I am concerned for my many Jambo (Supporters of Heart of Midlothian FC) friends, who are facing the prospect of their old club being liquidated, if the administrator can’t sort out a mess that’s complicated by the fact that the unfeasibly large debt is held by two companies in Lithuania which are going down the tubes themselves. I’m concerned also for Scottish football, which can’t afford to lose another biggish club from the top flight. The administrator says he needs to sell 3,000 season tickets to raise working capital. I might even buy one, although I won’t be at many games, and although it will only be a short term fix. As usual there are allegedly willing buyers for the business out there, in addition to a supporters’ group, who’d be any thinking man’s first choice, but only if they could raise the case to fund not only a Creditors’ Voluntary Agreement . . . assuming the Lithuanians and HMRC would accept that . . . but also to keep the club afloat until it attains profitability once more, no easy task in the modern Scottish game.
That’s it, our Mia is now officially into her fourth year, and sadly, (but not for Frida who wore herself out organising it) there won’t be another party until next year. I had no idea what a piñata was until yesterday; this is one with our girl doing her best to burst it and release the sweets inside. Full marks to La Zoe, who saw that one little girl had missed out in the scramble that followed, and gave her one of hers.
First that appalling Portia person from the CPS, now BBC News, which this morning referred to ‘The teacher, Jeremy Forrest’, as if it was a badge of shame. Mr Forrest is no longer a teacher, he is a prisoner, a guest of the Mountbatten-Windsor Hotel Group. Mr Forrest will never be a teacher again. So please, folks, stop using his former profession as a description.
Digressing slightly, I heard this morning that police are investigating whether he coached his victim, encouraging her to back up his defence during her testimony. I don’t see much point, since the judge who sentenced him pretty much convicted him in advance of any proof in his sentencing remarks, thereby knocking firmly on the head any possibility of a fair trial. Another stupid lawyer.
‘The scariest moment is always just before you start.’
It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Our Mia is three today. It seems like only yesterday . . .
I have nothing but scorn for Mr Jeremy Forrest, who will go down, I trust, for a few years for conducting an illicit, and adulterous, relationship with a fifteen year old pupil, and for absconding with her to France. However I have nothing but contempt for Ms Portia Ragnauth, of the Crown Prosecution Service, a peculiar and often inept English body, which grows more fascist by the day.
Speaking at the conclusion of his trial, the idiotic woman cast a slur on the entire teaching profession, by hanging the sins of one man around its neck, as she seized her fifteen minutes of fame on the courthouse steps after Forrest’s conviction. I was brought up by teachers and in my life I’ve married two of them. I’ve also observed the legal profession during my working life, so I know damn well that for every Jeremy Forrest there is at least one bent lawyer, and probably many more. The teaching profession is manifestly honourable and just as manifestly under-rewarded. The man brought shame and disgrace on himself, and the school where the affair went on undetected has questions to answer, but he is a very rare exception and that should be acknowledged.
Oh Rose Marie . . .
RIP Big Tony.
I’m on record as saying that I believe Kenneth Roy to be Scotland’s finest campaigning journalist, but even my idols have feet of clay. I am not entirely sure why he chose to found his lead article in yesterday’s Scottish Review on his vision of the evils of the game of golf, but having done so, his sense of balance seems to have deserted him. When he wrote, ‘in golf, the racist jibe goes unpunished. In golf sexism is positively rewarded’, he let himself down, and he insulted millions of people around the globe who play the game, at all levels, without a racist or sexist bone in their body.
I accept that Sergio Garcia’s ‘fried chicken’ remark was atrocious, even though it was made in response to a light-hearted question by a comedian at European pro golf’s annual hair-down dinner, and was made in his second language, English, not his first, Spanish. Sergio seems to have accepted that himself, going by the speed and apparent sincerity of his public apology. If he has been unable to do so privately, that may not be his fault. Sure, the cynics will say that he was protecting his endorsement earnings, but the warmth of his welcome at the subsequent Wentworth tournament indicated that the golfing galleries have more generosity of spirit than any of the people who write about or comment on the sport.
Far from being racist, golf has become a multiracial sport, as a glance at the world rankings will demonstrate. I cannot recollect any racist slur being directed openly at Vijay Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh, Y. E. Yang, Guan Tianlang, Ryo Ishikawa, Simon Khan, K J Choi, Jason Day, or any other male golfer. As for the female game it is so dominated by the Koreans that the thought would never occur. Apart from Garcia’s unfortunate jibe, the only other high-profile accusation of racism that I can recall in recent years was levelled against Steve Williams, Tiger Woods’ former caddy, and that also involved the Tiger. Could it be that neither remark was in anyway racially motivated but instead flowed from the simple fact that neither Williams nor Garcia like the man? Whether that is the case or not, to condemn golf and by implication its devotees as ‘racist’ on the basis of two isolated incidents is quite ridiculous.
As for the tired old saw of the men only Honourable Company . . . I have lived less than half a mile from Muirfield for over forty years and I have never been aware of a queue of potential lady members stretching along Duncur Road. When the first rejected lady decides to picket the place, I may well join her in support, but I am not polishing my shooting stick in anticipation. Kenneth, its policy may be indefensible to you, but surely you can do better than vaguely raking through the bones of the George Pottinger affair, forty years in the past. And if you must, you should do the late Gianni Manca the courtesy of spelling his name correctly.
For the record, I am a member of Gullane Golf Club, Muirfield’s nearest neighbour, which is also men only. Gullane Ladies Golf Club is a separate associate body, with shared clubhouse facilities, and everyone is quite happy with that arrangement. Like it or loathe it, golf is a game most played by men against men and by women against women, therefore it is quite natural that its club structure should have evolved to mirror that.
The HCEG is an easy target at which to aim, but pretty much impossible to hit, for one very simple reason. Its members own the course. If a majority of their wives demanded that an associate club for ladies be set up, and their husbands knew what was good for them, that might be a possible way forward, but I have heard no whisper of support for that concept.
I am not a Muirfield member, and have never wished to join, but if my wife or my daughter did, I would probably lobby on their behalf. But why should they, when they can join Gullane Ladies instead, and be part of a well-structured, open institution where ladies and gentlemen have their own distinct entities, and which is far more typical of the sport than the place along the road?
My wife is not a great football lover, but she is a Geordie. It took only a few minutes of a radio interview with Newcastle United’s new ‘Director of Football’, Mr Joe Kinnear, in which he poured scorn on the club’s fans, to have her yelling at him to ‘go back to Tottenham’.
For those who would like to hear all fifteen minutes of Joe’s ‘suicide tape’, here’s a link.
Something momentous happens in L’Escala in mid-June; overnight it becomes very easy to find a space in the town’s car parks. Why? Because that’s the time of year when the parking meters go up and charges come into effect for the summer. It’s also the time when the locals start to leave their cars at home and walk to work, or to the beaches.
A Catalan and his money are not easily parted.
Back in Spain, courtesy of Lufthansa via Frankfurt, the first time I have ever set foot on German soil.
A very slick modern airport, but with the most expensive shops I’ve ever seen.
Right now, I should be back in Spain. I’m not. Instead I’ve spent the day on an expensive return trip to Newcastle Airport, where I sat for three hours, until Ryanair finally decided they were going to cancel my flight, something they could and probably should have done 24 hours earlier.
The blame for this fiasco hangs round the neck of French air traffic controllers. It is not easy to discern at these people thought they would achieve by inconveniencing air travellers across Europe, destroying the holidays of many families. I saw kids in tears this afternoon. Whatever their grievance is they’ll have no sympathy from me or any other of their victims. For my part, I hope the jackboot of authority comes slamming down on their necks, good and hard.
I am as solid a monarchist as there is, but I find myself asking how the hell Camilla, Duchess of Rothesay, is in any way an appropriate choice as Chancellor of Aberdeen University. Is it a stunt?
I’m sure she’s a perfectly nice lady, but she doesn’t exactly bring gravitas to the ancient office.
Looking forward to this evening’s engagement in Newton Mearns, in a bistro venue appropriately named ‘Primavera’.
You know how Ryanair insist that any duty free you buy at the airport must be put in your cabin bag, max weight 10kg?
Travelling through Girona last week I was interested to see signs all over the terminal advising that Spanish law entitles passengers to take a purchase bag on board in addition to their cabin baggage. I didn’t see anyone try it but i’m waiting for the day when it happens.
Busy guy last three days, and Sunday too. 5pm BST this evening, I’m on our community station, East Coast FM, with a mix of chat and music. You can listen on line or on 107fm in East Lothian.
We’ve lost another good man in East Lothian. So far, 2013 has been a hellish year.
Sir Garth Morrison, KT, was the county’s Lord Lieutenant, the UK’s former Chief Scout, a one-time submariner, a successful farmer, and a most generous supporter of our community. My heartfelt condolences to Gill and her family.