P&J Column for 14.4.14

The Apache Helicopter – Da Vinci conceived it, Boeing built it and Aberdeenshire clarted it in dubs.

Or, to give it it’s original, unpublished title:

Shite Hawk Down.

View from the Midden – rural affairs with MTv (Meikle Wartle Television) presenter JOCK ALEXANDER

Weel, it’s been a surprising wik in the village, enlivened by a maist surprising visitation fae the sky. Lambing season is here, of course, so picture the scene; there I wiz, minding my ain business, up tae my oxter in a Border Leicester, fan fit should jine me in the bottom field but a fully armed Apache helicopter. I got quite a fleg, let me tell you. It’s the maist unexpected thing I’ve found in that field since yon time Skittery Wullie’s couldnae be ersed driving his Saddlebacks tae the mart and tried to get them there by catapult.  He constructed a trebuchet oot of twa fence posts and een of Feel Moira’s brassieres, and files it lacked accuracy by god it hid a fair range.

The Apache crew were nae quite so surprised as me, mind you, seeing as they’d only jist managed tae tak aff fae anither field in Maryculter far they’d been stranded fer twa days. Needless tae say they were nae best pleased at anither unscheduled stop. Apparently their engine hid conked oot because the craft wiz overladen. It is able to lift munitions and ordnance weighing up to 3 metric tonnes, but it couldnae cope with the half-dizen rowies the crew hid picked up fae the café at Storybook Glen.

I made them welcome, though, and we hid a fine blether aboot the origins and history of the name ‘Apache’. I played them my original vinyl copy of the track by ‘The Shadows’ fer a good twa hours tae cheer them up. I also gave them the benefit of my skills as a mechanic, by swapping their raxed engine for the een fae my auld Massey Ferguson 3660. It’s an obsolete model, true, but michty it wiz reliable in its day. So efter anither 3 hours of me gudding aboot in the intimmers of the copter they were ready to take off again, albeit with a reduced top airspeed of 10 mile an oor.

Then Feel Moira then turned up with her burger van, and the crew wolfed doon her special of the day. Which wiz a bit o’ a mistake. Efter they fell doon clutching their midsections and wailing ‘Ah, my guts!’, we made them comfortable, and auld Jim fae the fairm next door turned up with his nettle an neep home remedy, which fair sorted their stomachs. By emptying them oot at high velocity.

The crew were noo somewhat disorientated by aa they’d been through, so neither of them hid the strength tae object fan Feel Moira commandeered the chopper. Declaring that she “loved the smell of sharn in the morning”, she took aff with aa guns blazing and Jimmy Shand blaring oot of the spikkers, in the direction of Gask.

So if onyb’dy in that vicinity happens tae hear the faint sound of rotor blades mixed with a mid tempo Bluebell Polka coming fae oot of the sky, I’d stay indoors if I wiz you. Cheerio!


STRUAN METCALF, MSP for Aberdeenshire North and Surrounding Nether Regions – An Apology

“I would like to apologise to my constituents, my party and all my fellow MPs for my behaviour as revealed by this recent parliamentary expenses investigation” that’s what former Culture Minister Maria Miller SHOULD have said In her statement to the House of Commons last week.

Now, I may not be a Cabinet Minister, I may be a mere Member of the Scottish Parliament, but I do know something about making apologies and, trust me Maria, a heartfelt and sincere ‘mea culpa’ can get you out of the most dreadful scrapes, in a way an offhand ‘Yeah? So what?’ never will. Crikey, I’ve had the whip at my back more times than a nag in the Grand National, but I’ve always managed to avoid the resignation letter (and it’s inevitable precursor, ‘the full confidence and backing of the Prime Minister’ – kiss of death. LOL!)

I have some sympathy with the circumstances behind Maria’s downfall, though.Who hasn’t submitted the odd over-claim on expenses? A copy of ‘Hares and Hounds’ and a lottery ticket when your driver is at the garage getting petrol for the ministerial Bentley. Dinner at The Ritz for that Sheikh who is managing your Middle East oil and gas interests when down on “party business” in London. A crate of Tattinger as Christmas bonus for your leggiest researcher. I mean, it’s easy to see how an accidental over-claim of £45,000 might creep up.

Of course poor Maria’s real undoing was the media witch-hunt which was obviously provoked by her recent involvement in reforms to press regulation. It’s a scandal that the honest parliamentarian can be hung out to dry by the journos for such a tiddly transgression. I mean who among us in this day and age can say that they haven’t bought and sold a property pocketing the guts of fifty grand at the taxpayers’ expense? I know I have. And so have my parents!