Foul Play

What a load of baloney from the BBC pundits reporting on the Six Nations match between Scotland and Ireland at the weekend.

Shame on John Barclay for not answering the question as to whether he thought the no-arms tackle by Paul O’Mahony, that took out Scottish captain Stuart Hogg, was late.

Of course it was late, My blind grannie could have seen that. Which match were you watching sir?

This was poor and weak stuff by Mr Barclay. Why wouldn’t he call it as it was? And he is Scottish! Annoying what? He even declared that he didn’t think that this caused the crucial injury which saw the Scotland captain walk off five minutes later. ‘He held his head at first and only held his shoulder when he stood up’ What nonsense?

Give me strength.

Anyway, I’ve got a bet on England at 8 to 15 to win the championship. It seems they are pretty unbeatable. Unfortunately, I think Scotland’s rather slim chances were ended with that phoney by O’Mahony.

I was up at my old golf club, Mortonhall in Edinburgh, last week and was glad to see that the professional course record still stands at 68. A score which I actually and miraculously achieved in a mid-week medal, one fine summer’s day back in 1979.

Now if you saw me duff and scrape my way round the Eden course last Saturday you would not believe this and indeed probably suspect some foul play. But no.

There are certainly cheats in the game of golf though. My favorite anecdote relates to an Edinburgh businessman playing in a medal with my brother, who was marking his card.

They came off the par five 15th and were standing on the next tee. The conversation miraculously went like this:

My brother  ‘What did you have?’

Edinburgh businessman ‘5’

My brother  ‘I thought you had a 6?’

Edinburgh businessman ‘a net 5’


Lordy me! For the love of Christ! Cripees. blimey O’Reilly and many other expletives.

But unfortunately, this is God’s honest truth.

Anyway, we should maybe relay this wee anecdote to Mr O’Mahony and let him reflect upon his behaviour. For it’s nice and right to be a good sport.

And you Mr Barclay should get hastily down to Specsavers, I would think.

The bistrot is getting there and we have now got to the design phase which involves choosing flooring, lights etc. We are getting a designer to have a wee look today so it will  be interesting to see what she comes up with, apart from a handsome bill. We have chosen a wonderful new coffee from our supplier Mr Eion to compliment Alessandro’s and have got Paolozzi beer on tap, as well as some unusual and interesting wines on board. We will be having real loose leaf tea (Roseleaf) and of course hot chocolate from The Cocoa Tree, Pittenweem.

Oops I’d better be off. It’s Monday 7.30am and I’m teeing off the Old at 8.20.

Life sucks.




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.







Mourinho ho ho ho!

Santa has come nice and early for the Manchester United manager in that he is getting a 10 million quid pay-off for getting sacked.

That’s quite a cool deal considering he’s been earning 15 million a year anyway and showing about as much skill in picking a winning side as me picking a nag to run first or a profitable stock.

Yes, I actually watched his last match as manager against Liverpool and was dismayed that he had put Pogba and Martial on the bench. Ok Martial did come on in the 80th minute but then it was all over.

Jose, even I know that Pogba and Martial should be on the pitch. Come on man.

Most interesting was the comment in the Times article which said that ‘United have to bring in a footballing expert to work with the next manager’

What the …..? Doesn’t the manager at this stratospheric level have the ability to know the game? It’s not bloody chess or bridge. You try and get the ball into the opposing teams net as many times as possible and try not to let them get it in your net. Even David Beckham understood this.

No, it’s all beyond me this football craziness. If I was manager of a team I would encourage small passes into space and bar anyone from shooting outside 15 yards. Simple. Keep it simple. And preferably put your best players on the pitch, and from the start.

Simple. Not like American or British politics may I venture to say. I am not sure which is in a bigger mess or the bigger laughing stock?

Trump has got some egg on his face now with his charitable Foundation and he’s thought it expedient to close it down. Call me massively cynical? Yes.

Cohen has got three years in the nick for his obsequiousness to a flouncy haired, smug faced charlatan businessman and conman politician, likely rapist, self-admitted pussy grabber, overall boor, and not very nice and all that terrific a person.

Flynn, the ex-national bloody national security advisor, is getting rapped presently for lying to the FBI and attempting the pitiful defense that he thought it was all just a wee chat.

A wee chat with the FBI? Heaven forbid. Pass me a glass of something strong.

No. it’s not looking great for Trumpy at the moment, with Mueller soon to be coming a knocking and already 17 litigation counts down and mounting. He needs some charity I expect but not from his Foundation because that’s closed doon!

But we have our Brexit bombshell over here to worry about. It is one big muddle and both the top players are struggling to make the next move.

It’s one bloody mess that’s for sure. The only way now is to give it back to the people to see if they want another referendum on it? The politicians are never going to find the right way out. The recriminations will otherwise last for centuries.

In the last scenario and as I’ve said before we should be bringing on Dad’s Army and my good man Arthur.

And this indeed may have been prescient.

As, didn’t I hear the other day that a few thousand troops were being lined up?

The Home Guard, perchance?




May and Trump now have something in common

I don’t reckon either will be hanging around and steering the wheels of their governments much longer.

Poor May to be honest. But that bloke Donald deserves all he gets. I feel sympathy for Theresa but a deep loathing for that numpty, Trumpy. The sooner that smug face and man disappear the better. Bring on Michelle Obama. And soon. Please. A heart, a soul, a real person.

Brexit is well up in the air. It’s a hard call. An impossible call now to be honest. It’s got rather horribly complicated. Backstops, Norweigen styles, quasi and short term customs union arrangements, fragile borders, an omnipresent ECJ, withdrawal and re-submission of 1922 letters, protestors outside parliament , 585 page legal dossiers flying around, high-end car doors jamming, general election rumours, fishing agendas and Amsterdam continuing to get their hands on our sole, dire warnings of queues at Dover, pandering and meandering.

It’s all like some hammy gerrymandering with lines and daggers being drawn in Gibraltar and along the Irish border. Bring on Dad’s Army, that’s what I say. Arthur Lowe would sort it all out.

I am still for my rather contentious position. A referendum to see if the people want another referendum on it. Hell why not? At least then we can be doubly sure and bring in that old democracy chestnut, big time.

I have been on holiday in Japan and have just returned to the colder but homelier climes of St Andrews. Tokyo is great, most places have heated toilet seats and efficient smiling staff, but it’s full on and exhausting. We did get to visit a lovely place on the coast, two hours south, called Shimoda and went to the best restaurant I’ve ever been to. It’s owned by a friend of ours and he effectively runs the 27 seater pad all by himself. And what a cook he is (as well as being a lovely, sweet and humble guy).

Flamme Jacque is something very special indeed. They had the US Ambassador in last week. And then us!

We are now nearing the completion of our bistrot in Edinburgh and have just to finally decide on the name, menu, decor, staffing, lighting, flooring, seating and other not insignificant issues. Alessandro is a top guy and cook and I’m going to give him and it my best. We are heading for a Februaryish opening (August).

I still want pizza and steak on the menu but we shall have to wait and see. Alessandro is the main food man. I have insisted on a couple of different blends for the coffee though, really good tea and the best hot chocolate in the universe. Anyway will keep you posted.

I have not been following the golf but did notice that Matt Wallace was the only three time winner on the European Tour this year. This kind of validated my enthusiasm about him as detailed in my Dunhill article for Hong Kong Golf Monthly last year. I caddied in the same group for three rounds as he partnered my man Dave Walsh.

Of the man Dave Walsh though, I’m afraid I can’t enthuse too wildly about.

I am still off the booze which is grand and I’ve lost some weight. The horses are going nicely and we have a new kitchen table and lounge chair coming. We are still short on curtains though but boy are they expensive.

My architect doesn’t respond to emails anymore and we are having to get new plans drawn up (that fit!) from another architect so that we can get a completion certificate.

I hope the new one can measure properly?

Dig, dig, dig, dig and dig.







On course politics and interesting backward headbutts

I played the Old last Thursday with my pal Peter and we were joined by an American chap who was looking for a game.

Unfortunately, I brought up brexit which soon morphed into a discussion of American politics. I think it started something like this.

Me:  Bla brexit bla bla brexit bla bla bla. Well, at least we don’t have a maniac of a leader like you guys have?

American chap: I’m a Trump supporter.

This brought on a heavy visceral onslaught about the corruption of Hilary, the need to have guns, the uselessness of the Mueller inquiry, the decimation of the economy under Obama, the bloke’s dislike of Obamacare, fake press etc

After three holes of an increasingly riled American, Peter suggested that I try and get off the subject. And I did. But the American chap was evidently rattled.

I am now of the opinion that you can never immediately identify a man’s political allegiance. Although I do believe in this country I am on firmer ground.

Watched the Scottish rugby match against South Africa and what a game? The level of fitness of these guys is astounding and the pace of the game extraordinary.

One very interesting point arose though with the back head butt by a South African player, This was somehow missed by the referee and the assistant referee but was vivid on screen. No penalty was given but what is interesting is that through social media it got through to the BBC at least. However and crucially, did it get relayed to the officials? If so, then they would have been entitled to call a penalty long after the infringement and this would have been groundbreaking.

A bit like in golf when Lexi Thomson was penalized the following day after her dubious marking on the 12th green in the previous round, after some dude on a sofa in Wisconsin phoned in to highlight it.

However, in the case of the back headbutt, it either didn’t get through to the officials or they thought that the guy in the pub in Bennets Bar shouldn’t be allowed to alter the course of International Test Rugby. It’s certainly an interesting one.

Otherwise, the bistrot is coming on well and we have a name which came about remarkably and almost unbelievably. I was sitting in Taste last Sunday reading the Observer and thinking (Yes I do sometimes think) Anyway I then had this massive moment and it came to me. The perfect name. (you will have to wait for this I’m afraid), So being rather excited I immediately texted our brand guy Ben and told him.

So I walked home and got in the door and the phone went. It was Chris my zany Prof friend from Edinburgh who had been out for a walk on the Meadows. He said ‘I’ve got it! The name. It’s brilliant’ Pause, when I almost told him what he was going to say as I somehow knew it. And yes, he had come up with the exact same name as I had, half an hour earlier!

Now Chris has no contact with Ben and I’ve no idea what made him think about our bistrot name that morning. But he did. I actually had to take a picture of my email to Ben which was sent at 10.43 for him to believe me!

And what a name it is! After months of agonizing a most astonishing end and result.

My idea is that we should hold a referendum to see if we should have a referendum on the Brexit option and people can then look at their own consciences and decide if they are able to make the decision. That would at least be clear cut. Otherwise let our politicians decide.

Went to Edinburgh but decided that St Andrews is a rum place to live, admired May’s strength, thought Gove made a close call but the right one, got a fine Stollen cake in Waitrose, drank too much coffee, got my script rejected by BBC  Writersroom, listened to the cricket, invited Georgia Mann-Smith to the bistrot (she accepted), won on the nags, shanked my second on the 18th into the Rusacks Hotel window, went to the butchers, had an argument with an IFA and a roofer bloke. One spat on our stairs and the other is charging £2400 for legally necessary but perfunctory, crappy pension ‘advice’ and muttering something about liability insurance, which I think translates to gravy train.

I’m not sure which one annoyed me the most! And I could certainly do without both.


American Politics is as straightforward as a borderline Brexit

Yes I am, for sure. slightly puzzled at the complexity of American politics and the midterms have shown that.

The House and Senate are two very different things obviously and the Governors race is another matter altogether. Impeachment and recusals and subpoenas are flying around left right and centre. Lawyers are having a heyday and  sackings are afoot in the hot White House. Dolled up interns are being asked to bounce out journalists who ask too many tricky questions and in the throws of it all Donald Trump claims he is triumphant, a genius and saviour of the nation. But I expect he says he is really good in bed too.

On the Brexit front Boris’s brother resigns from the Cabinet as he’s obviously tired with the Transport job. But it’s just the fact that he has that steal-the-limelight Johnson blood in his veins. Didn’t Rachel change party over it all?

How one hates all this posturing.

Not great for our Theresa mind and it’s looking very like we’re heading down the path of a second referendum. Well, at least most of the public will now know what a customs union is and indeed some MP’s for that matter. Mind you it’s quite an expensive educational exercise on behalf of the UK government and has rather highlighted the most delicate issue of the Irish border.

I wonder if David Cameron had thought that bit through. I expect not.

I had a couple of lovely rounds on the Old last week. Met up with Edinburgher Willie Tait, a member of the R&A, and his brother Murray the night manager at the Balmoral. Turns out Willie is well acquainted with some of my mates back doon the road. Yes St Andrews and Edinburgh are very close. Willie now lives in St Andrews, below Philip a friend, who was a top Edinburgh property lawyer and is idling his time away doing a PHD in psychology. They were frequenters of Whigans wine bar and therefore have their noses to the ground. My old school mate Dave Scott now seemingly owns it. What an institution it is.

Also met an interesting chap Scott who is a wealth management guy and rents a cool flat overlooking the 18th fairway of the Old. He plays an awful lot of golf and calculated that with his £200 golf ticket here he saved himself £20000 last year, had he been paying full rates. Now that kind of shows the massive value in staying here. If you are a golfer that is. Apart from that it’s not a bad place to hang out.

I had a lovely day in Edinburgh and did my customary walk, coffee and butcher shop stops. It’s getting tricky now in W&S Christie’s as these guys are such good wags and now whenever they mention ‘duck’ I hit the deck. Childish? Yes. But what fun. Problem is I’ve ordered one for Xmas so there is a bit to go in this. Unfortunately, one poor chap the other day didn’t see the funny side of this and hastily exited. Mind you he is an ex-Raith Rovers player called Moodie and seemingly lives up to his name.

Bumped into Andrew Radford who owns Timberyard and is an excellent guy. I told him of our new venture in Murrayfield and he immediately asked what is it going to be called. And I said good question. This is becoming extremely taxing. My gut now says Murrayfield Place, my head says La Passagiato and I am warming to Aeolian.

Had a nice wee winner at Hexham yesterday with a 9 to 1 shot which just stayed on, my diet forges ahead, my golf is getting there, am still off the drink, my architect won’t answer emails, the Dome Christmas lights are looking tip-top, Edinburgh is beautiful and so is St Andrews, Burford Browns are out and Chestnut Marans are in, a Freddo inside a fresh croissant is a very wonderful thing, so is Braithwaites coffee, Boris is a blaggard, the Pope is a catholic and I fancy Desert Island Dusk in the 230 at Kelso.

The going is good.


Making America Fake Again

For all Trump’s mighty command of the English language he is definitely not impartial to using the word ‘fake’. And, I think he is also fully cognizant with its meaning. Like he understands ‘big’ and ‘sad’ and ‘bad’. Other mighty words in the vocabulary and his favorites.

However, ‘fake’ has become very much his own little mantra word and he is running avidly with it. In a big way you could say. Great even. Fake this, fake that, fake most things, apparently. Apart from the president himself of course. Except for maybe the hair bit.

But that’s America and I suppose you can buy everything. Well apart from a decent command of the English language, that is.

Anyway, enough of politics. It’s all about as annoying as that BBC 3 presenter Ian McMillan’s voice and the bird Steph who pitches up on Breakfast TV and drowns us out with her hideous vowels sounds. This mid-England regional fad is incredibly irritating.

The nags have been running awfully badly as of late and been about as inspirational as watching a Scottish football premier league match. My pal went to watch Hearts last Saturday against Aberdeen and said it was appalling. The major entertainment was in watching an Aberdeen supporter pick up the pitch-side microphone and strike the Hearts defender on the leg.

I suppose the chap may have been just a very bad loser or thought it was somehow fair game. You know the kind of reasoning like ‘well the microphone was just lying there and the Hearts guy was on the deck to I thought I’d just assault him’ A bit of a supporters off-pitch professional foul I suppose. If there is such a thing? There is certainly the on-pitch professional foul I gather and maybe it’s just spread.

Unfortunately it wasn’t off-camera though and so it didn’t turn out to be this fan’s brightest move ever. A visit to Edinburgh Sheriff Court endorsed that.

A friend caddied for the American actor Bill Murray and said he was a wee bit self-obsessed. And I suppose this is probably to be expected given his stature and apparent fame. Albeit, this doesn’t give the man a right to be objectively rude, as he intimated to the waitress in the Carnoustie eaterie that she should get her nose done. Sorry Bill but if that was an attempt at humour it missed the mark. And badly by all accounts. In fact, I would rather suggest that your nose was lucky to be intact after that chat. As my hunch is that even the most feminine flower in Carnoustie is nae a shrinking violet.

Otherwise life chugs along. The bistrot in Edinburgh should be open in February. 2019 that is. Yes, it’s taken two years to get to here, but the walls are coming down, the builders are in and we are just awaiting the license to come through and a bit of inspiration on the name.

This is hard. Naming a restaurant is very, very hard. I like The Inebriated Duck, but it’s hardly Sicilian. Sicilian Blue also strikes a chord as does La Bella Sicilia. Alessandros is too South Ken and Upper Roseburn is too subtle and trying to be too clever by far. Alessandro and Co is ok but a bit dull. Little Sicily has been overdone and Quartier Siciliano would need a resident soprano or a waiter called Fabiano.

I just love the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow.

Now that is a name.