Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hard questions

It's good way to earn a living, I often think: showing people Scotland. This weekend has been a welcome break from the office, and early plans for 2008 holidays. The weather has been kind, the people receptive and I've had a lovely couple of days guiding. On Saturday my clients were two charming couples from Maryland just embarking on one of our holidays; the girls attracted principally by the Diana Gabaldon books, the boys by the golf courses. Lauren had done her homework and was thirsty for more knowledge. Questions came thick and fast from them all. 'Why has Inverness Castle got crosses on it?' 'Should Bonnie Prince Charlie have continued on to London?' 'Did the beaker people build the Clava Cairns?' 'Will we ever get those girls out of the gift shop?'

On Sunday it was a small group from a cruise ship and the questions were somehow different. 'What is the range of a Brown Bess musket?' 'What are Scotland's principal imports?'

It's good fun being forced to think, and I believe I made a reasonable stab at all of the above, but two years ago, (I remember it well), I was completely floored by a twelve year old boy called Giovanni Fusco. He asked, amongst things: 'How far south did they worship the Norse Gods?' and 'Were the Picts the most warlike of the Celtic peoples?'

Answers to either question in the Comments column please.

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