P&J Column for 17.2.14

Aberdeen would be an ideal venue for a Winter Olympics. After all, it’s been on the slide for years.

 Ron Cluny, Official Council Spokesman

Over the last week I have, as a well-deserved break between arduous bouts of public service, been following the Winter Olympics.  I have been transfixed by the skill and courage of the participants.  Their achievements are beyond the contemplation of we mere mortals.  Still, there are parallels between their feats and day-to-day life here in the City Council.  One cannot watch the cross-country skiers plough on relentlessly, hour after unrewarding hour, without calling to mind debates in the Infrastructure Committee on the Haudagain.  Seeing a snowboarder fly over the lip of a half-pipe and describe extraordinary twists and contortions before plummeting to the ground in a jumble of limbs reminds me of nothing more than Councilors’ attempts to justify their expenses claims.  The overall impression, as a succession of lycra-clad gods and goddesses shoot past, each flying higher or descending faster than the last, is much the same as I feel when a rival local authority manages to provide a decent level of public service in the face of swingeing central government cuts: how the…; how on earth do they do it?

I have also noted how easy it is for new disciplines to be introduced to the Games.  Slopestyle originated when some layabout Yankee skateboarders went on a skiing holiday by mistake, and it took only ten years from the day a Swiss waiter working in an Alpine cafe first slipped and went flying on his tray down a frosty slope for the luge to be recognised as an Olympic sport.  We have been pursuing a policy of omitting to grit pavements for the last ten years, and have been secretly lobbying the Olympic committee for the same period. So when the new Olympic sport of skiting-along-the-pavement-while-clinging-onto-your-messages debuts at Pyeongchang 2018, we expect Aberdeen-based athletes to dominate. 

Tim Bee, the conscientious objector

It is well documented through my voluminous correspondence that I comprehensively objected to Donald Trump’s development of the Menie  Estate (which spell-check keeps trying to call ‘Meanie’.  Co-incidence? I think not!). Despite hundreds of letters, my objections fell on deaf ears and the ‘powers’ that be gave him approval. ‘Ce la vie’, as they say in Spain.

Oddly, I now find myself sympathising with Mr Trump – something I find highly objectionable – as he objects to the proposed wind farm off the Aberdeenshire Coast. This will utterly ruin the beautiful views we get of the Orkney ferry and the flotilla of oil service support vessels unwilling to pay their harbour fees.

I have neither the time nor energy to list my numerous objections to wind power in this current missive. Suffice to say I agree with The Donald that this ‘proposed’ blot on the landscape should not go ahead. But he has been cruelly thwarted. Have you ever been thwarted? I have, it can be very painful.

This week, the Courts adjudged that not only had Mr Trump’s human rights NOT been infringed  – they hadn’t even been ‘engaged’. Now, I don’t know what this legal double-talk means, but it seems to suggest that His Lordship doesn’t consider that Donald is a human being at all. This is bullying, plain and simple, and he seems to be subjected to it by pretty much everyone (the judge, politicians, his hairdresser). Can’t we give this ‘poor’ man a break? Look at him. Hasn’t he suffered enough?


Tanya Soutar, local lifestyle guru

I dinna ken aboot youse, but I LOVE hearing folks’ baby news!  Fan it comes tae dramatic labour stories, I thought I’d jist aboot heard them aa, but last wik a mum-tae-be hid her baby in the car park of a famous restaurant on the Ellon Road! Apparently they realised things was awa tae happen aboot twa miles further North – but fan they noticed the next turn off wis Trump’s golf course they said “I ken it’s an emergency, but we’re nae THAT desperate!”

The landlord gave Mum and Dad a bottle of bubbly and a voucher so’s they can come back for a free feed.  Fit got me thinking – fit ither places could ye pop a sprog that wid earn a decent freebie?  So here’s my top tips on how tae hae yer bairn in the maist profitable location:

Fan ye’re jist aboot tae drap, spicy food helps tae get things kicked aff. Well, if yer a fan of curry like me, dinna phone an ambulance fan yer watters brak, phone a taxi to the Shabaz!  And jist tae mak sure, fit aboot hammin in til a grab bag o spicy Monster Munch on the wye?  By the time ye get yer bhindi bhaji things’ll hae come tae a head, so tae spik, and you’ll be the proud owner of a voucher for a free Turka dhal.  And a baby too, like!

Some folk swear eating pineapple’ll speed up Mither Nature.  So if ye funcy a wee freebie fae yer local supermarket, smuggle a tin opener in then wolf doon some pineapple rings in syrup.  My pal Big Sonja tried that een, and you should see the lovely photies of her and brand new baby Kai in the tinned foods aisle at Lidls. There’s ‘slippery fleer’ signs awye!

Lastly, a slightly mair racy method of getting the ba rolling is tae indulge in a little nookie.  A few year ago my chum Pamela was almost a wik owerdue so her and her boyfriend gied it a shottie. As a result, their bairn was born in exactly the same place far he wis conceived. I’ll spare ye the gory details, but pit it this wye; they followed the Beckhams’ lead as far as baby-names wis concerned, and he’s the only kid in Aiberdeen cried ‘Amadeus’.