Dropped down last night to the Soi 8 bar on, Sukhumvit Soi 8 of course, for the ‘wake’ of Lydia Riach. People familiar with Scottish wakes of course will know they are a celebration of a life, rather than the mourning of a death and this was no exception.
Some 200 people attended the cremation and this brought out the Bangkok Scots in force and oddly enough Scandahoofians too. With a Norseman pouring large tumblers of ‘black’ I found myself joining in ‘The Skye boat song’, ‘No awa abide awa’ , ‘Flower of Scotland’ ‘Will ye no come back again’ and of course the old time classic ‘A wee doch and dorris’. Well I was joining in quietly. I didnt want to be shamed for getting any words wrong.
A good night. I can’t remember leaving. And I don’t know whose umbrella I came home with, not from the Soi 8 bar, because I was still soaked when I remember meeting some Brit foreign office people in another bar later.
Anyway it was a warm and cheerful event and the crowd probably represented Lydia and Dougie’s popularity here. Thai Police made a nice gesture by also attending the cremation.
I am Scottish of course but as I have what people regard as a public school English accent I have difficulty convincing people. I was educated at boarding schools in Scotland but as my father was a pilot I had to live in the home counties (mostly Berkshire) within driving distance of Heathrow. I usually fall back defensively on the old: ‘We’ll, we’re not all Rob Roys ye know’. I am clearly not getting the message across, because at one point Dougie made a funny comment about the English then apologised to me.
If (left) this is what my ancestors looked like maybe I should just keep my mouth shut. I wouldn’t want to meet him down Sukhumvit
Actually as connoisseurs of this site will know from recent revelations I went to school at the Abbey in Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire and this was at the same time as Dougie Riach and his brother Eddie went to Inverness Academy. We probably had a few rucks at Rugby ( Ahem I think Inverness Academy was one of the easier sides to beat!)
Anyway I had bettor not dwell on this as it was a Drummond who lost the Battle of Cullodon (near Inverness) for Prince Charlie. Scotland thereafter could only rule the world by joining up with the English.
The last wake I was invited to was one at Drumnadrochit on the banks of Loch Ness. At the time I was Scottish News Editor at the News of the World. Each year a bunch of us, which always included Jimmy Grylls, News Editor of the Scottish Daily Mail, Wee Nigel Benson , a vertically challenged reporter with the Glasgow Evening Times, and stocky Glaswegian Bobby Orr, would hire a cruiser from Inverness and weave down the Caledonian Canal.
Every year, fortified from our ’40 ouncers’ of Bells, Wee Nigel would also abandon ship after seeing ghosts off Invergarry Castle. Eventually Nigel died, though not from drowning in loch water. I was away but Jimmy and Bobby went up for his funeral and wake to ‘Drum’.
As they respectfully viewed ‘Wee Nigel’ in his coffin Bobbie Orr said: ‘He’s looking awfie good. In fact I dinnae think I’ve ever seen him looking so well.’
‘Aye’ replied Jimmy, ‘that’ll be because he hasnae had a drink for a couple of days.’
That seemed to have broken the ice because not long afterwards they were ‘all awa with the fairies’.
Anyway Dougie and his son Roger and daughter Patricia are flying back with Lydia for a service in Inverness Friday week. My best wishes go with them.