I am sitting in a little Scottish café. My interest is drawn to the way an incredibly tall waiter a little distance away is serving up a delicious-looking chicken. 'Do I have to fill in evaluation forms too?' asks David, my Scottish supervisor.
It seems that the Scottish people do not bother themselves much about brand policy. I see bilingual signboards all along the roadsides. The Scottish/Gaelic place name is on top and the English one below. Inverness - where I now stay - is Inbhir Nis in Celtic, and the monster lake of Loch Ness is - less far-fetched - Loch Niss. Incredible. How many tourists wouldn't get lost in Scotland because of such rare frills? And I would have chosen another address to stay at during my internship had I known how difficult it is to pronounce Inbhir Nis.
What's more inexplicable - as I've learned during an afternoon of bird watching - is how they allow other opportunities to slip by. Against the advice of a Dutch engineering firm, they have decided not to drain dry the lake that I am now looking at - the entry to Inverness. And so exits the possibility of a big city style entrance.
As luck would have it, Wageningen UR rules with a firm long term vision. One organization, one name. A botanical garden or estate is taken care of only when it suits your interests. That's efficient thinking, to say the least. What a waste: that Scottish culture. To think that tourists would go to Scotland for that one or the other lake. The Scots do have a lot to learn from us.