- MacSween's makes an unquestionably superior haggis to Halls
- Good haggis requires no condiments.
- If your haggis commits seppuku, you can dispense with the whole Address to a Haggis nonsense
- In fact, it turns out nobody really cares if you don't recite any Burns at your Burns Supper.
- Although certain people will threaten to recite McGonagall instead.
- Or, in fact, that your Burns Supper doesn't actually fall on Burns Night.
- However, kilts are apparently mandatory.
- In fact, it turns out nobody really cares if you don't recite any Burns at your Burns Supper.
- Haggis, neeps and tatties is really easy to make for large amounts of people.
- Especially if served buffet-style.
- Nutmeg goes well in tatties.
- Ginger goes well in neeps.
- All malt whisky is good whisky.
- Except if it has lemonade in it.
- I am married to a philistine.
- Except if it has lemonade in it.
- The tactic of inviting people round to decrease your whisky collection fails if you go out beforehand and purchase another two bottles of whisky.
- However, it does allow for repeated whisky tastings in future.
What?! No, no I'm not!
I was all ready to get a major fury on about British Gas for attempting to sabotage the switchover. Turns out, however, it was Eon which was to blame. I remember an Eon salesperson coming round recently and trying to con their way into switching me over ("no, I'm not selling anything, I'm here to carry out a price comparison..."), who I ended up having to shut the door on because of their persistance.
The team at EDF Energy have been nothing but professional and helpful about the whole thing, though. They've given me employee names and direct lines to call, and are not only trying to sort things out their end, but are also corresponding directly with Eon about the issue. Best service I've ever had from a utility company.
As far as they can figure out, it is in fact somebody else in the same area who has signed up with Eon (guess the salesman got one scalp, then), and there's been some sort of address mix-up. I suspect the classic Edinburgh "x/y versus y/x" confusion. It does my head in.
It happens accordingly, that at every Candlemas a Scotch family gets an opportunity of considering whether it will, in the language of the country, sit or flit. The landlord or his agent calls to learn the decision on this point; and if 'flit ' is the resolution, he takes measures by advertising to obtain a new tenant. The two or three days following upon the Purification, therefore, become distinguished by a feathering of the streets with boards projected from the windows, intimating 'A House to Let.' Then comes on a most lively excitement for individuals proposing to remove; you see them going about for weeks, inspecting the numerous houses offered to them. Considerations of position, accommodation, and rent, afford scope for endless speculation. The gentleman deliberates about the rent—whether it will suit his means. The lady has her own anxious thoughts about new furniture that may be required, and how far old carpets can be made to suit the new premises. Both have their reflections as to what the Thomsons and the Jacksons will say on hearing that they are going into a house so much handsomer, more ambitiously situated, and dearer than their last. At length the pleasing dream is over—they have taken the house, and the only thing that remains to be done is to 'flit.'
Intensely longed for, the 25th of May comes at last. The departing tenant knows he must vacate his house before twelve o'clock; consequently, he has to arrange for a quick transportation of his household goods that forenoon. What he is to the new tenant, the tenant of the house he is going to occupy is to him. He dreads—hates—to be pushed; but on the other hand he must push, lest his penates be left shelterless on the street. There is accordingly all that morning a packing up, a sending off, a pushing in—upholstery meeting upholstery in deadly contention; streets encumbered with card-tables and arm-chairs in the most awkward irrelation to their proper circumstances; articles even more sacredly domestic exposed to every idle passerby—a straw-and-ropiness everywhere. In the humbler class of streets, the show of poor old furniture is piteous to look upon, more especially if (as sometimes happens) Jove has chosen to make it a dropping morning. Each leaves his house dishevelled and dirty-marks of torn down brackets and departed pictures on the walls, floors loaded with unaccountable rubbish—all the beauties and attractions that were so witching at Candlemas now strangely obscured. But there is no time for cleaning, and in each must plunge, with all his goods and all his family, settle as they may.
There is only a rude bivouac for the first twenty-four hours, with meals more con-fused and savage than the roughest picnic. And yet, such is the charm of novelty, that a 'flitting' is seldom spoken of as a time or occasion of serious discomfort. Nor are the drawbacks of the new dwelling much insisted on, however obvious. On the contrary, the tendency is to apologize for every less agreeable feature-to view hopefully the effect of a little cleaning here, a coat of size there; to trust that something will make that thorough draft in the lobby tolerable, and compensate for the absence of a sink in the back-kitchen. Jack does not think much of the lowness of the ceiling of the bedroom assigned to him, and Charlotte Louisa has the best hopes of the suitableness of the drawing-room (when the back-bedroom is added to it) for a dancing-party.
A few months generally serve to dispel much of this illusion, and show all the disadvantages of the new mansion in a sufficiently strong light. So when Candlemas next comes round, our tenant has probably become dissatisfied, and anxious for another change. If considerations of prudence stand in the way, the family must be content to stay where they are for another year or two. If able to encounter another change, they will undertake it, only perhaps to find new, though different discomforts, and long for other changes.
– "May 25th", The Book of Days, Robert Chambers, 1869
Our tacky souvenir quest was successful. Have left it in the car, but it's one of these.
Finally: bonus lolcat.
My co-worker recently informed me that the Linlithgowans look down on the Bo'nessians "because they have the plague", though he didn't know whether this prejudice had any basis in fact. A quick Google later reveals:
The estates of parliament, understanding that the plague of pestilence is broken out in the town of Bo'ness where various persons are dead of that infection, and because of the resort of country people about Linlithgow, Falkirk and other places to that town this infection is likely to spread, to the great hazard of the country, unless remedy be provided, therefore the estates of parliament give full power and commission [...] to set down orders for restraining the resort of the people to that place, for providing lodges for persons infected, enclosing suspect persons, furnishing of cleansers and pressing them to do their duty and to set down penalties upon the offenders and to see the said orders and penalties put in execution and [...] commanding hereby the persons infected to keep the bounds prescribed to them by the said commissioners and not to come forth thereof without their order under the pain of death.
— Commission anent the plague in Bo'ness, Records of the Parliaments of Scotland, 22 Jan 1645
So, indeed, the Bo'nessians do have a history of plague. Although, to be fair to said people, it was quite a while ago now.
In other history news, I have been trying to verify a phrase attributed to Alfred Harmsworth (a.k.a. Lord Northcliffe, and founder of the Daily Mail) by the not-exactly-trustworthy Polly Toynbee:
The Mail's founder, Lord Northcliffe said his winning formula was to give his readers "a daily hate" - and it does.
— Dacre in the dock, Polly Toynbee, The Guardian, 26 Mar 2004
Which is intriguing because, if true, it would imply that the moniker "The Daily Hate" predates the most obvious reference — the "Two minutes' hate" of Orwell's 1984. In fact, the influence could even have run in the opposite direction... 8^] Polly Effing Toynbee criticising tabloid writers for bias and inaccuracy? Pot, meet kettle.
Just been reading through a selection of emails* that the helpdesk here have received from a variety of outraged Americans. And thus:
Please allow us to express our regret at the news of your cancelled trip to Scotland. Our country will be much worse off without the presence of your illiterate, gun-waving, emotionally retarded selves, and the literally dozens of dollars that you would have no doubt contributed to our economy. We are particularly distraught at the thought of alienating those of you with such a strong Scottish heritage, and are sure that your imaginary Scottish royal ancestors would indeed be ashamed of this recent decision.
Our whisky industry will also suffer greatly from your withdrawn support -- indeed, your average accuracy in hitting the correct keys on your keyboard suggests you collectively consume a large amount of Johnnie Walker indeed, and I'm sure this fine company's profits will be deeply hurt once you switch back to that good ol' fashioned moonshine just like your paw used to make.
Please let it be known that if there were any way we could win back your custom, short of turning into a bunch of violent, xenophobic, right-wing cretins like yourselves, we would do so.
* Sorry, no can share. Don't want to risk getting colleagues in trouble.
The Press Complaints Commission has launched an investigation after the Scottish edition of the Sunday Express ran a front page story alleging survivors of the Dunblane massacre "shamed" the memory of their dead friends by boasting about drunken nights out on social networking websites.
— "PCC targets Sunday Express over Dunblane allegations", Oliver Luft, The Guardian, 16 March 2009
The Scottish Sunday Express has recently been slated – and rightly so – for running a horrifying story about the survivors of the Dunblane Massacre. The story, and the reaction to it, is a great example of the good ways and the very bad ways people are using the web to spread information.
— "Web takes revenge after Express story", Nicole Kobie, IT Pro, 19 March 2009
(includes link to scan of original article, with victims [re-]anonymized)
We, the undersigned, wish to express our deep offense at the article published in the Sunday Express on March 8th 2009 about the survivors of the Dunblane massacre. [...] We demand a swift and proportionate response to the widespread disgust caused by this article, beginning with a front page apology. We would also like to see appropriate disciplinary action taken against Paula Murray, the author of the piece, and her editor at the Scottish Sunday Express, Derek Lambie.
— "Sunday Express "Dunblane shame" article", iPetitions, 8 March 2009
(5,700 signatures so far; donation not neccessary)
So, The Daily Express are getting their arses handed to them, it seems. Serves them right.
The Scottish Diet is an ingenious nutritional system invented by the Scots to keep their pension funds in balance by reducing the number of people who make it beyond the age of 60. like many of the world's smartest inventions (most of them invented by the Scots), it is devilishly simple. It increases the premature death rate through a well-balanced diet:
The Scottish Diet
«Any and all thing you can eat
But this proportion always heed:
A third from fat
A third from sugar
A third from alcohol
From time to time, you can eat a small amount of fruits, in the form of jams or preserves, or even better, distilled.»
— FXCuisine.com, "Deep-Fried Cheeseburger"
Browse through the other articles, as well — it's a pretty fun site.
Edit: it amuses me that the random advertising on the site quite frequently selects a British Heart Foundation advert for this page.
"[...] Some people don't see it this way. When my fellow columnist Hardeep Singh Kohli, a Glasgow-born Sikh, wrote recently of his pride in his Scottishness, some contributors to our website posted comments along the lines that "if a dog is born in a stable it doesn't make it a horse". The idea of Hardeep being Scottish is offensive to some people. How dare he love the place of his birth, the place where he grew up, the place where he bought his first garish fuchsia-coloured corduroy suit?Glorious diversity of our mongrel nation — Kenny Farquharson, Scotland on Sunday
Hehe, I like Hardeep's dress sense, personally.
On a more personal note, I like to see an undoubted Scot standing up agains the old "you're not Scottish unless you were born in Scotland" stupidity. If I'm not Scottish, what am I? If you call me English you'll get a nasty scowl at best, which is in itself a sign that I've been here quite a while... 8^)
I've heard the "you're not Scottish unless you were born in Scotland" line from plenty of otherwise very liberal and open-minded Scots, usually with a wry grin and a shrug, as if to say "we're xenophobic that way, but what are you going to do?". But I don't think this is true; Scots tend to be very aware of their fellow Scots' xenophobia, but that's a good thing. Not like England, with it's deplorable "I'm not a racist but..." attitude. Or France, or Germany, or the US, or...
Let the jokes commence.
Anyway, I'm glad I went, though I'm equally happy to see a nice comfy bed in a room that I don't have to share with five other people. Missed the usual bunch of goths & freaks (you know who you are) on Saturday night. Oh, and my sympathies to nickys, who I hear was suffering from aggravated injustices while I was faffing around in the highlands without a care. I hate being out of touch. 8^(
See you all soon!