I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. Scotland certainly has its problems, but I don't think life there could be fairly described as very difficult for most people. I think the majority of the world's population would consider it a life of ease.
Evidently their cooking is good enough. Most of the people that I saw seemed to enjoy their food - in fact they looked like they enjoy it a little too much.
That's the point and also its consequence: it's generally crap.
Both my mother-in-law and my wife were excellent cooks; my son trained as a professional chef and worked in some top places in Glasgow until he packed it all in in order to get a life where he was allowed friends of an evening! The three of those people said the same thing: crap in - crap out. In other words, you can't create astonishing food from rubbish, and I'm afraid that the bulbous people you see walking the streets have not allowed themselves or their families the better choices in life. I don't for a moment accept that 'good' raw products are out of reach: when you can smoke the paypacket away or give it to the bookies and off-licences, you could, if you chose, buy top-class food and learn to cook it.
My wife had the further advantage of my mother - half-Italian - and she learned much from her, too, and best of all, she enjoyed making things out of whatever was locally available and in season. Chuck-its in buckets never crossed our doorstep.
Thirty or twenty-five years ago, there were lots of dinner parties held out here, and we usually went to one another’s homes to enjoy them. Now, the majority of people don’t even dream of spending time on their ‘friends’ anymore; they depend on the credit card and a restaurant instead. I may well be a dinosaur, but in my view, that degrades friendship terribly – it becomes nothing but another expense and no personal input enters the equation. There is no way that any restaurant captures the friendly, personal atmosphere of a home, the absolute lack of pressure to get up and leave so the staff can go away. Frankly, I’d rather stay home and play at LuLa. But there you go – different times, different commitments and little sense of values and worth.
I don’t recognize any feeling of nostalgia about returning to any ‘homeland’, though: were that in my soul then I don’t expect I’d have left in the first place. In the end, ‘home’ is a tiny place where love lives; a little house full of wife and, with some effort, kids. That you can take with you anywhere on Earth if you really want to so do. Then, when time passes and that entity is destroyed in one of the many inevitable ways, you face what? Yourself? That ‘self’ will follow you wherever you think you can go – you can’t escape it; it’s you, your own built-in destiny.
Ultimately, what difference Spain, Scotland, Ireland or even, God help us, Wales? If that sounds bleak, it’s because it is.