My cottage is actually on the outskirts of Dufftown. I can see the "Welcome to Dufftown" sign from my front door. It's about a half mile into town, all up hill. It makes cycling there very difficult and cycling home far too easy (I tested to see if I could get home without a single rotation of the pedal. I got within a block of the cottage, but then the road flattens out for a bit). Along the way I pass what appears to be fields of big, hairy bulls, casually grazing with only a very small wire fence between us. It seems dangerous to me, but I wonder if my notion of them as the more threatening and aggressive of the domestic animals comes from watching too many cartoons. It turns out that my ignorance is much more substantial. I learn that all cows are born with horns, but farmers have them removed. But the horns of HIghland Cattle (also known as, ah, Hairy Coo or Shaggy Coo) are left as is.
Kenneth, a Scottish poet here on residency, noted that the hill is so steep he stashes his bicycle in the bush at the halfway mark, and returns for it later. I get worried enough parking my bike outside the shop for ten minutes while I get groceries. Apparently no one locks their bicycles here.
I mention in passing that Toronto is known as one of the worst cities in North America for bike theft, which is greeted with some surprise. Then today I read online that Igor Kenk was arrested last week and charged with masterminding the largest bike theft operation in the history of the city. He was caught, ironically enough, stealing a locked bike while the Police were maintaining a sting operation nearby, with an unlocked one. Kenk was seen pointing to the bikes and paying the person who cuts the locks, later identified as his girlfriend. On the following day his shop, and several others, were raided and 2000 bicycles were recovered. A local business offered up an empty warehouse to display the bikes for victims to identify and apparently upwards of a hundred people have claimed back their stolen bicycles.
Kenk has long been viewed as a suspicious character, running the shady Bicycle Clinic on Queen West. During the raid cyclists gathered at Trinity Bellwoods Park across the street to watch the police remove the bicycles, cheering them along.