Idle Thoughts

The kilted caddie is feeling rather pleased with himself in that his last blog predicted the Dow Jones led World Stock Market correction. It’s just rather a shame I didn’t act thereon and make a bucket load. I am sure my more astute and level headed readers will have done so though, in the same vein that they have bet Bachasson for the Gold Cup, Moggy for Number Ten and Foxy Lady to come in the 2pm at Southwell.

Yes, there is no denying it that my man Moggy has got character and brains. These attributes seem to be sadly lacking in many of the people pitching up at Westminster these days. I do in fact feel rather sorry for poor Mrs May. She looks like she is in a very nasty spot at the moment and not having the wherewithal to deal with it. Think I would be going on permanent sick leave if I was her and picking up a nice pension and retiring to the Cotswolds. Write my memoirs in the morning and spend afternoons supping beer in Slad or Hollowbottom. Indeed both. Mind you I’m not sure she is the beer supping type?

Neither am I these days, which is probably a major plus for all and sundry. Although when a pal mentioned a trip to Cheltenham for the Festival I was rather tempted. A few days at the races would be a very good thing indeed. As I said there are these excellent pubs in Slad and Hollowbottom and oh yes, The Plough in Prestbury has been highly recommended and I do remember a very nice one in Painswick. Would be a blast and we might even see some racing?

It’s a great shame that St Andrews pubs are so dire in comparison. The only one that had any resemblance to a good old English bar was The Grange and that’s rarely open. Yes we have The Keys, Whey Pat and Central but you wouldn’t want to eat in them. The Jigger is deathly dull and devoid of character these days, Number 1 Golf Place is hideous and a disaster to mankind, the Russel Bar has the most nauseating decor imagineable and you could only possibly ever go there blinfolded, Greyfriars is horribly sterile, modern and tacky, the Pilmour has no soul, the Dunvegan is the Dunvegan, the Blue Stane’s dour and grotty and the Vic is in a parlous state. The sort of place which thinks it’s ahead of the times and bowling you over because they serve you fish and chips in a newspaper. Sorry but I’m one of these blokes who would much rather have decent fish and chips and on a plate.

They did do up the Criterion and I was hoping it was going to revert to the old spit and sawdust style of old days. But no. They put in shocking, tourist friendly, tasteless, upholstered benches and engineered wood floors and a one armed bandit. It’s like a mid-range 3 star Blackpool hotel bar. It’s not real. St Andrews is a medieval town for goodness sake. We are not in Glenrothes or the Costa del Sol.

That’s my rant over and don’t let me start on the restaurant scene! As one American judiciously put it last year. ‘you don’t come here for the food’. How right he is. But can no-one just serve a good honest steak with a load of decent fries and maybe lob in a pepper sauce? It doesn’t require a Michelin starred chef to knock that up, in fact it doesn’t need a chef.

So let’s get away from the idea of pretending that our deepest culinary desires revolve around plates of nachos and mass produced, gut wrenching, tasteless burgers with adjoining lettuce leaves. Let’s have a tad of imagination here.

It’s enough to make you want to go to Dundee for a day.

As a wee aside, I met Alexander McCall-Smith in a Morningside cafe last week. I wasn’t quite sure at first that it was him but I ventured forth with ‘Are you Alexander McCall-Smith?’ to which he answered in the affirmative. I had to thank him for putting me up for the Really Terrible Orchestra years back, after I had sent a grovelling letter and a bunch of flowers to his Merchiston address. He asked me what I played and I said violin, although ‘play’ is rather too grandiose and elevated a word here.

He was the most affable and pleasant chap albeit he may have been reflecting on the words of another famous Merchistonian novelist, Muriel Spark, who claimed that you should ‘never trust a man who sends you flowers’.

Especially some bald, dodgy looking six foot bloke who claims to play in second strings.