P&J Column 5.4.18

So, farewell to The Aitken’s Diet – nothing but butteries for 6 weeks.

Tanya Soutar, local lifestyle correspondent

I da ken aboot youse, but I was fair knocked aff ma stott tae tae hear aboot the impending closure o’ Aitken’s Bakers. Mony’s the time I’ve staggered intae the Menzies Road een at 3 in the morning efter a big nicht oot and on ivery occasion I have found the staff polite, helpful and delighted tae tak my money in exchange for an excessive quantity of random baked goods. They couldnae hiv served me mair faster, and indeed often helped me oot of the shop at speed an’ a’. It’s funny, is it? Faniver ye ging tae an all night baker ye ayewis buy ower much stuff. I s’pose it’s a defence mechanism for fan ye stagger outside and inevitably drap maist o’ it on the pavement. Normally, I’d apply the 10 second rule and jist pick that macaroni pie and caramel yum-yum up aff the grun, but If I’ve gaan oot in my 6 inch heels there’s nae wye I’m bending doon lik ‘at. Nae again, onywye. Let’s just say I ended up as the star o’ my ain YouTube video entitled ‘Torry faceplant – bambi on ice’. Happily though, I wis unrecognisable thanks tae a faceful o’ pastry and bleed.

But Aitken’s will be a big miss. Their food wis richt fine and, and equally I can testify tae the high quality of their paper bugs, given the number of times I’ve woken up in the morning wi een stuck tae ma coupon.   And yet, here we are, nae much mair than a month since Chalmer’s Bakery wiz reported tae be selling aff stores in Aiberdeen. Noo my pal Big Sonya tells me that traditional bakeries hiv been losing customers tae trendy coffee hooses, and how young Aiberdonians dinna ging tae places like Aitkens because they’re dated and nae modren and funcy. Sonya is a mine o’ information on current trends in retail and catering. As a result o’ her twin hobbies, shoplifting and cake.

But I dinna wint a baker fit jist sells artisanal elderberry muffins and quinoa cronuts. This is Aiberdeen, nae Greenwich Village. So maybe the likes of Chalmer’s and Aitken’s, couldna compete wi’ the fashionable design and state of the art facilities ye might find in, for example, a Greggs, but the young eens are missing oot on mair than they ken. Aitkens his three things you canna get fae ony of these new places; Wifies a’hind the counter. (Wifies are essential for oor communities self- esteem. They dinna judge ye fan ye buy dough-rings in yer PJs), rowies, and maist importantly, character. Especially the characters in the queues at three in the morning, at’s far I met at least 3 of my bairn’s faithers!

Professor Hector J Schlenk, Senior Research Fellow at the Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science

As a scientist, people are always asking me questions, questions such as “What is consciousness?“ “Why do we dream?” and “What on earth is that appalling smell?”, but lately they’ve mainly been asking me about footprints, and not just the gently smoking ones I leave behind me when I inadvertently bring fluoroantimonic acid through the lobby on my laboratory crocs.

They’re talking, of course, about the recent discovery of fossilised dinosaur footprints on the coast of Skye.

This new site records two different types of dinosaurs, long-necked cousins of Brontosaurus and sharp-toothed forerunners of T-Rex-hanging around a shallow lagoon.

How are such footprints formed? Well, they require the application of pressure across a padded part of the anatomy onto a pliable surface. I’m sure you will all have formed similar indentations with your posteriors whilst sitting on the couch.

Thanks to advancements in areas like thermal imaging and drome photography, it does beggar belief that these footprints have lain undiscovered for so long. However, they were formed on a harsh and unforgiving landscape in a climate few among us could bare. And 170million years ago, it wasn’t much better!

Learning that there is 170M year old evidence of prehistoric Saurapods and Therapods on Scotland’s Western Isles has caused no small amount of jollity in the Schlenk household. Mrs Schlenk hails from Lewis, you see, and she maintains that most of Skye’s population are still living in the Stone Age. After a polite chuckle I attempted to explain that the
fossils in question are from the middle Jurassic period, and predate the evolution of even the earliest humans by at least 167.5 million years. But Mrs Schlenk simply looked at me stony faced.

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