Yes it’s Scotland I’m talking about, and I could also have mentioned Painters, Kings and Queens; single malt scotch whisky and bagpipes. It is important to notice the spelling of Scotch Whisky. No ‘e’, that’s reserved for every other type of distilled grain alcohol, although I do like Jameson Irish Whiskey. But for me it’s The Macallan and I’m just waiting to buy their 1948 bottle if I my wife would ever allow me to spend $12,000 on a drink.

For those who have never been to Edinburgh, it is a beautiful city nestled on the Firth of Forth, rich in history and culture; a sophisticated city of art galleries; modern architecture that flows with ancient buildings; parks; theatres; gourmet restaurants, and a public transport system that makes moving around easy and efficient. For me it is the blending of the old and the new, a strong and proud acknowledgement of the past, and a firm embrace of the future that so fills my soul with a sense of peace of the moment and an excitement of the future. Edinburgh is also a high tech city, a leader in the field of medicine and genetics as well as the centre of an all encompassing arts and film festival that attracts visitors and participants from around the world. It is a city I have known since I was a small boy scrambling up Arthur’s Seat, an outcrop of rock, from where you can see the city laid out before you. A city that inspires, calms and refreshes all at the same time.

Until the weather turns.

Well this is the UK after all, and the temperature dropped from a balmy 17C to a freezing 6C in just a day. Walking back to the flat from the train station last night after my grandson’s birthday party, we were assailed by gale force winds and driving rain that left us frozen to the bone and thankful for an efficient heating system.

There is a reason we live in Southern California.

Having said that, we’re looking forward to the cultural delights that are so lacking in Southern California. A visit to the Picasso Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, dinner with my uncle and aunt tomorrow, and my daughter’s wedding in a picturesque village just outside Perth at the end of the week. True to Scottish tradition I shall be proudly wearing a kilt as I walk my daughter down the aisle, a Piper playing bagpipes in the background. It is that sense of timeless history that pervades this ancient land, a proud heritage stretching back nearly a thousand years; a strong sense of independence that is reflected in the 21st century as Nationalists push for total independence from England. Scotland has its own Parliament, its own currency (still based on the English Pound) and its own unique sense of self.

Whether or not full independence ever comes about I think is irrelevent. (Noises are made by those who perhaps have not thought through the total economic ramifications).  But that spirit of roguish rebellion is what adds to the character of a proud country with proud traditions that fights every day to ensure that the past is a living breathing part of the present and the future.

Through the poems of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, to the novels of Robert Louis Stevenson and J.K. Rowling, the passion, pride and innovative vision of the Scottish people live forever.