P&J Column 12.4.18

First Bus? Any bus would do! 

View from the Midden; rural news with Jock Alexander from MTv (Meiklewartle Television)
It has been a recusant week in the village.  Despite bidin’ hine oot in the countryside, we here in MeikleWartle do enjoy readin’ in the press aboot daily life in a thrivin’ modren metropolis. But sometimes there’s nae much in aboot London, and we read aboot Aiberdeen instead. And michty, fit a stramash there’s been wi the strikes by First Bus drivers protesting against cuts tae pay and conditions. Huge queues, long waits for buses, ill-tricket passengers, surly drivers fa dinna ken the route – all these traditional aspects of public transport in Aiberdeen are under threat thanks tae the industrial action.  Bosses have repeatedly insisted that they canna pay their drivers ony mair without eatin’ intae the profits necessary tae keep them in their ain salaries. Neither side is for moving. Feelings his been running high – almost as high as the tempers of the aul wifies waitin’ for an hour tae ging hame wi their messages. Of course, you toonsers dinna ken yer born if an hourly bus is o’er infrequent for ye- oot here in the sticks, we can only dream o’ such extravagance, since we dinna hae a bus service tae ging on strike in the first place. We did hae a country bus every ither wik, but it stopped coming after those local loons set fire tae the wheels usin reed diesel and Skittery Wullie tried smugglin at pig aboard without payin’ its fare. So noo all we get is the occasional Bluebird bus trundlin’ through the village square, fan it’s a new driver fa’s missed the turnin’ tae Huntly.  If the wind is blawin’ fae the south he’s in luck, and we tell him tae follow the green clouds comin’ aff the sewage works and he canna ging wrang.  Wi nae buses, maist tend tae take Shanks’ pony.  And Shanks’ is gettin’ gye fed up aboot it.

Onywye, Feel Moira has been closely following the pay negotiations atween the disgruntled workers and the bus company bosses, partly cos she is very much in favour of a weel regimented unionised workforce actin’ in the interests of their livelihoods, but maistly cos she’s hoping fan First Bus gings doon the tubes, she can step in wi her ain replacement service. She has her tractor freshly painted, riggit up her flatbed loader, and is ready tae step intae the breach, offering low cost, low speed travel tae onyb’dy that needs it. Just as long as there’s nae mair than echt folk at once. Unless they dinna mind sittin’ on the knees of twa ither fowk. Wi a vote on the latest Firstbus pay offer underwye, the hale thing may kick aff again tomorrow, and there is a danger Moira may well get her wish.  I widnea accept a lift fae her, though. She can be a gye dangerous driver; I’ve seen her peltin’ doon the road at gye near seven miles an hour.  And the last thing she transported on that loader wiz Skittery Wullie’s pig.  Cheerio!


Struan Metcalfe, MP for Aberdeenshire North and Surrounding Nether Regions

Well stick me in an episode of “Suits” and call me Dick Dastardly!  The wedding of Prince Harry and media starlet Meghan Markle has been declared ‘politician free’. Well not quite ALL politicians. Dear Guardian Readers, you are going to be sick as a sick thing on a sick day at Sick College. You will be aghast to read – and I am delighted to tell you lefties – that this correspondent has received his invite to the big day and I couldn’t bloody bally well be more delighted if I had been invited to the Sex And the City opening as the delightful Cynthia Nixon’s hot date for the evening. Yummy.

So this is one in the eye for Jezza, Bojo, Nige and She Who Must be Obeyed (oh, the irony of that nickname).

And how did Old Struan get his invite may you ask? Well, I do not bally well know. As Macbeth said, ‘Ay, there’s the rub’.

It may well be for my charity work. or it could be a sort of ‘hush money; for that time, a good 15 years ago now, I took Harry on the lash in deepest darkest Aberdeenshire. A mere 23 years old, a slip of a lad, we ended up in The Butcher’s Arms at half eleven at the wrong end of 10 pints, 5 rum and cokes and a bottle of Blue Wicked. Harry was doing his Royal business at the urinals when a local farmer, relieving himself dramatically next to him, looked at his hair and exclaimed:

“Michty mannie, the last time I saw somethin’ sae carrot-topped I fed it tae my beasts!”

The tussle that then ensued nearly went down in history. Until I paid the whole pub off and the whole stramash has been expelled to history. Until now of course. Whoopsy.

Its not what you know folks…!

See the Flying Pigs live in ‘Now That’s What I call Methlick!’ at HMT Aberdeen 26th-30th June 2018