P&J Column 25.8.16


It’s the Great Muckle Meiklewartle Bake-Aff!

View from the Midden – rural affairs with Jock Alexander

Weel, it’s been a delicious wik in the village, as it’s time tae reveal the new season schedules on MTV (that’s Meiklewartle Television, wir local community station “Informing, Entertaining and Edumacting a’ the wye fae Gask tae Sauchen”). Aside fae remaking a bunch of auld sitcoms wi inferior actors (Fit ither broadcaster wid tae attempt something sae daring, yet inexpensive?) we are takin’ a leaf oot o’ the BBC’s book, and hiv come up wi jist the thing tae distract ab’dy fae the appalling drudgery and misery of everyday life: it’s the show fit pits the ‘Oh me!’ intae Home Baking and the ‘Ooh! intae food hygene; The Great Muckle Meiklewartke Bake-aff!

Jist last nicht we recorded the highly emotional fineel, and by the end there wiznae a dry eye in the village hall. Maistly because Feel Moira wiz a bittie o’er-generous wi the lemon juice. Or fit she telt us was lemon juice, onywye.
It’d been a fierce competition, throughout, wi’ oor baker’s dizen whittled doon tae the four finest bakers in the village. Though strangely, neen o’ them was Charlie Skinner, the village baker. Aye, they’re harsh but fair, wir judges Paul and Mary. That’s Paul Lawrie and Mary Marquis (and no, afore ye ask, she’s nae his bidie-in. In spite of the obvious sexual chemistry.)

First oot wiz Haldie Winton, fa couldnae cope as he’d niver used an electric oven afore. Mind you, he is fae Pitcaple, so he’s niver used electricity afore. Next fer the chop wiz Tommy Benzies, fa managed tae lance aff his thoomb files he wis makin oat flapjacks. Nae fine for him, but fine tasting for us- those flapcakes were the sweetest black-puddin I’ve ever hid! Pastry wik an early bath for Skittery Wullie, nae doot his first of the year. If only he hidna used his ain beets in his beef wellington. So that left the favourite, Feel Moira. As I hiv remarked before in these pages, Moira’s approach to cooking is uniquely literal. Hence, her meatballs are at their freshest fan the vet’s been neutering lambs, her scotch broth is understandably popular, and the less said about her Crappit Heid, the better. So it is a peety that the judges set her, as the technical challenge, a deid fly cemetery. And michty we hiv some big flies here in Meikle Wartle. Big juicy eens! As a result, her bake ended up wi a soggy bottom. And, efter they ate it, sae did Paul and Mary. Spik aboot a show stopper! Efter much cogitation behind closed doors (michty, fit a cogitation there wis) the judges were jist aboot weel enough tae declare Feel Moira the winner. Happily, baith are expected tae mak a full recovery. “Ye’ve tae eat a pick o’ dirt afore ye dee”, as my auld granny used tae say. Jist afore she died fae food poisoning. Cheerio!

Doddie Esslemont, Radical Independence Campaigner

So Tesco have decided to take the saltire off their Scottish strawberries. Apparently its presence was thought to be divisive. Well, not half as divisive as its absence is going to be! Although I argue for complete independence for 39G Seaton Drive, I do recognise that my major trading links (i.e. my whisky from the Coopie and my fags from the newsagent) are with Scotland. I thereby stand shoulder to shoulder with that fine nation in this latest outrage. The Scottish berry is the second finest in the world, beaten only by Mary – the only Sassenach to whom I have ever pledged my heart. Repeatedly. I have the anti-harassment order to prove it.

Many is the time I have taken the bus through Angus and seen the berries stretched out in their wee polythene hoosies and thought, “That is a sight to make a heart glad. Look at them there – all the strawberries, raspberries, Kenny Logan Berries – soaking up the good Scottish sun, and the good Scottish fuel-additives that are blowing off the motorway, to become the best berries that money can buy.”

But apparently Tesco don’t want to advertise the fact that they are selling Scottish berries, as opposed to their peely-wally, English cousins. Well, this wrong cannot go unchallenged. From this day forth, I shall boycott Tesco and impose unilateral trade sanctions upon the English. So I say no to Melton Mowbray pies! No to Stilton cheese! And no to Yorkshire Tea! Ah yes. Take that, tea-growers of Barnsley!