Canons’ Gait

Canons' Gait pub in Edinburgh's Canongate.-?
Canons’ Gait pub in Edinburgh’s Canongate.-?

Phil O So Far he say: Never be cringingly ashamed of your humble background nor chest swellingly proud of your privileged one.        What’s it got to do with you?

This week we are checking out the Canons’ Gait in the Royal Mile. Formerly the Blue Blanket.  Unprepossessing from the outside it has a good reputation for tasty pub food and a wide range of mostly Scottish, craft beers. The night I was there they ran out of food and had to turn folks away. The couple behind me made a point of telling the staff how much they had enjoyed their meal. My pint of Azure ( new one to me ) was good. Part of a group owned by D M Stewart which includes the Abbotsford, Guildford and Cumberland. On a second visit I had a pint of one of the four cask ales on offer and no prizes for guessing the colour of my tasty pea, mint and courgette soup.

Gogism for today.  Well where do I start mate? You’ve no idea how this irritates me pal, yes sir it really gets to me buddy, so much so that I am no longer a cool dude.

If I tell someone that you are my best mate then you are my closest friend. If you say “see you later mate” then you are probably hoping that you won’t and that if you do it will be of very little consequence. In one of the shops I go into almost daily ( hands up, it’s a wine store!) one of the guys has taken to calling me mate when I go in, so like Richard Thompson I think I’m going to be taking my business elsewhere.

It seems only fair since I asked you to come up with the three things which most irritate you that I tell you mine. I’m really just working out now that I didn’t mean global issues like climate change, food security ( I must come back to that!) etc. but rather people things ( eg folks picking their nose in public? )

I assume your time is precious so here’s only one of mine.

It is how we use our mobile phones iPads etc and how that usage affects others. If you have been with me since Genesis then you may remember that I recently spent a holiday in Sri Lanka. One of the days we took in a cultural show of traditional music and dancing. Sitting directly in front of us were two Oriental young men, one with a smartphone the other with an iPad. They filmed the whole performance, therefore totally missing out on the immediacy of the event. Doh.

You are in the pub and you get the drinks in for your date ( you fill in the genders ) There you are on your first night out, presumably trying to get to know each other, but what you get to know is that your date is on Faceoff and wants to show you a clip of a parrot escaping from it’s cage, landing on it’s owner’s head and flying off with his toupeé. Your place or mine?

New Year’s day 2016 and we are off for a walk into Holyrood Park. It is a gorgeous morning and it being the time of year it is the city is full of tourists. Firework display at the castle last night safely recorded by all for posterity, and to remind them what a great time they might have had if they had actually experienced it.

You could go into Holyrood Park every day for a year and never have to take the same route twice. It is a fantastic resource in the city.  Many other people are of the same mind and as we are coming off the hill this new year’s morning, we come across two girls side by side, filling up the whole path and thumbing their phones. Ok so it’s a new year therefore new resolution, and mine is that I am no longer going to change direction or get off the pavement to accommodate you as you give your thumbs RSI.

EXCUSE ME!      The girls look up, and briefly slip back into reality for a second. –  before diving back into another dimension as we pass.

Ok time to leave that particular gripe behind but last thought on mobile phones. If they really are safe why do some authorities say don’t keep them close to your testicles, boys?

In the U K:  This week a former prime minister resigns from the Tory cabinet following a budget which, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, left the top 50% no worse off but the bottom 20% to lose 12% of their income by 2019. Distributional analysis; how much different “classes ” paid in tax, used to be published after each budget but this Chancellor thinks it must no longer be published because people will think the deficit reduction is a bad idea!!  Weird logic.

Someone once said that if you tell people something often enough they will eventually believe it.This week on perpetual repeat,

“One nation conservatism”

A total lie.

Now dear reader have you been overlooked all your life?  Have you not had the recognition that you undoubtedly deserve? Well help is on hand. Awards Intelligence. They will help you get into the New Year Honours List. Check them out, but don’t expect this peasant to tug his forelock when you come by.

Lastly, do you care about your health?  You do, well how much do you know about what you wilfully put into your body? If you want access to an absolute goldmine of information based on the very latest from the cutting edge of research then check out this website. There is a free option ( funded by adverts ) and a subscription option which is especially great for people like me with a scientific background. In my opinion it’s the best site out there and it could change your life. Or save it.

In the world: A guy in a fake suicide bomber vest hijacks a plane. Prior to boarding he had been frisked at “security” Fill you with confidence?

Trump’s circus goes three rings and throws up prospect of, if you’ll excuse the somewhat contorted clown reference, all of our futures being Grimaldi. Now there was a tragic figure.


The World’s End

imageToday we are in what is probably Edinburgh’s most notorious pub. The World’s End on the Royal Mile.

You need to do a little thinking as well as just reading on this one. Here is a crossword clue I remember from way back.

WORL  5, 7, 3  Answer at blog end.

The bar area is cosy with atmosphere in spades. Low ceiling – must have been grim before the smoking in public ban.  Majority of customers are tourists with a small core of a couple of dozen locals. It has become a tradition for visitors to write their name / city on some folding money from their home country and pin it up above the bar for posterity. Nice touch. How’s your geography? Ethiopia and Doha anyone.

I’m trying a pint of Cask Marque in the bar. New one on me but good. How it works ( I think? ) is that Belhaven Brewery make a batch of beer which they distribute to their wholly owned pubs and each pub sell it as if it were a special for that particular pub? Not sure if that is totally up front?

Pleasant helpful staff and the adjacent food area doing a lively business.  Good choice of beers for tourists with the most Scottish of lagers and most Irish of stouts on draught. The pub changed hands when Greene-King ( UKs leading pub retail company) took over Belhaven Brewery and it’s associated pubs. In the week of  putting this blog together they have taken over several other well known Edinburgh hostelries. Day of the Clone.

When I left you last you were to think of the three things that got on your goat the most. Did you do that?  You didn’t!  – I’m hurt.  If you did, then the next question is?  What are you going to do about them?    Sit on your backside?   Is it a good philosophy to simply just accept what the world throws at you?

What’s in the news this week?  – apart from the Donald Trumpet. Well Maria Sharapova has admitted to failing a drugs test. Make up your own minds on that one. In the bigger picture she has been cheating throughout her career by screeching when she hits the ball. Some sports psychologists say that this is a natural reaction. Guff. I was a reasonable player and a pro tennis coach for half of my working life and it was the classic tipping point situation, like tattoos today, where enough people were doing it that other sheep soon followed. Tennis balls weigh about 55/60 g.  If you are tackled by a 20 stone American football player or a rugby opponent you would be hit by 127005.864 grams. Now that may force you into a grunt or screech.

Do competitors in other hitting sports like badminton, squash and hockey shriek ?  I certainly never did so when attempting to convert a rugby try and a dry rugby ball  weighs about 7 times more than a tennis ball. A few years ago I watched a doubles at Wimbeldon with the Williams sisters and they started out with no grunts but soon the four of them were at it.  –   On drop shots girls??

The WTA never had the cajones, literally obviously, but metaphorically certainly, not to stamp it out in it’s infancy. However the men are no paragons of virtue either.

Connors and Seles have a lot to answer for on that score!

The notoriety of the World’s End stems from the murder of two girls in October 1977. They were last seen alive leaving the pub.

No one was brought to trial ’til 2007 and the accused was acquitted as having no case to answer due to insufficient evidence. This unleashed a hornets nest in legal circles and a wide ranging review of the legal system which resulted in The Double Jeopardy (Scotland ) Act in 2011. Most countries give weight to the principle of double jeopardy. Some have it in their constitutions others by statute. The amendment made to the situation in Scotland allowed for retrial if new evidence was forthcoming and in 2014 the same man was convicted with help from improvements in DNA profiling.

The first half of my working life I worked in molecular biology, and research into DNA and other chemicals with extremely long names was a big deal at that time. The second half in sport (pun unexpected therefore unintended!) It seems strange how those two elements have come together in this one blog.

What I found particularly poignant about the murders was that the girls were on a pub crawl and legally in Scotland you need to be 18 to drink. Both were seventeen.

Crossword Clue:  If you haven’t worked it out, you are going to kick yourself. Given the title of the venue for today’s blog  – I mean how much help do you need?

WORL   5, 7, 3

World Without End





Tolbooth Tavern

Here we are in the Tolbooth Tavern, Royal Mile, Edinburgh,  a pint of Three Hop at hand. Before leaving home I just put a fresh battery in my hearing aid and have forgotten to put my contacts in. Should have been the other way around!  It’s really loud in here and I’m bumping into things.

I was in a local bar, The Southsider, on Tuesday lunchtime and the music was painfully loud there too. Must be my age?

Oh my god can we not get away from the US presidential nomination contest? Have to put up with that and then the  big one ’til November.

This is my second visit recently to the Tolbooth and again a bit of cussin’ wafting around.  I can swear with the best of them but more and more recently I think of a quote from a namesake of mine. “Profanity is the last refuge of an ignorant prick” Lenny Bruce. This may not be an exact take on the quote but please don’t bother to rattle my cage if you know better.-?! It’s a great line on so many levels not just at face value. Especially from a man who was charged and found guilty of ” obscenity”. I think he probably borrowed it from someone and just changed the last word”man” for “prick” Brilliant.

Lenny’s surname was Schneider but folks in my clan think he made a good choice when he changed it to Bruce. Did you know that Lenny features on the LP sleeve of Sergeant Pepper?

My week: You may have heard of happy slappy which is a “jape” that kids do. I have been in the habit of walking through Dumbiedykes on a Friday evening, a scheme with a tough reputation, to meet up with my spouse for a relaxant after her gym session. I have done this weekly for a couple of years and have had no problem with the locals. Last week whilst minding my own business in what is a very middle class area of the city I was “slapped” but it definitely was not Happy! Search the internet if this is all unfamiliar to you.

Ok, in “What’s This Then” when I was setting up this blog I did say that it would contain gogisms.  Well here goes with the first.

Gog = Grumpy Old Git

The demise of the newspaper proof reader.

Nowadays we have spellcheck- hurrah!- so no more will we have spelling and other grammar mistakes!  Wrong!

” The Scotsman”  which claims to be my national newspaper, presumably now with no proof readers, is riddled with cringe- worthy mistakes every day. Whoever is ultimately responsible for the finished (ha! ) article should be castrigated! Unfortunately this has spread and Scotland on Sunday this week – end has a caption on the front of it’s magazine which states “Iggy Pop is a back with a new partner in crime” He may have been taken aback by that, if he was bothered to read the article, which I very much doubt.

And if you like to read some balanced comment, skip the Scotsman letters to the editor page. Here you will find bitter old guys who think that folks who have the temerity to espouse principles that are radically different from their own are zealots, or apologists. And if they have Rev. Dr. Sir, Rear Admiral etc. after or before their name or are members of an Alliance or Society  (with the implication that this somehow should impart some extra weight or authority to their views ) and we are taken in by that, then more fool us dear reader.

And the second:   Was out having my constitutional a few months ago and a guy and his son were out walking their dog. The dog craps and the guy picks it up in a plastic bag , which all public spirited canine lovers carry around for just such an eventuality. Well done son I say to myself, when he then bends down again and puts the bag against the garden wall and walks off. “Excuse me” says I, ( as bold as brass) and I commend him on his first reaction to his dog decorating the pavement but enquire to the reason why he is not going to deposit the deposit in an appropriate receptacle. Apparently he’s going to pick it up on the return part of the walk!   That’ll be right.

Yesterday, having lived in Edinburgh most of my life I discovered the walk on the Braid Hills. Ladies and Gentlemen this is a FANTASTIC walk. If you are fortunate enough to visit my lovely city you MUST check that out on a nice day. You can see for miles and miles and miles and miles, oh yeah!       360 degrees vista.

The area does attract dog-walkers  ( if you are not familiar with that term it’s the canine equivalent of our nursery schools where we pay other folks to look after our beasts ) And what did I see? You guessed it. For the third time that day, poo bags just lying in the open. What the ( sweary word) is wrong with these people?

Enough about me. We all have things that annoy us, so your job before we meet again is to identify the three that most get on your goat – or other part of your anatomy.  Ok?  I’ll be checking next time.

Til the next swill.