Laugh? I laughed out loud

I am not prone to laugh out loud much when reading stuff. In fact, I’m not sure if I ever have or indeed ever will. Reading doesn’t do this for me. I really distrust book reviews which have this claim, just like I am most wary of people who put ‘lol’ on Facebook posts. It all a bit like that fake laughter they have on some of these crappy sitcoms. You know it’s not real.

But I’m a funny old bugger.

I did nevertheless guffaw rather loudly at 5.30am this morning when I happened to listen to a past recording of Desert Island Discs with Jeffrey Bernard. What an interesting and eloquent chap he sounds. Well, sounded. He’s dead of course, but it would have been fun to meet him I think.

Anyway, what made me laugh was him being asked about his drinking by Sue Lawley and she wondered what he feels when doctors intimate that he may only have 6 months to live if he carries on. Jeffrey pauses and utters a resolute and pained hmm, saying with the most marvelous and melliflous intonation  ‘I probably feel that if they carry on talking I’ve only got about ten more minutes to live…(long pause) they’re so deathly boring’

Of course I can’t do justice to the way he said and put it, but I did guffaw out loud to myself. In fact twice as a matter of fact as I replayed it. I do recommend you listen to this BBC Sounds recording. Even though to my astonishment Sue Lawley didn’t laugh at all! No reaction whatsoever to this very droll remark. Or, do I just have a spare sense of humour?

Now, American politics. What’s this Roger Stone guy all about? What a miraculous performance outside the court. After being busted by the FBI in a morning dawn raid, up for indictment and a potentially long jail term, he acted like he’d just won an election, landed the lottery or been nominated for a Grammy. It was unreal.

But this is the state of American politics I’m afraid.

I thought Alex Salmond’s court performance much more in keeping with decorum. Mind you what’s he been up to? Two charges of rape doesn’t look good.

It’s certainly not looking good for Trumpy. One does feel that Mueller is about to play some pretty powerful cards and I hope soon. I really can’t take much more of this bloke.

I reckon that Brexit is heading towards a softer out and I expect we will end up with some kind of Customs Union which will probably be along the lines of Norway plus plus, Canada Rocky, Fisher, Dover sole, Dogger, German Bite.

But this was never going to be easy and it’s certainly no joke I’m afraid. It’s just a shame our Theresa hadn’t been a bit more forthright at the outset.

My golf has finally turned a corner since going to the butcher’s last week. Yes, my man Angus of WM Christie the Family Butcher’s, Bruntsfield Edinburgh, has given me the tip of a lifetime and it goes to show that Facebook and some hearty crack down at the local butcher’s can be very positive things. My new strong right leg position has worked wonders and I’m suddenly striking the ball very solidly indeed. Thank you Angus.

Big Dog came in at Newcastle last week to end a costly losing run. Saying that, with three lengths clear and going to the last he very nearly fell which would have been most unsettling, not least for the jockey. There is only so much of that stuff you can take with the nags. Sods law of gambling and all that.

Mind you, I have been reading the rather fascinating biography of Harry Findlay, the notorious professional gambler, who once staked £2m on a single bet for the All Blacks to win the World Cup. It was jinxed by a French try made off a forward pass. That would hurt. But what did he expect when betting £2m on a rugby match and inviting all your cronies to a corporate hospitality bash at Cardiff Arms Park to watch and celebrate? Forebode doom? What.

The fascinating thing is that one of the bods woke the Saturday morning of the match with a very uneasy feeling and decided not to go.

Some interesting facts I have learned during the week: Sweet Peas need lots of water, the average hedge fund only makes 3.4% return and charge 1.75% commission,. there’s a lovely restaurant next to Rouen cathedral which does a marvelous Sole Dieppoise, La Rioja is in the north of Spain, Phileas Fogg went round the world in eighty days and Yvette Cooper is not a car.











In Praise of Jacob Rees-Mogg

I am an unashamed and massive fan of Moggy. I watched the Andrew Neil interview when most articulately and calmly he dealt with the tricky and sometimes unreasonable questioning. Even when he had been quoted out of context Moggy stayed calm, acknowledged the underhand attack and quickly revealed it for what it was. A class act in discourse.

And it is this facet of the man that I love. He listens, he evaluates and he answers in a composed and honest way. He keeps his emotions out of it and tells the thing as it is.

What a refreshing human being and politician to have around in these turbulent times. Compare him to Donald Trump where it’s all hype and cover and lies and money and grossly insincere self-aggrandizement. Yuk.

But what a let-down for Moggy and the country that he’s been ostracized by a huge part of the electorate for his accent and unusual demeanor. This is the worst kind of inverted snobbery and I wonder if people acknowledge that? Because I bet it’s at the bottom of a lot of the antipathy towards him. A shame because we need a leader with this clarity of mind, goodness and intelligence.

Anyway enough of Moggy. My golf has been in a parlous state. However, things remarkably changed on Thursday after I ventured into the butcher’s shop in Bruntsfield and came out with a steak pie and a revelatory new swing thought. Good old Angus put me straight on something he’d observed in watching my Facebook video. My right leg was all over the place by all accounts. There was no pivot or anchor there. And he was right as I replayed the video when I got home and headed to the practice area.

So may I heartily recommend Angus and William of WM Christie the Family Butcher, Bruntsfield, for not only the best crack in town but  immense steak pies and at £1.80, possibly the best golf lesson I have ever had. That’s cheaper than going to a Dave Leadbetter clinic or being subjected to an Ali Ross ski week (which I once did and learned zero).

Most attempts at teaching bark up the wrong tree (ancient Japanese proverb).

But now over to football. Manchester United have won seven games on the trot and this Ole bloke is being seen as a revelation and heaven-sent saviour. But not really in my book. He just had to smile, not have Mourinho arrogance and then put Martial and Pogba on the actual pitch. By simply doing that you’ve got one of the best teams in the world and with guys who actually want to play and win for you. Sorry, but this is not rocket science. Take away the bad egg from the top. It’s the same in most places.

Now for the bistrot. We have almost got there with the name. It started off with ‘Wild’ which we quite liked the edginess of. It then morphed into Blacklisted and Blackballed and Barred. Of course the latter is a bit close to the bone, given my history of entering the nations’ public houses.

Anyway, I was joking with friends that at least I couldn’t be barred from Barred. But I then reflected that my brother had indeed achieved this feat 20 years ago at the time he was the third partner in the newly opened Montpeliers. He was ordered out of the establisment! And not through drink may I add.

So never say never guys.

However Alessandro and Michael are very decent human beings.  Which I’m afraid I can’t say for a couple of Craig’s ex bar-partners.

But I have been lucky.

So eventually, I hope to open a wee bistrot in St Andrews and yes, it will be called Blackballed.

And of course, all R&A members will be most welcome.




Ok this is complicated

I heard that it would be a good thing for Theresa to now fully explain her deal to all MP’s.

That’s not a good place to be at this stage of the game. If MP’s haven’t yet got a full grasp of it, what then about Jo Bloggs in the country?

And wasn’t it our vote which decided to get us out? Sorry but I took it literally.

To be fair she has made it complicated by trying to take the middle ground and steer a deal. But that’s proving impossible. And I suppose it comes down to the principle of leaving and an understanding of what Brexit meant? Indeed if David Cameron knew what it meant? That’s actually a huge one. Maybe it’s as simple as giving him a quick call and clearing the whole matter up.

But I think it will now go back to the country and a rather salient lesson is learned when coming to ask Jo Public again.

Anyway to more important issues. My golf.

My swing is going through a Brexit crisis and it’s causing havoc with my scoring. It’s awful and pitiful and painful. Anyway, I’m out on the Old today in the first medal of the year. So here’s hoping. I’m taking out my new Ballesteros swing number 3426.

Our bistrot is coming on nicely and things are shaping up. Although I’ve forgotten what a pig, building can be. Albeit I’m still massively cynical after our last architect on the flat got his measurements wrong and blew the design he had proposed. He might have told us before we got the builders in though. Suppose he may have been a bit embarrassed, and justifiably so.

We haven’t got a name yet! Coming to a consensus on this is well nigh impossible. I like The Crazy Duck. It’s memorable at least. A bit crazy. But what the…

I was in Edinburgh yesterday and went to Bertie’s, the new 250 seater fish and chips emporium, on Victoria Street  and was well impressed with what they’ve done with the building. Some of the views from the second floor are stunning. And I was amused with their sign, intimating that they were indeed selling ‘proper fish and chips’. I guess I have been eating improper ones to date.

The horses are not coming at the moment and that’s not great on the investment front. Not making money yet this year I’m afraid. This is a long waiting game. A bit like salmon fishing I suppose but without the hip flask.

But at least I am not in America! God forbid. what the hell is going on there? How complicated and thoroughly messed up is that. Manafort, the campaign chairman, swanning off to Madrid to cut a deal with some Ukrainian bods to enable him to pay off some Russian oligarch chappy. And Trump maintaining there was no collusion. But then his lawyer having to backtrack by saying that he just meant there was no collusion between the president and Russia, after the Manafort revelation was exposed. Unfortunately Trumpy chops had tweeted something entirely different on the matter.

It’s all horribly entangled and mighty suspicious looking. I guess that’s what happens when there’s too much money flying around.

Would that were my problem.






New Year’s here

Well I never. It’s here already, 2019.

Goodness, to think how I graduated in 1984, flitted away the rest of the 80’s, 90’s and early 21st century thinking about getting a career before finally flopping for the floristry business. And now, at the heady age of 56, I’m starting all over again as a somewhat writer, bistrot owner and born-again gambler.

It’s only been an ok year I’m afraid, with the only obvious highlight in me being still alive at its close. The very definite low point was in spending the night in a bush at Glenrothes Bus Station. Ironically, it fell after my second interview to become a Scottish Blue Badge Tour Guide and I think that they might well have made the right call in rejecting me. Albeit, this was a novel experience for sure but, I expect, would not a high seller on the tours front.

Glenrothes may well indeed have something to offer, but not that hedge adjacent to the bus station.

But onwards. First of all my predictions for 2019 as they’re always fun. Ok here we go.

May ousted, second referendum and No Brexit, Javid leader, Trump oot, Corbyn oot, Man City Premier, Wales to win 6 Nations Rugby and World Cup, Matt Wallace The Open, Tiger The Masters, Yankees Superbowl, a stock market crash, Boris caught with his troosers doon, Nigel Farage to win Strictly and have a short spell in the White House before becoming Mayor of London and possibly more unbearable than Piers Morgan. A rather nice eaterie opens in Murrayfield Place, One For Arthur wins the National, Skitter Scatter in the 1000 Guineas and that Van der whats-his-name wins the Darts again.

I will be giving cumulative odds of 230 to 1 on this and let’s say the book is now very much open. Please send your cash (min bet £100) to my bank asap.

My punting this year has a hundred per cent success rate may I say, albeit there’s only been one bet. I suppose it’s a bit like me birdying the first on the Old. Hypothetically of course, as I’ve never actually birdied the first on The Old. Has anyone?

Anyway the issues in my last post over Mourinho at Manchester United have been rectified by the new manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has shown the utmost common sense in putting the best players on the pitch. However, he is now being hailed as some kind of football super-hero guru, when in my estimation it wasn’t like, rocket science.

But I imagine the fans are singing wildly at Old Trafford now and so they should be.

But my worst fears are that it may be along the lines of,

‘Ole Ole, Ole Ole Ole, Ole, Ole …… ad finitum’

But I am such a cynic in these matters.