P&J Column for 24.12.12

It’s the true meaning of Christmas; tree theft, bin-raking and a blow-up reindeer


KEVIN CASH, Money Saving Expert and King of the Grips.

Christmas is an expensive time o’ year.  The wye to get through it is to pit a bittie aside week by week and then spend it judiciously in the run up to the big day.  We all ken that.  But if, like me, you’ve run into an old pal in The Grill, done your money by getting blootered and coming hame with a life-sized inflatable Rudolph, you, and your marriage, needs a Plan B.  You can still pull it aff if you focus on the Three Ts: the Tree, the Telly, and the Turkey.


I ken maist of you will have got your trees by noo, but I winted to share a money-saving tip that wiz dreamed up by me and my pal Mick the Pill over a couple of cans of reduced to clear McEwan’s Export (we find that twa wiks past its sell-by gives it a pleasing depth of flavour, and adds about 5% to the alcohol content).  Get up yourself up to Hazleheid golf course, and saw a branch aff een o the big fir trees by the first hole.  If, fan you’re procuring your branch, onybody asks you fit you’re up to, tell them that you are a public-spirited citizen taking immediate action to prevent the spread of Ash tree disease.


I dinna have a telly in the hoose.  It’s nae a metter of principle, just that my last attempt to procure a flatscreen (which involved slipping a tenner to the warehouseman of a well known electronics outlet) led to the boys in blue putting in our door.  My defence – that I had misunderstood the meaning of “freeview” – cut no ice with the Sheriff.  However, at this time of the year, the femly expects, and you have to find a way to deliver.  My solution is to bore a hole through the wa into my neighbour’s living room and teet through at fit they’re watching.  Now you may think that this is unsatisfactory, as you hiv nae control ower fit ye watch, but if, like me, you bide in a mid-terrace, you can bore your wye into twa living rooms.  Your choices are even better if ye bide in a flat.  It’s only if you bide in a detached hoose that your totally stymied.  But if you do, you are a posho, and can probably afford your ain telly.  But you will niver ken the simple pleasure of taking it in turns to try to pluff a dried lentil into the open, snoring moo of your neighbour’s grunny


I hiv nae visible means of support, but last year, me and my femly ate like Kings at Christmas.  Turkey, goose, roasters, chestnuts, trifle, christmas pud, the works.  How did we dae it?  Simple.  Posh folks are that wasteful they throw oot stuff that you could niver have afforded in the first place.  Raking through their bins on Christmas night brings a harvest like nae ither.  But fit good is that fan Christmas Dinner is already passed? Weel, with the normal routine being interrupted over the holidays, and it niver actually getting light onymair, it is surprisingly easy to mak folk entirely lose track o’ time.  Simply cut off communications wi the outside world aboot a wik before the big day, (block up the telly-watchin’ spyholes and stop pinching the paper fae next-door’s letter-box) and spend the hale of Christmas Day pretending that it’s still Christmas Eve.  Then, fan everybody’s asleep, mak your wye to the poshest area within walking distance of your gaff and hae a good rogue in the bins.  Bring back your spoils in the early hours, stick it in the fridge and then wake your femly with a cry o’ “Santa’s been!!!”  And in a wye, he has.


View from the midden – rural affairs with JOCK ALEXANDER

Michty, fit a wik it’s been!  This past few days has seen the saftest snow to fall on Meikle Wartle in mony a year, so saft that to the uninitiated or inabootcomer, it would have appeared to be torrential rain.  However, oot here, far that extra minus 10 maks a’ the difference, it just has time to crystalise afore it hits the grun. So, I hiv been daein my bit for seasonal cheer, by standing ootside the village local, carol singing. I sterted inside, but they chucked me oot. Now, though, with the money raised by all thon coppers kindly donated at high velocity in the direction of my napper, I can afford tae ging back intae the pub and buy another round. So here’s my last rendition of a traditional Christmas sang fae Meikle Wartle, fit is sung to the tune of ‘Winter Wonderland’.

All my windows are misting

On the road, snow is drifting

I’m feeling the chill

Visibility’s nil

Meikle Wartle winters are na fun.


Gone away is the summer

Freezing cauld, fit a scunner!

My tractor won’t go

The cab’s full of snow

Meikle Wartle winters are na fun.


How I really wish I hid a gritter

Or a handy shovel or a spade

I’d send an SOS oot using Twitter

But I dinna get a signal, I’m afraid


Snow has risen a metre

Nae response fae my heater

My nose has turned blue

Some ither bits too,

Meikle Wartle winters are na fun