NEWS, RAMBLINGS AND AWARDS
I was in a tavern the other day. It was a tavern with a real fire.
Problem was, it was a rather uninspiring real fire. It just sort of sat
there and glowed, exhibiting a quite disappointing lack of the sort of
attributes you normally associate with a real fire, like flames and
smoke. What is the point, I asked myself, in staring into the depths of
a real fire when all it gives in return is a smug glow?
On making enquiries with a fellow imbiber, it was suggested that perhaps
the reason it was so bland was because smokeless logs were being used.
'Smokeless logs?' I spluttered. 'Whatdya mean, smokeless logs?'
Seems it's not only smokeless coal out there. There are smokeless
And how, I wondered as I blew some air over the dull embers in the hope
of sparking them into life, do we make smokeless logs? Are they
partially burnt to get rid of much of the smoky stuff, or are they
treated in some dastardly way so as to reduce the wonderful greeny-grey
billows that normally swirl and curl from their surface? Well, I don't
I mean, if we can do this, then I suppose it's only a matter of
time before we genetically alter trees so that the wood they produce is
smokeless. Problem is, that the trees with stout constitutions, who are
more resistant to change, will probably start gathering outside pubs and
other buildings and generally getting in everyone's way. Sigh!
ADVANCEMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY
The Department of Work and Pensions
is streaking into this modern world at a rate that is frightening.
At Job Centres (actually, it's Job Centre Plus, the 'plus' standing
for security guards), print-outs from the job computers helpfully
inform those seeking employment that applications can only be made
via email 'by using a computer with internet access.' Now, I don't
wish to belittle those who may not be as computer-literate as the
rest of us, but the way I see it, if you have to be told to use a
computer with internet access then you really shouldn't be applying
for this particular job. Perhaps 'Professional Soup Slurper' would
be more up your street, a position that does not, as far as I am
aware, make use of electronic technology. Anyway, I think we
probably have to thank the DWP for this advice, because until I read
it I was desperately trying to send emails using a cardboard box and
BEST SOUP IN SCOTLAND AWARD goes to Brian's Cafe in
BEST ALE BREWED IN SCOTLAND AWARD goes to 'Seven
Giraffes', a superb ale brewed by the Williams Brothers in Alloa.
BEST PUB AWARD goes to
Greyfriars Bar in Perth. Go there now to find out why.
BEST THING TO SEE AWARD goes
to the panoramic view from Edinburgh's Calton Hill.
BEST LITTLE WALK AWARD goes to the forest track through
Mugdock Wood in Milngavie.
It does at times seem that every business that is not a supermarket is
going bust. But it is in fact the supermarkets that are causing
Most of us think we are bystanders in the march of progress, reading our
newspapers and marvelling as each step forward is greeted by wonder and
resignation. But are supermarkets the way forward? Is this really progress?
With the growth of supermarkets we have witnessed the loss of High
Street butchers, fishmongers, bakers, off-licenses, small music stores
and book shops.
Do you want to be a bystander to the decimation of your town?
Because if you continue to just sit back and watch, I can guarantee that
it will not be long before we get the bulk of our food and drink from
abroad, we will have lost our farmers and all the trades associated with
food preparation, and towns that have grown from time immemorial will be
wiped off the face of the earth, to be replaced by singing dancing
abominations that go under the name of supermarkets. If that's what you
want, then go ahead. If not, then try seeking out that small shop that
is still there. It might be a bit more expensive, but while it remains
you can at least say that you still have a town centre, not to mention
control of your way of life.
A Hindrance To Shopping
'Can I help you?' came the insistent request from my right.
'Can I help you?' came another, this time from my left. They were all
around, threatening to engulf me in offers of assistance. I'd already
said to another of the bounders that I was only in for a look. What is
it they want, a written statement in triplicate?
'No, I'm fine, thank you,' I replied.
'Well just let us know if you need help.'
'Yeh, right. Goodbye.'
Keep a close watch on the News pages of The Good
From the beginning of April we will be serialising a work of fiction as
an e-book. This will be free to download, with ten new chapters being
added every week. By the fifth week the work will be complete.
This work has not yet been published in any shape or form, and as such
followers of The Good Soup Guide will be the first to read it. We don't
want to give away too much at present, but let's just say that it is a
work of religious horror set in both modern times and during the
Reformation. It is also set in Glasgow in Scotland. Keep watching this
space for more details.
BANKERS ARE RICH
The Truth about
I wonder if it's snowing,
I wonder if it's white,
I wonder if the sky was purple
During that silent night,
I wonder when the snowdrops
Will pop up for some air,
Only to be stood on
By some great big bearded bear.
Almost The Last Word But Not Quite
American scientists have been up to some research involving
electromagnetic radiation. They issued a press release in January
suggesting that using a mobile phone may slow down the effects of
Alzheimers. The tests were done on mice who, as we all know, are frantic
mobile phone users at the best of times.
The research is of course of considerable interest to those affected by
this disease, and perhaps of considerable interest to those who once
waved a clenched fist in the air when anyone even whispered the phrase,
'mobile phone mast in your back garden'. Mobile phone masts have been
looked upon with much suspicion over the past decade. It was thought
that they might emit unseen waves that could have an adverse effect on
our brains. Perhaps now we might see that the effect is far from
adverse, and before long the masts will become something desirable, as
'Whit d'ya want fer yer Christmas, Boab?'
''Jessie, ah ken it's expensive, but ah'm desperately hankerin' eftir a
mobile phone mast. It would look braw in the corner of the living-room,
and in the winter we kin curl up in front o' it an' keep nice and
The mind boggles, so it does. And that, I suspect, is the problem.
NAME AND SHAME - TOILETS
There are some abominable public toilets out there. It's bad
enough for us locals, but what tourists must think is anyone's guess.
Let's take, for example, the town of Ayr. I recently had to use the
gents public toilet in Ayr's bus station. Getting into the cubicle and
shutting the door is almost an impossible task. The door will not shut
because you, the toiletee, are in the way. I only managed to close the
door by drinking some magic shrinking potion and squeezing in beside the
bowl. And, of course, once in, you find there are no hooks upon which to
hang your coat. It really is about time something was done.
BUILDING/STRUCTURE OF THE MONTH
This month we feature Paisley Abbey. It's a nice grey old lump of stone,
and worth more than just a cursory glance. It is a place of kings and
knights so bold. Recent excavation between the abbey and the river
uncovered a secret tunnel. And just what it was used for, no one knows.
the Paisley - 'Other Stuff' page for more on the abbey.
The FBI have been updating their image of the big bad wolf,
Osama bin Laden. In trying to achieve a realistic picture of
how the aged terrorist might now look, they have trawled the
internet for potential look-a-likes whose features can be
blended into their photographic collage. The result can be
seen on your right. If you see this man, contact the
We have become aware of page display problems when this website is
viewed on certain web browsers. Some text headings have all but
vanished, hippos have taken to wandering into, and obscuring, areas
of text, and all in all the whole thing has been a nightmare. This
is all down to inexperience on our part, and we apologise profusely.
Alterations have recently been made which should correct most of
these problems, but we are having some difficulty with the hippos.
We suspect that when pages are viewed on, for example, the browser
Safari on an AppleMac computer, the rating hippos become displaced
and are displayed lower than they should be. They seem to become
increasingly lower than intended the further down the page you go.
This is, it must be said, driving us to distraction. Are there any
computer whiz-kids out there who might have a solution? Anyway, rest
assured we are continuing to work on it. And, it goes without
saying, that anyone who has experienced any stress at having to
witness hippos in areas where they have no business being, will be
fully compensated. All claims for compensation should be made
between 14.00 and 14.01 hours on the 32nd of January 2009.
Free Music Downloads
TWO FREE DOWNLOADABLE TRACKS BY ROCK LEGEND EDDY BURNS. YOU
DON'T NEED TO REGISTER, YOU DON'T NEED TO SUPPLY YOUR EMAIL
ADDRESS, YOU DON'T NEED TO SUBMIT A YEAR'S SUPPLY OF PEAS.
YOU JUST CLICK
Stirling Heads Exhibition
I know this is unusual, but I'm actually going to give you some news
here, as opposed to my inane ramblings. There is an exhibition at
Stirling Castle, running from 13 - 21 February, which is quite a
short slot, so get yourself through there right now. It is the one
and only chance you are ever going to get to see the carved wooden
replicas of what is known as the Stirling Heads. The originals - not
all of which have survived - once formed part of the lost ceiling of
the King's Inner Hall, and would originally have been brightly
painted. The replica carvings took five years to complete, and will
soon be painted before being placed in position as part of a
recreated King's Inner Hall. I understand that the original heads
are said to be of such artistic importance that they have been
called 'Scotland's Other Crown Jewels.' When you go, if you say that
you were sent by The Good Soup Guide I understand you will be given
a free round of applause.