P&J Column for 4.11.13

Halloween can be really scary – especially when the doorbell rings and you realize you haven’t got any sweeties.

The Rev Edmond Redmond, Minister of Holburn North North East

My normal Thursday routine was enlivened this week by the arrival, in the hours of darkness, of a diminutive ghost ,a power-ranger and a young lady dressed in something that I am given to understand is known as a “tiger-suit onesie”!  Yes, the 31st of October was upon us again, and I bade the little group of guisers to come hither, into the Manse to receive a sweet treat to celebrate Halloween.

While I was having a rummage in the press to see what I could find by way confectionary, I took the opportunity to quiz my companions on whether they knew that Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows Eve, the day which both precedes the feast of All Hallows and initiates the triduum of Hallowmas.  They did not, the power-ranger instead offering the opinion that Halloween is just “an ace way to get people to give us sweets before we throw their rubbish bags about their gardens.”  Neither did they know what either “All Hallows” or a “triduum” was.  I carefully explained all these things, as well outlining the importance of the festival in the liturgical calendar and, having finally located a curly-wurly and a packet of slightly elderly pan drops, I turned around to present them to my guests, only to find the drawing-room empty.  Spookily, my young visitors had vanished into the night, barely taking the time to knock over my wheelie-bin.

On reflection, it occurred to me that they may have found the revelation that they were inadvertently participating in a religious festival more alarming than any of the goings on in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’.  And it also occurred to me that their visit, short as it was, was the first time that anyone under the age of 30 has set foot in the manse for over a decade.  That, I suppose, is the most frightening thing of all.


View from the Midden – Rural affairs with MTV (Meiklewartle Television) presenter Jock Alexander

It hiz been a crepuscular wik in the village. The nichts are fair drawing in, the cauld wind rattles the doors, and auld Hallows eve has been and gone. Withoot incident here, I am gled tae say. A temperature of minus 10 does dae an afa good job of keepin the young quinies in sexy witch ootfits aff the streets. Though, of course, in the auld days, the village played host tae the real thing, and there hiv been rumours, as there ayewis will be in rural areas, aboot the strangest looking, maist idiosyncratic wifie in the village. And files the competition is stiff, the clear winner of that particular race is Feel Moira. True, she diz mak up a foul-smelling brew fit singes aff the eyebrows of the unwary, but that’s jist ‘Aul Foosty’, her hame-brewed dandelion and neep brandy. True, she has been seen in the graveyard, efter midnight, spikkin tae a cat, but she was actually asking it to show her the wye tae ging hame, efter a substantial bucket in the pub. And to those fa whisper ahind the haunds that she hiz a hideous warty growth on her face – that’s her neb.

But niver fear, there’s nae sic a thing as witches onymair. The Aiberdeen Tolbooth Museum is currently hosting an exhibition aboot it. In the auld days, damn near 600 peer aul wifies wis burnt at the stake for witchcraft in the North-East But the Aiberdeen city faithers hiv nae deliberately set fire tae onyone or onything since the 1590s. Apart fae the trams, of course.  And if they come back again, that really wid be scary. Cheerio!



Tanya Soutar, local lifestyle guru

I dinna ken aboot youse but I LOVE Halloween!  Somebody telt me that it wisnae safe tae send kids under 12 years old oot in the dark knocking at strangers’ doors, so reluctantly I went with them.  And I’m so glad I did!  My 3 didnae hae a clue fit wye tae maximise their takings!  So here’s some tips tae help mak next Halloween a bumper harvest!

The unwritten rule is ye should only ging tae folks’ doors if they’ve got a pumpkin lantern outside their hoose.  Fit rot!  True, those folk are expecting visitors and they’ll hae plenty o’ sweeties for the bairns, but the best haul ayewiz comes fae the folk that are nae expecting’ ye.  If they’re nae concentrating, they’ll answer the door.  Then ye pounce.  Wee Beyonce-Shanice’s did weel roon at number 73.  The only sweeties they hid wiz a box o’ funcy Belgian chocolates decorated wi’ gold leaf!  Fit fine!  Number 82 wiz priceless, they hid literally nithin, so little Kenzie pit on his best shakky bottom lip and the wifie caved and got her purse.  She only hid a tenner.  Score!

But the richest picking’s come fan folk are nae there at all. That’s fit happened along at Number 61.  My Jayden’s still under the age of criminal responsibility, so I got tae shin ower their gate roon tae the backie.  The owners had kindly left a Halloween treat for ony passing guisers; a kids’ scooter, twa bikes an’ a patio heater! Cheers!

See the Flying Pigs Live at HMT in ‘Finzean in the Rain’ from Thursday 7th (aye, this Thursday) to Saturday 16th November