Monday, 17 February 2014

From Deep Puddings to Pooh Pine Cones


Top scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Blindingly Obvious department suggest using Twitter makes you stupid. Okay, I’m paraphrasing a bit but the gist is that it reduces our ability to think in any depth. Right, I need to move along to the next item like a flittery butterfly of a blogger. Oh, where did I read this startling news? The Daily Mail website - the home of deep thinking.

As well as making you stupid Twitter makes you giddy. Or at least it does when you get birthday wishes from @nigelslater in response to a tweet saying thanks for his Irish coffee trifle recipe. Excitement over a mere trifle? Trust me; Nigel’s puddings are deep.


Miliband says Labour will continue the austerity agenda if they win the 2015 General Election. This follows recent comments by a former adviser to Blair that Labour should focus on winning over voters in the south of England; Scotland’s already in the bag and doesn‘t matter. Hello? I said hello! Is this thing on?

Well, at least someone’s listening. Those lovely waste management types at East Lothian Council. Yes, Brown Bin Day came and the brown bin was emptied this time. But in the short time between bin collection and me taking it in from the street some dolts of passers-by had deposited two crisp packets, a drinks can and a chip wrapper in it. If only there were some clue to help them avoid this. Grr!!


Outnumbered is pretty scary these days. The kids are enormous! It feels like this BBC sitcom only started the other day. I think this season is the last, and it feels like it’s done its job. As the first of four kids I can vouch for the accuracy of many of the storylines albeit without the emails and texts. I still remember the day my “wee” brother came home from school and lifted mum off her feet like an out of place fire extinguisher. To my knowledge none of us filched a rabbit from a farm visit but there was a long car journey where every single one of us, including the dog but except me, was sick. The upholstery of our Mitsubishi Space Wagon was definitely outnumbered that day.


To Nairn! The Brighton of the North played host to the launch of some bright Green ideas on local democracy. Everywhere you look councils are making cuts yet have no say in how they raise funds due to central government control, and people feel so disconnected that turnouts at elections are as low as 20 per cent. In countries like Denmark they have much smaller units of democracy with real local powers and as a result turnout is around 70 per cent.

My old home town was looking good if a little damp. The bus station’s being turned into flats, and Donnie ‘Knobbly Carrots’ Macleod tells me there’s a regular market on the site of the old community centre. But bizarrely there was no bunting lining the streets to mark my return. An administrative oversight or proof that the Inverness mafia are in control?


The weighty topic of horse riders appears to have caused a schism in the Honest Toun. The honest truth about our girth seems to have gone down like a lead balloon with some of those involved in the Musselburgh Festival. Thankfully the local fruit and veg man has taken up the reins so the festival will go on. Interestingly the Common Ridings in the Borders appear to be taking the issue in their stride. Neigh bother.

To the shops! The Bairn watched her elders scoffing Irish coffee trifle last weekend and is angling for something similar. We pick up strawberry jelly for 29p, a can of custard for 55p, make use of half a box of sponge fingers in the cupboard and free sprinkles from a friend. But cream is also required. Can I find any in Musselburgh? Not a drop. There’s ersatz stuff mostly made of vegetable fat. Barf. The only option is The Bad Place. They like to say Every Little Helps so I take great pleasure in only giving them 82p for a wee pot of double cream. By contrast the couple in front of me cough up over £100 for their mountain of shopping. I almost cry. But the homemade minuscule-cost trifle soon puts a smile on my face.

Meanwhile I’m considering calling up the Phantom Flan Flinger (Tiswas, whippersnappers. Look it up) to take out Alan Rusbridger. You see the Guardian is a wee haven on a Saturday, mainly thanks to its non-news content. But sadly this weekend it wades into the independence debate with this baffling editorial.

For a start it uses the word “Panglossian” in the 3rd sentence. Sheesh. Then it says Cameron and Osborne “promote a more positive existential case for the union”. Huh?

It says “the stresses and strains of the eurozone offer a warning of the risks of a badly executed or politically opportunist union.” So, we’re a basket case economy liable to tip rUK over when we vote Yes? Sharing Sterling would be politically opportunist rather than pragmatic and in the interests of the nations?

“The SNP is not primarily interested in strengthening the union. So there is no inherent reason why the remaining UK should prioritise anyone's interests other than its own.” Basically, both the Scottish and UK Governments are hell bent on causing calamity for the sake of it, yeah?

This disappointing editorial was entitled “Politics at the business end“. The industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie once said: “The thorough man of business knows that only by years of patient, unremitting attention to affairs can he earn his reward.” I do hope the Grauniad leader writers pay more attention to the debate before penning any more opinions. Otherwise they’ll be rewarded with me taking my £2.50 across the street.


To the Botanics! A brief burst of blue sky prompts us to pack pieces and a flask and head for leafy Inverleith. It’s a great place for the Bairn to play Pooh pine cones (like Pooh sticks), spot the squirrels and hide and seek. I also take delight in seeking out the juniper trees so I can squeeze some berries between my fingers and get an illicit whiff of gin.

To the Deaf Dugs! There are only a few weeks left to marvel at this Musselburgh emporium. Even their filing system is class. Look along the miles of bookshelves and you’ll spot Puzzles next to Pregnancy & Parenting. Indeed.

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