News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Meanwhile, in the Other Other Other Anti-Reston: Mutant Guinea Pig Terrorizes Tens

evil spock.jpegUntil now, we knew of Reston's other other other evil twin as a bucolic hamlet in the United Kingdom where horses fall into septic tanks at random intervals. But our intrepid correspondent, the Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, unearthed a terrifying fact about the Reston in Scotland:

Seeking to recover his wits, if not necessarily his wit, after a particularly harrowing week at work, The Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston kicked back this past Friday evening to take a meandering trip to nowhere through that series of tubes the young un's call "the Internet" and see where chance would bring him.  To his great surprise The Peasant ended up, virtually speaking, in a wee Scottish village named of all things...Reston.

Just as in that famous Star Trek episode of the mirror universe with a goateed Mr. Spock, it appears that our beloved northern Virginia planned community has not only a satanic twin across the Potomac in Howard County but also a kinder, gentler alter ego across the Atlantic.  Our Gaelic twin with a population of less than 1,000 lies in the Scottish Borders region just above England near the North Sea.  A Google view from space reveals bucolic Scottish countryside, much as we imagine northern Virginia looked before the invasion of particleboard McMansions.  As an ad for a local vacation cottage rental put it:
"The peaceful village of Reston quietly sits amidst the beautiful Scottish Borders, close to the beautiful Lammermuir Hills and just 11 miles from the historic town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Boasting a village pub and a number of great golf courses in the surrounding area, this lovely village is also ideally situated just 5 miles from the east coast with its range of stunning, sandy beaches and exciting marine life. The surrounding countryside is perfect for walking, fishing and horse riding, whilst the picturesque harbour at nearby St. Abbs is not to be missed! With Eyemouth, Duns, Alnwick and the Capital City of Edinburgh all within easy reach, this fantastic location has something for everyone!"

We are so intrigued we want to consider moving there and escaping forever the RA, DRB regulations, and the Macaroni Grill.  As we explore further we discover, moreover, that unlike our fair 'burb, real estate values in our Scottish counterpart appear to be quite reasonable.  An 1848 four bedroom stone-built detached house on a half-acre is listed for 375,000 pounds, or $615,000, a price that couldn't even buy a doublewide trailer in North Reston.

But, like that alternate universe in Star Trek, our Scottish counterpart harbors a dark side as well.  The local newspaper, The Berwickshire News, reports on June 10 that a mysterious creature it calls "The Beast of Berwickshire" has been spotted running across the A-1 motorway near Reston.  "Around three feet tall with a canine-ish head and a long straight tail, this Berwickshire beast as yet remains unidentified," the paper breathlessly notes.  (An aside: if such a beast existed in our Reston and was dumb enough to dash across Lawyers Road, we're certain he'd be run over in no time flat by a spandexed Lance Armstrong wanna-be zooming down VDOT's planned bike lane at 50 mph).   In any event, we are not at all reassured by the following comment:
"George Caldow of the Scottish Agricultural College's vetinary centre at St Boswells said: 'We have heard nothing about a Beast of Berwickshire but we would only be involved if a dead one had been found.'"

Black-Tailed-Prairie-Dog-5108.jpgFurther down in the article, we pick up even more equally disturbing news: "But these recent sightings are just the latest in a history of unexplained animals in the region. In 2006 a motorist was startled to pass what looked like a giant guinea pig sitting in the middle of the A1, just south of Eyemouth.  Mark Pentecost, of Reston, was driving home from Berwick when he spotted the creature, which was about two feet tall, sitting on its haunches in the middle of the road."
The thought of living next to a mutant guinea pig who has apparently overdosed on steroids does make us reconsider the desirability of that 1848 house.  But the final nail in the coffin of our real estate dreams comes when we discover who else would be a neighbor in our twin across the Atlantic.  It turns out that our Gaelic counterpart is home to that renowned institution of higher learning, none other than the Scottish School of Colonic Hydrotherapy.  Now even on the best of days The Peasant struggles to be a mature adult, so we will not dignify the snickers with which you, dear readers, are greeting this news -- but after reading the glowing testimonials from the school's alumni about their degree in Wazoo-ology and new-found knowledge of stool analysis and colon pathology, there is only one logical conclusion to reach:
Macaroni Grill, streambed restoration, Wreck Center, Smudgins, and DRB notwithstanding, our mauve-colored New Town ain't so bad after all!
And if that isn't convincing enough, you must know that our UK doppelgänger has its own "North Reston," where they're also debating the merits of recreation activities. Only there, it's not swimmers vs. baseball players, but sheepdogs vs.... well, sheep.

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