P&J Column 6.8.15


‘Café culture’ on the streets of Aberdeen? Ok – as long as it stays dry.

Tanya Soutar, local lifestyle guru

I dinna ken about yous, but I’m ayewis on the look oot for wyes tae mak my life mair cosmopolitan, ken? Sadly I’m usually restricted tae necking tequila slammers in atween fightin aff the wasps in the beer garden at Murdo’s. But things could be aboot tae ging aa continental wi’ a scheme currently being tried oot on Belmont Street, the beating hairt o’ Aiberdeen’s fashiobale Kebab and Booze district. For the next 3 months, some omonths air sophisticated cafés and restaurants there will be able tae set up tables ootside. And if ye’re worrying aboot traffic, dinna. The roads will be closed tae almost all vehicles atween 11am and 6pm – jist like Paris!

It aa sounds affa salubrious until ye read the small print. Due tae local bylaws, files yer sitting at these street tables, aa sophisticated like, yer nae allowed tae consume alcohol. Fit a bust! They’d be as well nae botherin letting the trial ging the length o’ three months. It’ll never work. Fa in their right mind wints tae sit ootside in the freezin caul nae haeing a drink fan ye could be inside, in the slightly less freezing caul, gettin torn in? I dinna ken aboot youse, but fan it comes doon tae it, I’d rather hae a cosmopolitan than be aa cosmopolitan!

Cosmo Ludovik Fawkes Hunte, 13th Earl of Kinmuck

Well coat me with syrup, roll me in oats and call me a flap-jack. What a furore there has been about Walter Palmer, the American dentist, who bagged Cecil, Zimbabwe’s iconic black-maned lion. Of course, I, myself, am a hunter, and a damned proud one. No grouse is safe when I have it in my sights. After a good day’s shooting, the moor around the Big House looks like a cross between an abbatoir and a pillow-stuffing factory. But by galumphing around the plains of Hwagne trying to shoot Leo with a bow-and-arrow, this feckless yankee tooth-puller has gone too far. My own dear papa, the 12th Earl, taught me the need for responsibility when hunting. “Young Cosmo”, he said, “Your gun is like your wife. Cradle her well and squeeze her gently and she will be at your command. But take any liberties and she will kick like a mule.” Mama never really liked it when he called her that.

He also instilled in me the huntsman’s code. “1. Never shoot anything that’s got a name (It is for this reason that our grouse-beaters go by number only). 2. Never shoot anything that’s endangered (This rule was passed down the family after that nasty business with the 4th earl and the last Dodo). And 3. If you’re going to kill anything photogenic, for god’s sake do it in private.” But in the final analysis, I do understand the primal desire to test ourselves against the most powerful and magnificent creatures in the world. It is towards that end that I have written to Mr Palmer, inviting him to come shark-fishing with me. It’s only fair. He’s clearly in need of a change of scenery, and he looks like he’d make tremendous bait.

Jonathan M Lewis, local headmaster

Early August is always a busy time here at Garioch Academy, as this is the time when our pupils’ exam results are published. Teachers flock to the school to see how the young people have performed and pupils come in to share their joy or dejection. We prefer the former, of course, though I vehemently refute allegations that pupils shuffling up to the school with glum expressions were persuaded to stay off the premises by the janitor’s friendly Doberman, Ghengis.

I’m sure I won’t need to remind parents about the fallout after the Higher Maths exam in May. Crocodiles, zebras, frogs and toads all featured prominently in the complaints we received about something that, on this occasion, genuinely wasn’t our fault! I am pleased to reveal that your complaints have had a direct impact, with the pass rate for the exam lowered to 34%. There is no finer example of the superiority of the Scottish education system than the fact that some pupils who have achieved a pass in Higher Maths did so by getting two thirds of the exam wrong. It makes one feel extremely patriotic, I don’t mind telling you.

See us live in ”Dreich Encounter” at Hmt Aberdeen, June 2016