Saturday, 31 January 2015

Who Are You Looking At?

Grandson Max is on the right here. You can tell his father's decision to bring him up to be a laddie of the Hibernian persuasion is already having an effect. If looks could kill...

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Some Things Will Never be Forgotten

It's not been a great weekend for the Auld Reekie Ranter. One of those weekends when just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We all have them  - times when you just have to forget and move on.

Three weeks from my wedding to the lovely Marion and one or two hitches have emerged. Nothing that can't be overcome but the pre-wedding nerves are jangling just that little bit more.

Hearts lost in the league for the first time this season just to add to the woes of the weekend. A weekend that would have seen my grandmother's 106th birthday and my father's 76th birthday.

I think they would have both approved of my bride-to-be, particularly my father who would, I'm sure, have declared Marion far too good for me. And he would have been right.

Today is also Robert Burns' Day, Scotland's famous national poet, who was born on this day in 1759.

It may have been a weekend to forget for the Ranter - but some things will never be forgotten.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Being Scottish

Christmas and New Year are but distant memories. The weather outside is frightful. Payday is several days away and Christmas has still to be paid for. So let the Auld Reekie Ranter try to help banish those January blues by highlighting some tell-tale signs of being Scottish:

Scattered snow showers with outbreaks of sunshine and a cold northerly wind is good weather.

The only sausage you like is square.

You were forced to do Scottish country dancing every year at high school.

Aye = yes. 

Aye right = not likely. 

Auld yin = someone over 40.

Baltic = freezing.

You used to love destroying your teeth when you were young: Buchanan's toffees, tablet, Irn-Bru bars, Cola cubes, etc.

You have an enormous feeling of dread whenever Scotland play a diddy team at football.

You happily engage in a conversation about the weather.

Even if you normally dislike The Proclaimers, Runrig, Caledonia, Deacon Blue, Big Country, etc. you still love it when you're in a club abroad and they play something Scottish (you'll probably even ask the DJ to play it).

You take a perverse pride in the fact Scotland has the highest number of alcohol and smoking-related deaths in Europe. At least we know how to party.

You used to watch Glen Michael's Cartoon Cavalcade on a Sunday afternoon with his sidekick oil lamp called Paladin.

You used to criticise him in the 1980s, but now you still wish the football on the telly had Archie Macpherson as the commentator

You got Oor Wullie or The Broons annuals at Christmas. Or both. And still do.

You have come in from the pub half drunk and watched Weir's Way on the telly at two in the morning, engrossed by a little guy with a bobbly hat walking around Scotland.

You can tell where another Scot is from by their accent e.g. Glaswegian: 'Awright pal, gonnae gies a wee swatch o’ yur paper, cheers, magic pal'. Or Aberdeen - 'Fit like the day, loon?'
You have participated in or witnessed people having a 'square go'.

You have eaten lots and lots of random Scottish food like mince & tatties, haggis, Cullen skink, stovies, Tunnock's Teacakes/Snowballs, Scott’s Porridge Oats, Macaroon bars, Baxters soup, Scotch pies, Scotch eggs, oatcakes, shortbread and Arbroath smokies.

You think nothing of waiting expectantly for your 1p change from the shopkeeper.

You know that whenever you see sawdust it reminds you of pools of vomit because that's what the 'jannies' used to chuck it on it. 'Gie it five minutes'

You lose all respect for a groom who doesn't wear a kilt.

You don't do shopping, you do the 'messages'.

You're sitting on the train/bus and a drunk man sits beside you, telling you a 'joke' and saying 'I'm no annoying ye am a hen/pal?' 
You: 'Not at all, yer fine. Ah think this is my stop!'

A Scottish male can have a phone conversation using only 'awright', 'aye' and 'naw'.

Your holiday abroad is ruined if you hear there is a heatwave in Scotland while you're away.

You can properly pronounce McConnochie, Ecclefechan, Milngavie and Auchtermuchty.

You ask for deep fried battered pizza from the chippie - oh, and a bottle of diet Coke...

You're used to four seasons in one day.

You can't pass a chip/kebab shop without drooling when you're drunk.

You can fall about drunk without spilling your drink.

You measure distance in minutes.

You can make a whole sentence just with swear words.

You know what haggis is made with - and still eat it.

Somebody you know used a football fixture list to plan their wedding day date.

You've been at a wedding and football scores are announced at the reception

You aren't surprised to find curries, pizzas, kebabs, Irn Bru, fags and nappies in one shop.

Your seaside holiday home has Calor gas under it.

Welcome to another year, folks!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Songs For a Wedding

So much to do. So much to plan. The clock is ticking far too quickly. In less than five weeks, this ageing hack gets married. My fiancĂ©e, the lovely Marion, has intimated that she is of the opinion my efforts in organising the wedding are a shade on the laissez-faire side. Needless to say I disagree with this assertion. After all, I have forsaken the Hearts v Livingston game at Tynecastle that afternoon and this is a major sacrifice. Has she shown any gratitude? Not a jot…

Granted, Marion has organised the wedding venue. And the reception. The cake. The flowers. The dresses. The catering. The invites. The piper. But I have hired the kilts. However, proving a man’s work is never done, I have been charged with choosing some of the songs at the wedding, once the ceremony, meal and speeches have been done (damn! The speech…)

Anyway, I’ve listed a few suggestions below which I may consider presenting to my bride-to-be later this week. If anyone can suggest other titles suitable for a wedding, I’d be truly grateful. Your comments would be most welcome.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Rescue Me – Fontella Bass

Please Release Me, Let Me Go – Engelbert Humperdink

Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Everybody Hurts – REM

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

Like a Bat Out of Hell – Meatloaf

I’m Not in Love – 10 CC

Big Mistake – Natalie Imbruglia

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths

Road to Hell – Chris Rea

I had thought about having Hector Nicol’s version of The Hearts Song played that evening but as the best man and the bridesmaid are of the Hibernian persuasion, I thought that might be insensitive. And you know me, I’m Mr Sensitivity…

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

A Very Dark Place

2014 ended with an awful tragedy in Glasgow when an out of control refuse collection lorry killed six people in the centre of Scotland's largest city three days before Christmas.

2015 has begun with a shocking terrorist attack in Paris where ten journalists at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, along with two police officers, were murdered in an apparent militant Islamist attack on the magazine's office.

Sometimes, the world seems a very dark place....

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Can I Have a Large One?

It's unusual for me to start the New Year on a positive note (rest assured, it won't last) Not only is Christmas over for another year but I read on this here t’internet about a report that said the good old National Health Service has advised that sex is good for you. However, without wishing to rain on any parade, I feel I must take issue with some of its findings.

'Sexercise' can lower the risk of heart attacks and help people live longer. So said the report. My father, God rest his soul, was married three times and had countless affairs. He died of a heart attack at just 58 years old - it may well have been that his extra-marital activities helped contribute to his early demise. I don't know if he died with a smile on his face but he was on his own at the time...

What also intrigues me is how the NHS discover these nuggets of information. Presumably by conducting surveys or getting organisations to do this on their behalf. But how accurate are the findings? I have to say I've never been asked to help with a survey about my sex life. If I were I would almost certainly give misleading answers.

How old are you, Mr Smith?

52 (that bit's true)

And how many times a week do you have sex?

Oh, twice, sometimes three times a night...(aye, right)

I see.

Occasionally there's someone with me....

Quite. Do you talk to your partner when you make love?

Only if she's on the phone...

You're not taking this seriously, are you Mr Smith?

Well, you started it...

However, perhaps I'm doing the NHS boffins a disservice. I do occasionally receive 'spam' emails from less than reputable online pharmaceutical companies offering me 'Viagra' at a reduced rate. I once asked my local chemist - on behalf of a friend, you understand - about Viagra and if I could get it over the counter. 'Only if you take the whole packet at once' he replied.

On a similar theme, I read that Dr Simon Campbell, the man who started and oversaw research on Viagra while working for the drug company Pfizer, received a knighthood in the New Years’ Honours list. May I be the 94th person to ask if Her Majesty will be able to keep a straight face when placing the sword on Dr Campbell’s shoulder and saying ‘Arise, Sir Simon…’

I must go now as a fella has just knocked on my door offering me a thick six inch object made from wax. Turns out it’s a candle – he’s from Scottish Power and he’s come to cut my electricity off…

Thursday, 1 January 2015