The Pear Tree

You join me in The Pear Tree which opened as a pub in 1982. Customers are mostly fu’ng stu’ens and it gets its name from the ( about ) 100 year old jargonelle  (wtf?  Ed ) pear tree on the western frontage.

Jargonelle Pear on wall
Pear Tree Exterior

It looks like it is on fire but this is only a reflection from the giant screen in the courtyard.

Jargonelle: Could be a French women who speaks in gibberish? But it means an early flowering variety.

I start with a pint of Barney’s Volcano IPA at 5%. Barney’s brewery is a couple of hundred yards South in what was the Royal Dick Veterinary College, which I must admit I always thought was a bit of a cock up of a name your majesty.

Hares.    Now I know you are probably singing ” a partridge in a pear tree  and checking out four calling birds three French etc–and going ok Tam I don’t recall Hares.

Just a happy writer’s coincidence for development. ( he means writer’s happy –Ed) – Although both could apply if I have another pint!

About 25, 000 were culled across 90 Scottish estates from 2006-2007 according to a Scottish Natural Heritage survey. Research suggests that numbers have declined by 43% since 1995 and The Wildlife and Natural Environment Act of 2012 introduced a closed season to protect hares at vulnerable times of the year. The Scottish Gamekeepers Association however, want to be able to kill hares throughout the year to “enable newly planted trees to get established”  Well I am all in favour of more trees especially if there is a diverse mix. Can we not plant them with a protective sleeve? I’ve seen that done in many places. A conifer condom?

The head of national operations for SNH : “We are asking estates for restraint on large scale culls of mountain hares”

How fucking naive is that?  Yet another genuflection to money and power. What a combination they are!

The gin queen and I spent last weekend at friends near Hawick. When we arrived a fox hunt was just finishing. It is now illegal to allow the hounds to tear the fox to bits once it goes to ground. The beasts have now to be shot. If it is necessary to control fox numbers why don’t we just shoot them?  Is it really necessary to chase and terrify the shit out of them?  Unnecessary cruelty physical or mental to man or beast just makes me so sad and angry. We really should be above that. But of course we’re no’

Never mind eh, good news for beavers in Scotland. Just in time too because they are European beavers. Well maybe not as in the Scotsrag today one guy says that we will have to cull them soon enough. No problem SNH will surely help.

Still on gun fun:

Gun violence and terrorism- the US spends more than a trillion  ( how much is that? Ed ) dollars defending itself against terrorism which kills a tiny fraction of people compared to those killed by ordinary ( not my choice of adjective! ) gun crime. US government sources state that on average 11,385 died in firearm incidents in US between 2001-2011. This c.w. annual average of 31 for terrorism. Now the pacifist in me has to hold his hands up and say that that is when you take out the numbers from 9/11 which, if like me you couldn’t say for sure what year it was that the towers came down, it was 2001. And before Charlton Heston’s ghost comes gunning for me, no amount of rifles and / or handguns would have stopped that atrocity.

Out of bullets, but lastly, comparing countries which might consider themselves fairly civilised. Percentage of murders involving firearms:

UK 10%

Australia 18.2%

Canada 31%

USA    60%

Trillions etc:  Check out the numbers. When the baby boomers were growing up a billion was a million million. Not any more!  In the UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson accepted how US usage was dominating and that was the start of bi and tri being corrupted so that most of us now know that, whether short or long scale, a billion is quite a lot and trillion is also quite a lot but more so.

A musician friend alerts me to a Tom Russell song which has a certain relevance at the moment. Although it was in fact written before that event. It’s called  “Who’s gonna build your wall?

I tried to copy just the link but the above came out!

Gog: Why is it that American audiences have to fucking hoop and holler?

And a pint of Sharp’s Red IPA at 4.9% completes my visit. No food available, the manager’s voice box does not have an off switch and the music here is not for vegetarians either because it is absolute mince.  Shortly they are going to knock the wall through to the adjacent Blind Poet, which I have featured, ( one of the reasons it’s so easy to have a pub crawl in Edinburgh! ) If I can be mean in whatever use of the word then both are average.


Pear Tree Courtyard

Phil O’ Sofar awakes from his slumber and leaves you with this:

Are you a beer glass half full or half empty sort of person?

Who cares, as long as it’s not empty.


Earl of Marchmont

You join me in one of our most local of locals in Marchmont.

Formerly The Totem it has been leased by the present landlord from PubTaverns for about five years.

Scotland’s dog friendliest pub 2016
I am sampling Jack Back at 3.7% from Stewart’s.

Today arrives a letter from DWP telling us we’ll be getting a winter fuel payment of £100 for a recent cold weather qualifying week. This jumps out as a job for PPP.

We are in the fortunate position to be able to heat our home as and when necessary. You can qualify for this payment if you were born before 1953. It is not means tested. So -Why? – when we have more people than ever having to turn to food banks.  And let’s see what Chancellor X Checker does with Universal Credit this week.  No Proportionality there!

The gin queen has proposed adding it to our Age Concern contribution this Christmas.

How do you feel about the necessity in our society for all the charities?  Today downtown in the pissing rain we walked past lots of poor souls but the one I saw on Rose Street at the back entrance to what was British Home Stores, whose business and pension fund were raided by corporate leeches, struck a particular chord with me. But an extremely dissonant one.

This week sampling Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewery, San Francisco.  Advertised as first brewed on April 18th ’75. What happened on that date I wonder?

More history. Stopped into Tiles for a light lunch this week.  And noticed an inscription carved into the window:  ” Nunca est bibendum ” The way things are going that may catch on!

If I’ve got my Latin correct this means ” now is the time for drinking”  This is taken from an ode by Horace written about 30 BC to celebrate Roman victory over Cleopatra. Always thought Horace was an unusual name for a Roman. ( unusual for anyone Ed.-  and he had to check the meaning of bibendum.) Clype!!

The President elect has offered an oil man climate change denier the job of running the environment agency. The NRA  are pushing hard to get all states to allow citizens to carry guns. But don’t worry they will have to be concealed on your person, so that’s all right then.

We’ve decided never to visit America!

On the way to my club tonight and I am reminded of something that really gets on my tits, so I thought I would get it off my chest!

You are in your car on the way home and it’s winter, so it’s dark, right?    You are at the traffic lights and contrary to everything that you need to pass your test, instead of having your hand- brake on, you are standing on your brakes and blinding the poor bastard that is directly behind you.

What is great about this situation is that by standing on your brakes you are not aware that this is physically more stressful than putting the handbrake on, but that not only are you glaring at the poor sod behind you, you are mentally cracking them up.

Which brings us to PPP values: You were going to help me with developing our manifesto and an awareness test. Why do we need one again? Well if you had any awareness you would know!

I’ve designed the electrodes so now we need to work on the questions.

Q1. Do you agree that the world in general but our country in particular is a beacon of equal opportunity and fairness?

A. Yes

Q2. Where the fuck have you been hiding?

Earl of Marchmont

Ok, hands up. I know, I know. The picture above is crap but I haven’t had time to get a better one. We have been in the Borders, up ’til now the only Scottish region not producing gin. My source tells me that that is about to change very soon with former rugby internationalist Finlay Calder involved. He could change his name to Ginlay?

As I sign off am sampling Brewgooder Cleanwater Lager. 100% of the profits go to water projects in places such as Malawi.




Former vet college
In the world:  March 22. Brussels Airport and Metro carnage.

The Barbarians have struck again. Lives of at least 10 different nationalities cut short. For what?

32 DEAD!       What sort of God in whose name was this done?

I couldn’t write about it closer to the time. It would have come out as a total rant.

I am only realising that most, if not all of the world conflicts that my baby boomer generation have grown up with, have happened because of people wanting to assert a) their national identity ( usually to the detriment of another)  b) their political ideology  and/or c)  their religious belief on others by force, the last of which is most prominent in this day and age and has come to be called terrorism and not only so in liberal democracies.  A toxic mix.  It’s sort of like the Crusades in reverse. ( that would be sedasurC. Ed. )    Pope Urban 2 has a lot to answer for.

Forgive me if you thought that that idea was a given, but I’m just discovering that until you mull over what you believe to be facts, plough through your prejudices then try to concisely get them down on paper then any conclusions that you may come to will not stand the time of test!

Anyway I have decided that on my own I can do little to change the world for the better ( my type of better ) and if Mr Robert Allen Zimmerman couldn’t change the world with Blowin’ in the Wind then what hope for My Back Pages.       –     ( Ah, but see below! )

What are some of the major changes that are happening due to the advent of the World Wide Web?  Now there’s a topic for a thesis!   Here’s a couple for starters.

First:    The gradual demise of the newspaper. A dying breed for sure. What has brought this about?  Diminishing revenue from advertising and circulation. Availability of latest breaking news 24/7 on TVs, tablets, etc. The Independent is only now available online and a while back the Guardian took the King’s shilling from Shell – sad day that. This weekend my preferred Sunday read was wrapped front and back with car advert promotions. Drive you to distraction.

I would have thought that if you make your living from journalism then love and respect for language wouldn’t be too much to expect, but that does not seem to apply to Scotland’s so called national paper which is riddled with errors daily.

On first day of this fourth month, but no deliberate April fool intended, a picture in the back of the paper with the caption “Twins Alex and Ben Toolis ( both 24 ).

There’s more. Yesterday to accompany a picture of Reagan and Carter before 1980 election we get “Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan debate each other. No they effin don’t! Then they tell us ” from separate podiums” I can ( expletive deleted) see that with my own eyes thank you very much.

Don’t you just love the English language? With my own eyes is a great expression. You don’t say I heard it with my own ears ( ok maybe you would if you like playing with words)  I can see things through your eyes, not literally obviously but metaphorically, and if we all were better at doing that then maybe we could foster a more tolerant society.

Couple of thoughts on the back of the hatred and intolerance that is forever in our faces thes days.

Asad Shah, by all accounts a gentle and well liked Glasgow Muslim shopkeeper was killed for “disrespecting Mohammed” by another Muslim who tells us through his lawyer that he loves and respects Jesus Christ. When you were growing up you may remember the admonition Thou shalt not kill?   Where do you start to try and make any sense of it all?

I read an article in Acoustic Guitar featuring Lucinda Williams. Her poet dad Miller ( he read “Of History and Hope” at Clinton’s second inauguration) was quoted as saying

” have compassion for everyone you meet even if they don’t want it” It’s a good line but I must admit there are times when I can’t pull that off.

The parents of a 20 y.o. Belgian student murdered in the Brussels attacks have given permission for his organs to be used for transplants. That is humbling and uplifting.

Second: ( back to www changes, sorry for diversion!). It is the rise of the campaigning websites. There is no doubt that the peasants are revolting and here in the UK the one that I often support is very effective.  By chance I have recently come across a far bigger world wide site called Avaaz. I recently signed a petition on it to say how much I support Donald Trumpet’s inclusive, compassionate political philosophy.

Happy Days!      Mosack Fonseca.  11 million documents leaked. The raptors are already in for the kill and the vultures will be picking over this carcass for a long long time. Can you just imagine the sweating, squirming funk that that release has released?   Makes me feel “Glad All Over” Dave.

Oh how I question myself when the enticing stink of schadenfreude wafts up my nostrils!

Serendipitously there seems to be two Dave C’s in the tail of this tale! You may need to be about my age to get the Glad All Over reference!

You will be aware of what is happening in Iceland because of the Panama Papers.  The Prime Minister has “stepped aside for a period of time ” so looks like an election will be called. The Pirate Party has 3 MPs and currently around 37% support. Should be interesting to see what results.

I admired the Icelanders attempt to hold the bankers involved in the 2008 crash to account. Though don’t think anyone has been successfully prosecuted as yet!    Lawyers.

What I found wonderful about the story so far is that the Pirate Party are pushing for more transparency and they are up in arms (!) about offshore deals. One of their MPs is quoted as saying that it is a liquid situation. Pirates, Offshore and Liquid? – fathom that confluence of association!

I think a lot of people may have to walk the plank before this settles down.

And finally the pub!  Summerhall is in the former world renowned Royal Dick Veterinary College. The building is now an important Fringe venue and houses performance spaces, cafe and shop. More importantly from a bevvier’s perspective it has a distillery on site. There’s not many pubs where you get your gin ( look out for lemongrass, blood orange or grapefruit garnish!) poured out of a miniature copper still right in front of your

own eyes

They also have a brewery and they produce several styles of Barney’s Beer.

The kitchen is only recently reopened so haven’t sampled what seems an interesting menu with some unusual combinations.

The best bit about the place though is the clientele. Every time we go we see some strange / interesting looking folk. Sample a Pickerings gin and/or  a Barney’s Beer and do a bit of people watching. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


Holyrood 9A

Holyrood9A Exterior

Above the typical red sandstone building which houses the pub.

I settle in with a pint of Ferry Crossing IPA at 4.4% On doing some research I find this brewery opened only this year and is run by a husband and wife team operating out of the Rosebery Estate near South Queensferry.

This pub is sister to the Southern which has been previously featured. It contains a similar impressive range of beers, lagers and ciders. Also a few that the gin queen has yet to try.

Well, I thought that I would try to start this blog in a lighter frame of mind.

Oh fuck, that’s just gone oot the windae!

He’s got Scottish blood.

What word can you come up with ( four letter sweary words not allowed ) that describes him best?

Without in any way belittling the loss of life, a German contact reminds us that we have two of our modern day disasters on 9/11 and 11/9.

This morning I have played my guitar and tried not think about it.

But — into my nearest wine shop this afternoon and what is the first topic of conversation——— ?  ?

” Walls” come up, and I suggest that someone should start a cloud fund where everyone can contribute a brick so that we can build a wall in the UK ( or what is left of it ) to keep all Americans out – unless you are of  Mexican fruit picker descent.  If you are, here in Scotland we could probably soon do with your help in the berry season –?

Mr Zimmerman is to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature and is being slagged for not responding appropriately!   Lost for words?    That would be a first.

No good will come out of it some people say. But people who play around with words would say that such people are wrong and that Nobel could be Le Bon backwards.

I am currently reading “The Scottish Nation A Modern History”

Also “A Book of Scotland ” from which I’d like to quote a few lines. These are taken from the Foreward of a reprint of 1969 and are by an English historian addressing an Edinburgh audience in 1865 on the Scottish character.

“Institutions exist for men, not men for institutions; and the ultimate test of any system of politics, or body of opinion, or form of belief, is the effect produced in the conduct and conditions of the people who live and die under them”.

And again, “So far  as one can look into that commonplace round of things which historians never tell us about, there have rarely been seen in this world a set of people who have thought more about right and wrong, and the judgment about them of the upper powers. Long-headed (?) thrifty industry; a sound hatred of waste, imprudence, idleness, extravagance; the feet planted firmly on the earth; a conscientious sense that the worldly virtues are, nevertheless, very necessary virtues; that without those, honesty for one thing is not possible and that without honesty no other excellence, religious or moral is worth anything at all– this is the stuff of which Scottish life is made, and very good stuff it is”        My italics.

After this quote the editor comments, This was a sound appraisement then. Dare we hope it still has the same validity?

Honesty was on very short rations during recent Brexit and US presidential ( not presidential in the good meaning of the word, Ed ) campaigns.  It seems the higher and more wondrous things we accomplish in e.g. science and medicine, the lower we can debase ourselves in our treatment and manipulation of our fellow man.

From The Scottish Nation I’ve learnt about the large amounts of immigrants who came to Scotland from Ireland in the early to mid 1800s, some of them economic and some of them because of the Great Famine. We didn’t stop them then and they brought their Protestant Catholic rivalries with them, which unbelievably, and particularly but certainly not exclusively so to the West of Scotland, still fester like a boil that could well do with it’s pus being lanced.

As terrible as ” the troubles” were, they are nothing compared to the intra religious conflicts currently raging elsewhere in the world.

Colonsay Brewery IPA 3.9% as a night cap this week. They claim to be the smallest island in the world to have a brewery.

It was Armistice Day this week and as usual the BBC featured the commemorations held in London. Countries all over the world are marking the end of World War 1 and in Horse Guards parade we have Prince Harry reading from Rupert Brooke’s ” The Soldier” which contains the lines ” If I should die, think only this of me, that there is some corner of a foreign field, which is forever England.

Dismissive. Self centred. Ignorant. Arrogant. You could go on and on–    And you can probably tell that I am trying to keep these moderate.

You have absolutely no fucking idea how fucking incandescent that makes me feel. Never mind the dead from the other UK and Commonwealth nations.

Do I like English people?  No I don’t.

Well I bet that’s got your attention!

That would be like saying do I like Scottish people?  Would a better philosophy not be to like people if they are nice human beings?

Give me a decent ( language again!– in the good sense of the word)  { why did he not say good in the first instance and save us all these parentheses. Ed} English person any day rather than a dickhead Scottish one.

Learnt “dickhead” during a lesson with a 14 y.o old girl pupil from a private school. You pays your money and you gets your classy expletives!

Whilst writing some of this I have watched Australia narrowly beat Scotland -again- at rugby,  and on their shirts they have commemorative poppies.



In the constitution for the People’s Proportionality Party all members will have to sit an awareness test? How do your values and choices affect others? Setting out the parameters for this will be really tricky and I will need your help but that is for another day.

I was in the South West of England with a team a few years ago and I overheard another coach asking a man what his relationship was with the kids in his team. And he said he was “loco in parenthesis”

This week the intolerable frog faced wanker quotes: “that Obama creature, loathsome individual—”  and “Trump’s Scottish connections are good news for the UK”

Oh Rabbie! How low have we sunk?

Demagogue is one of the words that best describes the US president elect. If you are unsure of it’s definition, like I was, then Wikipedia has a really good one and it could have been invented for DT. If they clone him we could all end up with the shakes.

Holyrood9A      Gantry

Some of the 25 fonts and wide selection of gins and other spirits.

A fine beer may be judged with just one sip.

But it is better to be thoroughly sure.


Number One

What do you get angry about?

“If you are not angry, what sort of person are you?”

That’s a quote from film maker Ken Loach and it struck a C major with me.

There are so many things wrong in this mucked up world that you would struggle to narrow down to 5 those that most upset you.    Don’t believe me?   Try it.

Mine are all inextricably linked to Homo sapiens sapiens.

No Surprise there.

Science tells us that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old and that the current version of us has only been around about 200,000 years?    Or you may prefer the idea that it all started in the Garden of Eden about 6,000 years ago. (?)  Hope not. If that were true it would be an even worse reflection of how quickly we have fucked up.

Everyone’s agenda would be different but I suppose what I’m trying to say is don’t just sit there whingeing,  do something about the things that get on your wick!

Beers and counting: 5 new so far.

This week La Blonde from Mont Blanc Brasserie is probably from the highest altitude I have tasted. Almost as high as the cost at £9.50.   It was a 750ml bottle  – but even for a French beer a bit on the Cher side Sonny. ( though you would probably have to add an e to cher as bière is feminine.  pEdant.)

You may know a Brasserie as a relaxed eating place but I didn’t know that it was also French for brewery. Learn something new everyday.

Also Duke IPA at night in our most local of locals which is under new management and was due a revisit having gone down the tubes recently.  From Swannay brewery in Orkney at 5.2% my choice has loads of taste and is in very good condition.   I am won back to our closest pub, Number 1, as that is what it is imaginatively (?) called.

Number 1 Pub


I am in the habit of picking up different beers from my local wine shop and on getting home discover a bottle of Orkney IPA in the cooler ( ooh! How New World,  Ed.)    Coincidence.   That one waits for another day and I sample a beer from yet another new brewery who call themselves Fierce, fae Eberdeen. Opened 1st April, 2016.   I try a pale ale called Dayshift and the bottle has a picture of a man in a suit but the guy’s head is replaced by that of a vulture. What the fuck is that all about by the way?

I have been collecting phrases /quotes related to beer in general and it’s promotion in particular, but that is for a future Alzheimer’s delayer. Though thinking about it it may be better just to drop a quote in here and there?

Sentences like that can get on your its.

You may know that I find it very difficult to read Scotland’s National Ragpaper but I do still occasionally scan the sports section. Today a report on a recent match between West Ham and Chelsea where a Chelsea fan by the you couldn’t make it up name of Cutting is pictured with blood running down his bald skull. The Rag informs us that “— Steve Cutting received a head injury to his head–”

Also added to beer list is Bearface Lager 4.4% from Drygate Brewery, Glasgow. Artwork features a Zeus like face with a beard that goes into the sky and branches in two with a bear’s head at each end. Amazing what students from the Glasgow College of Art can come up with!

I read today that the intolerable frog face wanker is in line for a peerage. As somebody once said: “You cannot be fucking serious”

Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in the National Museum visited by the gin queen and me. The first time in the museum for both since the early seventies.  WOW!  Recently upgraded, the place is a beacon for what can done with public money. Uplifting. Inspirational. Check out their website and GO!

Halloween couple of days ago.  Long past the tipping point. Hordes of  little ones came round . Delightful little kids. It’s become like Hitchcock’s  “The Birds”

We had only spent about £20 quid on goodies and the  g q had to put the lights out and the double lock on 20 minutes after the first visit!  I had bailed out to the pub before that. Sabre lasers everywhere.  My generation used to have to get down on our knees, hold a fork in our mouths and drop them on apples floating in a tub. If you missed-  too bad. Hungry.

Dookin’ good fun.

I didn’t have a clue what it was all about way back then. And I’m no further enlightened now. It is however starting to rival Christmas in it’s commercial excess.

Red top and Torygraph rage on High Court decision re parliament’s rôle in Brexit. Omg it’s going to be as awful and drawn out as the US election. Thank god that will be over soon -and we await the worst! ( Too many gods there. Do you not know that that is the reason for most of the world’s conflicts? Ed)

Last night pre prandials of Beavertown apa Gamma Ray 5.4% and Yellow Cab lager 4.1% in the Southern.


But remember    –  there is nothing wrong with sobriety,

In Moderation.