SCOTTISH INNS, BARS AND TAVERNS
This month we feature The Tam O' Shanter Inn in Ayr, a pub with a thatched roof and connections with the poet Robert Burns. Robert Burns was fond of watching the telly.
Inside the Tam O' Shanter Inn in Ayr in 2011
January 2013 News Cartoon - the problem of dog faeces on the streets
COUNCILS TRY TO TACKLE DOG MESS
In some residential pavements in big cities, and probably wee cities too, dog mess is a real problem. I stay in the Partick area of Glasgow, and when I leave the house I have actually got to watch where I am putting every single footstep, because all it takes is a moment's lapse of concentration and I've got doggy-doo all over the soles of my shoes. This is all very well, but if you fail to notice what generally happens is you spread the mess hither and thither: in shops, buses, and on your carpet when eventually you get home.
As a small marginally-related irrelevance I might say that in the olden days children used to regard dog mess as a joke. I recall primary days in Partick when mischievous kids would all huddle around a pile of Fido's faeces and stare at it. An innocent bystander might walk by, be enveloped with curiosity as to what we were all looking at, and wander over for a peek. That was the cue for a banger firework to be lit and placed in the pile of dog mess. The bystander would then find a group of kids scattering in apparent terror, would amble to the spot with even more curiosity, and find him or herself face to face with an exploding turd. Oh yes, those were the days!
The solution that councils have in place appears to rely on folk telling tales on dog-walkers. 'It wus him!' someone might say, and the offender would be carted off and fined.
This in my mind simply will not work. What we need is for all dog owners to obtain all their dog food from Government-controlled laboratories where each tin has been scientifically tagged in such a unique manner that the offender's address will effectively be written in every poo.
That's the answer. Either that, or we'll blow 'em up!
Scotland's Online Tourist Guide
January 2013
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TO A PAVEMENT


Pavements
with wardrobes
wobbly and high
mattresses
sofas and leftover pie
Pavements
with vomit
and canine poo
And holes so deep
there's an echo too
Pavements
so broken
folk scrape their knee
Welcome
to the
twenty-first century
Snippets
THERE ARE SOME folk who don't quite get it. Some of these folk are councillors. I listened to one on the telly recently saying how great it was that we had all this immigration and that it was important for us to attract skilled people from the world's pool. I'll tell you what, I reckon it would be far better if we drastically cut back on all these foreign folk dirtying-up the place and started training Scottish people in the skills that this country needs. No decent country should have to rely on other countries for any crucial thing, skills or otherwise.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS introduced additional questions for inclusion in the 'Are You Good Enough To Come To The UK' exam. As well as being able to prove they have a good command of the English language, potential immigrants will be asked the following: (1) Can you simultaneously pat your head and rub your stomach? (2) Can you whistle sarcastically? (3) Are you able to fart silently while in a supermarket queue? That'll really sort the wheat from the chaff.
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THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE ANNUAL AWARDS 2013

After much deliberation, some slurping, lots of looking to and fro and the wearing-out of many cheap foreign trainers, The Good Soup Guide Annual Awards 2013 will now be announced.


BEST SOUP IN SCOTLAND
Union of Genius, 8 Forrest Road, Edinburgh. Scotland's first soup cafe, and a little Soup Heaven.

BEST ALE BREWED IN SCOTLAND
'AKA IPA', brewed by the Cromarty Brewing Company at Glencora, Davidston, Cromarty, up in the north of Scotland. They are a young brewery, and it is so unusual to find such a wonderful strong bottled ale so early in a brewery's development.

BEST BAR IN SCOTLAND
Volunteer Arms (Staggs), Fisherrow, 81 North High Street, Musselburgh. Sitting in a little coastal town outside Edinburgh, this is a lovely old traditional pub with ale in the finest of condition.

BEST THING TO SEE IN SCOTLAND
Montrose Museum, Panmure Place. Montrose is, at the time of writing, not yet listed in The Good Soup Guide, but we passed through it a while back and spent a glorious hour or so in its old untouched museum. The building itself, dating to 1841, is an architectural and social gem.

BEST LITTLE WALK IN SCOTLAND
The tiny section of the Fife Coastal Path between Pittenweem and Anstruther. It's only about a mile, but it's a mile that will refresh your spirit.
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EXCERPT FROM 'BENEATH THE GROUND' BY ED BURNS - AVAILABLE IN OUR SHOP
... Outside, it was bitterly cold, but thankfully dry. At the foot of the small grassy slope on which the chapel was built, the Gallowgait road stretched before them, running left to right, east to west. Along its length the French soldiers were arranged in a long column, facing east. It was like a small army had gathered.
At the head of the column were about a dozen men on foot, each carrying an arquebus, a long and reasonably lightweight weapon that could send a one-ounce ball of lead about a hundred yards.
Behind them were around twenty knights on horseback, carrying wooden shields across their back. They had been brought all the way from France, horses and all. Perhaps now they would earn their keep. By the side of each horse stood three men, one of whom balanced a twenty-foot lance vertically. Each knight was also accompanied by two lightly armoured archers.
Then there was the horse and cart, in the back of which sat a large wooden chest tied down with ropes. The university treasure.
Behind the cart was a large group of pikemen on foot wielding eighteen-foot wooden pikes and protected by breastplates and shining helms.

To the rear of the column were half-a-dozen lightly-armoured knights carrying swords.
Weston was helped up behind the saddle of his companion, and they slotted in between the cart and the pikemen with the other three soldiers who had accompanied the chest along the tunnel.
As they sat and waited, the horses grew impatient and stamped their hooves on the cold hard ground. Some snorted and exhaled mist, a crazy look in their eyes. The great wheels of the cart creaked and groaned. Leather straps squeaked. Men checked and rechecked every buckle, tested swords in sheaths, and steeled themselves for what was to come.
From around the side of the chapel a knight appeared. His armour was decorated with a swirling silver and gold pattern. On his helm was a bright red feather. As if in slow motion, he tugged on the horse’s reins and they walked down the slope onto the roadway.
Men sat upright in their saddles. Iron gauntlets grew tight around wooden hafts. The column rippled with pride. The knight trotted to the front of his men. Unsheathing his sword, he shouted out some words. The whole column shuddered and creaked into life. Moving slowly, it veered right, off the roadway, and headed in the direction of the river. Their ship was waiting.