A BIT OF THIS AND A BIT OF THAT
BUILDING/STRUCTURE OF THE MONTH
This month we feature a whole street: St John Street in Perth. Perth is
slightly unusual in that it has a huge shopping centre in its midst, and
yet the town itself has managed to hold its own, boasting wonderful
streets like that shown below. St John Street is lined with old
buildings with nice shops at ground level. In this photo there are even
two policemen dreaming of the shopping they will do when off duty.
Scottish Olympic Torch Fears
Fears are growing for the security of the Olympic torch during its
impending journey throughout Scotland. It is felt that in some areas
of the country pensioners may gather in considerable numbers in the
hope of getting a heat from the naked flame.
'We have received some intelligence,' said a government
spokesperson, 'that the current high price of gas and electricity
combined with a squeeze on household budgets may force many old
people out of their homes and into the streets. Our source has
informed us that many pensioners have been training in secrecy, and
that come the big day they plan to run beside the torch-carrying athlete and
obtain a good level of heating from the flame.'
'We can't have cold old folk getting in the way of such a big
event, and to this end we are in
discussions with a certain unnamed security organisation with a view
to thwarting everything the pensioners may be planning. Any old
person seen actively jogging within one hundred meters of the
Olympic torch will be wrestled to the ground, tasered, and taken
away for interrogation. Nothing will stand in the way of this day,
not even a few miserable pensioners.'
Public opinion is mixed. 'Tasered? Tasered?' said a wee old woman in
Partick as she wiped an icicle from her nose. 'If any SAS dude tries
tae stoap me gettin' a free heat ah'm kneein' 'im in the goolies!'
Oh ye Glesga drunken man
Ye're often drinkin' oot a can
Ye'r face is blotchy an' awfy red
Ye look as if ye're almost dead
Ye'r great big coat is fu' o' stains
Some dirt, some blood,
an' sumb'dy's brains
Oh ye Glesga drunken man
Why can ye no' chist huv the wan?
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Credit agencies around the world are in agreement that the only
way forward with regard to the financial turmoil is to wind-up Europe,
bulldoze the lot, and turn it into a car-park.
'We are seeing a vast increase in cars these days,' said a credit agency
person. 'There is always a shortage of parking space, and if Italy,
France, Germany, Greece Spain and the UK were flattened and painted with
nice white lines, well... think of the number of cars you could park
Not everyone likes the idea.
Italy insists that if any bulldozers come anywhere near their country
they must be white and not yellow; France wants to choose the dimensions
of its own parking-grids; Germany wants to tender a bid for the
bulldozer contract; Greece wants to know if they can set up olive stalls
in unused parking spaces; Spain wondered if it would be possible to have
fences instead of white lines (and maybe bring back bull-fighting); and
the UK unemployment rate has fallen to zero as all available citizens
are now employed in building vast walls around the whole country's
THE NATIONAL DISGRACE OF SCOTLAND'S PUBLIC TOILETS
Can there possibly be anything more demeaning in life than
having to ask for a key to use the toilet? What sort of charade are
we operating in this country? Toilets in train stations (I use the term
loosely because I am not convinced that you can call a Perspex box on a
platform a station) appear in many cases to close after a certain time.
And yet there are still trains running. That's an absolute disgrace, and
there is no excuse whatsoever that can mitigate the absurdity of it.
In other train stations you have to ask someone for the key. 'Please
sir, may I have the key for the toilet?'
In bus stations you've got to pay to use the toilet. Thirty pence for a
pee is pushing it a bit when you've had to endure a two-and-a-half hour
journey on a bus with no toilet facilities.
Then there are libraries. In Hillhead Library in Glasgow, for example,
you have to ask for the key, and hand over your library card as surety
that you are not going to run away with the said key, the key that is
attached for some unfathomable reason to a twelve-inch ruler (what,
might I enquire, is one expected to measure?).
I've even been on buses that do allegedly have a toilet (built, clearly,
with hobbits in mind), where you spend far too long looking at the
'TOILET IN USE' symbol wondering if the toilet is out of order or if
maybe someone died in there a while back and no one bothered to check.
So you spend the remainder of the journey nurturing an ever-growing
bladder and a fear that as soon as you pluck up the courage to open that
door a body in a state of some decomposition will fall out.
There can be no greater despair than standing in a bus or train station
in the evening waiting on a bus or train in a place forsaken by
civilisation, a place where there is no toilet and no members of staff;
a place where travellers have been abandoned in a hopeless void of
What a disgrace.
THERE IS MUCH talk of change within the Labour party in Scotland
further to the recent announcement of a new leader. John Lamont or
Joanna Lumley or whoever it is said, 'Change is now required. It is
change that will see us succeed in Scotland, and in that change we
will see much that is different.' The Good Soup Guide understands
that the first major change is already in place. At party meetings
there will be custard creams instead of digestives.
LABOUR PARTY OFFICIALS in Scotland have decided to embrace their new
leader's cry for all-out change by getting rid of her and replacing
her with one of Edinburgh Zoo's new pandas. 'We felt,' said a Labour
party person, 'that John Lamont or Joanna Lumley or whoever it was
we had as a leader for those two eventful minutes lacked the
charisma required to allow us to forge a new Scotland. The panda is
guaranteed to attract public interest, and we feel this is the way
THE SCOTTISH LABOUR party is looking at the possibility of bringing
back Iain Gray. It is thought that if supplies of bamboo
run out the current new incumbent may defect or run away. 'The thing
about Iain Gray,' said an insider, 'is that he had a good strong jaw.
You cannot deny that a man with a firm square jaw-line must have the
ability to do something useful. We thought he might break down the
vast bamboo supplies with his teeth and keep our new leader
After much deliberation, some slurping, lots of looking to and fro,
and a total absence of any free beer from you miserable bunch of
brewers, The Good Soup Guide Annual Awards 2012 will now be
announced. Are you ready?
BEST SOUP IN SCOTLAND - The Gypsy Cream
Coffee House in Largs. As well as good wholesome soup they make what
is probably the best tablet in the whole country.
BEST ALE BREWED IN SCOTLAND - 'Punk
IPA', brewed by BrewDog up in Fraserburgh. Never have I tasted such a
gloriously fragrant ale, one that I could drink and drink and drink.
BEST BAR IN SCOTLAND - Dreel Tavern in
Anstruther. Such a wonderful old thing.
BEST THING TO SEE IN SCOTLAND - Perth
Museum & Art Gallery. An astonishingly beautiful building full of
astonishingly beautiful stuff.
BEST LITTLE WALK IN SCOTLAND - The
section of the Southern Upland Way between Melrose and Lauder. Oh
the joy of being out of doors amongst green stuff.
The Good Soup Guide Annual Awards 2012
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How Far Should We Go?
How far should we go to ensure that everyone in society ingests the
appropriate quantity of vitamins and minerals essential for a good
We already add unnecessary - unnecessary with regard to the taste
and quality of the product - vitamins to many
foodstuffs; we have debated about the addition of more fluoride to
our drinking water (probably best not to know what is already in
your clear 'pure' drinking water!); and we are in danger of
pampering to an underclass of nutritional dunderheads to a degree
that may in time have an adverse effect on the human race.
Because, at the end of the day, you can get too much of a good
thing. Excessive amounts of certain vitamins may actually be
detrimental to our health.
So how far should we go?
Well, we shouldn't. We shouldn't be adding anything to our food and
drink that is not in it in the first place. I don't want to risk
fluoride poisoning by drinking tap water just because wee Johnny's not too good at remembering to brush his teeth after
consuming umpteen cans of sweet fizzy drinks.
What we should
be doing is educating children... you know -
that thing we used to do with them in schools when we talked to them
and they learned stuff. We could, for example, educate them about
the need to consume oily fish, like mackerel, so as to boost our
levels of Vitamin D and keep diseases like Rickets or perhaps even
Multiple Sclerosis at bay.
I will simply not entertain any argument about it being too
expensive to eat a healthy diet. It's not. It might require you to
think more, and it might require more effort to source what you
need, but eating healthily is not
more expensive than
reaching out your flabby arm and grabbing tins of salt-, sugar- and
I'm not an unreasonable man. I know that sometimes we may need a few
extra vitamins or minerals to perhaps see us through an unusual
period in our body's existence. So pop a pill, don't go burdening
the majority just to keep the minority content, especially when we
do not understand the long-term implications of mass-dosing the
In mollycoddling people who simply cannot be bothered to eat
healthily we run the risk of creating a dangerous genetic monster
that could at some future stage not just bite a large chunk out of
mankind, but finish us off once and for all.