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 NEWS, RAMBLINGS AND AWARDS                             SEPTEMBER 2010
                          THE SOUPSAYER'S GUIDE TO ANNOYING FOLK

HOW TO ANNOY TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICE STAFF

Lesson 2a - 'Hi, I've chained the children to the bike-rack outside. Can you look after them while I explore your wonderful town.'

Lesson 2g - 'I understand that neither Mary Queen of Scots nor Robert Burns ever spent the night here. Would you care to tell me why not?'

Lesson 3f - 'Is it true that everyone north of Stirling is four-foot-two and has ginger hair?'

Lesson 6j - 'You there, Jimmy, ur ye servin', or whit?'

Lesson 463y - 'Pardon me for asking, but where in this area might I find some nice rustly cattle to listen to?'

Lesson 569d - 'And one more thing, my lovely, exactly how many blades of grass am I likely to encounter between Milngavie and Drymen on the West Highland Way?'

Lesson 694h - 'Hey, cumere you. I've got Factor 50 sun-blocker here, and I want you to slap it on my back right now!'

Lesson 1,482b - 'I want you to listen very close - where can I stay the night in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Auchmithy, Glenrothes and Inversnook?'

Lesson six-million-and-five, k - 'Is it true that Rob Roy McGregor had one leg shorter than the other through walking around the side of so many hills?'
BEST SOUP IN SCOTLAND AWARD goes to Brian's Cafe in Bo'ness.

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.
Awards
2010
Ramblings
Hi,
When I was young, a man used to come round our street on a horse and cart. You knew he was there because he'd blow a bugle. It was probably a very early form of what we today would term 'noise pollution'. The blowing of the bugle would be followed by frantic activity in many houses in the street as children rifled drawers in search of items of clothing that were either worn and little used, or so rarely used that no one would notice they were missing. And so, laden with an armful of clothes we would go outside into the street and offer them to the man on the horse with the bugle. He was known as the rag and bone man. He took your clothes, and in return offered you a treat, like a balloon or some small toy. As he was called the rag and bone man, one presumes that he also collected bones, but no matter how thoroughly I filter through the stored data in my brain, I can find no recollection of us ever offering him the remains of our last meal.
But the times they are a-changing. The man with the bugle is no more. His modern counterpart is 'Cash-4-Clothes', a shop that has recently opened where they offer you 50p for a kilogram of clothes. Their leaflet has instructions: 1. Bring us your clothes, 2. Weigh them, 3. Cash 4 Clothes. But it's just not the same without the bugle.
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The Rug

I bought this rug in a charity shop,
It was long and rolled and fine,
And handed over twelve quid,
For the rug to be all mine.
I took it home and laid it out,
Oh goodness, it was grand,
And that's when I noticed a funny thing,
The rug was leaking sand.
I looked beneath for crustaceans,
Or shells and weed from the sea,
But all I saw was a load of sand,
And I thought,
'Oh deary me.'
And there's really just one explanation,
A reason that's not
so tragic,
My carpet's been flying around the place,
'Cause it's overflowing with magic.
THE RUG
I  bought a rug in a charity shop. Cost £12, and is nine foot square, which is quite big for a rug. I bought it because it was going to cost around £300 to carpet the lounge and bedroom, an amount I can ill afford. So, I thought, I'll just slap down some floor paint and stick a rug or two on top; save myself over £200.
I paid for the rug, slung it over my shoulder in a cavalier do-this-sort-of-thing-every-day-of-my-life sort of way, and boarded a train. It's not easy fitting a nine foot square rug on a train. Trains are not generally designed with such things in mind. But I got it in, took it on a short journey, and eventually managed to get it home.
The rug lay all rolled up in the hall for many weeks while I removed wallpaper and applied paint to the walls and various parts of my body. I had seen part of its design in the charity shop. It looked in good condition, was a good quality rug - thick and well made - and seemed just the job. At £12 I half expected there to be some large stain or blemish hidden somewhere. Maybe even a pool of vomit lurking in a quiet corner.
But the day finally came. I hauled the rug through to the lounge, onto to the fine red-tile painted floor with the Cathedral Green walls and brown skirting, and unrolled it all the way. I stepped back in some amazement. The room came to life. I was looking at what was quite simply the most beautiful rug in all the world. I'd never seen such an intricate design of swirls, almost Paisley-esque in pattern. On the back of the rug was a label. It was made in the now-defunct Templeton's Factory in Glasgow, and had been 'Permanently mothproofed with Dielmoth,' much to my relief.
Templeton's old building on the edge of Glasgow Green is itself an architectural work of art. The intricacy of the design in its facade is somehow echoed in my rug. My charity shop rug. The rug that had come home.
Rating System details for The Good Soup Guide, Scotland's online tourist guide
Straight From The Hippo's Mouth

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BUILDING/STRUCTURE OF THE MONTH
This month we feature the Victorian carpet factory building of James Templeton's on the edge of Glasgow Green. It was designed in the style of Doge's Palace in Venice, and is a brick-built structure of considerable beauty. The carpet shown below is one of theirs, woven possibly around the 1950/60s using the Arran Wilton technique. If anyone could tell me why there's sand coming out of it, I'd be ever so grateful.
Templeton's Carpet Factory, Glasgow Green
CASTLES & Stuff



12th September
[4.00pm to 7.00pm]






Mondays, Thursdays,
Fridays,
Saturdays,
Sundays



11th,12th of September
DOUNE CASTLE







HOLMWOOD







WALLACE MONUMENT
PLEASE NOTE - This is a special late-afternoon/early-evening event that requires booking in advance (only 500 tickets available). This very castle was used in the film Monty Python & The Holy Grail, a wonderful film memorable for many things, including the cow being fired from the castle battlements, a scene that was shot at Doune. This event commemorates Monty Python and recreates a number of their sketches. You can book via Historic Scotland's website, and if you are lucky enough to get a ticket you are advised to 'come along as your favourite Python character.' Sure to be a memorable evening. Doune is between Stirling and Callander.

This Victorian villa is said to be 'possibly the finest domestic design by Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, Glasgow's greatest Victorian architect.' As well as the house itself and 'attractive riverside grounds,' the National Trust for Scotland have organised a family event, to be held every day the house is open, between 12 and 5pm. In the old spooky house you are invited to step back in time to the year 1860, 'a time when children were seen but not heard', to find diary entries written by long gone family members, collect clues and solve puzzles, to unravel a secret code. Holmwood is located at 61-63 Netherlee Road, Cathcart, Glasgow. Are your children up to the challenge? ... woooogghhaaaaghhh!

This magnificent structure is located at Stirling, about a mile to the north of the town. As it was on the 11th of September 1297 that William Wallace led a Scottish army to defeat the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, it is quite apt that a number of events have been laid on at the monument, one of which is a guided walk in the capable hands of William Wallace himself. The walks take place at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm, are free, and tickets are available from the monument.
REMEMBER - IF YOU MENTION 'THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE' YOU WILL BE GIVEN A FREE ROUND OF APPLAUSE AT ALL EVENTS
Carpet made by Templeton's in Glasgow around the mid twentieth century
EVEN MORE NEWS - STEAM DAYS AT DUNASKIN
Dunaskin Steam Day in May
Fancy a hurl on an old steam train? The Ayrshire Railway Preservation group (a bunch of dedicated folk with black oily overalls) operate the Scottish Industrial Railway Centre in what used to be the Dunaskin Heritage Centre (on the A713, 10 miles south-east of Ayr, at Waterside, near Dalmellington). Various Steam Days have been organised. Those in September are on the 5th and 26th of the month. Opening times are 11am to 4.30pm. There will be brake van rides, a shop and museum. Great day out guaranteed, as the surrounding countryside is beautiful.
ARE SUPERMARKETS DUPING THEIR CUSTOMERS INTO SPENDING MORE THAN THEY INTEND?

The answer is, of course, yes. Whether it's those sweeties lining the checkout or the special offers that you didn't mean to buy but they've been deliberately positioned at eye level and you just can't stop yourself from reaching out and grabbing one, it happens all the time. Indeed, it has happened since time immemorial. Duping where food and drink is concerned might simply be the grocer who once halved the huge slab of butter and charged different prices for each half in the knowledge that his customers like a quality product and the dearer half will sell out first. Or it could be the buy-one-get-one-free offer where you get home and find you've inadvertently spent more than you intended and now have enough toilet paper to last the rest of your life. But when does the act of duping stop being duping and starts being some other almost criminal activity?
How many of you check your supermarket receipt? How many of you go through each item and check that you have been charged what you thought you were being charged? I don't have a statistic on that, but I bet it's a very very small percentage of customers. We live busy lives; we've got much more important things to do than checking if the supermarket's diddled us of a few pence. But if you diddle a large number of customers you can make a heck of a lot of money.
At the moment I find I regularly have to return to Customer Services at any number of supermarkets to dispute the price of an item. Sometimes I am right, and the supermarket has mistakenly put the wrong price in the computer system. But a lot of times I am wrong. Or am I?
I am witnessing an increasing number of occasions when price labels seem to be either labelled in such a manner as to confuse, or the label is nowhere near the item it refers to. This makes you look daft when you ask them to check the price. But the fact of the matter is that not everyone has the time, or the eyesight, to read all the small-print details beside the price label to determine if that is indeed the price for the product you are interested in.
It is up to the supermarket to thoroughly ensure that each item being sold has a price label, and that label should be either on, or right beside, the appropriate product. There should be no room whatsoever for confusion where customers select a product thinking it's one price, only to find out that that price was actually for the medium eggs and not the large, or whatever.
If I were a little paranoid, I would perhaps think that all of this, with regard to the price labelling of products, is a deliberate ploy by the supermarkets to get you to spend more than you intend. If that is the case, then it is perhaps something worthy of investigation by Trading Standards. How can we possibly trust the quality of the food and drink that we buy when the organisation that sells us it cannot do something as simple as correctly price an item?
I think we have cause to worry. Check your supermarket receipts for the next month. I think you'll be surprised.
SUPERMARKETS - ARE THEY PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE BREAK DOWN IN LAW AND ORDER ON THE STREETS AT WEEKENDS?


Forgive me if I appear to be on Mega-rant with regard to supermarkets, but we have come to accept them so fully into our lives that it's all too easy to poo-poo the nasty things they get up to.
We're all too familiar with the mayhem on our streets at weekends, with young people drinking too much and falling about the place, hurting themselves and others. Oh sure, it's not just young people, but they are mostly the culprits.
Supermarkets have been criticised quite severely for selling cheap booze. In fact they do, it seems, sell some of it at a loss, a 'loss-leader' or something, and it is this stuff that the young folk buy; boxes of bottles of booze to take away and either drink in the park or at home before heading up town to 'enjoy' themselves. In response to all this criticism, the supermarkets say they sell such products at a loss to pull people into the store in the hope that they will buy other goods, perhaps even their weekly shopping.
Well, I'm sorry if this causes an upset, but I've never heard so much tosh in all my life.
Those that run the supermarkets are not daft. They must surely know that the bulk of alcohol that they sell at a loss is bought by youths. It is not bought by someone who is in to buy their regular shopping. Those who buy cheap boxes of booze buy that and that alone. So why do the supermarkets persist?
It's time supermarkets held their hands up and owned up to playing a significant part in the current alcohol-fuelled breakdown in society, and if they don't, then it's time politicians got up off their fat apathetic backsides and forced them.
One solution worthy of some serious consideration would be to pass legislation outlawing the sale of alcoholic beverages where the mark-up, or profit, is less than 100% of the buying price. Like all solutions, it would not be perfect, but it might at one stroke make huge inroads into the problem. Think about it, guys and guyesses. For me.
NEW NUMBERS TO BE USED ALONGSIDE THE 999 EMERGENCY NUMBER WHEN REQUIRING MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

The NHS has rolled out alternative numbers to be used alongside the 999 number when requiring medical assistance. This is to prevent abuse of the system where callers have thought they should dial 999 because they missed their bus or if the TV's not working.
The new numbers to dial are as follows:

111 - If you feel ill.
222 - If you feel terrible
333 - If you feel terribly ill
444 - If bits ur hingin' aff
555 - If stuff's leakin' oot
666 - If the devil's appeared in your kitchen
777 - If you're swimmin' in bodily fluids
888 - If your numbers up
999 - If you've rung oot yer shammy but it's still no' dry yet