P&J Column for 4.2.13

Bad news for Burns Supper organisers as the Pound closes down against the Neep

View from the Midden with MTv (Meikle Wartle Television) personality JOCK ALEXANDER

It’s been a monetary wik in the village, with the welcome news that Scotland his finally got yokit and howked itsel oot of recession. The BBC’s Scottish economics mannie, Douglas Fraser, warned that growth figures of 0.6% in the last quarter were not much cause for much celebration, but then we’ve never needed much cause for celebration in Meikle Wartle, so we’ve been gien it laldy all wik.

But nae for the first time, the rest of the country lags behind us, because the green-shoots of recovery have been prominent here since the turn of the year, even if actual green shoots are still battling their wye through six inches of ground frost. It all kicked aff fan Feel Moira, the Milton Friedman of Formartine, took radical steps tae solve her ain financial troubles by creating a new currency. And noo the hale village has followed her lead, ditched the Pound and adopted the Neep.

And jist in time, as the great upswing in demand roon aboot Burns Nicht caused a significant strengthening of the Neep against baith the Dollar and the Yen. Pundits predict a gradual weakening over the summer against the Euro (the Neep is not fit ye would cry a ‘tourist currency’) but it ought to rally again come Halloween, despite growing pressure fae the Pumpkin.

Fit’s mair, Feel Moira is suddenly Meikle Wartle’s wealthiest citizen. Some say she bocht oot the Costcutters at Insch. That could be it, of course, but there’s also that Greengrocer in Inverurie with the great muckle hole in their wa’ . Cheerio!

JONATHAN M LEWIS, headmaster at Garioch Academy

I note, with interest, the concerns of parents at Garioch Academy regarding the threat of school closures, mergers and the re-drawing of catchment areas.  Many are worried that Aberdeenshire Council will follow Aberdeen City’s lead.

Once again I am truly envious of my urban colleagues.  They organise “Development” junkets to the illustrious Beach Ballroom, send internal mail that is delivered in under than a week and they don’t have to battle through four feet of snow just to close the school in winter.  Now, to top it all, they can redraw the boundary lines and cherry pick pupils to help improve their results!

If we at Garioch Academy had the opportunity to alter our catchment area, parents would expect me to be in, like Rattus Norvegicus up a drainpipe. But the fact is that I simply don’t have the power to either annex certain streets, packed with the well brought up progeny of University graduates; or to foist others, with their feral children and abandoned sofas,  onto our competit…onto a more suitable educational establishment .

But , of course, it’s not as simple as that, is it? There’s no such thing as a ‘good’ area or a ‘bad’ street. Looking at our current catchment, some parents might wish to redraw the boundaries to rid ourselves of the likes of Cedar Avenue. Yes, there is a  boy at number 37 – the one with his name shaved into his head – who failed a cooking exam the other day by literally battering a haddock. But should we give up on him, just because of where he lives? No, I say. That is not the Garioch way. And anyway, there’s a boy in the same street who can do equations that scare the Science Department. The Chess team call him ‘Geeky”.  I’m not losing him.  Come Exam time he’s going to raise us 4 or 5 places single-handed.

‘CAVA’ KENNY CORDINER, the football pundit who kicks back!

I couldn’t not take my eyes off of Sky Sports News last Thursday.  It was fastening watching that transfer deadline day, seeing who had managed to bag themselves a new club before the window smashed shut.  Celtic did well to keep hold of Gary Hooper. They turned down 4 bids from Norwich for their striker.  The lovely Melody was watching with me and she says to me, she says “Norwich must be keen as mustard, eh Kenny?” She was laughing and she tells me to write it in my column.  I done that even though I don’t know what is so funny.

The biggest story of the night though was old Becks himself moving to Paris St Geranium. At 37 years old he is in the Ottoman of his career, but he says he fancies one last challenge at a world famous club.  I think that wife of his, Old Spice, must have gotten him told where he was signing.  She likes all that fashion and oat-cuisine and Paris is a very sophistimicated place.

He’s even agreed to give his wages at his new club to a local children’s charity.  I think I know why he done that. I never knew how tough it was for a wee orphan in Paris until the lovely Melody took me along to see that film about it, Les Miserables. Honestly, the conditions there is dreadful. It’s like something out of the last century.