Scots travellers beware . . free eyes may breed resentment in fellow citizens of the world
As a Scot, I am used to many reactions from the populace as I bumble about the globe. Generally, people regard me with friendly interest.
Americans usually ask a series of questions. Yes, we have electricity, although we tend not to allow its use on the Sabbath; we do have indoor plumbing; that is the castle; no, I don’t know your cousin/grandfather/great aunt; yes, I would remember, there are not many in the Clan Mackenweitz.
There are people who speak to me slowly because, of course, I speak only Gaelic, people who expect me to let rip with a Gay Gordon and, occasionally, people who surreptitiously remove the silver.
For the first time ever, however, I faced resentment, just for being Scottish.
At the bar in Harrogate, there was a very large man with a very red face. Given that the Royal College of Nurses was in town for congress, it would have been a good time for him to have that cardiac infraction (get me. One night on the tiles with the RCN and I’m taking your pulse and asking about your bowels.)
He heard my voice and swung round like a gun turret on the Hood, pre-Bismark.
“You’re a jock.” It wasn’t a question. “Bloody ’ell. I’m going to move to Scotland. You’ve got it all up there, haven’t you? You’ve got free teeth and eyes and prescriptions and care for old folk and that. And you’ve got no hosepipe ban, and now, now,” he escalated, “we’ve got floods. Floods.”
We are a small and clever nation. We can pull off a simultaneous drought/flood trick. Who knew?
Mournfully, he continued, “and you’ve got a lot running the place who aren’t Tory Posh Lad and the other one,” (the best description of the coalition leadership I have ever heard).
He turned back to his pint, resentfully. I was going to tell him that the drink was going to be more expensive soon North of the Border, but why shatter the dream of Shangri McLa?
Jings. In the event of a yes vote in the referendum, how are we going to cope with the refugees from Harrogate?
Hoovering up the cash with mature line in business
HARROGATE is very pretty. I think it gets hoovered on a regular basis. The entire town centre is completely litter-free, which is lovely. Some bits of Edinburgh city centre are slowly being engulfed by a tsunami of tat, with empty plastic bags whirling above it like redundant ghost tour jumper-ooters.
Many of the good people of Harrogate are of a more mature disposition and, judging by the number of 4x4s that nearly hit me, there is also a great deal of disposable income knocking about.
Put it this way, open a stair lift shop in Harrogate with a nice line in baths that open sideways and you’ll never go out of business.
Well, maybe that refugee stream won’t be too bad, after all.
Sizzling Danish drama taks the bacon . . just keep the volume up
MUM and I have become avid fans of Danish drama. We’ve been hooked on The Killings 1 and 2, Borgen and now The Bridge. We think we can speak Danish. Tak!
How do they do that? Plucky little country suddenly dominating the TV schedules with seriously tasty television, so good the Americans are remaking them. Haven’t seen a scramble to Yank up River City.
One thing baffles me. All the programmes are, of course, subtitled. So why am I turning the volume up?
Love bite has friends all shook up
HELLO, yes you are on the train, you clever little thing, you. How did you manage, pre-mobile phone? You don’t really need it. You have a screech that could shatter the ice bound gates of Valhalla.
Your concern for your friend is touching. She’s romantically in thrall to him that crashed uninvited into her 17th birthday party, like a young freebootin Rhett Butler, bearing gifts of a bottle of Buckie and six cans of Special Brew.
But lo! Our Lothario is free with his charms, the wee scunner. Dalkeith’s damsels swoon before him. How he gets about his daily routine is a mystery to me, what with comatose women cluttering up his progress.
You are a caring and concerned friend. Your advice is thoughtful, wise and measured, although I should point out that some of your suggested courses of action are technically illegal. But what jury would convict if they were made aware of the role played by the girl only identified as That Skanky Yin Wi’ The Tattoo Of Elvis Oan Her Neck?
You did, however, admit that the tattoo might just be a love bite. That’s not something you hear much of, now, is it? At one point you couldn’t move for slices of toast bearing the image of the late lamented Diana, Princess of Wales, competing with the ghostly face of Mother Teresa balefully gazing out of a used tea bag, but a love bite on a Dalkeith neck showcasing Elvis, surely that’s a first.