Susan Morrison: Some Gluhwein for the Vikings?

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Well done team, looks like we’ve got this Christmas thing nailed. Pretty neat of someone to have planned a castle in the middle of all of this.

Let’s hear it for our belligerent ancestors on both sides of the Border who made it a priority to attack each other and then build a great big fortress to defend themselves, handily placed to be the centrepiece of a festive light show.

Obviously, the battlements were just for the aristocracy. Us peasants had to make do with huddling around the base of the walls and make do with flinging household ordure at any invaders, be they

rampaging Norsemen or invading Englishmen.

Rampaging and pillaging is so last millennium now. Anyway, how could anyone invade the city these days?

If some time-travelling Viking warlord did announce to his dragonship lads that he fancied beaching the boat at Porty to stride up through the city, in order to indulge in a bit of the old Norse smash and grab, a bit of running amok and a modicum of berserker behaviour, not forgetting to pick up some scented candles and pretzels at the German market, the crew would positively hoot with


Stride? Edinburgh? On a Saturday? Before Christmas? Are you mad, Erik the Left-handed Skull Splitter?

The best you can manage is a sort of slow-motion shuffle from retail opportunity to retail opportunity, whilst people in a strange flying chair arrangement scream above your head. Where do all these people come from?

Last week at the German market the mob actually stopped moving. It was just a huge press of people standing trapped in Princes Street Gardens, apparently hypnotised by the light of salt rocks with candles inside them.

No-one seemed particularly bothered, which makes me wonder what’s in that Glühwein that renders a normal fractious Scottish population preternaturally serene. A mug of that stuff, and even Erik would have shouldered the old battleaxe and found himself contentedly queuing for something meaty on a roll.

My hell is not to be sneezed at

If you are within a five-mile radius of Great Junction Street, I must apologise for the occasional rattle of your windows, up and beyond the activities of Storm Desmond, Abigail, or whoever we’ve named them after these days.

It’s him, sneezing. He has a cold. And since he has a cold, the world must know.

Naturally, the infection has spread to me. I have a policy in the case of colds. I try to ignore them, drink copious quantities of tea and watch seriously awful television. My current favourite is a programme about housewives in Beverly Hills. They don’t actually seem to be housewives at all, since I’ve yet to see one get busy with the Shake and Vac, far less wrestle with the Mr Muscle.

In short, I like to be left alone, and try to keep those snorfling noises as far from other people as possible.

On the other hand, he’s like something being filmed on a beach in the Arctic Circle, bellowing to mark territory or find a mate.

Trust me, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to open the front door and find a gussied-up lady walrus standing there looking for what she thinks is the walrus equivalent of Barry White.

Look closer to home, Donald

So, Mr Trump has requested that America is closed to Muslims, until the people at the top can figure out “what the hell is going on”.

Oh, Donald, this is hardly the language of great statesmen. Churchill never stood in the house saying “I’m just trying to work out what the hell is going on here. folks”. Nye Bevan didn’t take a break from his thunderous oratory to say “let’s get this health schizzle working, people”.

Donald’s worried about the dangers posed by a tiny minority, and perhaps we should give the man a fairer hearing. I’m particularly concerned by that minority of Americans who have a tendency to march into venues and start opening fire with military-standard weaponry.

Perhaps we should start banning all Americans in case they start to export the habit? Just a thought . . .

The scaredies are all for turning around

My pal invited me to her office Christmas party last week. It was themed The 80s. Everyone had to come along dressed up, and everyone flung themselves into the groove.

The room boasted Adam Ant, Madonna and the Vicar of Dibley, but most frightening, and accurate, was Margaret Thatcher, complete with handbag, 80s bow neckline and even that weird sideways scuttle that passed for a walk.

As the party left the building I watched Mrs T walk through the hotel reception. Three people gave up drinking on the spot and at least two Americans were convinced they had seen a ghost. Success all round, really.