Tuesday, 21 May 2013


I have returned to Rural Perthshire from a short trip south of the border. I can't possibly go into details, but my experiences whilst away included some prunes, a secret rendezvous in Penrith and meeting the Kendal Cairn Deconstruction Society (a one-woman crusade).
It was a bizarre weekend, even by my standards. In pursuit of some light relief, on Saturday night I switched on the Eurovision Song Contest.(Conversing with mine host was like trying to get a wet sock out of a milk bottle). The evening went from dull to dire. As if the ordeal of a two hour assault on the eyes, ears and psyche wasn't enough to bear, mine host insisted on commenting on each 'performer' (I use the word advisedly) in a crude and inappropriate manner. 'Hasn't she got a BIG ARSE' was a particularly well-used phrase, repeated - as it was - 35 times.
Mine Other Host was neither use nor ornament as he lay comatose on the kitchen floor having consumed a catering pack of lager. "It may have been your 50th birthday," I said, tetchily (on the Sunday morning), "but that doesn't make inebriation, coarse language and acute flatulence even remotely acceptable. Does it."
"I'd love you to  come up to Rural Perthshire soon," I lied, as I threw my duffle coat into the car.
Driving off, I smiled and waved.
When hell freezes over.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


So last Sunday, I completed my first Triathlon. Sprint distance: 30 lengths in the pool, 20K (25 on this occasion) bike ride and 5K run. I did it all. By myself. And let me say here that I'll not see 50 again. Being last out of the pool is quite interesting. Everyone stares at you. Not good if you're not the centre of attention type. The applause though (encouragement tinged with perhaps just a hint of what were you thinking?) is rousing. I got the stylish white cap off my 'ead and made for the transition area. Sheeting rain outside, obviously. I wondered how many people had noticed my bike - a sturdy hybrid thing complete with mudguards and luggage rack - and thought What was she thinking? (Glad I took the picnic basket off). Anyway, I was  up hills and everything, head first into a ferocious wind and going pretty damn well, I thought. Apparently I was out for hours and passed by 179 competitors (of a field of 180 entrants). So, the 5K run was the last bit. I'm more about endurance than speed, to be honest. I did finish the course. No matter that the post-race soup was cold and all the marshalls had gone home. What did I care that the sports centre was deserted and my bike clamped? Yes I was cold, wet, exhausted and alone. I was muddied, hungry and mentally confused. It was a right grand day out.

Thursday, 4 April 2013


Well I've had visitors from South of the Border as we say here in Rural Perthshire. My brother's  chronic flatulence shows no sign of improving. Unfortunate for him and pure disastrous for those of us in the firing line.
Turns out he's also developed intermittent Tourette's since I last saw him. (1963). This has only marginally worsened his behaviour in polite company,  habitually outrageous as it has been since he was six.
I was surprised how easily he accepted the challenge of  'The Authentic Bothy Experience.' With him in the shed for three days equipped with sleeping bag, two candles and a packet of fig rolls, the rest of us were laughing.
My sister-in-law, as ever, was easily pleased. Plates of pie and chips, unlimited red wine and 24-hour retail opportunity kept her in pleasant mood. Useful only because she has a fearsome temper on her if crossed. She'll have a pan of baked beans on your head before you've had the chance to say "Any more sausages?"
My niece, up with them from London, had most of her luggage freighted up. I suggested she may have slightly misjudged her clothing needs for a three day stay, but what do I know. We took a drive out in Rural Perthshire. She was very impressed.
"We call that a field," I said. "And those are sheep." She'll not be back any time soon.
Summing up then, we had a great time together. We're planning another catch-up South of the Border. In 2018.

Monday, 1 April 2013


So what happened to March. In Rural Perthshire, it came in with sub-zero temperatures and left with a baltic blast. I took to drinking a heady mixture of Baileys, Cointreau and Amaretto just to keep the hell warm. It left my head somewhat fuzzy, I have to say, and this does have something to do with the lack of inane comment on this blog.
No loss there then, I hear you say. But, if you have a morsel of compassion, think on this. For six months now, Notes from Rural Perthshire helped to quieten my raging existential anxiety. It had given my life intrinsic meaning. Note the past tense.
March was a wilderness - within and without. I struggled with sobriety and identity. I battled with invisible demons and persistent split ends. I lost what small sense of proportion I had. I was bereft. That's such a good word.
Finally, I knew what I had to do.
Yes folks! I'm back!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


I know someone - an intelligent, emotionally-stable woman, incidentally - who has applied to be on 'Come Dine With Me.' I said to her: "We need to talk."
Did she realise, for instance, that most of the people on that show are argumentative, opinionated cretins?Was she prepared to admit into her home a bunch of random types who would rubbish her beautifully prepared meal, rummage around in her underwear drawer and possibly lift the family silver?
She said she knew all this, but was going ahead with it anyway in the interests of broadening life experience and extending her skills in the support and management of socially deviant people.
I wondered whether this second objective might be considered just a tiny bit unethical.
"It's T.V. entertainment," she said. "Ethics are out the window." Interesting.
My other concern was that one of the 'guests' might provoke a massive kick-off in her dining room - the place could be trashed. This didn't worry her either. "I'm a black belt in karate," she said. "Believe me, they're all going down."
A little too much enthusiasm in this last statement, I felt.
Can't wait to tune in.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Think you've had a bad day? Hold on a minute. Imagine you were on the jury that got thrown out by the judge. You turn up at work and your colleague says: "What are you doing here? I thought you were on three weeks' jury service." And you say: "We got dismissed for being thick as planks in a bucket of pigsh*t."
Let's picture the scenario. Twelve strangers sitting round a table. Water is provided, as are pens and notepaper. Pastries, unfortunately, are not. I know this because I was on jury service once somewhere in Cheshire. I so wanted to be holed up for days and have the opportunity to send a message out to the clerk: Send in sandwiches and cakes: we may be some time.
Anyway, back to the cognitively challenged jury. Someone with a smidgen of ingenuity says: Shouldn't we be talking about what just happened in there?  Mr Gormless chimes in: How long is this gig going to take? The brightest spark offers: Let's write a list of inane questions for the judge. That'll show we're totally on the ball.
Is it too much to ask that prospective jurors provide written evidence of measurable neurological functioning?

Friday, 15 February 2013


Enough already with the horse meat. Horse in  your beefburgers; horse in your lasagne; horse in your cornflakes. Get over it. Eat the horse. I'm vegetarian myself. My strategy is to stay away from anything with a face. Unless it's a gingerbread man or a chocolate Santa. No, it's still not O.K.

Years ago, in a pub somewhere, I was having a bizarre conversation with two people.
It went like this:
Me: Would you eat a mouse for a million pounds?
Person A: Definitely.
Person B: I'd do it for ten grand.
Me: I couldn't eat it.
Person A: You could cut it into little pieces.
Me: Gross.
Person B: I'd eat a worm for a million quid.
Me: I couldn't do it.
Person A: I'd do a worm for a fiver.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


What's your take on the Ideal Interview Outfit? (IIO, as I like to call it.) Are you a smart-casual? A beige blender? Perhaps you rock up in Galliano or Chanel. Let's face it, if you're a total airhead, the clothes you wear won't help.
But consider this scenario. A candidate who stands head and shoulders above the rest in presentation, experience and intelligence has dressed as a Klingon Warlord. It's a tough one.
Is s/he eccentric? Probably. Deal breaker? No.
Does s/he realise that a Klingon Warlord outfit could freak out prospective colleagues? Unlikely. Deal breaker? Not necessarily.
Is this just the tip of the iceberg? So easy to visualise this candidate on Day 1 dressed as Captain Kirk. Go, Klingon Warlord. You'll not find the creativity you seek in this stagnant dump.
Let's recall slick-suit-but-dim. He'll buckle under no problem.
Choosing  your IIO, I would suggest, is an onerous task.