Sunday, 21 September 2014

An alien in my own landscape, by my brother. Scotland 9/19.

An alien in my own landscape

A surreal experience, was Friday, 19th September, 2014. 

I listened to Podcasts in the car to avoid the radio. I entered my office for a NORMAL WORKING DAY. 

Face on. 

Through my lenses I can feel people chatting about the traffic and the weather. Ohh, the weather. ‘Bit foggy this morning, you know’. ‘Bad queue on the bypass.’ 

As the morning progressed the occasional, personal appointments and dates were being made, you know, in advance of the weekend to come. AS YOU DO. One, calls her hairdresser to get a tint and her eye brows waxed. 

Another, organises his prodigal son’s latest game of football or it might have been Judo. One more is on the net checking arrangements for the weekend cycling run. 

Some others are ranting wildly, and e-mails are circulated to all about ‘Immediate changes to Policy’ in the standard knee jerk manner to the latest priority 1 system failure.  For the avoidance of doubt, E-mail is now, officially, business critical. AND, the IT Director will take PERSONAL responsibility for incident management (eh, but only when on site, by the way).

Well, I then sallied forth. AS YOU DO. I went to the South Gyle Shopping Altar at lunchtime to buy medication for Mo’s cold. 

‘This product contains Paracetamol’, the shop assistant explains. ‘no shit - Yes, that’s why I chose it’ is my internal response, sounding remarkably like John Cleese. 

I do explain Mo is not on any other medication and then the item is hurredly sold, but done so in a grudging manner, as is the official procedure for stuff that ‘comes oot from behind the counter’. It’ll be just in case I don’t know what it’s for, or perhaps what to do with it. You can’t be too careful it seems. I might even know what might be best for the ‘country’. Nah – bollocks to that; probably not.

As I did actually feel physically sick, I bypassed the M&S food hall where people were stocking up on the weekend ‘2 for 1s’ or ‘dinner for 2s’.

People were trying on shoes and chatting over shopping trolleys. EHHHHH ?

Back in the office comments are made by Another, that I’m a bit quiet today. 

He would. 

However, I was, and I am. 

I am keeping close counsel. I do not trust myself to speak.

You see - and this is important - Something died for me, this morning, today. 

Like a death in the Family. I don’t say that lightly.

I no longer have those rocks of certainty and of support that were there previously. Part of My Foundation for MY Life has been destroyed. Part of MY Soul has withered. 

I, have been made Homeless - yet still can live in a nice house. I, have a garden where I can dig the earth and feel the land but it does not feel the same. 

My neighbours are not who they appeared to be, Yesterday, or could have been today. 

The Community in which I lived and will continue to exist in, is only 45% of the size it was yesterday. 

And I Grieve for All of Us.

Flower of Scotland

A good friend has asked me to the rugby in November to watch a team called ‘Scotland’. They’re professional, you know. As a resident of North Britain I no longer see the significance of following and supporting a team that does not represent anything real or tangible. 

All sports teams representing this region in North Britain will require to source a new anthem for the start of their games as non-one should sing THOSE words again. They have a very hollow ring now. 

Indeed, I hereby declare that all ‘national’ teams related to this place should be scrapped unless it can be proven that they are real Countries. And Real  Nations. This one is no longer. And, if it ever does become one again, then, perhaps, it may deserve or indeed Require, a team. Any team.

It certainly doesn’t now.


Perhaps a native American style reservation might be the answer. Those of us That Care can move there, and we can have our own rules. And own time zones and stuff – like the Navajo. That’ll be better. Won’t it? They’ve done just great out of the White Man.
Or, here’s maybe a better idea - maybe we can club together and buy an island. And all move there. Declare unilateral independence from the rest of this shower. 

Or, Something ???

Maybe in this New World, 1.6million people will get bags of horse tranquilisers on prescription (we WILL need to pay, of course). But it’ll be for the best. Won’t it? That’ll do it. 9 out of 20 – or 45% - of the population wearing 6 pointed stars on their clothing. 

Visible for all to see. 

So they know. 

So we all know.

Parcel of Rogues

I couldn’t stop the words of a rhyme by a guy who used to live down the coast in Ayrshire going round my head yesterday. 

Or today for that matter. 

And all night. 

I want to cover this place in large posters, really spelling the words out, letter by letter.
Slowly, so that any passers-by that take the time to spell-it-out will feel...something. 

...Anything ? 

It is the ‘best’ and only option for a new anthem for this Northern place, if indeed a shire deserves a wee tune in the first place.    


Billy Connolly once said that the Scottish parliament was a ‘wee pretendy parliament’. 

Well, we now have a wee pretendy country to go with it. 

Ironic that. 

I had agreed with Billy on the parliament, however it WAS better than nothing. 

I had rather hoped things would move the other way, and that the parliament would take control of the country. Logical that. 

Still, Billy’s going to lecture in October, so it’d better be good.

The ‘Government’ and Education

It is a strange place in which I still live and breathe that has chosen to continue to have 22 millionaires that used to go to one school in South Britain called Eton control our affairs, up North.  

I am using the term ‘our’ more loosely these days. 

Not sure North British Geography or Anthropology was on their curriculum in Eton but, God, it must be a good school you know? Maybe everyone else here knows how GOOD it really must be and I must have missed something during my Highers. They are da GOVERNMENT after all.

North British education, you know, was once ‘the envy of the world’. They did at least teach me that at school.

It’s been splendid at producing serfs, managers and administrators that can toil to satiate their avarice. Perhaps Curriculum for Excellence in this New World we find ourselves in could take a look at their approach. We need new courses in patronage, forelock tugging and grouse beating – not to mention newly expanded British history lectures that could have a whole new twist. There can be new tragic-comedy sections added, you know to lighten what can at times be a dull subject. Let’s face it, when you write the history books you do tend to put in just a bit too much flannel and it does tend to BIG up the victor. I do have to say there is only so much that our children will need to know anyway about how the Pink areas on old school room and atlas maps came about, and how the only ONE left is at the north end of this island. 


A now distant acquaintance of this parish has apparently come across a five figure sum from ‘the keepers of the book’ with relation to a recent referendum poll. 

The Person asked a slightly gloating question via social media regarding what this money could possibly be used for. To maintain decorum and not commenting directly was problematic, however I remain keen to suggest to the Guilty Party that the Tressell trust foodbanks charity in Glasgow would be a suitable beneficiary for our fellow citizens who might be less fortunate that himself. We are, apparently, BETTER TOGETHER. Awww.


I have only eaten porridge since Friday morning, 6am. 

It’s as if I’m seeking to draw from the very Essence of the Oats - to draw it from  the very soil in which it came to be, and to seek solace from it’s soul. 

Porridge (in this place), is made with tap water (from Glen Turret), Organically grown Scottish oatmeal, and Salt. 

Ohh, there’s that 8 letter S-word again, the name of a people and a land from the past.
It does seem though still to be refusing to die from my spoken vocabulary however quickly it should. I’m sure it’ll go though - through time - though it will not be forgotten in mind. 

In the early morning porridge making I spilled a wee bit salt, so I had to throw a pinch over my shoulder into the face of the de’il to ward him off. As you do.

I think though I must have got the wrong shoulder.  Maybe where I’ve been going wrong is that I should adopt the make-it-with-milk-and-adulterate-with-dried-Mediterranean-fruits-and-nuts approach. That’ll maybe help me move forward into this New World, on this new day into which I stare.

Maybe I’ll wait just another Day.

9/11.... or 9/18

The Americans would put it that way wouldn’t they? Back to front, like. 

A bit like Ours. 

We’ve just done it, or err, not done it, back to front, like. 

Scotland’s non 9/11 is 9/18. 

It could have been SO different. But actually, it’s not. 

It COULD have jolted that North British (ex) nation and attached southern neighbour out of it’s detached, untouchable, conservative conceit like 9/11 did to the USA.
But it didn’t. 

So.  What did ‘We’ do ?

Well, We did NOTHING.                                       

Aye, you could say we all went trooping through the Polling Booths and put our mark on a piece of paper. I grant you that.

But we weren’t just too sure, were we. 

Imagine – being able to govern – wait a minute – YOURSELF ! .... too much.

Someone always TELLS us what to do  - it’s what this country is famous for. 

Remember ? ‘You HLI chaps pop out of this trench and over that hillock first would you, there’s a good man. Now, mind your skirt on that wire as you go and do try not to breathe in that coloured smoke for a least a little while. There’s a good chap.’

It CAN’T be true. 

‘An’ that David Cameron has such a nice smile, too’. ‘And wee George Osbourne ? Well, he looks lovely – very smart. Always wears a tie - and I used to like a band with a singer that was called Osbourne to boot’.

 ‘Well, there simply MUST be a catch’.

‘ And then there’s that nice Gordon Brown. He’s from Fife you know. A Son of the Manse too, Mabel, like Douglas Alexander’. 

Meanwhile back in the real world, the number 23 bus to da Modern World,

We failed to stick out a hand. 

There was a bit of peculiar waving as it went by, by a few, I grant you. ‘Hey.......’.

If the metaphorical Scotland, sorry, North Britain, was male then we were standing scratching oor bollocks with oor eyes shut when the operchancity  came.


We must have been in at a bus stop in Glasgow and thought it was Edinburgh – You Know ?  ...OK, OK - for the tourists -  in Edinburgh the bus actually stops if it sees a pedestrian at a Bus Stop, hand up or no;  in Glasgow it disnae stop unless you stick out a hand half way across the street, or have wan wi’ a gun in it. 

Where now ?

Friday morning and Douglas Alexander and Ruth Davidson are on the telly grinning inanely. They occasionally mouth something, but thank God the sound is turned down so I can hardly hear. Every TV in the office has been tuned to the BBC where Tommy (Sheridan  – aye, him – Real Madrid and the Ber Na Bow an’ a’ that !) is ...and yes, he is indeed talking of orchestrated plots - I just caught that bit. Christ, he’s off again and he’s only just put his head back above the parapet. Where’s he bin hiding since he got out? Convincing voice of the Yes campaign ? Possibly not. Seems the non-news of a non-Yes vote (i,e, NOTHING actually came to pass) is keeping even our CEO and Communications people off the screens, who regularly espouse the latest numbers and marketing campaign successes. Leading through the telly, eh – it’s always the personal touches like that, that really work, isn’t it ? They’re good at making a huge song and dance when nothing actually happens too. Perhaps they could be full time politicians.


The clearances (or more precisely the greed of the people’s landlords) sent many folk across the sea to a very different life in previous centuries. Of course it happens all the time these days when an area struggles and opportunities for better or worse seem to come up in other places. A man called Tebbit said get on your bike to find work. This time it will be the fear and in some cases the greed of the majority that will drive many newly lost souls abroad. And who can blame them. How can I argue the case for my only daughter to stay ?