NEWS, RAMBLINGS AND AWARDS                               DECEMBER 2009
                                       FREE MUSIC
As a special Christmas treat to all you thousands of fans, The Good Soup Guide is including a special link to some free music by legend (in his own mind) Eddy Burns. Just click HERE to be transported to a page containing two free downloadable tracks.
My world is full of people who don't phone back. There are many variations on this theme, although all are linked by the absence of an electronic ringing. Sometimes they say they will phone within the hour, sometimes it's this afternoon, and sometimes it's just sometime, some undetermined point in time between now and the end of everything we know.
I suppose the percentage success rate of being called back depends on your status in life. If you are a very important person folk probably always call back when they say they will do so. One hundred percent.
Judging by my percentage, my social status must be on a par with that of a speck of dirt. But, of course, I have to say that it is this very act of being ignored, of being treated like a nobody, that fuels my fire and gets me up on a soapbox shouting the odds. I'd probably be quite a calm individual, more balanced and sane, if everyone just called back. It's not a lot to ask, surely?
Anyway, I've suddenly realised that I've started an article in this big space and the article is far too wee for it. So, as it's Christmas, I'm going to include a photo to make up for the lack of words. If you can guess where it is, I'll send you a free soup recipe.
And remember, whatever your view of Christmas, just think of it as a prime opportunity to acquire lots of things with which to make soup.  All the best,               
                                                                                                  The Soupsayer.

Guess where?
BEST SOUP IN SCOTLAND AWARD goes to the Darnley Coffee House in Stirling.

BEST ALE BREWED IN SCOTLAND AWARD goes to 'Blackfriar', a delicious bottled ale brewed by the Inveralmond Brewery up in Perth. It was made for the American market, but if you know where to look you can find the odd bottle here.

BEST PUB AWARD goes to the Ben Nevis in Glasgow, because it's just a great pub.

BEST THING TO SEE AWARD goes to the walled garden in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.

BEST LITTLE WALK AWARD goes to the Pendreich walk above Bridge of Allan.

I'm being followed by Ayrshire. Ayrshire Twitter, that is. It's not easy being followed by a whole region. Before I leave the house of a morning I generally check outside the window, but I never see them. They must be well hidden, behind trees, in bushes, and down lanes. There's a lot of folk in Ayrshire. How can they all hide in the small area around my house without leaving a tell-tale sign, like a lost Kilmarnock bonnet?
When I'm up town in a busy pedestrianised area I steal the odd glance over my shoulder in the hope of catching them unawares. I fully anticipate a whole... em, Ayrshire's worth of people, perhaps with a brass band or two, all following merrily in my wake. But there's nothing.
To be honest, I'm not sure that I understand all this technology. As someone once said, 'Progress might have been all right once, but it's been going on too long now,' or something like that. I'm thinking about unveiling a new form of social interaction. You go up to someone, open your mouth in such a manner as to emit meaningful  and easily understood sounds, and program your ears to receive the same back. I'm going to call it 'Talking.'


It's not easy being unemployed these days. The job market has changed beyond all recognition. What was once a Storeman is now a Procurement Technician, and in Job Centres themselves the dainty six-by-four cards have been replaced by computers that spew out vacancies on long sheets of paper that strangely resemble toilet rolls.
Nowadays, if you're not a team player capable of putting up with a lot of pressure then you're struggling, because most vacancies require you to possess these two qualities. Well, I'm sorry if this causes a fuss, BUT, I don't like being under pressure. And the emphasis that is placed on being a team player is, to put it mildly, absurd.
It little matters that you can work happily and efficiently with others, you have to be able to sit in an interview and answer stupid questions like, 'Can you tell me, when was the last time you used your initiative?' ... at which point I generally say, 'I'm using it now,' and walk out.
My tip for finding a job is this: at the place on the application form where it asks if you have any requirements when attending an interview, write, 'Strong black coffee and fresh-cream chocolate éclairs.' It's sure to get you noticed, although maybe not for the right reasons.
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Soft yet crunchy underfoot,
White and crisp and clean,
Branches bowing, laden low,
Trees with snowy lean,
Sky that's purple,
Sky that's grey,
Ground that's seldom green,
Soft and snug,
I'm listening out,
I wonder if Santa's been.
The Last Word
Why is everything in a packet these days? It seems you can't go anywhere to eat or drink without being faced with any number of small bowls containing tiny paper sachets of salt or pepper or sugar or god knows what else. I suppose it's just a matter of time before we order some food in a coffee house or restaurant and are handed a small sachet, as in a sachet of coffee or a sandwich sachet or a spaghetti bolognaise sachet or - heaven forbid - a soup sachet. We have become caught up in this unending spiral of efficiency and cleanliness that is so utterly tedious. I mean, it might be cheaper and more hygienic to have sugar in small sachets, but it detracts something terrible from the pleasurable process of coffee drinking. The sachets are so small. There can be nothing more tiresome in life than having to tear the end of umpteen sachets to access the miserable portion of whatever's inside. Is it a ploy to make us feel guilty about taking too much? I mean, what does it matter if some unhealthy slob deposits nose pickings in the pepper dish or dandruff in the sugar bowl - these are small prices to pay for the glorious act of spooning things into a mug or sprinkling things onto your plate in as lavish a manner as you wish.