P&J Column for 26.11.12

It’s that rarest of things, a Rugby score at Pittodrie


I can’t be the only ordinary mum who thinks Christmas decorations have got out of hand.  Love, peace and goodwill aren’t truly represented by 2 miles of dazzling LEDs covering the house and outbuildings.  So as December approaches, I have decided to bow out gracefully from the annual battle with the neighbours over who has the most lavish display.  Also, there was that incident last year when EasyJet flight 107 from Gatwick mistook our drive for the runway at Dyce. So the banning order obtained by the Civil Aviation Authority has played a part. Honestly, they’re such fascists; it’s Health and Safety gone mad.

Rampant consumerism is, of course, the blight which is corrupting Christmas, so this year we’re having an eco-friendly, fairly-traded festive season.  Our tree came from a sustainable forest near Flekkefjord.  What a struggle to get it here – some guff from HM Customs about protecting our ecosystem from airborne fungal tree diseases – but we were ultimately able to smuggle it in from Norway via Sommerset.

Best of all, our two angels, Emmeline and Fidel, have reluctantly allowed us to ship the ponies off to livery so we could convert our stables into a full scale Nativity scene.  We found a very nice chap at Thainstone who sold us an absolutely fabulous antique manger in authentic galvanised steel, some free range sheep, a cattle (lowing, naturally) and of course, a little donkey. I said to the man that I thought it looked a lot like a goat, but I couldn’t understand his reply. Most importantly though, judging by the smell of the fellow, I know we have really ‘made a difference’ there.

So, it’s a totally consumerist free Christmas for the Smythe-Barrats. Well, all except my husband. He’s spending the festive season in Baharain. It’s a shame, of course, but he needs 26 weeks a year out of the UK to qualify as non-domiciled so we don’t pay any income tax. How else can I keep getting the child benefit?


Thought for the Day: THE REV. EDMOND EVEREND, Minister of Holburn North North East

After yesterday’s service, a parishioner asked me where I stood on the ordination of female bishops.  “Right in front of them”, I said, “that way you can see right down their cassocks.”  Just a little ecclesiastical joke, there. I firmly believe that a sense of humour is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity, and I look forward to having the opportunity to develop that argument more fully when I appear in front of the Kirk Session to answer the official complaint.

Mindful of the controversy which attended my tweet after the Egyptian Coptic Church selected their new Patriach (“So the Coptics got a blindfolded altar boy to pick their Pope.  Did they get him to pin the tail on a donkey while he was up there!?”); I will restrict myself to two observations only.  I wonder what I would think, were I a woman worshipping within a denomination that was happy for me to lend my pleasing soprano to the choir, happy for me to bake for church coffee mornings but unhappy to ordain me so that I could serve to the fullest extent the God that I love?  It is hard to answer a hypothetical question with complete certainty, but after much prayer and reflection, I rather suspect that I would think “Stuff that for a caper”.  And while it is true that, as traditionalists contend, Timothy 1:2 says “a man is not to receive instruction from a woman”;  equally, Mark 16:17 says, “These signs shall follow them that believe: They shall take up serpents”.  If one is for biblical tradition, one can not be selective. So I will happily surrender my support for the ordination of female bishops on the day that snake-handling makes its way into the Anglican service.


 CAVA KENNY CORDINER, the football pundit who kicks back!

They say that football has changed in recent times and that the game is almost unrecognisable from the one what I used to play. Well, after what I seen at Pittodrie on Saturday I would wholeheartedly confer.

First of all, I have never been all that clever with numbers, but it looked like there was more than 11 aside.  Thirdly, the ball they was using looked like it had been laid by an ostrich. It took some crazy bounces, no wonder no-one tried to do no dribbling with it. Then I seen that the Dons was playing with a running goalie. Some folk say Craig Brown’s tic-tacs is a bit old fashioned, but that is Primary School stuff. Laterally! And the ref had a total shocker.  He was letting all sorts of challenges go and I lost count of how many handballs he missed.  Some of them was drywall penalties too! I’ll say this though, the new fitness coach is worth his weight in salt. I’ve not seen footballers built like that since Doug Rougvie hung up his boots.

Most confusing of all though was the crowd. They wasn’t the caliper of fan what normally graces the Dick Donald. Most of them was booing the Reds!  They was playing a blinder too.  I asked the boy next to me what the score was and he says to me, he says “21-15.”  I says “How did I miss all that goals? Every shot I seen got skied over the bar!”