John Gibson: What’s this about a rowing boat?

Norrie Rowan. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Norrie Rowan. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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On his Parisian exploits Ernest Hemingway is said to have downed five martinis in 45 minutes at the Dome Cafe in Montparnasse. I dare to suggest that Norrie Rowan, Scottish rugby’s roustabout, would have had a good go at drinking Hemingway under the table at the Dome here in George Street.

Certainly Rowan has a better fund of funnies, like: what do you get when you blow up a cheese factory? De-brie. Well, I thought it a hoot.

You’d never imagine that he’s fretting for the sport (‘‘we’re trying to build a battleship when we only have enough wood for a rowing boat’’), that he’s a businessman with the world’s troubles on his broad shoulders. His entertainment venue in Blair Street is sandwiched between a sauna and a night club. ‘‘You might say that Marlin’s Wynd, the name I’ve assumed, is between a rock and a hard place. In fact Marlin’s Wynd in the heart of the Old Town, is the oldest street in Scotland.’’

Travel on, Mike

Just think. The man has so much to offer, comedian-turned-travel writer Michael Palin at three score and ten, is speaking out: “I’m interested in what I can bring to the rest of the world in terms of information, education and entertainment.” The world holds its breath.

“Age should be no barrier to anyone for travel adventures provided you’re careful and don’t try and run up and down Everest or try and swim the Channel every afternoon.” Palin is achingly unfunny on the hoof. Do try swimming the Channel, Mike.

Did you know that the greatest ever English Channel swimmer was Ned Barnie, a science teacher at David Kilpatrick’s school here, who rubbished Portobello indoor pool?