News from Shakes Manor

Last night…

Mr. Shakes: Doon’t pinch my foorheed!

Shakes: I wasn’t going to pinch your forehead. You can’t even pinch a forehead! [Tries; fails.] See?

Mr. Shakes: That was soo a pinch!

Shakes: No, it wasn’t. This is a pinch. [Pinches the soft bit under his arm.]

Mr. Shakes: Oow, yoo dirty whoore! [Slaps her ass hard.]

Shakes: Quit it, fuckface!

Slap fight. Giggles…

Five years ago today at this very time, the proprietress of Shakes Manor was on her way to O’Hare Airport for a flight that would take her to London for her first face-to-face meeting with the future Mr. Shakes. By the time we met at King’s Cross, I was skanked from an 8-hour flight, and Mr. Shakes was skanked from a trainride to London from Edinburgh. After some showers and a fry-up, we set off on our first 10 days together, which took us from London to Inverness to Glen Affric to Edinburgh. It was a good 10 days.

A view of Dog Falls at Glen Affric.

Long-legged Mr. Shakes asleep on a bench at the Inverness bus station (for reasons explained here). My backpack, along with an assortment of empty cups, cigarette butts, and candy wrappers from the fine vending machines at the nearby taxi stand, are scattered on the ground below.

The scene arriving in Auld Reekie—Edinburgh Castle.

The floral clock at the edge of Princes Street Gardens, on the corner at The Mound.

Getting a peek at Clann an Drumma, just outside the gates surrounding the Scotts Monument.

We went into the gardens and stayed for the whole show.

Shakes holds up a CD of Clann an Drumma; behind her is the view from the estate on which Mr. Shakes lived in Edinburgh.

Mr. Shakes spits on the Heart of Midlothian, a mosaic built into the pavement outside St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile. It’s a tradition.

Mr. Shakes makes arrangements for us to see Margaret Cho at the Fringe Festival, part of Edinburgh Festival. I hadn’t planned my trip to coincide with Edinburgh Fest; in fact, we weren’t even planning originally to be in Edinburgh at all. Just a happy coincidence the way things worked out.

Fringe Fest.

Drunk at the Cellar Bar.

Mr. Shakes. I loved his walk, the way he hunched up his shoulders as he trekked uphill, so I fell behind just to take a picture.

Shakes and Harry, Mr. Shakes’ budgie. How pale am I? I can get sunburned in Scotland. That’s how pale I am.

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