FT’s TartanDiaries Episode 9 – Purple Haze

Allegedly the light was so bright, Leggatt’s pupils had run for cover………

‘Did you hear a noise?’

‘Mister Leggatt. I did hear a noise. We all heard it. It was Tompkins sneezing’

‘No, I heard another noise, footsteps, almost silent, but, just audible, like the footsteps of a killer’

‘Look, Mr Leggatt. There ARE no footsteps down here, and as for killers, I think that’s a bit rich coming from someone picked up with enough evidence on him, to bang him up for a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very……long time’

‘I think you’ll find, in order to make that last section of dialogue readable, you used way, way, way, too many ‘verys’ . Did you see a shadow………. there…….behind you?

‘Forget footsteps, forget shadows Mr Leggatt. I think you need to worry more about……..THIS!’

‘What is it?’

‘You, surely recognise it. It’s yours. A little black book entitled ‘The Names Of The Dead’

‘Ah’

‘Ah, Mr Leggatt, ah indeed. Not only the names of dead people, but where they died, how they died, and, even the murder weapon used’

‘Yes, it must look a bit strange, but, I can explain’

‘oh, can you Mr Leggatt? So, you can explain why the first person listed on your Names of the Dead, is called Derek, and dies after being pushed from a cliff near Edinburgh’

‘and what’s wrong with that?’

‘My God, not even one shred of remorse or should I say………..Inspector Morse’

‘what do you mean, remorse….I only made it up for my bo…..’

‘MR LEGGATT! I don’t care what you think you did, but someone called Derek was indeed pushed from a cliff near Edinburgh two weeks ago. He only survived after his braces caught in a whin bush’

‘Yes, but…….. Hey…..did you hear a creaking noise? As if a murderer wearing brown loafers, was creeping down a heavy piled carpet?’

‘Ok Mr Leggatt. I think we’d better start at the beginning……………or should I say…Once Upon A Time’

……..although we knew #TeamTartan might be in trouble, our ‘urgent’ journey to the Kelpies had been delayed. First of all Gigi refused to budge unless she got pizza. Dad decided he needed to buy ingredients in bulk for his continued #Disasterchef attempts to produce a dry rub which would make haggis edible to us Americans.

Mom, however, was fed up. Fed up with dry rubs, pop up hairdressers, police stations, fed up with drama, One Direction, Mojito Man, servers, sockets, suspects, Gigi’s…….. ‘people’…..and…..most of all…….she was fed up with #TeamTartan.

#teamTartan @qosfc1919 @thehistorytwins @Mark_Leggatt @YoorWullie @DeanStoker @FewArePict
#teamTartan @qosfc1919 @thehistorytwins @Mark_Leggatt @YoorWullie @StokerDean @FewArePict

I was the opposite. I thought I’d made the biggest mistake in my short life, swapping a two week looxshoory holiday in El Mento Loco, for, on paper, a damp boring fortnight with a bunch of Scottish Twitter addicts, who basically, had lost their way, the vote, their raison d’être. Instead, it turned out the 45% had galvanised them into a force so strong, even the Queen and Prince Charles had tried to stop them. Since we arrived it had been one humungous Scottish rollercoaster
ride.

In the end, Mom decided she would visit the Scottish National Gallery, whilst Dad, Gigi and I headed to the Kelpies to find #TeamTartan.

‘Look, I’ve got tweets to tweet, blogs to blog, drawings to draw and #EvilSkyDish’s to fight. Who are you lot and why am I here?’

‘Dave, look, we know if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be here……..😏………but setting this work of fiction aside….you appear to be in huge trouble……’

‘what do you mean ‘trouble’? I work in a factory, support a football team that will never play in the Champions League Final and run the blog voted 57 millionth best in the world…..’

*chortles from those in the room* ☺️

‘Don’t laugh. You never know, I might be in for the Booker Prize one day. That’ll wipe the stupid grins off your faces…..’

*more chortling and just a hint of guffawing*

‘look….I made you up……………who are you?’

‘Hmmmmm, I suppose when you put it that way, there’s no harm in telling you………you’ve obviously heard of MI5, MI6, the CIA and the KGB?’

‘Yes’

‘……and the FBI…….well…..we’re even secreter than the secretest, secret agency who do secret things while paid for by public funds, in the interests of……..eh…..the public and our national interest……..we are the Scottish arm and we call ourselves the FB Aye!’

‘pphhhhheeeewwwffft’

‘what are you spluttering at’

‘The FB Ayeeee. wtf’s that all about ha ha The Scottish Secret Police….. Brilliant! You’ll be telling me next you’ve infiltrated all levels of society and your leader is Jim Murphy 😀’

*heads turn…..cheeks blush*

‘Enough! Do you know anyone called Gigi, FT or a Mark Leggatt’

‘Yes. I follow them on Twitter. Well, not Gigi. She’s only 8, although she’s quite scary for her age’

‘so, you know Gigi runs a global comic subscription scam’

‘no no, we made that up for a laugh…..it’s just a funny thread we use on twitter’

‘ you think so…….and Mr Leggatt…you know him too?’

‘Yes. Nice man, writes stuff, works part time’

‘Hmmmm……this gets worse Davey Boy….this just gets worse and worse’ 😈

————————

It was Gigi’s brilliant idea to hire a canal boat. This not only allowed us to sidle up to the Kelpies unnoticed. It also gave us the space to store Dads dry rub ingredients which were now getting way out of control. We’d find him scribbling his ‘formulations’, as he now called them, at every opportunity. He was the Leggatt equivalent of the Dry Rub Crimewriter. Some of the ones he’d come up with, were so hot they could scorch varnish off a chair leg at five paces.

Canal Boat by The Kelpies
Canal Boat by The Kelpies

‘What next Gigi?’ I asked my little sister.

‘We set up the scanning equipment, I make a few phone calls. We wait……’

‘Ok. I’m going to draw a Webcomic about an obscure artist Dave’s never heard of. That’ll piss him off, unless it’s too late and #TeamTartan are already goners’

My Dad was down in the galley surrounded by haggis in dry rub heaven. All was good.

‘So….Mr Leggatt, let’s continue……page 123 of your ‘little black book’ “……Marco is found dead , with only a tiny cut to his left leg. poisoned using an umbrella’

‘Yes, I know it’s been done before, but it was a Friday night, it was late, I couldn’t be bothered…….’

‘So you killed him……?’

‘NO…..I think your getting mixed up. I’m a writer. All those names are fictional, I made them up. What I meant was, I’d had a couple of martinis that night, and couldn’t come up with an original way to kill off Marco. I was REALLY getting bored with him and bloody jealous at the number of women he was bedding!’

‘So, you became jealous of a fictional character that you yourself had created…….?’

‘Eh…….yes……I had had a couple of drinks……’

‘Were you in Biarritz recently?’

‘Yes, we had a break in Biarritz…..why?’

‘Well, I think we’re about done’

‘Done with what?………..can you hear a whirring noise………what was that…….now it’s clicking……..are we safe here’

‘Well, Mr Leggatt, you see, a Marco Verucci was nearly killed in Biarritz a few weeks ago…….and guess what……..he’d been poisoned with………an umbrella!!!’

Gigi glowed green as a myriad of computers scrolled gigabytes of information across the screens.

‘It looks like they are being held in some sort of subterranean complex directly below the Kelpies. Yoor Wullie is being held with 2 others in one room, Leggatt is in a room of his own as is Dave. Nothing unusual there. 😏 There’s only one way in. It’s heavily guarded. There is a ventilation shaft, but I’m not sure that helps us.’

Suddenly the door to the deck of the canal boat opened, followed by a body stumbling down the stairs onto the floor. Startled, Gigi and I turned around to find a green and very crumpled Mojito Man lying in front of them.

‘Mojito Man! Are you ok?’

‘Yes. I’ve come to save Debra. I miss my Bendy Girl. Not easy to be an Avenging double act, when there’s only one of you, plus, I miss my Saturday night, Mojito mashing, drinking partner’

‘That’s a noble quest Mojito Man, but, it’s like one of Leggats novels, neither Gigi nor I can fathom it out. If we don’t come up with something soon, it might be too late’

Just then there was a loud bang, the galley door burst open, and a purple cloud of hot dry haggis rub filled the room.

‘Sorry girls…… Last ball of the ninth….I think I just struck a home run……we have a haggis dry rub to die for’

It was Mojito Man who had surprisingly come up with the plan. As darkness fell, Gigi, Dad and I found ourselves playing baseball close to the entrance to the Kelpies.

‘Ok Gigi, hit me with your best shot’

‘Strrriiike’

‘Eh, Gigi, you’re supposed to be letting Dad hit it towards the guards remember? We’re supposed to be DISTRACTING THEM!’

‘He never let’s me win back home, so why should I let him win here?’

It soon developed into a slightly heated game, at which point both guards moved toward us.

That was the cue for Mojito Man to start climbing one of the Kelpies.

‘Could you move along please. This is a restricted area’

‘Ain’t it a ‘tourist attraction’ for……….tourists?

‘We have a temporary safety incident at this time. The attraction is closed’

Gigi was trying to kill dad, or at least maim him, hurtling the baseball towards his eyes. WHAM! Fortunately Dad managed to hit Gigi’s bullet. Unfortunately, his home run hit one of the guards square on the forehead. There was a cracking noise just before he toppled like a felled tree to the ground. As the other guard bent down to help him, Gigi took him out with a new Karate move she’d learnt only the other Saturday.

…………Mojito Man sat on top of the Kelpie. He didn’t like heights. It was only the thought of sharing a green Mojito and a packet of hula hoops with Bendy Girl, which prevented him from keeling over. He looked down at the ventilation pipe, unscrewed the top of the dust unit, opened the first bag, waited for my signal, then chucked the first of Dads Haggis Dry Rub down the pipe.

Having been questioned about their links to Leggatt and Gigi, YoorWullie, Debra and Stoker of the Dean had long since got bored. YoorWullie was just about to attempt to bore the guards to death with the history of the Jacobites, when Stoker of the Dean shouted’

‘Look there’s purple smoke coming out of that vent. What a lovely colour. It’s beautiful’

As the first guards breath caught the first pocket of Haggis Dry Rub, he sank to his knees coughing, spluttering, his eyes streaming. Within seconds the second guard was similarly indisposed.

‘Cover your noses guys, this is our chance to get away from these numpties.

YoorWullie and Stoker of the Dean followed Bendy Girl into the corridor. Stumbling, choking guards were running in all directions. They followed one particular group up a set of stairs and within minutes they were out in the open air in front of the Kelpies. They found themselves surrounded by men in black suits coughing solidly and three familiar characters playing baseball.

‘Over here Debra, follow us……’

It wasn’t long before Leggatt and Dave appeared, joining the rest of #TeamTartan in a race to the canal boat. Soon they were on the move, leaving the Kelpies looking particularly beautiful, covered in a purple dry rub shroud, backlit by the silver moonlight.

As Mojitos, Belhaven and Irn Bru were brought out in celebration at #TeamTartan’s escape from the FBAye, there was a large pat on the back for Mojito Man’s idea to use my Dad’s Haggis Dry Rub mix through the subterranean ventilation system. It had been a stoke of genius. 😏

As the canal boat chugged it’s way into the Scottish mist, Leggatt placed his martini on the table……’Did anyone hear a noise…..?’

TeamTartan were back where they belonged………together ☺️

I smiled, what could possibly happen next……… 😳

FT’s TartanDiaries Episode 9 – Purple Haze was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 and Dodo Productions © 2015 ☺️

Mark Leggatt really is a writer and his novel ‘Names Of The Dead’ will be published in July by Fledgling Press and online By Faber.

Also remember to visit FT’s webcomics over at thehistorytwins.wordpress.com

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Crane Intergalactic Hero – The Voyage of Ineptitude – Episode 3 Blast Off

The day had finally arrived. The day that Crane had waited for all his life. This was the day he would finally achieve his dream of piloting a spaceship into……well…..space. A day when he could write in his diary ‘my time has come’. Everything had appeared to go against him. A crew so childish, Crane had thought of employing a nanny. A zany bunch of aliens, who’d remained mute for 5yrs, but now wouldn’t shut up, and a ship older than an ancient old ancienty thing.

Crane pushed then kicked the apparently ‘dead’ delibox* for a 4th time. Twitchy bottom time was approaching faster than a Vorisian Beera Fish* and he had less than 12 hours before his ship was due to blast off into the darkness of space. After discovering his ship was 50 yrs older than the version he thought he was taking over, he had almost given up any hope of getting the thing out of dry dock, never mind light years into space.

*DeliBox – these levitated platforms allowed large objects to be moved from one location to another with little effort (when they worked 🙂 )

Vorisian Beera Fish – the most aerodynamic fish in the universe and able to glide through liquids at phenomenal speeds. It also has the largest pair of lips known which enable it to pucker up and attach itself to anything, which had annoyed Bloorp on at least one occasion, whereupon a Beera fish attached itself to Bloorp for over a week, only departing when it eventually became hungry.

As Crane tried to work out how to get the dead cube moving again, the corridor light flickered, and, after a few seconds it petered out completely. He now stood in complete darkness with a one tonne immovable cube, which probably didn’t contain what it said on the tin.

Whoever had ordered food, supplies and spare parts, had obviously been one keyboard stroke short of a complete sentence. In one Delibox, labelled ‘EXTREME CARE – BERIT LASER GUNS – TYPE 6X’, they had found 627 yellow rubber ducks wearing little orange jackets with the logo ‘Health and Safety Ducks’ on them. In another, labelled ‘ENGINE SPARES’ there was a thousand years worth of dried prunes. Crane didn’t even like prunes, never mind dried ones.

There had been some good finds. RedUrzuBird and Exar were overjoyed to discover a large stock of Vorisian wine, and a Vorisian delicacy called Grentno. Crane was offered, and tried both. He thought the wine tasted something like lubricating oil, and Grentno, a bit like dried grass.

‘Arrrrgghhh’

Crane inherited the ability to jump 12 feet in the air as Bloorp’s head suddenly appeared like a lighthouse beacon beside him.

‘You’ve just scared 9 light years out of me Bloorp, one minute I’m in darkness, then a floating head, or disc in your case, appears from nowhere’

‘I’m sorry Mr Crane. Alien Xarth sensed you were in need of assistance, so, we are here to assist you’

‘Alien Xarth, and where’s she?’

‘right behind you sir.

‘Arrggh’

Bloorp was right enough, the floating disc that was the one and only
extraordinary Xarth, was indeed right behind him floating above Crane’s
head’

‘Keep this up and you two will be as scary as that lot that are pretending
to be a ships crew. Anyway, apart from you scaring the life out of me I
need this moved’

‘What moved Sir?’

‘This one ton box of………where’s it gone? It was there a second ago. I was
taking it to Cargo Bay Delta. How can it……..’

‘It’s ok Mr Crane, Alien Xarth has teleported Cube 431 to Location Z6 in
Cargo Bay Delta for you – we’re here to tell you, you have 3 new crew
members, fix the lights and that Commodore General Higgins is here to
see you’

‘Co…Co……Comm……….. Higgs…….here……now……to see me?’

‘Yes Mr Crane. He seemed surprised you were ready to launch and wants to
speak to you’

‘……..and new crew members!…………..?’

‘Yes, Mr Crane…….two humans entered air lock 7 at 09:30 this morning.
They had the correct papers so the crew let them aboard. One is now in the
Hydroponic gardens and one is in the galley.

‘Where did they come from?………………ok I’ll deal with them later. I’d
better speak to Commodore Higgins’

Ten minutes later Crane was standing at the main airlock. As the door slid opened, the sight that focussed on his retina, wasn’t quite what he’d expected. As expected, Commander Higgins stood on the floating platform. However he was surrounded by eight Tankalans*

*Tankalans are genetically modified autobots which come in two types. A yellow and blue helper version (waiters) designed to help around the house, do shopping and tell bad jokes. The black and red versions (armataks) were rarely seen, but, those produced by the now defunct Army Science Core were armed and bloody dangerous.

Fortunately, the Tankalans surrounding Commander Higgins were of the yellow and blue version. It still seemed strange to visit with such a large entourage. Perhaps Commodore General Higgins was on a Tankalan ego trip, highlighting his importance within the military establishment.

‘Ah Commander Crane, a little bird tells me you’ve managed to get yourself in a position to launch?’

‘Yes Commodore, another day or so, we’ll be ready to go’

‘So, unlike your father, you’re not as stupid as you look’
‘What do you mean by that?’

‘Well, we all know your families military record isn’t, how can I put it, anything to write home about. In your Fathers case his cowardly act cost us dear’

Crane knew there was history between his father and certain members of the Military Council but he was shocked by what he’d just heard.

‘Sir, you know that my father was set up, and, was not responsible for the loss of the Arkadia’

‘Is that what he told you? I’m afraid he was economical with the truth young man. The truth is, none of your family have ever achieved very much at all, and, I’m afraid young man, you will probably follow in their weak footsteps’

Crane couldn’t understand it. He knew his father had enemies but Commodore Higgins tone was aggressive and almost threatening. Why had he come here to slate his father and criticise him in this manner.

‘Sir, I’m not sure what this is all about. I have things to get on with. People to see, aliens to look after, and, a crew of sorts to lead’

‘Despite your weaknesses, I have some admiration for you. A dodgy rust bucket of a ship , a crew of clowns and jokers, a bunch mute useless aliens. Yet, here we are. Somehow, you’ve managed to magic together some wizardry, fix the engines, upgrade the hull and now almost launch this pile of junk. I am impressed. Unfortunately, I cannot allow you to succeed. You see, there is a bigger picture, one, which you will never see. One which you have no future in. Just like your father, you will go down in history as another glorious failure. Ok, deal with him………’

Crane was struggling to take it all in. What was going on? Why was Commodore Higgins talking like this? What did he mean by ‘Ok, deal with him…..’

Suddenly the Tankalans started making a noise, which resembled a group of eight Tankalans doing something sinister. They whirred, buzzed, tinkled, rankled, churned, clinked and clunked. Their final trick was to turn from yellow and blue to red and black……..this was not good. He’d only seen armataks in a presentation during week ten of training in the session ‘Bad things you do not want to meet in a dark alleyway, if at all’.
He remembered clearly the clicking noise they made just before they were about to fire their laser cannons. He also remembered the red lights that flickered across them just before they were about to fire their laser cannon. He remembered the horrible ‘bssst…….bssst……bssst’ noise their laser canons made when fired.

He heard the clicking noise. They moved towards him. He turned. They moved forward again. He ran towards the airlock. He didn’t see the red lights flicker across their heads, as he was bursting a gut to make the door before he was frazzled into carbon 14.

‘bssst…….bssst…….bssst’

Crane heard the dreaded bssst noise. If he was about to die, he wanted to die inside his ship. The ship he’d worked all his life to steer through space. The ship his father would have been proud of. He dived towards the airlock……….

‘BANG……BANG…….VOOSH…….BANG…….SHIST……..BANG……..WHOOZzzzz’

As Crane hit the floor, the noise around him was deafening. As he waited for laser pain to sear some part of his anatomy, he tried to pass his life before him, but, the fear of being seared had turned his neural connections to mush.

Suddenly, the noise stopped.

Realising he wasn’t dead yet, Crane turned around. He blinked twice, maybe even thrice, as he took in the scene before him. In amongst flame and smoke, Chunks of Armataks lay everywhere. Behind the Armatak carnage stood Bloorp, RedUrzuBird, Exar and floating above their heads Alien Xarth

‘What just happened?’

‘I think we could call it Armatakageddon Mr Crane’ said Bloorp, who produced a smiley face on his lens face.

‘You did this? – you saved my life!’

‘Mr Crane. You are the only way we will reach our homeworld. Without you we will be stuck here for ever.’

Where’s that nutcase Higgins?’

‘He ran off mumbling about killing you and stopping the ship taking off. We must go Mr Crane’

Crane knew the ship was almost ready for take off. The remaining materials they needed for the length of voyage envisaged, would have to be found elsewhere. Within minutes they were on the bridge………

‘Ok, you lot, put your crosswords and XBox’s down. We need to launch in 5 minutes. If we don’t, I think something horrible will happen and…….it won’t be very nice’

Just then, an old woman appeared….

‘Would you like a cup of tea Mr Crane’

‘Who are you?’

‘My name is Mrs Tumpkins. I’m your cook, cleaner and chief bottle washer. My husband is looking after your hydroponic garden as we speak. We’re assigned to your crew’

Crane had no time to argue…

‘ok tea it is……’

‘Mr Crane, Armatak fighters are launching three pezecks away’

‘ok Bloorp – right team……we must move NOW!……disconnect the lockholders, lift anchor and let’s get out of here!’

The first explosions could be heard as the ship creaked away from the locking station.

‘There are five Armatak fighters within one pezeck and a further seven just behind them’

‘Ok……hit the red button’
‘But Commander, you know we’re not allowed to do that within the confines of the launch area’

The ship lurched as the first explosion hit the outer hull……..

‘HIT THE BLEEPING RED BUTTON – SOD THE LAUNCH AREA!!!!!!!!!’

‘Yes Commander!’

‘Just as the second boom sounded the red launch button was hit’

At this point Crane expected to be thrown back in his seat as the Treon engines sparked into life.

……..but nothing happened…….

‘Whats wrong with it – if we don’t move in the next five seconds…….it’s been nice knowing you all…….well….not exactly nice….but it’s been a breeze’

‘Sorry Sir, I pressed the wrong button. That’s the one for ejecting the inboard toilet cleansing system……here we go…..’

‘BANG…….the whole crew, including the cup of tea Mrs Tumpkins had made, fell to the floor as the ship finally sprung to life. Suddenly it was moving……really moving……really moving…….toward spaceport docking station five…….’

‘TURN, TURN…….TURN!’

The screen showed Armatak fighters closing in in all directions and a large metal spaceport heading directly towards them. Crane closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable………which never happened……explosions never happened, sparks never flew……death never arrived.

Crane opened his eyes……..he could see darkness, stars, galaxies and Mrs Tumpkins.

‘Would you like another cup of tea Mr Crane?’

Crane wasn’t sure what had just happened but whatever it was, he didn’t care. Both Bloorp and Alien Xarth looked sheepish in an alien sort of way, maybe even guilty as charged. Who cared. Arkadia 2, which Crane had launched in the name of his father, had launched. He was the Commander of a ship now moving through space towards adventure, fun, scary things and Planet Voris. His father would have been proud.

At some point, he would have to work out why Commodore Higgins had tried to kill him, but, for now, a cup of tea and the beautiful view would suffice…………

‘Ok Bloorp, see that yellow star to the right……. Let’s go……..☺️’

‘Crane Intergalactic Hero – The Voyage of Ineptitude – Episode 3 Blast Off’ was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 and Dodo Productions © 2015

Burns Night and The Little Korean

Living in Dumfries, Rabbie Burns, the great Scottish poet, has been part of our lives since we were tiny. He’s buried in St Michaels churchyard after spending the last few years of his life in a house just across the street from the church. During January through to March there are Burns Supper celebrations all over the world, celebrating the great Bards works.

Robert Burns
Robert Burns

Years ago, the company I worked for, invited a customer from Korea to a small Burns supper, set up especially for them. The works had a place nicknamed ‘The Golden Trough’ where such events were held. It was my first time in the ‘Trough’, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

I remember being introduced to the Koreans. They seemed nice people. They seemed excited about the prospect of the Burns Supper. Me?…. Well, I’d had Haggis, neeps and tatties the two previous nights, and, as a result, I wasn’t quite as excited as our Korean friends.
We were ushered through to the Golden Trough. It was nice. A bit cozy and bijou, with a lovely table decorated with candles, floral debris and obligatory tartan items.
We were seated, Scot, Korean, Scot, Korean, Scot, English 😳, Scot, Korean etc. The little Korean to my left turned round to me and said…. ‘I velly much rooking forward to tasting ra haggis’
I smiled at him and said ‘yes, It’s very nice…..’

Suddenly, the opportunity for a Scottish Korean cultural exchange was cut short by the bellowing of bagpipes from the doorway. A lone piper entered the room, followed by one of our workers, dressed in a kilt, carrying the haggis on a silver salver. Now, I love bagpipes. Especially when someone tries something new with them. However, in a tiny room, at full pelt, playing a tune you’ve heard a million times before, they are excruciating.
I nearly broke protocol and put my fingers in my ears, before realising this would not be a good tone to set for the evening. Thankfully, after 2 or 3 circumnavigations of the table, the bagpipes eventually stopped.

I’d never seen anyone ‘address the haggis’ before, so the next few minutes were an eye opener. The chap they’d chosen to do the address, was someone I worked with. He went at it with such vigour and aplomb. He was brilliant. By the time he’d slit open the haggis with a silver dirk, even I was scared stiff. As the blade slowly sliced open the membrane, the haggis oozed from the sheeps stomach like a slimy grey lava flow.

Realistically, it looked revolting. I looked round the table. The Koreans were mesmerised…………..

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis

After some loud clapping, smiling and more clapping, there was a gap while the dead haggis was taken away to the mortuary to be revived, only to be returned ten minutes later as…….. ………..TINY LITTLE PORTIONS WITH EVEN TINIER PORTIONS OF NEEPS AND TATTIES…..

What had happened to it? Had it shrunk in the microwave whilst being reheated. Or, had they dropped the silver salver on the way to the kitchen. Either way, despite having had haggis on the two previous evenings, the portion was miserly? One mouthful and it would be gone. I was starving as well, as I’d expected some huge seventeen course meal with wine. After all, it was called The Golden Trough 😳

Two seconds later my plate was empty. I turned to my small Korean friend. The sight that met my eyes has lived with me ever since. The little Korean was drenched in sweat. Beads of water trickled down his face. He looked as if he’d completed a half marathon from his seat.
He noticed me staring at him…….

‘I verry solly……..I no can eat…….ra haggis’

The poor soul was so embarrassed at not being able to eat our national dish. He was one step away from a panic attack. I touched his arm, smiled. I swapped our plates. Within two seconds, I’d cleared his tiny portion as well. An instant bond was formed between us, and, since that day, neither of us have ever seen nor heard of each other.

I have no intention of visiting Korea to reciprocate his brave attempt with Korean cuisine, but, as I’m having my haggis tonight, I’ll raise a glass to my little Korean. ☺️

You can read about Robert Burns life here….

http://www.robertburns.org

‘Burns Night And The Little Korean’ was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 on Twitter and by Dodo Productions © 2015

The Wedding Part 1

Weddings……yes….there….I said it…..weddings. Things of great love and beauty for those involved or, sometimes, as a guest in particular, a free ticket to the worst day out you can have whilst you’re breathing on this good Earth.

……and so it passed, an envelope with a 50-50 chance dropped through the letterbox……..and thus began the lead up to what turned out to be a very ‘special’ day indeed. I opened the letter……my lovely cousin was getting married in a castle in Scotland. Since it was only 60 miles up the road and the thought of spending a couple of nights in a castle seemed very romantic. So, I shrugged my shoulders, we bought the obligatory acceptance card and that was it. We’d buy a gift, buy some new gigs, turn up, watch a lovely ceremony, smile, take some pictures, eat some nice food, smile again, dance, laugh, smile even more, and spend the night in a looxshoory bed in a Scottish Castle. Beat that u Beckhams…. 😊
Of course, that’s where the whole thing started to unravel. You see, the castle only had enough sleeping accommodation for around 20 peeps, and, guess what, the grooms side came from New Zealand. We were hardly going to argue about sleeping arrangements when this lot were coming half way round the globe to be there. It was also quite hard to kick the bride and groom out…. 😉
So, my other half, sister, her husband, my daughter from my first marriage and her cousins booked into a small hotel in a nearby village. Ok, the romance of us staying in a castle was dead, but hey, we had so many other things to enjoy, who cared.

My mother and her sister, the brides mother, had gone ahead of the wedding, staying in Edinburgh. We’d pick up my Dad and drive to the hotel, the girls, who were to be bridesmaids , would be given a lift to the castle to get their hair and make done. Easy……

We set off in a convoy of two, with my sister, dad and brother in law, Graeme, in one car and us up front. We’d reached the notorious St Anne’s bridge, a single lane thing that many an artic lorry had failed to complete over the years. We stopped at the lights. So far so good. Then, suddenly, there was a loud knock on the car window. It was my brother-in-law……

‘ yer Dad’s left his shirt for the wedding back at the house…..! ‘

It took a few seconds for it to sink in.

‘B-b-b….but, that’s all he had to remember, his suit, shoes and his shirt. sheesh, how could he forget it?’

The lights turned to green.

‘Ok, we haven’t time to go back, let’s go to Moffat and see if we can quickly find him a shirt there’

Soon, we’d parked up in Moffat High St. Moffat is a lovely village. Surrounded by the Moffat hills, it has a lovely waterfall called the devils Beeftub, some nice eateries, it’s own sweets named after the village and the narrowest hotel in Scotland.
My sister, Dad and the girls headed off to find a shirt, while we parked up. As time wore on Fran and I started looking at each other. Where was everyone? We got out the car, and like Sunday evening detectives, headed off down the Main Street. The first person we found was my niece, Shannon.

‘Hiya, did we manage to get Papa a shirt then?’

‘I don’t know but I got some Moffat toffees. Do you want one?’

She is the loveliest girl and she was only 12, but that wasn’t the answer I needed and time was not something we had in great abundance. We eventually found the rest of the gang and a pecking, slightly out of breath Dad minus shirt but with more Moffat Toffees!
We set off back to the car…..

‘Where’s Graeme?’ I asked.

‘ I don’t know, he was parked over there….’

The car had disappeared. We looked round the square, finally spotting him at the petrol station. Why was he getting petrol now and not yesterday! 😊 We were losing time. We set off again but things were already getting slightly fraught.

We’d researched how to get there as there were several small roads, nooks and crannie methods by which we could get to the hotel. One particular route would clip twenty minutes off the journey time, so, that’s the route we would take. We were now confident, that a shirt would find Dad, the hotel would arrive on time, the girls hair and make up would be the bestest ever and the rest of the journey would be el transfantastico………

Our little Moffat toffee eating convoy continued on it’s ‘merry’ way towards champagne, caviar and church bells. There was even some music being played on the CD player. Humming and some ‘Dah de Dah de Dah was going on too. We skipped round a pan drop roundabout and were just heading down a hill when Fran said ‘I think we just missed the turning’

I said intelligently ‘WHAT?’

‘I think we should have taken a right at the roundabout back there. If we go this way it’s 30 minutes longer and the girls will be too late for their hair appointment’

I picked up my mobile and phoned my sister and co in the car behind. Within a minute we’d turned ourselves around and were once again heading in the right direction. Although the plan was slightly more complicated with the ‘FIND A SHIRT FOR DAD’ campaign getting the most votes for this years most proverbial pain in the rear competition, everything else was fine until this happened……..

Road Closed ! 😥
Road Closed ! 😥

Yes. For the one and only time in my whole life, before, since and thereafter, we turned a bend to find a megamental ‘ROAD CLOSED’ sign right across the road. A giant red and white piece of wedding planning plastic disaster.

we stared at the sign for what seemed like hours. None of us could believe it. We even got out the car to look at it. I mean, as if that was going to make any difference. I turned to Fran…….

‘Don’t look at me. There was no mention of this anywhere. Oh and by the way that’s us about stuffed if we don’t turn round and get moving’

This was already turning into a small farce, but guess what……..it was to get worse……..😳

‘The Wedding Part 1’ was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 on Twitter and Dodo Productions © 2015

FT’s Tartan Diaries Episode 8 #TeamTartan Go AWOL

FT’s Tartan Diaries Episode 8 #TeamTartan Go AWOL

If you’ve never read any of Episodes 1-6 or even episode 7, none of this will make any sense to you……. 😳

As the summer rain battered off the apartment window, I reflected on how we’d come to the decision to come to Scotland in the first place. Madrid had been my first choice, followed by Barcelona, just ahead of Asturias, plus every other major and minor town in mainland Espana. After that, I’d have gone for the Balearics, the Canary Islands, Malta, Cyprus, most of the Greek Islands, maybe even Cuba.
Instead, we’d opted for Alba and #TeamTartan. So far, it had been the most exciting trip ever. Police interrogations, Gigi, Stoker of the Dean (@DeanStoker) and I, rescuing @YoorWullie from Edinbro Castle, and, with the help of @FewArePict’s alter ego SuperHero, Bendy Girl, stopping a bank robbery in Bruntsfield. This was SCOTLAND, a land of beauty, heroes and deep fried things. It was amazing!

I thought things might calm down a bit. I mean, even we Americans have an off button. I should have known better……..

The damp day had started off quietly enough. Dad, apart from waking the entire household again whilst he made coffee, was experimenting with dry rubs for haggis. I couldn’t understand how he couldn’t make some coffee, without it sounding as if a herd of drought stricken elephants had found a watering hole. 😏

‘There must be a dry rub that makes this stuff edible, there MUST be!’

‘DAD! Don’t let #TeamTartan hear you say that. They still think we love it.’

While Masterchef Dad persevered with his dry rub mixes, I checked Twitter. Mom had gone with Gigi as my little sister had decided to set up a ‘pop-up’ hairdressing salon on Princess St. Gigi had arranged for five One Direction lookalikies to have their hair done by Gigi, while charging £5 for autographs and, no doubt signing as many people as possible to her Webcomic subscription.

Twitter was remarkably quiet. None of #TeamTartan were online. In fact none of them seemed to have tweeted since 10pm the previous day. Now, @Mark_Leggatt could disappear for days. If he wasn’t trying to get some oily interface project sorted, he’d be hermitted away writing his second novel with his Blackwing Pearl pencils. The rest of them though, were never far away from a keyboard or touchscreen. If YoorWullie wasn’t politely pointing out some Tory MP’s expenses error, Debra (@FewArePict) was on an anti-fracking theme, Dave was droning on about windfarms and Dean was playing catch up on what everyone had been tweeting. So, their current tweetless tweetlessness was very strange. I jolted as Dad sneezed…..

‘GODAMMMIT……I don’t believe it….’

‘what’s wrong now Dad?’

‘I finally found a spiced dry rub which was perfect for that offal stuff, it made me sneeze, and, now……it’s all over the floor…….’

‘but you wrote down what you put in right…..?’

The silence told it all. ☺️

I switched the tv on…….

‘…….extra police have been called to Princess Street after a pop-up hairdresser stall attracted thousands of One Direction fans. All trams and buses have been affected as well as roads in and out of the city……….and, in other news, it’s been reported that five members of a Twitter group known as #TeamTartan have vanished. Relatives reported, despite those involved living as far apart as Milngavie and Dumfries, they disappeared at 10pm last night, and have not been seen since’

Oh great. my 8 yr old sister had brought the City Of Edinbro to a standstill and my raisin d’être had vamooshed off the face of the earth. Where could the silly sods be? A noise from the corridor revealed Gigi and Mom carrying several large bags.

‘Don’t tell me that’s all the hair from the pop up Hairdressers?’ I quipped

‘Nope. It’s the money Gigi made from autographs, Webcomic subscriptions, and selling ‘One Directions’ hair to screaming girls. £50,000 I reckon’

‘…….and what happens when they find out it wasn’t the real One Direction?’

‘We’ll be back in Maryland by then ☺️’

It was great to see, once she’d had it confirmed by DNA testing that Gigi and I were indeed Mom and Dads real children, that Mom was joining in the rest of the families mad schemes.

I took Gigi to the side and explained the news about #TeamTartan.

‘I might be able to help. After @YoorWullie ended up, firstly in jail, then being kidnapped by the Royal Family, I decided to put a bug on him. If he hasn’t changed his socks we should be able to find his location. Follow me’

Gigi entered the 128 digit encrypted code on her bedroom door. Something hummed, lights went green and the door opened. I’d never been inside her room before. Not because I hadn’t tried, it was mainly due to the 128 digit encryption code with 948 trillion possible combinations.
Once inside, my pupils widened. Not just because what was in front of my eyes surprised me, but because everything was a darkish glowing green.

‘the most sophisticated surveillance system in the world. I can track every one of #TeamTartan’s position to within one square metre, rotate my satellites to view their position, and watch their every move, except when they are in the restroom’

I gawped at the rack of servers, flashing lights, cables, the wall of flat screens and the one particularly large mouse.

‘ok, let’s have a look to see where they are’

Gigi pressed buttons, clicked the giant mouse a few times and waited.

‘hmmm, that’s strange’

‘what’s strange Gigi?’

‘at exactly midnight last night their locators stopped…..all at the same time’

‘stopped……all at the same time?’

‘I just said that’

‘where were they when you lost them?’

‘give me a minute….I’ll run the tri-locater on all of them and triangulate their last known position’

As things hummed, and the green glow enveloped us for a few more seconds, the curious group disappearance of #TeamTartan, started to make me feel nervous. How could four adult males and one grown woman disappear just like that.

‘there it is. They were all here…..’

Gigi pointed at the screen.

‘zoom in I can’t make it out…..’

The satellite image cleared. Gigi zoomed in further and further. We looked at the screen, we looked at each other, we looked back at the screen. We found ourselves staring at a picture of the Kelpies.

The Kelpies
The Kelpies

‘The Kelpies……. A tourist attraction….why would the five of them go there at midnight…..maybe they’re weirder than we thought’ 😀

‘give me a second………’

Gigi pressed more buttons.

‘both the sensors on YoorWullie and Leggatt have video cameras on them. I should be able to play back the last things they recorded before the signal disappeared’

Suddenly we were watching someone being pulled from the back of a car. Ahead, We could clearly make out Debra, Dave, Dean and Leggatt being taken towards the Kelpies by men in suits.

‘what on earth is happening. Why would they take them to a tourist attraction in Falkirk?’

‘I don’t know. Look, they’re taking them inside…….’

‘ok that’s it, let’s go’

we grabbed some stuff, a cold pizza and headed for the exit.

‘where are you two going…….’ yelped Dad, who was forlornly trying to recreate his crashed dry rub masterpiece.

‘we’re going to the Kelpies Dad, ditch the haggis, grab Mom and let’s go #TeamTartan have screwed up again……’ 😳

Episode 8 of FT’s Team Tartan Diaries was brought to you by Me @qosfc1919 © Dodo Productions 2015

Don’t forget to visit FT’s blog at thehistorytwins.wordpress.com

Bicycles

Bicycles – yes.

For my Saturday Slice this week, I thought I’d talk about bicycles. Innocuous things bicycles aren’t they?
Well. In my case, they are the two , sometimes three and the odd occasion, the one wheeled devils from Hell. Let’s start when I was three yrs old……….

We lived on the upper floor of a maisonette. There were four apartment on each floor, eight in the block. So, four families shared the landing.
From my front door to the left, there were two sets of concrete steps, which led to another landing. Then, another two sets to the ground floor and out.
And….I was 3 yrs old……… I’ve no recollection of the incident, but, apparently the bold Dave, decided to cycle out the front door, to the stairs, down the first set of 5, and, promptly down the second set of 13, landing in a crumpled heap at the bottom. Somehow, I survived with only a scrieve on my chin.
At the time, my mother probably thought badly of herself for leaving the bloody door open, and, that I was just an inquisitive stupid wee boy. It was two years later when I started primary school, they discovered I was so short sighted, I probably didn’t even see the steps. Yes, I was the Blind Evel Knievel and lucky to be alive.
From then on, I think I generally avoided bikes until I was about twelve. My parents weren’t loaded with money and they bought me this second hand red bike for £5. It was a carthorse of a bike, but, it was a bike, and the gift horses mouth, which I shouldn’t have been looking into, was wide open.

Drawing courtesy of Evelyn Hong  @DotFivesticks
Drawing courtesy of Evelyn Hong
@DotFivesticks

My school was the other side of town, and, I do recall cycling the thing down Hardthorn Rd, into town, down by the river to school. I don’t think I’d had the bike that long when, one day, I left the school gates, and turned right down the hill. It was raining. I arrived at the junction and applied brakes to stop…………..I SAID ‘APPLIED BRAKES TO STOP’……….STOP…..STOP….DAMN YOU….STOP……..BANG!! In the wet, on this £5 bike, with both feet on the ground and brakes full ‘on’ I slid right across the junction, hitting another cyclist just in front of a bus coming the other way. There we were, a total stranger and I entwined in bicycle chains and useless brake pads. The bus fortunately decided to stop a few feet away, not adding to the rain drenched ignominy, by squashing us flat. The gentleman who I’d carted turned out to be really nice, accepting my red faced apology before happily going on his way. At this point, I probably should have realised bicycles and I were not made for each other. However, the arrival of a brand new shiny white Puch Alpine racer was surely about to change my luck…………… My friend had a Bultaco 250 cc trail motorbike and, we used to take turns at racing across fields on it. One day it needed petrol. So, we set of with 5 litre cans on our bicycles to the petrol station. We didn’t have anything to carry them in so we were holding them on one hand while steering with the other. We were yards from Nirvana (the petrol station) when the empty petrol can caught in my front wheel….. WHAM…..I was down in the middle of the road. All I heard was the screech of brakes behind me. Lying prostrate, I waited for the pain to arrive in some part of my body, but it never did. (tick in the box 1 – I have not broken anything). I turned my head, to find the front bumper of a Ford, inches from my face. I had been lucky again. ☺ An hour later, instead of sitting in casualty or worse, we were hurtling the Bultaco across the fields again, as if nothing had ever happened. A few weeks later, having got over my near miss, in the height of summer, unbeknown to me, my hormones were taking over my brain. Instead of just playing football all day, chemicals in my system were now telling my adolescent brain it was time to start ‘impressing the ladies’. So, in full headdress and with chest feathers puffed out, I found myself cycling past ‘the girl from across the road’. Since I was a specky eyed spotty geek the tetesterone in my blood, decided I’d have to impress her with some bravado. So, I took both hands of the handlebars and looked over toward her. She smiled and waved. I smiled back, her beautiful eyes glinted, my specky four eyes glinted back, she seemed to flush slightly, I……..HIT A CAR BECAUSE I WASN’T BLOODY PAYING ATTENTION AND LANDED ON THE BONNET!!!! She is probably still laughing at me as any hope of my first romance faded as my Puch Alpine racer lay crumpled in a heap and I slid off the bonnet on top of it.

Drawing courtesy of Evelyn Hong  @Dotfivesticks
Drawing courtesy of Evelyn Hong
@Dotfivesticks

You would think that would have been it, and, it was for a while. I left home, and while studying, I got a summer job working for a Chemical company in Lancashire. I was living with a divorced woman and her two teenage boys. It was ok, nice place, used to watch cricket on the weekend. The weather that summer was nice. The only hassle was the walk to work. The factory was about a thirty minute walk downhill all the way and it was a fair trudge up each evening. However, I was young, fit and. except when it was raining, not in a hurry to get home. It was bicycle free heaven. However, one day the owner of the house offered me her sons racer to get to work. I decline, but she insisted and I eventually caved in. The steep hill would see me at work in 5 minutes. Returning home would be a hard cycle, but I could go the long and less steep way, and still save time. So, I headed off on the boys bike. The first two days went fine. It was great. I’d never loved bicycles so much. Then, on day 3, BAD things happened. There was a sharp corner on the steep hill down to work. I was just about at it, going full pelt, when the bike went one way, I went another, and I found myself lying against a wall on the pavement. I looked at the bike. The Derailleur gear mechanism had sheared, dove straight into the back wheel, jamming it, sending me into the bicycle abyss again. I lifted myself up, and carried the bike to work. As the day wore on I realised I’d have to carry the bike all the way home up the bloody hill. I bloody hated bicycles.
When I eventually reached ‘home’, I found the mother, and told her what had happened. I expected a bit of sympathy, as I apologised for a fault which I had no part in. Instead, she went a bit berserk, and gave me a row for ‘breaking her sons bike’. I wasn’t spoken to for3 days and my summer was never the same again. 😥

I’ve left out the story of ice racing and ending up under a parked truck with two of my mates and the time I got stopped by the police for cycling round Robert Burns’s statue with no hands, etc. etc. When I think about it, bicycles are the most dangerous things on the planet ☺ So, that’s my bicycle stories and for years I never went near one, until 5 months ago…….guess what I bought?……………. Watch this space………… ☺ Many thanks to Evelyn Hong for letting me use her bicycle drawings. Find more on twitter @Dotfivesticks ‘Bicycles’ was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 and Dodo Productions © 2015

FT’s Tartan Diaries Episode 7 The Bank Robbery

FT’s Tartan Diaries Episode 7

If you’re new to FT’s Tartan Diaries you’ll need to read the following link first or nothing in the world will make sense to you, your legs may go wobbly and, your head may explode into a ball of candy floss ……….https://theworldaccordingtodave.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/195/

If you do know all about the history of a bunch of five Scots and four Yanks already, and you want to read on, then you are obviously as mad as a box of frogs……. Enter Episode 7 at your peril….. 😏

FT

We’d only been in ‘Edinbro’ two days. Exciting? It had been as exciting as discovering the secret recipe for Irn Bru, as exciting as a full Scottish breakfast and a cup of tea on a cold Sunday morning, as exciting as stopping in the mist, as a twelve antlered stag appeared twenty feet away. It was EXCITING!

So far, we’d been arrested, found @YoorWullie had been arrested too. We’d been released thanks to ‘people’ Gigi knew. YoorWullie had then been kidnapped by an old woman, wearing a tiara and a man with a big nose and BIG ears, then taken to Edinbro Castle, where Stoker of the Dean (@DeanStoker ) Gigi and I had rescued him.

As another Scottish summer morning’s grey light, filtered through my bedroom curtain, I listened to the gentle hum of the server network from Gigi’s room. I smelt coffee. My Dad’s dry rub of brown sugar, garlic powder and cayenne pepper rubbed oven baked bacon, oozed from the kitchen. Dry rubbed chicken, dry rubbed bacon. Dad’s culinary skills knew no equal in the whole of the kitchen he now occupied. But I still loved him.

Mum? Well, Mum, having seen the madness eschew, and, knowing the crazy things Dad, Gigi and I got up to, had now gone beyond checking birth certificates, and, was now demanding DNA and blood samples from us all, to enable paternity checks to be carried out. Even though she was stretching every sinew to prove we weren’t her kids, I still loved her.

As for Gigi, instead of running her Global Empire from Maryland, by the sounds coming from her room, she was firmly in control of the FTSE Index from our Edinbro department. I know anyone reading this must think, why couldn’t Mum and Dad see through the pretence, and realise that, despite being only 8yrs old, she wasn’t just playing the memory hungry version of Candy Crush Saga. She was indeed running a Global Comic Subscription scam from her room, hence the server network. However, when she put ‘Cute Face’ on, everyone just melted. It got all gooey and slushy with cuddles, love etc. After that, all questions about servers, cables, the bank of flat screen tv’s and the constant phone calls were forgotten. At the end of the day Mum and Dad loved Gigi.

I loved her too, especially when she told me she’d sent a camera drone down to Dumfries with an electronic device on it. She’d set it up so’s #EvilSkyDish would receive a burst of interference all the way through the live broadcast of the Manchester Derby. Dave would be so pleased. 😳 She was MY darling little sister and was learning fast.

The original plan had been to travel to Milngavie to meet @FewArePict for a bit of Gaelic shopping. I wasn’t sure whether this meant Gigi and I would have to cover our faces in wode and visit a tattoo parlour. However, the whole thing was kyboshed when it emerged Milngavie was closed for the day.

Instead, we’d arranged to meet FewArePicts alter ego Bendy Girl, and Mojito Man (the green rum avenger) near The Meadows, for a bite of lunch, or in Mojito Man’s case, possibly some biting of his fingers. We left Dad reading YourWullie’s new kindle book ‘Guddling Troot for Beginners’, and Mum on the phone to the DNA profiling centre apparently trying to ‘hurry them along’.

We decided to head up to Bruntisfield, as, apparently, there were a couple of nice cafés and hotels where Gigi might get pizzas and donuts. Debra (FewArePict) turned out to be even nicer than I’d expected. I knew not to mention the referendum result nor Gigi’s business links to Fracking in the Milngavie area. Mojito Man, however, had fallen over twice and seemed to still be a bit worse for wear from the night before.

Debra explained…..

‘I don’t remember meeting him. Apparently, he appeared on a night out, I was enticed by his greenness, got embroiled, and that was it, I’d lost 24 hours of my life. It’ll be a long time before I have another Mojito, but, someone’s got to look after him’ .

We were just passing a large bank when we heard shouting….

‘Stop….stop those men……..they’ve robbed the bank!’

We turned round to see three men with hoods running toward us. As they reached the gate where we were standing, Gigi looked at me. We had to do something. Just then Mojito Man fell over again, tripping one of the robbers. As he fell, Gigi gave the robber one of her best moves, a ’roundhouse to the temple’. He groaned and slumped to the floor.

‘did you see what that wee kid did?’ Shouted one of the other robbers.

‘Leave him, the clumsy oaf’ said the other robber.

By the time he turned to look back at us, Gigi and I had climbed on the low wall, and jumped, taking him out with a double drop kick. The last of the robbers was now fleeing speedily towards the Bruntisfield Hotel.

‘it’s ok let me deal with him’ said Debra.

At which point, she brought a rugby ball from her bag, stretched her arm back, and launched it like a quarterback into the air. The rugby ball spun in the air like a rocket. Gigi and I stared as the robber disappeared into the distance followed by Debra’s rubber missile.

‘Ouch’

Boomph……he was down. She’d done it. Our wheelchair rugby heroine had just gone and taken out a bank robber with a rugby ball from 300 yards! She’d get a game for the Miami Dolphins. 😀

Gigi turned to me….. ‘Right, can we get donuts now….?’

I laughed out loud.

‘Yes Gigi…. We can do donuts now’ ☺️

…….after picking Mojito Man up off the ground, and, as a crowd gathered around us applauding, Gigi, Mojito Man (with a bit of help), Bendy Girl and I headed off for donuts and Irn Bru………….

I WAS BEGINNING TO LOVE SCOTLAND SO MUCH 😀

Episode 7 of FT’s Tartan Diaries was brought to you by @qosfc1919 aka David Linden and Dodo Productions © 2015 Don’t forget to check out FT’s blog at thehistorytwins.wordpress.com