"Dress Code - Part I"
Steve and I hosted a Clan MacFarlane Worldwide tent at a Wichita, Kansas Highland Game several years ago. It was a new event, and we were very proud to be there. From that Game, we have made life-long friends with, Anita and Dan and Harold and Jennifer. Perhaps it was watching the chubby belly dancers in top hats dancing to a "bump and grind" selecton of music that created our bond. More likely, it was the fascinating conversation we had with a gentleman with a very British accent giving us all sorts of advice about everything Scottish. We learned so much from him. But when he turned to walk away and join the group forming up for the Clan parade, Dan quietly asked "who is going to tell him he has his kilt on backwards?" I quickly looked back at our guest, and indeed, you couldn't see any pleats moving. So much for all his sage advice about everything Scottish!
So other than ensuring you have the pleats to the back, what else should you consider? For me, the length of the kilt is often suspect to my scrutiny. I've seen some way too short and some way too long. There are several resources to proper length.
Mentioned in a great website: "How to Wear the Kilt" from the Scottish Tartans Authority.
"The subject of Highland dress can occupy a complete book - in fact the late Charles Thompson proved it by writing 'So you're going to wear the kilt?' and one piece of advice that many of us on this side of the Atlantic would disagree with is his assertion that 'At the very longest, the kilt should reach only to the top of the knee.' At that height it tends to lose its elegance and its admired swing and fills onlookers with trepidation in case the wearer should bend over too far..."
Steve purchased two of his kilts from a maker in Edinburgh, that has since closed its doors. (Sordid story of trying to work around the VAT taxes by shipping all goods to Palm Beach, California first and then to U.S. buyers. The IRS caught up with them.) They told Steve that the kilt should fall to the middle of the knee cap. (Oh, and be pulled up to cover the belly-button.)
Steve's third kilt was made by J. Higgins, Ltd., from Lenexa, KS. Yes, Kansas. J. Higgins makes many of the pipe band kilts, and we have found the workmanship beautifully done. If you get to peek into the back room, you will see patterns and bolts of beautiful wool tartan. You can be confident you will have a well-made kilt when you receive it. But I note that they too measured the length of his kilt to the middle of his knee. They have a guide for measuring for a kilt should you wish to order one online:
Kilts & Kilt Skirts
- Waist ___(the stomach at the navel which is the widest for men; narrowest for women. Where women wear their belts.)
- Ledge of Hip Bone ___ (This is where men would wear a belt with a pair of pants)
- Hips ___(The widest part around the seat)
- Length ___(Taken from the ledge of hip bone to middle knee while standing straight; we add 2" to this measurement. Provide total lengths for below knee skirts, we will not add 2" to these type skirts.)
- Trouser Inseam___
- Your Height ___ (in feet and inches)
- Total length of a kilt you currently own___
So I say, if they want to measure to the middle knee, that is good enough for me!
Looking for images to share with you, I did find "skortman." Ummmm... I'm not even going to post it here. Yuck! But here is a good free example from Pixaby again, of 3 different lengths. My preference? Number 1 on the far left.
Going to the Dogs
Steve and I have blended our families. However, we blended when all our children were adults. So instead of additional children, we did the most obvious thing to do, we brought home a dog. Hamish, is a shitszu. Not a Scottish dog, but our family member.
At one of our favorite Highland Games, there is a parade on Saturday morning. Thousands, yes thousands, line the streets of downtown Estes Park, Colorado. The crowds cheer on the various Scottish Clans, piping bands, high school marching bands, steam engine cars, and dogs. The dogs of Scotland not only walk in the parade, but they compete at the Games for a variety of awards. But I will say, I've always been a bit confused on what is a Scottish dog, and what isn't. I'm sure there are some very proud owners who "fudge" their baby's breed.
So that begs the question; what is a Scottish breed? Of course I found a terrific website with info and pictures of the various Scottish breeds. Interested in acquiring your own Scottish breed? Try here: http://www.infodogs.co.uk/dog-breeds/country/scotland
According to this very official-looking website, there are 9 breeds that originated in Scotland and of those, 5 of them are terriers. So what are the 9 breeds?
So with that, time for me to share a loving photo of our Hamish. Afterall, his name is Scottish!
A Scot in Poland
When I started looking for information about the Diaspora, I did see that there are many from Scotland who are in Poland. So now is as good a time as any to explore this. I found a great article from 2015 in the Krakow Post that provides some great help.
Bonnie Prince Charlie's mother, Marie Klementyna Sobieska, was the grandaughter of Polish King Jan III. Now THAT's a big connection, but Scots had actually been migrating to Poland since the 15th century. In fact, there are numerous locations in Poland with the name "Nowa Szkocja" or "New Scotland." Think back quickly to my blog about Nova Scotia and lessons in Latin. There is a very close resemblance. Well, I think there is.
And it appear that many typical Scottish names have been morphed into a Polish version. Thus, MacLeod is Machlejd.
Polish merchants ventured to Poland for the ability to trade easily, as well as enjoy a religous freedom they might not otherwise enjoy in their home land. By the 17th century, there were at least 30,000 Scots living in Poland. If you get a chance, do read the article from the Krakow Post that I have linked to above. There is much more information there that brings us to modern day. The history between Poland and Scotland is truly rich.
I also found a great website with Polish Scottish Heritage: http://polishscottishheritage.co.uk. Well worth the time spent if you are interested in:
and many, many more encompassing music, medicine, and inventors.
Truly a Diaspora!