Golden Haggis Hunt!

It’s that time of year again, the hunt for the Golden Haggis!

Between Nov 30th and Jan 25th, St Andrews Day and Burns night, the Scotsman newspaper hosts the hunt for the golden haggis. Cameras are put up in beautiful places around Scotland, such as hills, glens, distilleries, and the public are encouraged to use them to watch for the Golden Haggis.

The rarest haggis aren’t golden – they are the halal, kosher and, most rare of all, the vegetarian haggis. But they are shy creatures, so far more difficult to find.

Today I was explaining this to someone who was unaware that haggis were real creatures – she thought they were the insides of sheep. Never mind. She didn’t know that haggis have three legs, one shorter than the other two so they remain upright when they run around hillsides or that they mate with a haggis with a leg shorter on the opposite side otherwise they keep running around the hill and never meet. Triangulation points, as every geographer knows, were only used for surveying after they were constructed for tired haggis to lean against at the top of mountains. And few people are aware that the haggis is the larval form of the bagpipes – that’s why you never see a baby bagpipes.


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Alternative recipe

Here’s Brexit explained as a cake. With eggs. And without eggs.

I liked it anyway:

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The local kids round here told us we won Hallowe’en. (“Best house ever!”)

Every other house they went to had chocolate and pumpkin decorations.

We came to the door with chocolate and a pumpkin-coloured 5ft long real live snake that they could fuss if they were very, very quiet and well-behaved. Snake wasn’t remotely spooked and spent the time between calls guarding the radiator or sitting on me.

Accompanying parents were also suitably impressed, although they became a tad worried when realising, “Oh… that’s going on the Christmas list…”

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Hidden locations

Just watched the BBC series ‘Killing Eve’.

Anyone else spot that it was filmed in Grade II listed Reading Gaol?

It didn’t appear to be credited, but the household recognised it after visiting when it became an arts venue. Two of our favourite pieces were holes in the wall and floor with a countryside stream beyond it, complete with rocks, plantlife and copious water.

I wonder what the most famous resident would think.


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Trying something new

When was the last time you did something new?

Entirely new? That you’d not done before.

This week I painted a room for the first time.

This may be a surprise given my age, but not given the wider world. In the UK DIY stores are going bust as more and more people can’t afford to buy a home. Instead they rent, which means they are not allowed to so much as hang a picture on a wall without losing their deposit. There are complaints in newspapers that “the younger generation” have no home maintenance skills. But now having bought a home I can decorate it and learn new skills that I ‘should’ have learned years ago.

In other news, when the rats come back this year, they’ll have a surprise: there are fresh snakeskins sat in the loft, smelling of healthy, lively, recent snake…

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It’s also interesting watching ‘old’ films after the event. Parts of it will be of its time, parts will be universal and it’s not possible to foresee which will be which.

Yesterday the household watched ‘The devil’s advocate’, released in 1997:

The World Trade Centre is pride of place, acting as mis-en-scene – the viewer is focusing on the smaller skyscraper in front of it, but it forms two wings around it, all-encompassing, overshadowing and enveloping it. Buildings around it complement it by getting larger and larger, with building works ongoing.

Al Pacino refers to developing an interlinked network between minds everywhere on the planet – he’s describing an internet, a world wide web, just before it happened, and now with mobile phones and a generation who have no ‘privacy’ setting, the full content of every mind can be read by every other, just as he describes.

The shiny penthouse apartment shown as belonging to the ambitious developer was so gold that I said, “That’s Trump tower” despite not having seen it. Looked it up – it was.

Sadly, there was a representation of mental health ‘treatment’ which at best could be described as outdated. Apparently, patients are admitted chained to stretchers, then it goes downhill from there. Not sure where to begin on that one!

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Cold work

There are still complaints that my hair smells of sulphur. Good!

Just as the weather turned colder, I’ve started a new role. As there is no rest for the wicked, and all that, I went straight from one to another without a break, the result of which is that although continuously shattered, I’m finally sleeping properly at night.

The house is an anomaly, but we knew that. Houses of this design are usually built without cavity walls. This one has them, so next week a nice man is going to come and fill them with insulation. We’re in the process of insulating the loft. While it may not keep the rats out, it’ll at least constrict them to channels, which they will discover also contain snakeskins and the smell of healthy, lively snakes.

(The snakes are fine – it’s the dry skins they shed as they grow).

We’ve also had a nice man come to make the permanently open window close, the closed window open, and fit new hinges and handles to the backdoor so that it can both open and close without jamming or dropping off.

We couldn’t do any renovations while the rats were in and now have started with ones that should pay for themselves. The hope is that this will reduce the heating bills, given that the boiler is a mystery that not even gas fitters can work (they’ve tried), which switches itself on at full heat at whim any time it feels unappreciated. We still miss some things about the flat, what with it being grade II listed, high ceilings, real fires, original features and all, but being warm and dry now can’t be over-rated.


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