IMAGES OF SCOTLAND
This month we feature the railway path near Grandtully. There is
something strangely enchanting about this photograph. It was the
last photograph of the day for me, the day was on its way out, and I
fully expected it to be nothing more than another naff snap. But
it's not. It speaks of adventure and pixies and the promise of
Velvet Truffles from The Highland Chocolatier in Grandtully.
NOT AN OUNCE OF SCOTTISH STEEL
The Scottish Government has been asking Joe Public to come up with a
name for the new Forth Bridge that will be built at Queensferry.
This is the bridge that is to be built from steel girders, none of
which will be made in Scotland. Indeed, according to Press reports,
the bulk of the steel to be used in the construction will come from
It kinda beggars belief, doesn't it? I mean, it might be cheap to
get steel from yon foreign land, but there is just something either
immoral or unethical about it. It certainly can't be good for
Scotland in that it pretty much announces to the world that our
steel industry is, as the singing twins from Auchtermuchty might
say: no more!
Scotland's online tourist guide understands that pioneering prawn
cracker technology is to be employed, and that the workforce will be
utilising the latest equipment that has been designed, like the
bridge itself, on the back of a packet of cheap fags.
As far as names are concerned, The Great Bridge of China is as good
Scotland's Online Tourist Guide
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THE TRAINS... AGAIN
Scotrail appear all hung-up and quite stuck on the idea of
three and six carriage trains. Their station platforms are geared
towards the acceptance of trains that are three or six carriages in
What this means in the real world is that when you get on any
number of trains at rush-hour there are many people standing because of
insufficient seats. A four carriage train - just one more little carriage -
would make all the difference.
But the driver of a four carriage train
would have problems at stations. For although there are signs saying '3'
or '6' to help drivers of trains of either three or six carriages
in length with
regard to where they should bring their train to a halt, there are no
signs that say '4'. The driver of a four-carriage train would therefore
not know where to bring his train to a stop.
It would maybe mean having to employ a wee man, one who would stand on
the platform and give instructions to train drivers...
'Back a bit... no, too far... bring 'er forward a smidgeon... bit more.
Or they could just get someone to paint '4' on some more signs.
SOME BANKS HAVE a policy that disallows customers from withdrawing
less than £50 inside the bank. It's all part of progress and a
shoddy attempt to reduce queues. What it actually means in practise is that poor
people are denied the luxury of human interaction, and instead have
to deal with The Machine. And if you're an old person who nurtures a
slight fear of The Machine, and who relies on occasional human
contact to feel alive, then that's quite sad, and certainly not
I RECENTLY HAD cause to use a bus to get me from Dundee to Broughty
Ferry. I rubbed my hands in glee as a double-decker appeared. There
is nothing better than the view from the top deck of a double-decker
bus. Usually. On this occasion some person of indeterminate brain
capacity who was employed in the world of advertising decided that the whole front window upstairs would
be ideal for a large advert. Result: nae view. What tourists think
of it all, I do not know.
THE 'EXACT FARE' policy in use by many big city bus companies has to
be the most crooked scheme ever introduced in Scotland. This is a
scheme where you have to have the correct amount of money to the
value of your fare. If you don't, you either get back off the bus,
or put too much in and don't get any change. It makes it hard for
visitors who may be unfamiliar with the system, who invariably end
up losing out financially. Are we actively trying to scare visitors
away, or what?
Hands up all those who know what a Velvet Truffle is. A small
chocolatey thing filled with some sweet brown stuff? Something pigs
unearth from woodland with their snout? An unknown word popular with
poets as it rhymes with snuffle? Well, prepare to be informed.
CLICK HERE FOR SPECIAL FEATURE ON THE HIGHLAND CHOCOLATIER.
The Highland Chocolatier
FEEL A COUGH COMING ON? INSTINCTIVE SURVIVAL IN HUMANS
It's funny how sometimes when you're sitting in a public
place, like at the theatre or cinema or on a bus or train, and
someone coughs, it seems to set off some sort of chain reaction that
soon sees others exercise their lungs in a loud explosive manner.
For some reason that one little, or big, cough triggers others to do
likewise. It might not necessarily lead to a mass outbreak of
bronchial honking, but there will invariably be a few folk who find
themselves joining in in a sympathetic and quite uncontrollable
Perhaps we nurture dormant instincts that see the stranger's cough
as a signal to clear our own lungs.
Here in The Good Soup Guide's School of Theories we have a
hypothesis. We love hypothesissiesses.
Our hypothesis is that of a threat. The stranger's cough is a signal
of some unseen threat. It may signal a number of things. Someone
could be infected with a dangerous organism and his lungs are doing
their utmost to expel the beastie. Or, there may be something
noxious in the air that we have not yet detected. So we'll cough,
whether we wish to or not, so as to lessen the threat to our own
existence. Just to be on the safe side.
In coughing, Man has embarked on a small bout of self-preservation,
even if he is unaware that that is exactly what he is doing.
So, any questions out there? Do you agree with our Hypothesis on the
Involuntary Coughing Mechanism as an Instinctive Means of
for a monthly equivalent
of around £6.
* Approximate online visits
during the month of March 2012
We are now accepting advertisements to accompany a Special Feature
in our May News on the strange underground passageways of Gilmerton
Cove in Dalkeith, near Edinburgh.
Advertisements should be supplied as jpegs of 257px wide by 349px
high (this size).
Deadline is 23rd April.
WELCOME TO TONGLAND
During a recent visit to Kirkcudbright the bus I was on passed
through a village. The roadside sign said, 'WELCOME TO TONGLAND'. It was
a mildly ominous sign. The word Tongland feels a bit foreign, and a
little bit scary. I mean, it's not the most user-friendly name in the
world. Tongland. If it were located near Glasgow the sign might well
say, 'WELCOME TO TONGLAND, YA BASS.'
But methinks it is a village worth checking out. I caught a glimpse of
an architecturally stunning power station, and a lovely old bridge. I
shall prepare the hippos for battle.