Saturday, 24 January 2009

Appee Daze

It's no all full on swimmin, cyclin, kayakin and sippin gently on yer sundown g&t oot here ye ken. Sometimes we go oot on Bart's boat all day firra nosh up, big shwally and a right good whack o the nonsense. Yesterday was Auchmore Donald's birthday so we got in that saddle and rode the pony hard fae the back o 10 til sunset (half 6ish).

Choons for the day were mainly supplied by Donnie and Abbie - a coupla right barry nutjobs fae Invershneck (Brummy accent of the North i reckon). Anyway, sounds on deck included heaps o cool blue jazz followed by a wee mad Madchester hour and a healthy dose o early early Dylan. There wiz some ruff tuff dub stuff goin on anaw. One must tip ones musical titfer in the direction o the lads fae up North, even if o them is a hun. Copie's a hun anaw so they're no aw bad i guess.

One o KC's other favourite phrases pops out his gob on days like yesterday. He's usually exhaling a shooge puff as he looks up and gives it "Appee Daze". Well said KC.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The Trouble Wi Dugs

I've got a right good pal out here called Keiron Carter. He comes from a wee place near Bury called Ramsbottom. A comedy town name would be good enough for me but even more endearing are some o the splendid turns of phrase that Kieron likes to deploy. He never simply leaves a place but prefers to "backeel" it. Or sometimes he just "fooks it off". He's good at gettin his round in but confuses newcomers to the Rammy tongue by askin "do you not wanna gin and tonic?" And a year ago when Patnem was hoachin wi Edinburgers, Kieron was heard to utter the immortal enquiry of "oo the fook is barry?"

Anyway, Kieron also likes to be know as KC and funnily enough, there's a wee shack outside o Chaudi (aka Canacona) called KC Chicken. That's the very place i go to get Roxy and her wee chums their weekly supply of chicken feet. Tis no real pleasure for a veggie like me to hang around KC Chicken while a series of scraggy white feathered beasts are dragged from their pokey wire cages to have their necks rung. Then they're flung in a big plastic bucket wi the lid slammed tight for 30 seconds or so til they stop thrashin around. Next comes the delightful beheading, skinning, removal of feet and erm...giblets. There's a lot of blood and a bad smell. I really dinnae dig dat death ting.

But hey, chicken's feet are very cheap (nobody round here seems to cook them) and of course twould be ridiculous to impose my own personal mini revolution on the pooch cos dogs are clearly carnivores. So i now have a plastic box of those goddam feet at the bottom o the fridge and have to dish them out as a special wee treat every 3 days or so. Urrrgh.

Shooge shout out to Mr X by the way. He may be a daft laddy when it comes to pickin a fitba team (Penicuik? Hibs? shoorly shum mishtake) but he brought out enough top quality flea treatment to cast those nippy wee bastards out of a good few dugs for a year.

Incidentally, the last piece of meat i ever purchased for my own consumption was a "mince" pie at Easter Road in late August or early September 1984. I took one manky munch and as the grease shlooped down my forearm, took the only sensible course of action and flung said pie from the Dunbar Road end into that shitey wee enclosure below the shitey wee old main stand that the shitey wee team used to have.

Hearts won by the way. No surprise i'm sure you'll agree.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Give Style

Some days start off pish, go right downhill and look like they're headin for the jaggy rocks when suddenly sumfink happens to turn it around and i find masel in the midst of pure, unrestrained joyful barryness. Such was last Thursday.

After strugglin onto a packed commuter ferry from Fort Cochin to Ernakulam, 9 of us howfed our substantial bags onto a sunbleached platform to be advised of a 90 min delay on our train to Quilon (aka Kollam). When the train rolled in, we all jumped on the wrong carriage - one which was actually the train kitchen. It was hot, it was sweaty, there wis nae room so we headed up the train to find that it was far far too full o pilgrims on their way to an Appaya Hindu festival somewhere near Kottayam. This meant there were at least 4 men (yep, all men again) for each berth, dressed head to toe in black, with big beards, lotsa puja powder on their brows and rather scary chanty action goin down. At least they werenae pished like fitba fans or offshore oil workers one tends to encounter back in Sconnie Botland.

Anyway, there was absolutely nae fuckin room to swing a moose and it was mind numbingly hot and we had shooge shooge bags and the train pure honked o sweat and pish and diesel and my heid banged and i wanted to scream FUCK OFF INDIA YOU ARE TOO FUCKIN MUCH. But then some o the apparently scary cats budged up a bit and chucked our bags on a bunk and we squeezed onto knees and elbows and got down wi the gadgies and the barry scran they hit us with and they asked us about gay people in Scotland and how many times we have sex a day and what we eat at home and all kindsa fab stuff (actually it was mainly Pablo who got the truly groovy chat).

So in between talkin about the fitba (haha) i started checkin the scenery and remembered that usually i'd be stuck in an office with a pc terminal to deek instead o a series of spice plantations, wild forests and deep blue lagoons. And every time we went into a cutting i read a wee bitto I Welsh esquire's "If you Liked School..." and when i read the bit where Jason King reads his poem about John Motson on Sylvia Plath i laughed and laughed and laughed til i wept like a sweet little baba. And then i realised what a lucky lucky fucker i am to be able to do this sorta thing on an acceptably regular basis.

Later that night we stumbled into the friendliest hotel i've yet encountered in India. The 9 of us and a coupla sweet gadge waiters spent the night on the roof drinkin cold beer, munchin truly wonderful butter paneer masala, puffin on fatties and groovin out to dj Andre's rather wonderful mix o choons.

What a day, what a life.

Oh aye, and when i got back to my room, Scottie B had texted to say he was sittin in a boozer, saw a guy in a Hearts scarf get run over by a bus, thought fuck that coulda been me but then remembered he cannae drive a bus. That made me laugh and cry like that baba again.

And then i saw that above my bed was the poster at the top o this post. I dunno what GIVE STYLE really means but if i ever adopt a family motto, it's gonna be that.

Awkuntzbarry indeed.

Monday, 5 January 2009


Tom Weir was well acquantied with the Himalayas, scaling peaks throughout India, Pakistan and Nepal. Some details of these expeditions can be read in the hugely enjoyable "Weir's World", in which Tom also touches on his impressions of the region. Understandably for an autobiographical book by a travel writer, mountaineer and mainstream broadcaster, there's little chat about the politics of the places Tom visits (he was a barry gadgie but never a revolutionary).

The situation in and between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan continues to be a right bloody mess 60 years after the British Empire finaly cut and run (not that it wasn't a mess before then). Things in Nepal, however, look a lot more promising. Nepal is still one of the poorest countries in Southern Asia and its biggest export is still its people. Tens of thousands of guys (and yep, they're all guys) like Bishan, Bashant and Akash above head south for 6 months every year to cook tasty scran and serve drinks to loafers like me in the tourist spots of India.

I've met cheery and frighteningly hard working Nepali cats wherever i've been in India. There's no minimum wage and certainly no European Working Time Directive to protect these guys but every year they happily uproot from their families and friends to earn a comparitively good wage, the bulk of which goes back to sustain the communites from whence they came. Nepal really is a crazily poor country but things might be changing for the better. After decades of persistent and sometimes violent opposition to the corrupt, effete and downright nasty regime which tyrranised the country for centuries, Nepal's monarchy was finally toppled from power in 2007.

A new constitution and system of governement are still being thrashed out and for most people, little has changed so far. But the violence has abated and the Nepali people i've spoken to are genuinely optimistic about their country's future for the first time in their lives. I'm right up for binning our own shitey monarchy - whilst not in the same league as Nepal's, they are of course a shower of parasytical, tax avoiding in-breds and i'd love to see the day when they have to work for a living like awkunt else. Or mibbies they could sign on the brew. No sure i'd go as far as Bishan and Bashant in calling for a Leith Free State though.

By the way, how spawny were hibs yesterday?

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Roxy Come Home

Tom Weir woulda been 93 on 29th December (if he hadnae gone and snuffed it). Wherever he went in the world, from Springburn to Swaziland, Tom had an easy way wi the locals which could be why he seemed to get the help he needed to make the most of his time on this planet (or maybe he had a right pushy director on Weir's Way). But i reckon even he'd have been hard pressed to get my pal Raju to do what he did for me on Tom's birthday.

Last year, early one morn we found a wee, few weeks old bundle o fluff and fleas on the doorstep and could do nowt but take her in, feed her milk, powder the fleas and hope she didnae cop her whack. Roxy lived, grew a bit and became our best non-human pal in Patnem. One wet, windy and very stressful night 6 months later we had her neutered and a week after that we headed back to Embra leaving Roxy to spend monsoon wi Raju and his family a few miles up the Ghats in Cotigao.

So on Tom's birthday just passed we set off up the hills to bring Roxy back down the beach. Little had we imagined that Raju was gonna carry her back on his knee on the back o a scooter but that's precisely what he did. This wiz no mean feat: Roxy's grown considerably plus the road's steep and bumpy (much trickier than it looks in the photo taken by Mand whilst hangin off the back of our scooter). The dug wiz clearly freaked by the whole escapade and fair louped about in Raju's arms. But our main man held firm and now she's back jumpin around with us and her wee pack o dug pals round the back o the beach. Flippin barry!

There's a great wee connection between Tom Weir and Nirvana by the way. Stevie D related this in the Carrier's Quarters but alas, twas xmas eve, i was reekin and i canne mind it noo. Maybe Stevie will remind me.