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Sunday, March 13, 2005


Islay Riler

So ... what are we to make of that scrolled message addressed to one island about another?

I've already commented in exceedingly surly and un-islanderly fashion on the awful *look* of the piece

  • That camp scroll frame
  • Crammed type
  • Impatience with lay-out and slapdash extravagance with the bold pen.

    Now for the words themselves.

    • Islay owner (neé Ruby's) Maura Crisp has learned of 'some misinformation out there concerning the Islay Manor' (note the "the" - Iluh M has suddenly acquired the definite article).
    • Rather than spell out the misinformation so we know where we've been going wrong, Ms Crisp offers to tell us what's up at the restaurant and some upcoming events.
    • Then she decides to do neither, instead launching into some bizarre ramble about the place's wholly incongruous and uninviting name.
    • But first she panics the bejasus out of us by reassuring us that they are "open, alive and well on the South side of the Island".
      • Whenever a commercial establishment needs to spell it out that way, you can bet your bottom bawbie they are drowning, not waving.
    • But back to the discouraging name: from pleasant enough visits - including showing it off to pals from north of the border - the place seems unpretentious enough, but I've never understood why it was landed with such a name. I asked my pal Hamish to scrutinize every nook and cranny, from menu to masonry, and point out the Scottish influence
      • Portraits of tartaned ancestors?
      • A dagguerotype of a pet haggis cavorting?
      • Choice dishes from Granny MacAaron's own recipe book?
      • Wall-hanging sporrans, kilt pins or crossed Sgian Dubhs?
      • Apparently not.
    • "I know it is hard to pronounce," writes Crisp - "say Eye-Lay".
    • What's so hard to pronounce about Eye-Lay? And while we're about it, *don't* say Eye Lay, say Eye Luh.
      • See Armin Crewe
      • See here
      • Read the FAQ
      • Ask anyone who's been within a whiff of Lagavulin on the island:
    • "Islay is pronounced 'Eye-lah' and not Izlay. The latter pronunciation is darned annoying but, if you can master the proper version, you'll do alright until you have to say Bunnahabhain or Bruichladdich."
    • With so many unfancy straightforward names to choose from, *why* was Ruby's so prissily re-christened thus?

      MC accuses us of being "all global folks ... thought you'd like the international nod".

      Oh Lord, we're back to that one, are we? The old cosmopolitan flattery. Sigh. If there's one thing we are decidedly *not*, bless us, it is "global".

      Our passports may carry the stamps of exotic destinations but the moment we set foot back on BI soil, all cosmopolitan airs evaporate and we revert to form so accurately summarized by one born 'n' bread local as the unique Bainbridgers' "Two hands of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged". Ouch - but so true.

      And *what* is in the least bit "global" about a tiny Hebridean island measuring 25 miles by 20? That's like me setting up a mobile fish n chip joint down the Wandsworth Road and calling it 'Bainbridge Barrows'. No way would I smarm up those south Londoners with talk of international nods or inferences that the community harbored "global" folks among us. Blimey - talk about laughing stock. (Whoops, forgot. we are.)

    • Nothing much in the next para - an itinerary of who's up to what and where they're doing it. I assume this is meant to correct the 'misinformation' we're accused of laboring under - lazy ignorant customers that we are.
    • Nor much in the 4th paragraph - Aaron of Islay grandma fame still oversees the kitchen AND our "favorite entrees are still on the menu", whichever those happen to be.
    • Suddenly we get a sprinkling of bold type: the favorite entrées comment; Monday date nights; pleadings for reservations; and another drowning-not-waving line about thanking us for our "continued patronage". Clearly is it NOT being continued, or why the unsightly ¼-page S.O.S. in the first place?
    • Finally - Dept of eating Islay cake and still having it - a friendly gesture towards UN-global folks who'd run a mile from an international nod:
      • Folksy li'l reference to the fire in the library still cracklin'
      • So's not to be outdone by Mary's promise that "the coffee's always on", the Eye-La folks also want to assure us that "the martini's are waiting", even chucking in that illiterate grocers' apostrophe to make us feel at home and NOT too global for our boots.

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