Well that’s what they say but coming down off the Sheriffmuir t’other day I couldn’t help but take the turn into Blackford – the place where Highland Spring bottled water comes from. I lived there briefly in my mid-teens and even after leaving for pastures new at a farm outside Dunblane I would go back to Blackford for the Saturday night dancing to Jimmy Shand Jnr or something similar. Back then a modern quickstep would be followed by a Scottish country dance – it was where I learned about girls and how to dance with them.
I also learned about the demon drink – a little would loosen up the legs and feet – a lot would come back and sting you before the evening was over. Knowledge doesn’t come cheap and a few beers in the tiny Blackford Inn on the back street of two with my mate Rab Rennie had to be followed by a trip along the optics – finishing at the Glayva – it’s seductive golden syrupy colour and tangerine/almond/honey tinged with cinammon flavour sent me over to the nearby Village Hall as if walking on air.
Jimmy’s accordian was going great guns that night – the girls were birrling faster and faster – when – in the middle of a Strip the Willow I had to clap my hand over my mouth and head for the door! I just made it – sick as a pig and hungover for three days – my old man was seldom amused and he certainly wasn’t by that escapade!
I was seventeen going on an official eighteen on my last visit – now 62 years later I doubt if these legs could do the Strip the Willow or an Eightsome Reel even if I drank the whole cask of the stuff!