A BIT OF THIS AND A BIT OF THAT
BUILDING/STRUCTURE OF THE MONTH
This month we feature Hutchesons' Hall in Glasgow, a glorious old
structure which was recently given a lick of paint and looks quite
wonderful in the sunshine that we always get in Glasgow.
THE JOYS OF TRAVELLING
Many years ago I went on a great adventure into England. I was
slightly surprised to find there was no big gate at the Border; nor
a man in a peaked cap handing out little pink perforated tickets. I
just walked in. Some time later, after many weeks of adventuring, I
ended up in Leeds. I was seeking directions for the next stage of my
adventure: a quest to find The White Horse. I had heard of a
wonderful ancient tavern in Beverley, called The White Horse, where
they still have gas lighting. And so I found myself in a tourist
office in Leeds...
'Excuse me,' I said to the rather attractive lady behind the
counter. 'Can you tell me how to get to Beverley?'
'Beverley?' she replied with a flicker of her eyelashes. 'Get the
whole bus, then a connection to Beverley.'
'The what?' I said, not quite catching her words.
'Get the whole bus, then another one to Beverley.'
'The whole bus?'
'Yes,' she replied with a hint of impatience in her voice. 'The
'Right... em... do you happen to have a darkened room in which I
might lie down and die for a while?'
She regarded me through furrowing brows. I sensed a finger poised
over a panic-button.
The silence that followed was broken only by the sound of wooden
cogs in my head. When I next spoke my voice has risen to a peculiar
Minnie Mouse squeak.
'But... you mean some of them come in bits?'
'Sir,' she said as patiently as she could, but her brows were now
tying themselves in knots and this was clearly a difficult moment
for her. 'I'm not entirely sure what you mean, but if you could just
get the bus to whole, then everything will be fine.'
And then the penny dropped. Whole. Hull. What a lovely accent. I was
off to Whole. A White Horse was waiting.
And the moral of the tale? Probably best to holiday in Scotland. At
least you can understand what we say. Ken fit ah mean?
NEW VISITOR CHECKS AT AIRPORTS
Further to the revelation that certain long-distance buses in
Scotland are not fitted with public toilets, the Scottish Government
has introduced a new series of measures to control who is allowed
into the country.
'We felt,' said a government spokesperson, 'that in order to
properly look after the needs and interests of tourists visiting
Scotland that we had to take action. There are some bus journeys -
between Glasgow and St Andrews for example - that take almost
two-and-a-half hours, and there is no toilet on these buses. We've
had reports of visitors peeing themselves or urinating into carrier
bags. Something had to be done.'
When asked how the new regulations will work, the spokesperson had
this to say, 'At all airport arrivals desks there will be an
additional level of checks whereby persons wishing to enter Scotland
will be asked to divulge the Volumetric Capacity of their bladder.
Anyone with a bladder with a VC of less than two gallons will not be
allowed into the country. It's for their own good, and I hope they
Public opinion is mixed. 'Bladder capacity? Bladder capacity?' said
a wee woman in Partick, 'Ma tartan trolley hauds a hunner
gallon. Who needs a loo?'
POST OFFICE CONFESSIONAL
Strange cloth-covered booths have mysteriously appeared in post
offices up and down the land. If you ask the staff, they will tell you
that the booths are something to do with cars and driving licenses or
something. But it's a cover. The government has for the past decade been
experimenting with futuristic transportation devices, much like those
seen in the film, 'The Fly'.
After much experimentation the process has been honed to perfection, and
now anyone wishing to be whisked from one town to
another can do so within the blink of an eye.
'We felt,' said a government spokesperson, 'that the time was right to
bring this research out into the open and offer what is really a
first-class service to members of the public. We've been through many
years of trials and tribulations with this. It has not been easy. Only
last year we thought we had finally cracked it, tried to transport a man
from East KIlbride to Milton Keynes, and discovered a small flaw in that
when he arrived he was... how shall we say... em... inside out,
The Good Soup Guide understands that only members of the public who have
signed up for the scheme will be permitted to travel, and the membership
fee involves an arm and a leg.
So, next time you're in a post office, watch the booths; the person that
comes out is not the same person that went in!!
Copyright The Good Soup Guide. All rights reserved. CONTACT:
How come the sound-proofing in so many houses could be vastly
improved by replacing dividing walls with rice-paper?
I found another abandoned piece of furniture in the street the
other day. A wooden cabinet with a nice ye olde glass bit on the front.
It's exactly what I was looking for to put the TV on. Cost: nothing.
In my living room I now have many items found in the street: the TV
cabinet, a small table, an armchair, a book-case, a shelf and a
colourful printed work of art depicting knights in armour. All were in
good condition, which kinda makes you wonder why they were thrown out in
the first place.
We give little thought to the forest's-worth of spent wooden furniture
chucked out every day of the year. Yet, with a little thought, they
could be reused. The Scottish Government has funded a Waste Aware
Scotland programme, and I would highly recommend that you check it out
online. There is a specific area that deals with furniture recycling.
Real Ale Festivals in May
20th & 21st - HELENSBURGH - Helensburgh Sailing
Club (on the banks of the River Clyde - make your way to the
waterfront and head right, in the direction of Rhu. The sailing club
is between Helensburgh and Rhu.)
A BUS TO FORFAR
I recently visited Forfar. Well, you know, someone's got to do
it, even if solely to see what those Pictish types are up to, make sure
they're not misbehaving themselves, burning a few witches at the stake,
and that kind of thing.
When you don't have your own transport, it can be difficult reaching
some places. How tourists manage, I really don't know. I stay in
Scotland, and should be reasonably au fait with buses and trains and how
to get from A to B. Unfortunately, I feel those in charge of our
transport system deliberately try to make it hard. They must hold long
meeting in rooms earnestly working out how best to make it as difficult
as possible for these damn tourists to find their way around. There are
also so many barriers placed in the way of a smooth transition from A to
B that I feel we may be but one small step away from physical barriers,
big wooden gates across roads with signs saying, 'EFF OFF - WE DINNA
After paying £11 for a return between Glasgow and St Andrews, I half
expected a return between Glasgow and Forfar to be similar in price,
perhaps a few pounds more. I mean, when you look at a map, the distance,
by road, from Glasgow to St Andrews is kinda similar to that between
Glasgow and Forfar. So why, I wondered, was I being asked to fork out
£24.50 for the latter? TWENTY-FOUR-POUNDS-AND-FIFTY-PENCE!
It doesn't make sense. Okay, at least there was a toilet on the Forfar
bus. There wasn't one on the St Andrews bus. But if having a toilet
means having to pay an extra £13.50 - more than 100% of a difference -
then I could happily forego the toilet facilities in favour of an empty
There is just something very wrong with Scotland's transport system. It
is a higgledy-piggledy assortment of things on wheels, and nothing more.
It is indeed so much of a shambles that I have been informed that
Citylink bus drivers are expected to clean the toilets on their buses.
Bus drivers cleaning toilets? Struth - they'll be changing tyres and
passing around the empty milk cartons next.
But probably the most annoying thing about paying £24.50 for a bus from
Glasgow to Forfar, and back, is that the bus doesn't actually go to
Forfar. They just sort of kid you on and deposit you unceremoniously
some two miles from Forfar town centre, effectively in the middle of
nowhere with nowt but a dual carriageway and a McDonald's fast food
joint for company (both high on my list of life's greatest pleasures).
And so, to conclude, might I ask Scotland's Transport Minister, whoever
he may be, to at least try to correlate and amalgamate all the things we
have on wheels, and give tourists a fighting chance to see what it is
they want to see and go wherever they choose without either wetting
themselves in the process or going bankrupt.
TIPS FROM THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE - Queuing
1. When in a queue, be ever mindful of the need to allow space at the
rear for other queuees and stand close to the person in front. An
acceptable level of closeness is when the tip of your nose is in contact
with the back of their head.
2. Sometimes in a queue, especially those found in supermarket
check-outs, people fall into another-worldly dream and forget where they
are. To prevent this happening to the person in front of you, gently
touch the back of their knees with your trolley at least once every ten
3. As you get near the front of a queue, with only one person in front,
do not position yourself behind this person. It is considered great
sport to actually stand beside them, shoulder to shoulder, and make
jerky movements every so often so as to make it look like you are about
4. If queuing in a post office or bank or some ticket office where rope
barriers are involved, take every opportunity to tap the person at the
head of the queue on the shoulder to inform them that a serving window
has become available. This is best accompanied by a loud shout of,
'THAT'S YOU NOW. GO ON NOW. THAT'S THE STUFF. NEXT!'
5. If in a supermarket queue and the person in front has taken up too
much space on the conveyor-belt, feel free to rearrange their shoppping
so that it all fits in. If questioned, lecture the questioner on the
efficient use of space.
6. Another supermarket tip: if you sense that everyone around is having
a boring day, take your full trolley of shopping and try to fit it
through the check-out aisle sideways.
Castle Events in May
14th & 15th - CAERLAVEROCK CASTLE (near DUMFRIES) -
'Siege & Storm' - It is the year 1640 and the castle is under siege.
See a military camp and an assault on the sturdy walls of this
28th & 29th - DUNDONALD CASTLE (between KILMARNOCK and
TROON) - 'The Rise of the Stewarts' - Experience medieval
life, and chat with master craftsmen and members of the King's court
as they strive to rebuild the castle.
29th - DOUNE CASTLE (in DOUNE, north-west of STIRLING)
- '1645 - The Royalist Takeover' - Meet members of the Marquis of
Montrose's army as the soldiers converge on the castle to the sound
of gunfire and cannon.