Die deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (Teil 11 und 12 zusammen. Wie ihr sicherlich bereits bemerkt habt, habe ich mich bemüht, mehr und bessere Bilder zu finden).
Perth-Mountquhanie Estate (Cupar, Fife)
July 26, 1974 (Friday to Sunday, departure Monday July 29, 1974)
Our next destination is Mountquhanie Estate, a large estate in County Fife, near the village of Cupar. We got the address from a Franciscan nun, an acquaintance of my friend. In response to a letter, we were invited to visit. [I don’t remember exactly why we were invited, but the owner at the time was a very hospitable man.]
We are taken to Dundee by a Scottish politician named John Fairly [I googled and could only find one Jim Fairlie who fits in age and with the political activities] (he was either an SNP politician or a union man). He reports that he used to hitchhike himself when he was still studying and had no money. We have a very interesting conversation with him in the parking lot in Dundee. We tell him about the radical from Invershin. He says that in ten years Scotland will be independent, without violence, democratically. [That was 1974. Unfortunately that didn’t happen in 1984; in 2015 they had a chance though.] I also mentioned the Scots‘ depressing attitude towards their own country. “No wonder,” he says, “if you tell a people for centuries that it is worthless, in the end they will believe it themselves!”
However, he also has a question for us. A group of Bavarians recently visited Scotland and said that they played a role in Germany that was similar to that of Scotland in Great Britain: Bavarians were also denied independence. In my opinion, the two situations cannot be compared. Bavaria was a member of the German Confederation, which later resulted in among others the Federal Republic of Germany. Bavaria was not colonized by its neighbours, and its raw materials are not being bought by the neighbouring states at underprice, at least I don’t think so. [That is what we were told in Scotland, that they have to pay more for their own products than the people in London. I heard the same said in Wales on a later travel. I do not know, if it is true.]
We say goodbye and make our way over the Tay Bridge. It’s long, longer, longest, if you have to cross it in a strong headwind. The place on the other side is called Newport, apparently a settlement of better-off people, where we have lunch at the Seymour Hotel. The young waitress finds it boring here; she would rather live in Dundee. I don’t find Dundee particularly appealing myself. But maybe there are nice spots there too.
Bob, the owner of Mountquhanie, picks us up from Newport. Felicity, his wife, reminds us of a decadent noblewoman; Bob seems more down to earth. They have six children, two girls and four boys, one of whom is still a baby. Two au pair girls are always employed on the estate, ’Felicity’s slaves’ and Jim, an agriculture student, ’Bob’s slave’. I would prefer to work for Bob. The girls are busy washing dishes and cooking food all day and otherwise have to take the children for a drive in the car or do something else with them. Bob also has an agriculture secretary, a sturdy girl.
In order to earn our food in some way, we offer Bob the work of our hands (those lily-white hands). The only thing that bothers me is my cold. I feel really bad.
Bob actually finds us a job. We are supposed to help clip the wings of the pheasants.
There are four large cages full of the critters. They are to be driven into a small wooden hut in front of each lattice, cage by cage. With the first cage, it’s still comparatively easy. Meanwhile, however, the others have noticed that something is going on and are behaving accordingly hysterically.
One of us has to go into the hut (small, narrow, filled with pheasants in advance), grab a bird there and reach it with the head first through a small hole outside, which is opened by means of a flap from the outside at the command of the one that is seated inside. There the other receives the animal and holds it while Caroline (the agricultural secretary) trims the feathers of the wings. We are getting used to it very quickly. Sitting in the hut is uncomfortable. The frightened animals get scared (and the runs) and bite and scratch as far as they can in this narrow space.
At the end of this battle we load the pheasants into wire baskets and put them in a large outdoor enclosure while Bob prepares the houses for the new chicks. Until now these have been housed in an empty hayloft in an empty barn, in small, round cages that are unfortunately open at the top. When we start to catch them, a good number of them scuffle over the fence and hide behind the chipboard that is conveniently standing everywhere.
Pheasant chicks are cute, like all chicks. I don’t know how many there are, but very many, an endless bustle. I find it kind of cruel to transport these many chicks in just two wire baskets, stacked on top of each other like sardines.** Not everyone of them survives the transport intact; some arrive with sticky, bloody feathers or a broken leg or wing. (But farmers somehow have a thicker skin. How else can you raise animals just to be gunned down by some people? But I am a hypocritical meat eater: if I had to kill the animals myself, I would be a vegetarian.) [Since 1983 I’m a vegetarian.] We count the chicks into the little houses where Bob has now hung up heating lamps, because if possible there should be the same number in each one.
** [I thought later that maybe even more would have been injured, if they could have moved freely in the wire baskets during transport.]
(To be continued)