P&J Column 15.12.16


Ye canna miss oor Christmas Village. It’s in the middle of the A96, jist north of Old Rayne.

View from the Midden – rural affairs with Jock Alexander

It’s been a hibernal wik here in the village. Great efforts hiv been made this year tae attract tourists for Christmas, in spite or wir pagan belief system. The great muckle flashing sign atop the festive mineer heap, has attracted fowk fae afar – shoppers, ramblers, and the occasional disorientated aircraft – and the highlight of the experience is the Meikle Wartle Christmas Village.

Oh aye, ye canna miss oor Christmas Village. Mainly cos we’ve stuck it slap bang in the middle of the A96 jist North of Old Rayne. It is, essentially, a Yuletide ambush.  Doon one side we hiv a selection of tinsel-strewn sheddies, far hungry visitors are served traditional suspicious-looking sausages by a wee mannie fae the hame of the bratwurst, Paisley; or browse Feel Moira’s unique range of all-over ‘nae holes’ balaclavas – jist the thing tae keep ye warm and cosy in the dark and caul fan there’s naewye tae ging and nithin tae see.

We also hiv a pucklie fairground rides; I myself am operating the ‘snowglobe’, in which happy fem’lies can climb inside a perspex ball files I feed polystyrene fish boxes through my wood chipper. Broad smiles but moo shut is my advice for that een.   And there’s a ride far ye shoot high up in the air and then experience the thrill of free fall as ye hurtle back doon tae earth – we’ve lashed a park bench tae the loader on my Massey Ferguson.

Finally, there’s wir seasonal maze, consisting of a’ the Christmas trees that Moira has liberated fae the Tesco in Inverurie. Efter ye’ve wandered tae the middle, a wee mannie dressed lik Santa gie’s ye a token for a free drink at the village pub, tae be used that day. Luckily, naeb’dy his made it oot afore last orders.

So come one, come all tae the Meikle Wartle Christmas village – you may end up frustrated, dizzy and a wee bittie nauseous, but michty, disnae that perfectly sum up the magic of Christmas? Cheerio!

Hector Schlenk, Senior Research Fellow, Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science

As a scientist, people are always asking me questions.  Questions like, what does Donald Trump’s hiring of a climate-change denier for the Environmental Protection Agency mean for the planet?”  “Is Theresa May’s announcement of £2billion for research good news for science?” and, “you’re not really going to eat  all that turkey, are you?”  To which the answers are, “Mars is nice this time of year”, “Never trust a person whose trousers are worth more than your car” and “What part of *all you can eat festive buffet* do you not understand!?”

This week, people have mainly been asking me about Graham Short, the artist and micro-engineer who has engraved portraits of Jane Austen onto 4 fivers using microscopic tools.  It’s a striking example of Nano-technology, as opposed to the time my grandmother tried to wire her toaster to her teasmade, which was a striking example of Nana-technology.  And also a massive fire hazard.  Short apparently spent one of the fivers – likely to be worth up to £50,000 – in a Melton Mowbray shop, sparking an influx of visitors.  With around 330 million fivers in circulation, the chances of receiving the receiving one of the lucky four in your change are astronomically small.  Still, any excuse for a jaunt to the pork pie capital of England.  So I’m going to head down to Melton Mowbray and try my luck.  Just as soon as I’ve finished this turkey.

Cava Kenny Cordiner, the football pundit who knows his limits

There’s an old saying that says, it says “the lights is on but no one is home”. Well, never wasn’t that not untruer than on Tuesday night at Pittodrie, when the lights WASN’T on but Aberdeen WAS at home! The Dandies’ match against Motherwell was abandoned when the floodlights failed twice before they’d even had time for the first booking. Of course, I is no stranger to matches being abandoned. But usually it was because one team had managed to lose 4 players, either through sendings off (including mines) or injuries what I had done.

I saw that Man City midfielder Yaya Toure accepted a drink driving ban this week, despite claiming he had not intentionally drunk no alcohol. Apparently he scoofed from a jug that he thought was just coke, but turned out to also have brandy in it as well. Well, old Kenny thinks it’s a disgrace and that the record £54,000 fine is about right. Not for Yaya – for whoever mixed brandy and coke. Gads!