RSS

Monthly Archives: November 2011

A triple whammy.

November the 30th. St Andrews Day. On this day we shall be mainly protesting and going on strike. Oh dear a day of discontent. The Conservatives have launched a number of pre-emptive strikes (oops that’ll be a pun then) suggesting various groups within the protestors are treating their fellow humans with contempt.

For example peoples operations will be cancelled because there won’t be enough staff in the NHS to carry them out. Is that an unusual event? Teachers will not be in their classrooms teaching the bairns. This means that people will have to take time of work to look after their own children. They’ll have to use their own holidays. Their employers aren’t going to foot the bill. My memory suggests that teachers go to school to teach, they do not provide a childcare service.

Of course we have recently had another day off from work but that involved a much larger number of people. The Royal Wedding. The cost was higher. Same set of issues for the economy. I can’t remember Call me Dave and George Osborne whining about people not going to work etc. that day.

The current dispute centres on pensions, wage freezes and cuts in services. The pensions part is really due to a contractual dispute, which has been caused by the Government deciding that the pension bill in the future is going to be too large. Disgracefully, people are living longer and need more pension money. A guy from a private pension company was on the BBC news the other night pointing this out and suggesting that we should all work longer to compensate. It’s a challenge for the pension industry. Excellent.  A challenge is a good thing. It should make them better at what they do.

However, the government’s response is slightly different. They have decided to have people work longer which means they will contribute more and then when they do get their pension they will get less than was originally agreed. A triple whammy, impressive! How courageous. With sharp minds like these on the case we’ll be a third world country quicker then the Greens can say CO2.

If you are one of those who are having to face up to this you’re likely to be ticked off to say the least. You are ticked off because for some time now you have been working towards your retirement safe in knowledge that your future is secure. You contracted with your employer who contracted with you. You had a contract bidding for both parties.

Now along come Call me Dave and George Osborne who really don’t need to work at all and certainly will be extremely secure in their old age. They come up with a wizard wheeze, which is suggesting that people in the private sector don’t have as good private pension provision as the public sector. This is true in part but not in total. Regardless of the detail, the people in the private sector signed a contract of employment and accepted the terms and conditions which included salary and pension details. If they are not as good as the public sector they could always move to the public sector for employment. A bit harsh? We do what we need to do. We are responsible for our own lives.

The contracts for the public sector workers are being set aside because it suits the government. Shame on the government. The moral approach would be to apply the changes from an agreed date for new employees. They could also promote and provide early retirement for staff who feel they have done their bit. This would mean that a lot of the more experienced teachers who are on higher salaries would leave and jobs could go to younger, newly qualified teachers who would be on lower salaries. Skill drain? Only if the employers managed it badly.

Of course there is no moral position the Government can possibly take. They take money from everyone, which is for building up a pension for retirement. They then spend the money on whatever they fancy.  Instead of investing the money and building up a significant pension pot for the country they spend it. They do the same with road tax. The roads are pot holed and new roads aren’t being built. There’s no money. No, there is loads of money it just they spend on other stuff.

The government has broken the contract with its work force. If this was a normal contract the injured party could sue for breach of contract and be entitled to recompense. Let’s not dress up spending cuts as some sort of “making a fairer society” type of approach. These are simple budget cuts. Budget cuts thought out with little imagination, innovation and care.

How many actual council staff have been made redundant? Have the cuts actually been aimed at all those small charities and support organisations? How many small organisations have had their grants stopped or reduced to a level which renders them unable to function?

How much of the vast reserves the councils have accumulated have been used to reduce the impact of the budget cuts from central government?

Who knows what effect the strikes will have. People work hard on the basis that at some point in the future they will retire and enjoy a reasonable pension, which will provide a comfortable lifestyle. That seems pretty fair.

The government should get its act together to ensure that it happens or get out of the pension provision game and hand over pension contributions they collect presently to a pensions company, for all our sakes.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Politics

 

Tags: , , , ,

Bin busy recently?

Now you might want to bear with me on this one. There is a bit of a preamble story but it is important for the rest of the article.

I used to go to a local council gym fairly often and one Saturday afternoon a guy, who appeared to be a bit agitated, started talking to me. He said he was very worried as the day before he’d been told that he would probably be made redundant. I sympathised with him. He looked upset and more agitated and it was obvious that his job was very important to him. I tried to offer the normal platitudes of things not going to be as bad as they look etc. but he wasn’t convinced. I had to leave but he was still very agitated.

He had explained to me that he emptied the bins and the Council were going to change his hours, which would reduce his pay, but more likely go out to tender, hence the likely redundancies. In retrospect he would probably have been subject to a TUPE situation and would almost certainly have been kept on. I felt and still feel uneasy about his situation and him being so agitated.

Edinburgh Council, yes them, went ahead with an attempt to alter the work patterns and eventually went on to a tendering process. The bin men went on a work to rule or some sort of strike etc. This has been on going for a couple of years and has really just come to a head following the Council Officers recommending an outside party as the preferred tendering option. The preferred bid reduced complication in recycling system for us poor, put upon council taxpayers and the overall cost was lower than present in-house costs.

Enter the politicians. The SNP and, wait for this, Labour councilors didn’t like the tender outcome. Council officers were asked to review the bid made by the in-house team. This was dully completed and included an audit carried out on the various bids by one of the big four accountancy firms. The council officers reported that the preferred bid was better than the in-house bid in all respects. During this time the industrial action by the in-house team, which had been going on for years ceased.

You may know the rest. The councilors voted to accept the in-house bid. The councilors in question, being the SNP and Labour in what must be the most unholy, not to mention unhealthy, partnership in Scottish politics.

So what of the value for money measurement? What about the waste of time and effort required of the businesses who tendered? Is this legal? Oh I know that there’s a clause in these tenders, which state that the winning bid may not be the cheapest, but even so following an audit I’d be inclined to think that Audit Scotland would be interested in the process.

The bottom line is that councilors are there to represent the voters in their ward and ensure that their best interests are served. If the preferred bid was cheaper and the bidder had a good track record of delivery for similar clients , which they did, then it should have been accepted.

Not content with making a monumental mess of the trams and the on going saga of the building repairs the council have now managed a third shambles which begins to look like significant structural flaws are present in governance along with serious political failures. Edinburgh is becoming a laughing stock. The current shambolic trend will not end without significant changes being made in culture and operational improvement.

Questions have to be asked of Mr A Salmond. He is the SNP party leader and he has the power to ensure that his Edinburgh councilors are beyond reproach. The SNP trumpeted their intentions in cleaning up Glasgow Council following their recent election win there. Maybe they should have started with Edinburgh several months ago? If Alex is as good a politician as he is seen to be then he will know that his party will be judged harshly should any of the members in power anywhere in Scotland mess things up?

He only has to look up the hill to see a good place to start. If he does he’ll see Joe Public standing there on his platform. He’s there to remind everyone that Joe Public is who they are there to serve. I can only guess that this must have slipped their minds. They are busy people after all. Perhaps he’s only for the staff to look up to. Perhaps the councilors are already in such a lofty position it only allows them to look down on poor Joe?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Politics

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m a failed politician get me out of here…

Isn’t it amazing? What is? The cheek of the political class! Ah yes says almost everyone. What have they done this time?

MPs and some sort of committee have decided that political parties should be funded by… wait for it, wait for it… yes you guessed it The Taxpayer. That’s the same taxpayer who also paid for silly expense claims made by these same MPs and was short changed when the money that was originally claimed wasn’t paid back in full in a lot of cases. But, no matter. The taxpayer has very deep pockets.

Our collective pockets are so deep that they won’t miss the odd £100 Million over five years. Someone at NewsnetScotland summarised this amount as being 1p per week for everyone in the UK, which they then suggested was “cheap democracy”. You will no doubt be aware that it’s a pretty well used trick by sales people to reduce the cost of what you want to buy to the lowest cost. Here we have a classic example of a lot of people paying a small amount and a small amount of people get a shed load of money. Does that sound familiar?

The evidence cited for the need to fund the political parties from taxpayer funds is based on stopping individuals giving political parties large donations or buying their way towards something they want which the politicians can deliver. This just isn’t cricket old boy. The charge is the Torys have mates with access to large wads. The Labour Party has access to Union funds. The LibDems… yawn!

How about the taxpayer and private individuals stop all donations and move to a maximum £10.00 membership fee for anyone wishing to join a political party and implement it immediately. Taxpayers are you ready? On my first whistle you will demand only a £10.00 limited membership fee for all political parties and no additional income of any type.. On my second whistle you can decide who wishes to join any or all of these parties for £10.00 a pop maximum.

Why do the parties need £100 Million? Advertising? Battle buses? Offices? Rosettes? Leaflets? Wee placard things to tie to lampposts? Faux newspapers? Do any of these things work? Are we ever swayed by a political parties leaflet, or a placard, or a TV or press advert? I’m just not convinced we are. At all. Ever

£100 million, what a nice tidy number, which should be enough, according to the politicians (we all know it won’t be and the amount needed will grow and grow and grow). The intention is that the main three parties, which will slip back into two parties at the next election, will also load the dice so they get most of it and they will starve the smaller parties and independents. That’s politics for you. Well no that’s bullying and gangsterism.

So the deal should only be based on a small membership fee being the only source of funding for any political party. Party political broadcasts on TV and radio should also be banned. Each party should be required to provide a 15 minute video which clearly defines their pitch to voters. The videos would be available from the moment an election or by-election etc. is called. They would be available on the internet or on a TV channel which shows them all, in alphabetic order, continuously until the actual day of the election. This would ensure that the BNP, UKIP and all the other small parties and independents get their fair say without being squeezed out due to the number of votes they polled previously or being shouted down by fascists/socialists/whateverists.

Fifteen minutes for a pitch should be ample time to layout their stall. No press coverage, so you’d have to get of your bum and go and see them live at a venue near you. No BBC swingometers or hours of biased programmes where dull people get exited about nonsense. No Sun or any other newspaper telling their readership who to vote for or covering speeches or any other kind of coverage which might be open to bias or manipulation. Press controls. Nah. Fair democracy in action more like!

Since we are pursuing balance here it’s only fair that the contract with the voters works both ways. If a party makes a promise to do something in their 15 minute pitch they have to deliver it if they get elected. If they don’t they will be held to account and sanctions would follow. The sanctions would include financial penalties, legal action, public ridicule, put in the stocks, forced to take part in front line active service with the army and also to take part in a new TV programme called “I’m a failed politician and I can’t ever get out of here” similar to sending convicts to the colonies punishment but more colourful and entertaining for the UK taxpayer (see “I’m a celebrity” for a basic blueprint)..

Oops I may have got slightly carried away there but I’m sure you may also have your own thoughts on suitable punishments.

No taxpayers money for political parties. None. Not a penny.

Stop Press.

Not content with wanting to have their parties bankrolled by the taxpayer they are now also pursuing changes to their expenses, which would increase the amounts they can claim. (See the following link which provides a heads up and the actual discussion document). Subrosa Blog – He who shouts the loudest.

“A disgrace” goes nowhere near how repulsive this whole things is.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Politics

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Hotel Caledonia

This post is a parody of the Eagles Song Hotel California.The original version references warm desert evenings, exotic plants, the Mojave Desert and Los Angeles. Given that this a parody set in Scotland I have altered the setting to match. I’ve also altered the language to the Scots dialect although there may be variances from your Scots dialect. You might like to refresh your memory of the song so here’s a link so you can sing along at full pelt or within your head. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_0klgeKXlU&feature=related

Hotel Caledonia

A cold January evenin’, cauld sleet comin doon,

Time I went for a quick yin, in this grim little toon.

Doon the road in the distance there’s a bright neon light.

A red T beckonin’ in the dark an’ sleet,

My hostelry fur the night.

A burd stans in the entrance,

She’d bin there a while.

She looked cauld and her hair wiz wet,

She gawped it me an’ geed me a smile.

Then she took oot her ciggies and gave yin ti me.

Her voice wiz smooth and ur accent strange,

As she said tae me…

This pubs called the Hotel Caledonia.

It’s my favourite bar,

I dinnae bring my car.

The booze is cheap in the Hotel Caledonia,

I’ve seen yi here, drinkin, strong mans beer.

I wiz totally gobsmacked, why wiz she speakin ti me?

She wiz very attractive woman but am no’ mairrit yi see.

Of course I didnae tell hur, as we went inside,

Sat doon in a corner, nae place else tae hide.

At the bar, stood the land lord,

So I ordered up two beers.

He said “That’s nae problem buddy you’ve no spent this much in years”.

A voice was shoutin’ and screamin’ inside my heid,

“get a grip ya loonie, yu’ll git caught oot,

The wife’ll `hae yi deed”.

This pubs called the Hotel Caledonia.

I’m sitting here,

Wi’ a nice cauld beer,

I’m really enjoyin’ the Hotel Caledonia

Wae a luvly gurl, ma heids in a twurl.

Shi leans in towards me,

Puts hir hand oan ma knee.

And shi saz “yur a man thit’s speshul, that much a kin see.

A need ti ask yi a favour,

Yin yull dae mi a hope.

Yi can gee me a discount

Aff stuff in yur shoap”

I had a sinkin feelin

Like a wiz fallin’ ti the flair

I thoaght shi’d really fancied me

Bit shi didnae really care

“Sorry doll get raffled.

The discount ‘s mine only to receive

At the checkout it’s full price tae you

Noo why doan’t you jist leave?”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Music

 

Tags: , , , ,

Anything and everything is possible.

This article was originally written for the Subrosa Blog and is published here with permission.

Last weeks post “SNP Worries” resulted in various comments, which questioned if the SNP were dealing with issues in an acceptable manner. Furthermore, do they have the intellectual depth required to deal with, not just with the central issue of gaining independence, but the thornier issues, which will require a more strategic response.

I would appeal to the SNP to follow a single approach which, if carried out in the true spirit of it’s aims could well make the difference between gaining independence or not. That sounds arrogant. There are far better minds employed on working out the best way for the SNP to proceed. However, we are all entitled to our won opinions.

How about giving “anything and everything is possible”.

Okay so how about applying that to a few wee issues which have been bothering the SNP?

Alcohol abuse. Let’s start with this gem. The truth of this issue is that it is culturally based. No amount of minimum pricing and preaching from our medical friends will do the job. That’s the same medical profession who are who are, lets be honest, far from being paragons of sobriety.  The culture change required will take time, maybe more time that we would all like but it is the ONLY way to sort this out.

Smoking. The truth of this is that secondary smoke doesn’t harm anyone. Get the truth of the available real science out to people. Let them make their own decisions. Let pubs, restaurants, and all other places where people might want to smoke make their own decision to be a smoking venue or not as is there right. Non-smokers can make their own decisions about whether or not they will frequent those establishments.

Renewable power. The truth on this one is simple. It doesn’t work. It is the most expensive way to generate electricity bar none. Demonstrate to the Scottish people how much of their electricity bills go to subsidising windmills and the like. Then give them a get out clause. If some people are happy to pay more for windmill electricity carry on if others don’t they should be able to say no thanks. The burden of funding power generation is for the generators, not for governments using tax payers money.

Sectarianism. Integrate our communities including education. A state school is a state school. If people want their children taught a particular religion they can have that done by their church, which might actually get more people to go to church. School is for educating children, not for any form of indoctrination, awareness of religion, yes but nothing stronger.

Everything and anything is possible.

Now the reply to that would be “but it has to be realistic”. Well no. The higher you aim the higher you achieve. We could do with increasing the confidence of the Scottish people. Not the football flag waving type of mock confidence though complete with doom and gloom waiting in the wings.

Well Alex, when do we start? Now is a good time for me.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Politics, Scottish Independence

 

Tags: , , , , ,

An offer you can’t refuse.

I was doing a bit of reading on the web the other day when I saw a banner advert offering a click, which would get you an appointment. On the face of it this is a wonderful technological break through. Making an appointment with your Doctor whilst surfing the web. Wonderful. Great. Super.

I don’t know how your Doctors Surgery works but mine operates a simple system. Telephone them from 8:00 am onwards and if you win the call lottery you might, if you are early enough, actually get an appointment for that day. You can’t book in advance or invoke the “but I work during your opening hours” grovel. This can mean you have to phone back each morning over several days to get an appointment unless you are so ill the Doc has to visit you. To be fair though, you can have a telephone appointment when your Doc will call you at a predetermined time and you can discuss your ailment with them. They can’t see what you are describing but they are doctors after all and they know stuff so it’ll all be okay.

Obviously, however, the reason for the improved access was not for that purpose at all. Oh no, it was as a means of making an appointment to donate blood. Now there is nothing wrong with that apart from it being a wee bit one sided? When the NHS wants you to do something for them they will facilitate that for you when you want to see them? Well maybe, but only when it suits the NHS. Plan your illness well in advance is key.

I used to donate blood and then I read a leaflet following donating whilst drinking a sweet coffee and eating a nice chocolate biscuit. It appears they can also set aside the nutritional handcuffs when the NHS needs you to do something for them also. The leaflet suggested that I might also like to consider being a platelet donor and go on the bone marrow donor register. Later that day I telephoned the number and was given an appointment to be “assessed”.

I went to the Blood Donation Centre in Glasgow as it was my nearest one at the time. A nurse spoke with me and asked hard questions about smoking, drinking and taking drugs to which I said no. Then she took a sample of blood. A Doctor came and spoke to me about family health history and all that sort of stuff. Then they said I could donate platelets as my count was high enough and I met the criteria. Now I still don’t remember meeting Criteria but if the Doc said I had I wasn’t going to argue. Sorry pretty poor joke. They showed me a machine I’d be attached too and I spoke with an existing platelet donor. I was up for it and left with an appointment to go back the following week

I went back as required and was connected up to s sort of spin dryer type of machine which sooked your blood out your arm. The blood was swirled around pipes and the platelets were separated out into a bag like a blood donation bag and then your de-plateleted blood was returned to your body. There were drinks and a nice wee cake for after the donation and I did that every two to three weeks for almost three years.

I’d recommend you give it some consideration. Your platelets go to people on chemo, both adults and babies if you have the right blood or platelet profile. It was time consuming and a couple of times it made me a bit ill. The process can be a bit dehydrating and I didn’t drink enough water during the process. My fault.

The blood place moved nearer to the train station and the staff were always very grateful to get platelets although at time it did feel like they wanted as much as you could give. This is understandable since very ill people rely on the platelet donations.

It’s a pity that GPs have become less accessible. Maybe that causes more people to go to A&E? Maybe it stops people going for medical help all together? Scottish men never go to the doctors unless a bit has fallen off or has swollen to a size, which is no longer practical for normal mobility. Rennies fix chest pains. Whatever it is will go away in a minute. We’re never ill, apart from man flu obviously. It’s all William Wallace’s fault but I digress.

So next time you see a banner ad on a website with a tempting message from the NHS click on it and go on to donate blood. Maybe you’d like to donate platelets and go on the bone marrow register? Give it a go. Click on!

Just don’t expect to easily get an appointment with your GP though.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2011 in General

 

Tags: , , ,

Scottish Grannies – Part 2

There has always a significant link between Scottish Grannies and food. On the one hand we had “clean your plate or you’ll no get your pudding” or on the other they were always making your favourite stuff, in big quantities. Small Gran always made ham bone lentil soup, which was magnificent and had a certain finesse. Big Gran also made soup, which was usually Kale, slightly less finesse due to it being pretty chunky with many vegetables. Its arrival on the table was always accompanied by Big Gran recommending heartily “it’s good for you, it’ll stick to your ribs”. I don’t remember it sticking to my ribs although when I was smaller I did have a minds eye picture of the vegetables stuck straight to my rib bones.

Wee Gran played a blinder one day. She had council workmen in fixing something that had gone wrong in her house. They finished just before lunchtime and one of the workmen commented on the wonderful smell coming from the soup pan on the cooker.  Wee Gran never batted an eyelid as she asked them if they’d like some second day soup. Oh yes they said, well come back tomorrow Wee Gran said. Their faces were a picture. You’ll probably be aware that home made soup tastes better the day after it’s made. Must be something to do with maturing. Maybe. Possibly.

Staying in the kitchen for a wee while longer let’s consider the nectar of the gods that both grans used to make. Tablet. It was just wonderful, sweet and full of flavour as they say. It wasn’t made a that often but when it was, it was just amazing.  Factory made tablet just doesn’t cut it and isn’t as good as the Scottish Grannies version.

I stayed with Wee Gran a lot because she was on her own and occasionally I stayed at Big Grans, usually if my parents were off on a trip.

Staying at Wee Grans wasn’t as much of an adventure as staying at Big Grans. Wee Gran made toast with a long fork thrust close to the open coal fire and served it spread with Blueband Margarine and a bit of strongly coloured orange cheese. That was good as long as the margarine was soft enough to use because if it wasn’t the toast totally wrecked. What was not so good was that Izal Toilet Tissues were the only choice in the toilet and the cistern was high up on the wall with a chain pull. It made the most horrific noise which scared me to death and meant I had to run at full pelt downstairs again. Wee Gran always asked what was wrong with me making such a noise crashing down the stairs. I didn’t let on, oh the shame of it if I had. Wee Grans spare double bed in the “front room” had a “bolster” pillow”. It seemed pretty opulent at the time. No duvets back then, just stiff white sheets and lots of heavy and jaggy blankets. Making the bed was a major undertaking to say the least.

A slight digression for a moment if I may. The advent of nylon fitted sheets caused quite a stir. My Mum and Dad  had them on their bed and unbelievably my dad had a pair of red nylon pyjamas.  To this day I wonder why he never caught fire as he slid into bed the static between the sheets and the PJs, along with the friction caused by the two nylon surfaces surely must have been a major fire hazard. It probably wouldn’t be allowed nowadays. Mores the pity really. Dangerous? Maybe only in the sartorial stakes.

Staying at Big Grans brought alternative forms of entertainment. Big Gran controlled my Granddad. She knew what was best for him and he knew she did even when she was well wide of the mark. He was a really canny and quiet man, not least because getting a word in edgeways smoked a pipe, which seemed to take up an enormous amount of his time, requiring cleaning and filling and tightening and banging on the fire and on and on. However, Big Gran categorised his most aggravating smoking a pipe trick spitting in the open coal fire in the highest misdemeanour category. Most times he was pretty accurate although, given that he was only about three feet away or so you would expect he would be. If he was less accurate then invariably he would hit the fire grate and sizzling would commence. Big Gran would get pretty cross and Granddad would have to make sure he cleaned the grate really thoroughly the next morning when he set the fire. I thought it was pretty cool actually but I was young and immature in the ways of women back then. So little has changed over the years.

When I last stayed at Big Grans they’d both been retired for years. They would wake me up before seven o’clock as they set the fire and made their porridge. Now bearing in mind they had no work to go to or many social functions in their calendar you would expect that they would have relaxed a bit and allowed themselves to get up a bit later. Not a starter, they’d done it all their lives and they continued to do so even when they were not quite fit enough.

One morning well before seven I was wakened as usual. I got up and looked out the window as I heard voices, which I’d not noticed before.  Now, me actually getting up was remarkable in itself, not so much because I didn’t mind an odd lie in, but more because Big Gran tucked me in once I was in bed. She did it with such fervour and accuracy with the sheets and blankets that on a number of occasions further movement was just not possible. It gave new meaning to sleeping so well I hadn’t moved all night

Anyway back to the voices outside before seven o’clock on a freezing Scottish winter morning. I’d heard the voices because the window was open to let fresh air in, obviously it also let in the cold, but when I was staying at Big Grans I was made of sterner stuff and could withstand sub zero temperatures although I did have a copious number of blankets and a hot water bottle which did help. A bit. Ish.

So the voices. They weren’t just in my head, they were the voices of Big Gran and various other lady neighbours all of a similar age. They stood on the pavement with coats on over their dressing gowns and night ware with varying arrangements of curlers, Kirby grips and hairnets on their heads. I was puzzled by this communal standing about but only until the local co-operative milk van drove into the street. The ladies formed an orderly queue and received their milk along with whatever rolls, bran scones or sodas they had pre-ordered.

To finish then I’ll just add one further memory of Big Grans cooking powers and Granddads less then accurate spitting. Big Gran made the best Clootie Dumpling in the world. It was made, most specifically, for New Years Day when the whole family would go for dinner. That would be seven adults and six children of varying ages in what was a pretty small room. The living room got very hot very quickly, helped in no small part, by the roaring open coal fire, which had been tended all day as “the family are coming”.

The final part of the preparation of the clootie dumpling was for it to sit on hearth to breath whilst we ate our soup (Kale, what else?) and then our steak pie. The cloot (cloth) covering of the dumpling would be rolled back a bit to expose the dumpling and we all looked forward to enjoying it. There was a danger that someone might swallow a six pence or a thrupenny bit but we were at our Grannies so we’d be fine. (Scottish Grannies have been healing the walking wounded for generations and have an extensive medical box filled with lotions and potions Mary Poppins would die for – more of in the next instalment of Scottish Grannies).

Back to the Clootie dumpling. You know what’s coming next.

Following the finishing of the steak pie the table was cleared and Granddad sat down at the fire for a puff of his pipe. No one complained as at least two other adults were smoking as well.  Granddad was enjoying his pipe and no one was really paying much attention to him. Then he took aim and spat. His aim was good but not good enough. Some of it definitely landed on the dumpling. Luckily Big Gran didn’t see and no one said a word about it. However, Big Gran did comment about people not being as keen on the dumpling as they usually were but everyone assured her it was because they had had too much Steak pie. Granddad was demonstrably relieved, he even helped wash up the dishes which must have been a bit of a giveaway that something definitely wasn’t right.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 24, 2011 in General

 

Tags: ,