a feel of part grocery, part department store.

At Lidl’s, in order to obtain a cart you must deposit a £1 coin in the handle of the grocery cart to release the lock. When you are done with the cart, you get your £1 back when you return the cart and insert the locking mechanism. Alas, they do not need to employ someone to gather carts from all over the parking lot.

We are readily identified as Americans when we write a date like August 1, 2013, or 8/1/13. Here, days come first, so today is 1/8/13, which is logical since each unit is increasing in scale as you read the date.

Driving on the left side of the road is still disorienting. Whether it is logical or not is up for debate. I simply have to remember to look right first when crossing the street. One sweet old lady that we spoke to when asking directions recognized us immediately as Americans and cautioned us as we prepared to cross the street, “Look both ways first. And watch your step.” At first I thought she may have been overly cautious, but sure enough there was a car coming from my right in the near lane. Bless her heart, she probably saved me from a near miss.

The weather has been abnormally sunny this past month. The locals talk of the rain just like folks back in Seattle, like it is unusual if it is not raining. Situation normal – today it is raining. No problem. That is why we packed raincoats. I would say growing up in the Puget Sound area prepared me perfectly for life in Scotland.

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17 comments on “Daily Update – Scotland, August 1, 2013

  1. A library card is HUGE deal – congratulations! . E-books are fabulous, but it’s awfully nice to check out a book once in a while. (The library here in Boquete is definitely a big plus) I’m enjoying reading about your Northern adventures, thanks for taking the time to share them.

    • Mike Lince says:

      We have found a few nice book stores here in Perth, too. I have half a dozen books to read for now. However, I also like sitting in the library. And they have a nice coffee shop there, too. Thank you for sharing your comments. – Mike

  2. thisismandy says:

    I quite like Lidl for basics (you know, pasta, breads, fruit and veg, milk, cheese, tins of bits and pieces) because it’s so cheap, and also at the end of my road. Handy!
    I was a little weirded out with the whole £1 for a trolley thing, but I think it’s way smart. The same with making people buy bags, pack their own food and letting the cashiers sit down in a comfy chair. You get to pay less for food, and the cashiers are happier! Win-win!

  3. nantubre says:

    this week I paid $3.49 a pound for cherries and thought I got away with something big! Unfortunately, that’s twice what it was last year. Have a great time in Scotland.

  4. This reminds me of our many temporary living adventures abroad. And getting a library card must be somewhere on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. Probably pretty close to the top. I would love to see a video of our first time in a grocery store in Europe where we not only had to buy bags for our groceries, but bag them as well. It’s a simple idea now, but it was confusing as hell at the time. Best of luck. ~James

    • Mike Lince says:

      Having a library card just feels so civilized. And we are getting pretty good at bagging our own groceries. We actually packed our favorite grocery bags that we have had with us since living in Panama. Most challenges have been minor. It is just part of living somewhere new as you know.

  5. I like your attitude that getting a library card makes you part of the community! I’m enjoying reading about your adventures. Thanks for writing them.

  6. reocochran says:

    I love all the details of “everyday” life in your new “home town!” I would enjoy it but also miss some of your old familiar items, too. I liked the way you are making this home. Your temporary home, plus your partner with you, makes anywhere home…

    • Mike Lince says:

      You describe perfectly why this lifestyle Florence and I have chosen is not for everybody. We gave up being tied to one place and to possessions in order to live on the go abroad. A number of followers have indicated they are content to enjoy the experience vicariously because they could not see themselves letting go of a place or of family to travel. All I can say is I spent most of my life tied to one spot, and this new lifestyle is an adventure all its own.

      I always appreciate you sharing your thoughts, Robin. Thank you for your comments. – Mike

  7. I get it with the library card – you guys aren’t tourists anymore! And the library cards will come in handy without a TV. And I like the idea of giving a deposit to get a grocery cart. All too often I find a choice parking spot only to find a cart smack in the middle of it. That’s unlikely to happen if you have to give a deposit to get your cart. Celeste 🙂

    • Mike Lince says:

      You are right, we are not full-time tourists. At least not now that we have a place to call home. Tourist travel is something that requires dedicated effort and energy. I suppose that is why most people take vacations only a week or two at a time. Our four-week vagabond journey was exhausting, especially carting all of our possession everywhere with us. Ugh! It is so nice to just take daily walks, and the weather has been cooperating nicely! Speaking of the library, my DVD’s are due today. I am off soon! – Mike

  8. I think it’s great that you got a library card, and Lidl has some amazing bargains. I believe it’s a German store, which is why a lot of their stuff is from the Continent, but the prices are excellent, and the fruit and veg is usually very good value. Their avocados are almost half the price of those in Tesco, and – in my experience – of far superior quality. Go Lidl!

    • Mike Lince says:

      The biggest difference when buying fresh fruit in Scotland is the number of countries that ship fruit here. Even though I got spoiled in Panama and Mexico where avocados and mangos were 25-35p each, we could not get good cherries and raspberries. You’re right about prices at Lidl’s – good quality at good prices.

      • That’s very true, we don’t grow much ourselves. Fruit, in particular, is not great here, with the exception of berries and, later on, apples which grow well in this climate. It’ll be a joy for you in Spain with all the freshly grown produce. I guess everywhere has its advantages and disadvantages, and the lack variety and availability of good fresh fruit is a down side in Scotland.

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