P&J Column 21.7.16


And that, as they say, is yer summer.

Archie Fraser, gentleman of the road

It has been said of the British that we are obsessed with the weather. That it is a regular topic of conversation is beyond doubt, and moreover, we tend to use it as a remedy to awkward silences, to break the ice with strangers or to defuse potentially confrontational situations, such as when one is discovered answering the call of nature in someone’s rockery.

“Oi! What the hell do you think you are doing?”

“My dear fellow, I do apologise, it’s been unseasonably hot and I feared your geraniums looked a little parched.”

I could talk for hours about the meteorological vagaries we have had to suffer these last few days. Summer in the North East is a riddle wrapped up in a conundrum. Winter, now…with winter you know where you are.  As a person of no fixed abode one is resigned to the fact that the five months from October to February will be characterized by night after night of freezing off your proverbials. But with summer there’s always the possibility of that singular event, the ‘Really Fine Day’. And Tuesday of this week was an absolute belter. So instead of sitting by the statue of Edward VII in a foul smelling anorak drinking special brew and hurling incomprehensible abuse at passersby, I drank special brew and hurled abuse in my string vest and Y-fronts.

It was so warm I went to sleep under the stars. It was, in almost every respect, identical to the sort of camping holiday which might be undertaken by someone in mainstream society, albeit under the cover not of a waterproof tent from Millets, but of a very chic Laura Ashley duvet cover purloined from a whirly in Ferryhill. But like all good camping trips, it ended in damp recrimination.

For that night, as I slumbered, the Gods, clearly regretful of the fact that half of the population of Aberdeen had acquired a full-on farmer’s tan in under 3 hours, unleashed an electrical storm of biblical proportions on a populace who had dared to dream that once, just once, they might be able to have a barbecue two nights on the trot.

Needless to say, my designer awning proved inadequate, and I was rudely awoken by the sodden floral fabric covering my face. An experience I can only describe as like being water boarded by Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen.

View from the Midden – Rural affairs with MTV (Meiklewartle Television) presenter Jock Alexander

It’s been an anomalistic wik in the village. Firstly, we’ve hid a heatwave, fit fairly got the flies birling aroond the sewage works. Skittery Willie claimed on Tuesday that his thermometer hid gone up til 35°. Although, we canna conclude ower muckle fae that, seeing as we’ve nae idea far he keeps it.

But as weel as meteorological oddities, we hiv also hid tae contend wi a great load of inabootcomer youngsters clambering aboot the fields and dykes wi their mobile phones oot.  Seeking information on fit they wis up til, I decided tae enquire o’ the wee vratch fa wiz clambering aboot my hayloft. Efter jist 10 minties hanging upside doon by the laces on his unsuitable footwear fae the loader on my Massey Ferguson, he telt me it wis a game, and he and a’ the ither gypes , are wandering aboot searching for a imaginary aminals that only they can see.  So I’m proposing a ban on alcopop sales in the village shop.

Feel Moira on the ither hand is real taen wi it a’, and says the hale thing is tae dae wi “augmental reality apps”. Noo I thocht apps wiz the muscles ye get fae daein sit ups, as sported famously by Peter Andre, and, of course, Moira hersel. But no, apparently they’re something folk hae on their phones. I jist hiv buttons on mine.  Onywye, Moira has been seized by technological fervor, and his created her ain version cried ‘Poke o’ Chips, Go”. Apparently, wi her version, you hiv tae get oot intae the open air and roam aroon the village files she seeks ye oot in her burger van. Fan she finds ye, she ‘captures’ ye, keeps ye in the back next tae the deep-fat fryer and disnae let ye oot til ye’ve made a purchase.

I’m nae sure it’ll catch on, but jist in case I’m gan tae stay indoors and get stuck in tae my latest batch of nettle and potato pressé.  Twa pints of that’ll fairly augment my reality. Cheerio!