August 18, 2005

ye'll take the high road and I'll take the low road, And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;

Tomorrow Stephen and I head off to Scotland to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary with family and friends. Since we basically eloped when we married in San Francisco last year this is a chance for folks to celebrate. In fact over twenty adventurous souls will be joining us from Connecticut, New York, California and Texas. Just the invasion of East Coast Jews schlepping their stuff across the planet to shop-it-up, talk-it-up and generally show these Scots how to have a good time! Like a giant therapy session. Oy, you shouldn’t know the pain.

The traditional celebration will be a Ceilidh Dance, which, from my understanding has evolved into our American square dance tradition. Here’s some simple instructions for you to follow along at home:

Strip the Willow

Formation: Longwise sets of 4 couples, men on the right and ladies on the left as viewed from the band. Couples number from nearest the band.
Music: 6/8 or 9/8 double jigs. E.g. "The Irish Washerwoman", "The Curlew", "The Jig of Slurs" for 6/8 and "Drops of Brandy" for 9/8.
Bars: Description
1-8 1st couple spin RH.
9-20 1st lady turns 2M LH, partner RH, 3M LH, partner RH, 4M LH.
21-24 Spin with partner RH to the end of the phrase.
25-36 1st man turns 4L LH, partner RH, 3L LH, partner RH, 2L LH.
37-40 Spin with partner RH to the end of the phrase.
41-52 1st lady works down men, while 1st man works down ladies, turning 2C LH, partner RH, 3C LH, partner RH, 4C LH.
53-56 Spin with partner RH to the end of the phrase.

Just imagine the good laugh these Scottish folks are going to have at our expense – twister never seemed so easy.

I will post images and stories of Scotland while on our adventure so visit the blog and be prepared to learn cultural insights such as eating haggis and smoked kippers, dancing Strip the Willow, reciting the poetry of Robert Burns while toasting the Queen, and navigating the Edinburgh Festival!