Monday, 10 March 2014

Litter Bugs, Jitterbugs and Dead Mammoth Cake


Not a good start to the week. The broadcasting regulator Ofcom decides Farage’s Kippers deserve equal airing with Tories, Labour and Libdems in the run up to May‘s Euro election. Except in Scotland where Ukip are nowhere. Although this only applies to the teeny tiny amount of Scottish-only broadcasts.

I’m not too concerned actually. Given the anti-foreigner, anti-equalities and anti-science tosh spouted by this bunch of Basil Fawlties and Majors (retired) I suspect anyone switching on and happening across them will assume they’ve found an old, unfunny sitcom and will change the channel.


To North Berwick! Fair Trade wine and bright ideas flowed freely as the East Lothian Greens gathered to hatch plans for the coming year or two. My own plan is to win the lottery so I can pitch up in NB permanently. I’d need to start playing the lottery first, mind.


Another day, another warning about sugar. The World Health Organisation says our sugar intake should be halved. Earlier England’s chief medical officer became the latest expert to recommend a sugar tax. Meanwhile in Scotland? We’re letting Irn Bru sponsor the Commonwealth Games.

The sweet thoughts continue. The Bairn was captivated by the mammoths exhibition at the National Museum in Edinburgh. In particular she has told me the sad story of how the baby woolly mammoth got fossilised. (She fell into a bog.) Maybe my birthday cake could have a picture of the dead baby mammoth on it, she ventures. The grey icing is being ordered.


To Staggs! A bar I’ve supped in quite a few times since flitting to the Honest Toun two years ago. It is named Lothian pub of the year (again) by the beardy ale connoisseurs at Camra. It does a fine selection of proper beers and the conversations I’ve got into have not, I repeat not, been about fitba. They’ve been about the weather, farming, social work and rugby. Wife-features has even gone to a regular knitting circle there. Musselburgh’s fair cosmopolitan, I tell ye. Tonight I pop in for a pint of Jarl, wearing my high-vis cycling jacket. This, I fancy, gives me the appearance of a manual labourer. My slowly healing case of Leafleter’s Knuckle maybe adds to this. My office dweller status will be rumbled eventually.
The Bairn’s school puts on a performance of the Wizard of Oz, one of my favourite childhood stories and films. It’s a whiz of a show, channelling what appear to be elements of the Mighty Boosh. There are vacuum cleaners instead of broomsticks, jitterbugs as well as lions, tigers and bears (oh my) and no Toto! I bet Hollywood wouldn’t get away with such a radical remake but the Burgh kids carry it off in fine style.


The council emails to inform me those pesky parkers mounting the pavement in the square outside our house are in for a surprise this summer. A mysterious-sounding “improvement” project is planned and it will apparently tackle bad parking. My nails are being bitten to the quick in anticipation.


A spot more leafleting to spread the Green word. On the plus side: no knuckles stuck in letterboxes! On the minus side: a very yappy dug almost takes my whole hand off.


To Ikea! The crappy public transport provision (ie no bus stops for miles) turns a short family walk into We’re Going On A Bus Hunt - what a beautiful day; we’re not scared. We eventually catch a number 40 at Whitecraig, where I resist the pre-bagged Berwick cockles on the counter of the village shop and instead hand over 20p for a very black banana, one of exactly two kinds of fruit available. The village has a huge green space in the middle but it’s deserted. I wish we’d brought a ball so we could flout the rules.

The 40 bus weaves its way through Bonnyrigg, Lasswade and Loanhead, where we hop off to indulge in Swedish-themed sensory over-stimulation. I almost go crazy and buy four jars of marinated herring and a pack of fun sized elk meat sausages. Instead we purchase a sensible bedside reading light. And a giant cuddly vegetable. As you do.

Waiting for the bus home my breath is taken away by the vista of Allermuir Hill, at the start of the Pentland ridge. When I turn round to face the Loanhead bus stop my breath is taken away for a very different reason.  

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