Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 25

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 26th December 2004

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicolas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And out of the darkness came a thump and a cry,

‘Oooyaaafnnnbaaas ma toe ah’ve broken ma fecking toe, sweet jesus it’s bleeding!’

With hindsight seven pints of lager, two gins and a four drams is a tad excessive for a ‘nightcap’. More of a cap, scarf, jacket and matching gloves. What can I say, I was getting into the festive spirit(s). I would have been ok, if, when I’d awoken for my festive two am piss I’d remembered I was staying at my brother’s house. I did sprinkle some festive cheer in and around the en-suite before managing to hobble back to bed without further incident. I was shivering as I pulled the duvet over my head and listened to the wind howling outside. The window panes were rattling a fandango of defiance against the elements and I could see a few snowflakes flitting past ‘Yo ho smegging ho’ I grumbled as I was enveloped in an alcoholic slumber, to sleep, perchance to dream …….

Before anyone tries to interpret this dream I would like to point out I was mixing my drinks that night AND I was suffering from a viral bug. Look I wasn’t well!!!!! Ok ok ok so I dreamt I was in bed with the spice girls (even minging spice) Now before you start I was dressed ……. dressed as Noddy Holder but dressed all the same (must have been the constant ‘Slade’ music whilst xmas shopping). Worryingly I was also dangling a piece of mistletoe above my head and beckoning Baby Spice across ‘Now now girls don’t foight, waoit your turn, there’s plenty to go round’ I even had the brummy smegging accent! Clearly I was running a temperature and completely delusional ‘Mmmm that’s noice … mmmm …. Oh you dirty little trollop …. Hey hey stop yous nibbling!… heyoaaarrrrghhhhhh!

My god this was a vivid dream, I could actually feel my ears being nibbled! In fact nibbled didn’t do it justice I was being bitten! (sideburns and all) ‘Aaaaaaaarrgggh’ I woke up bolt upright. I glanced at the alarm clock it was 9am and I had been most rudely awakened. I was even more perturbed to find it wasn’t Gerri Halliwell sticking her tongue in my ear, it was in fact the family pet. Ok so the family pet is a German Shepard and someone with a cruel sense of humour might suggest they are both Ginger Dogs but not me, oh no……..

A wet nose and a probing tongue certainly encourages you to get out of bed though (still talking about the dog by the way) and I hobbled around the room retrieving the clothes I’d thrown off as I had poured myself in the door the night before. My toe was throbbing nicely and it looked like a blind cobblers thumb ‘Bloody doors’ I grumbled as I carefully pulled on a sock.

The smell of sizzling bacon lured me towards the kitchen. My brother had been up since 5am basting the 76lb turkey that was stuffed in the oven. He was looking disgustingly cheery. It was almost as if he hadn’t got completely rubbered on xmas eve and wasn’t now feeling like a sack of keech. I skirted round the crowbar that was wedging the oven door shut and sat down ‘Any chance of a cup of coffee bruv?’, ‘Aye nae bother, did ye sleep alright?’, ‘Aye fine apart frae breaking my foot on the en-suite door’, He gave me a rather quizzical look ‘but your room doesn’t have an en-suite’, ‘Oh… aye…. ah meant the toilet door…’ I cringed inwardly and remembered the waste paper bin in the corner of the room.

Three bacon rolls and four cups of coffee later I feeling a bit more human. Luckily I wasn’t required to help prepare the meal so I could surreptitiously head back upstairs and empty my ‘en-suite’. It was snowing heavily and there was already a good four inches of snow outside as I casually emptied the bin out the window. I did feel marginally guilty that someone was going to be hit with a yellow snowball but if your going to have a snowball fight ye cant cry when one tastes a bit funny.

The meal, when it arrived, was absolutely stonking. As usual we all severly over ate. There were murmerings of a brisk walk in the snow to aid digestion but instead I plumped for a large gin, four Alka-Seltzer and a comfy chair in front of the fire.

I haven’t seen the queen’s speech for …… well ever, and I had no intention of starting now. My mum suggested a game of scrabble and that seemed in line with the amount of physical exertion I could muster. It started off quite well, friendly like, convivial ye might even say ……

Four hours later and it was two hundred points apiece, you could cut the tension with a knife. All that could be heard was the crackle of logs on the fire and the relentless tick tick ticking of the mantelpiece clock. It was my turn and I was stalling, I continued to stare at my last five tiles but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t see any vowels ‘cmon cmon sunshine ye’ve had plenty time’, ‘Ach dry yer eyes wummin ah’m thinking’, ‘Oh I wondered what the noise was’ I gave her a withering look and pushed the chocolate liqueurs across the table. My master plan of getting her rubbered on rum barrels was yet to bear fruit.

I had no option but to take a long shot. I could see my mum mouthing the word as I built it tile by tile. ‘Ok that’s me finished and it’s on a double word score so that’s twenty-‘ There was a short pause before she exploded ‘Fgnzj? What the bloody hell is Fgnzj?’, ‘it’s a scientific word, it means eeer to agitate………… it’s in the dictionary’ ‘Lets see the dictionary then’, ’Ok I’ll just get it… oh no how clumsy of me, I appear to have knocked the board over …..’ No she didn’t believe it either ….. although it would appear I did indeed manage to ‘Fgnzj’ my mother.

In fact I ‘Fgnzj’d’ her to the point that I was sent to my room with a well tanned airse and told not to come back down till ‘I’ve learnt my lesson’ ………..

It’s all about families xmas ……….


Sunday, December 19, 2004


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 24

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 19th December 2004

Ok lets check if I have everything; Waterproofs (check), Fleece (check), hot and cold drinks (check), trangia stove and fuel (check and check), Cutlery and mug (check), Sleeping bag (check), bivvy bag (check) …...… the list continued for some time. After another twenty minutes I was satisfied with my preparations and ready for the off. But off to where you may ask? The Cairngorms? The Trossachs? The Himalayas?

No, I’m off to Cowie. Sadly ‘Cowie’ is not Nepalese for ‘Where the Earth meets the Sky’ but it’s Scots for ‘far the cheap hooses are getting built’ or more specifically where the ‘affordable’ housing is getting built. Let me explain ……

The local council only allow new housing developments if a certain percentage of houses are ‘affordable’. Oh and I would dispute their definition of affordable but I don’t want to get into that rant just now. Anyway in this particular case 16 houses out of 109 were ‘affordable’ the rest of them were clearly unaffordable so I don’t know why they were bothering building them!

So what’s the catch with the affordable stuff? The council decides who can buy them. I filled out all the forms and even went to the council offices to plead my case but having been rumbled in my efforts to be classed as a single black mother with lesbian tendencies I narrowly failed to qualify for the priority 1 group. I went down fighting though, it took six security guards to remove me ‘You chauvinist b*stards’ I screamed as they prised my fingers off the door handle and threw me out of the front door.

My elaborate ruse was completely undermined when one of my ‘breasts’ dropped out and rolled away as I tumbled down the main steps. ‘Ooomppf Catch thaaaagghhhht’ I shouted ‘they cost me fifty quid the pair’. Nobody seemed that keen to chase my silicone friend as it raced down the street like a whippet. With hindsight a black pair would have been more convincing. Oh if anyone wants to buy a pair of ‘nearly new’ size eleven sling back sandals, a red gingham dress, a blonde wig and one artificial breast do drop me a line.

My deception uncovered I was placed in the priority 2 group along with another 37 applicants (can you see the problem yet?) The fact that there were only 10 houses left after the priority one applicants had taken their pick meant the odds were heavily stacked against me. We had to ‘present ourselves’ at the Sales office Saturday morning where the remaining ten houses would be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Oh dear, this was going to be messy, it was going to be ‘dog eat dog’ Which is a crap analogy cos they never ‘eat’ each other they just sniff their genitals growl a bit then rip each others throats out. I was damm sure didn’t want my backside sniffed or my throat torn out so I decided to ‘camp out’ early and make sure I was first in the queue.

As you may have gathered from my equipment list I was set for the long haul. The weather forecast was pretty grim and I was feeling quite smug as I drove round to the sales office 24hrs before they opened ‘Ha you have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch old Ham ou…..’ my mouth hung open as I turned the last corner…..

It was like a gypsy camp. The small driveway in the show house had cars parked nose to tail and side-by-side. Someone had erected a gazebo and was fixing a brew on a gas stove as they grilled some sausages on the barbie. I was about to enquire as to how many were in the queue when I noticed the line of caravans on the street ‘Oh for fu….’ Apparently (and this is the truth) People had started queuing the night before! 40 smegging hours before the office opened for business ….. FORTY!!!!

I wont lie, I was disappointed, gutted in fact. I took solace in alcohol, beer is your friend, beer is always there for you and never judges you, beer isn’t just for christmas. So I had a few beers …… and a few more ….. and maybe another two or three beers. Then ……. I had an idea…….

It was a couple of hours later as I crawled along the base of the hedge searching for a suitable gap. I found the perfect spot in a groove underneath a large privet hedge. I pulled out my nightsight to recky the target. I scanned the horizon and saw the heat signatures of three punters on ‘stag’ just outside the show home. I checked my watch, it was 3am and they were looking weary ‘Aye bet ye wish yooo had been in the pub too paaal’ I slurred quietly. All I had to do was wait…..

A sudden flash of white lit up the garden in front of me ‘Oh fuu..’, ‘Cmon tiddles … here puss puss’, ‘Oh bloody marvellous’, ‘Cmon tiddles’ I could hear a packet of go-cat being shaken in the distance. I was confident of remaining hidden, my face daubed in green and brown paint. Then I saw tiddles, or more accurately, I felt tiddles. I must have been lying on his route home and he was a little annoyed at having to try and squeeze past me. Cats are great though, they always give you a warning before they attack. Tiddles warned me that he was going to attack by repeatedly lacerating the seat of my camouflage trousers. I couldn’t risk being spotted so had to cram a fist in my mouth and muffle the screams as tiddles turned my rump into best fillet steak.

I couldn’t take much more and tiddles showed no indication of relenting, I had no choice but to go for the nuclear option. I let rip with a beery fart of epic proportions. It was a beaut, I could feel the acrid warmth as it departed and the pained cries of tiddles suggested I’d scored a direct hit. But no one wins a nuclear war and I was caught in the very mushroom cloud that had saved me. My eyes were watering and my nasal senses had gone into a catastrophic meltdown.

Tiddles had managed to stagger half way across the garden before keeling over and was now flat on his back, all four feet pointing at the sky. He was twitching uncontrollably as his owner started screaming and went into hysterics. I was going to have to abort the opo, clearly I had been compromised.

Always have a plan B though, prepare for worst case scenario. I didn’t. That’s why I was found by the police slumped over a small garden fence with my shredded backside providing convenient parking for children’s bicycles.


Sunday, December 12, 2004


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 23

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 12th December 04

The last spoonful of apple pie was about to be shovelled into my mouth when a tap tap tap on the microphone stopped me in mid guzzle. I looked up to see a middle aged man in a black shirt clutching a microphone. His hair was slicked back in an style not dissimilar to a ducks derriere ‘Oneahh … oneaahh … oneaaah twoaaahh … threeaaaah Ok folks welcome to the Albert Halls in Stirling were Silver Sixpence and we are your house band’ his over the top enthusiasm went largely unheeded.

Undeterred he soldiered on. Leaning theatrically towards the drummer he continued ‘Weeeee’ve got Wully on Drums’ a quick ratatatat from Wully helped any musically illiterate people understand the concept of drums and proved the compere wasn’t in fact a liar. Spinning quickly on his heels he thrust out his other hand, pointed at the accordion player and yelled ‘And on my left we’ve got Faaaaaat Bob on accordion’ ‘Bob’ who was so thin he was in danger of slipping between the floorboards shook his head gave him a withering glare and carried on rolling his cigarette. ‘Lastly there’s me! Jolly Jack on the guitar!!’ he started to knock out ‘Midnight Cowboy’ on his tartan stratocaster as I stared mouth wide open.

The Hank Marvin rendition fell somewhat flat, as did he, when he slightly mistimed the famous Marvin leg crosses, stumbled backwards, and keeled over behind a rubber plant. It took him a few seconds to scramble back on stage ‘jeeesus fuu..’ He staggered back to the microphone whilst smoothing back his ruffled hair ‘Ha ha ha ooohh ya bas ok were here to entertain you so without further ado here’s everyone’s favourite dance the dashing white sergeant!!!!!’ I groaned inwardly.

Memories of last years marathon Boston nine step came flooding back. The Silver Sixpence have no concept of elapsed time and dances can last anything from two and a half seconds to two or three days. If that weren’t enough of a deterrent rigorous exercise is not what’s required after a three course crimbo dinner.

Not that I actually finished my dinner the last mouthful going astray as I was literally dragged onto the dance floor. I did try and thrust my tongue out as far as possible as I was yanked out of my seat but to no avail. My spoon briefly defying gravity before clattering to the floor and pebble dashing the back of my kilt jacket which I’d put safely over the back of my seat ‘Oh marvellous, bloody marvellous’

The accordionist bashed out a few notes as we got organised and then we were off! Round for eight back for eight, set to your partner, twirl around, yah de yah yah. Mercifully we only went round sixteen times and the fluid loss was restricted to sweat this year. As soon as the song finished I headed for the bar to replenish lost fluids.

An attractive blonde wearing a slinky black dress with a side split up to her armpit was standing at the bar. Hmmm she’s a bit foxy I thought. I was about to put the old Shanks moves on her when Lady luck finally took pity on me and stopped me making a huge mistake (married woman). She turned to face me and I realised who it was ‘Alright Ginge how’s it goingooommppff’ I’ve got to remember and stop calling her that ‘Eeer do ye fancy a drink?’ I enquired whilst massaging some life back into my jaw ‘Aye a Tia Maria and pineapple and don’t even think about commenting on the dress or I’ll skelp ye’, ‘Right right, whatever ye say luvooommppfff

I got the drinks and chatted for a bit trying to mend some broken bridges. Unfortunately I was still rather hot from my dancing exploits and was sweating like the proverbial. A kilt is also a damm sight hotter than you might think and retains a lot of heat. Heat as we all know rises.

Now the thing is that eventually the moisture has to condense somewhere. It could be absorbed into say cotton underwear (were you to be wearing any) but in the absence of underwear it will condense on any non absorbent surface (like skin for example) then it will cool down……

I could feel the sweat running down the inside of my legs but I was relying on the absorptive powers of my thick kilt socks to save the day. They might indeed have saved the day had I brought a spare pair to cover my wedding tackle (yeah like I’d need a ‘pair’ for that – I can dream). Regrettably I didn’t bring any spares and it was only when Brian came to get a drink from the bar that I realised there were ‘spattering’ issues. ‘Alright Ham do you fancy aawwoooaahhhh’ I made a dash for the toilets to do some ‘blotting’ as the bar staff helped Brian off the floor ‘Look at that! some idiots spilt a drink’ was the last thing I heard as I headed out the door.

Naturally there were no paper towels or even toilet roll left in the gents ‘Oh fantastic!’ the hot air hand driers were only going to exacerbate the situation. Drastic action was required. I had to time it perfectly but after a furtive trip to a vending machine in the ladies I returned dry and confident and ready to take anything in my stride. It was at this point I concluded that dancing all night was probably the safest option, or at least the best way to avoid puddles….

The Ceilidh band gave way to a DJ at 11pm. I don’t want to seem harsh or unkind but he was a dickhead, a deaf dickhead as it turned out. The volume increased steadily as the evening progressed. You thought he might have guessed when all the dancers were compressed into the last quarter of the hall as far away from the speakers as possible. St Andrews ambulance crews had to treat several perforated eardrums and one person had to be rushed to hospital when the sound waves damaged his pacemaker.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. When I say he was deaf I mean tone deaf as well as stone deaf. The last song of the evening was the Runrig version of Loch Lomond, you tak the high road and ah’ll tak the low road and ah’ll kill the DJ afore yeeeeeeeeee! Oh my god! Where’s Simon Cowell when you need him? Awful awful awful AND he warbled. An absolute cast iron giveaway that ye cannay sing for toffee.

Ye see the thing about this song is that everybody knows the words so the punters can sing along. Normal DJ’s, if that isn’t an oxymoron, turn the sound down at the chorus so the dancers can provide the line and the atmosphere. But not our lad, oh no, this was his opportunity to shine. Oh and he shone …………… like a matt black turd.

Ach well next year I’ll remember my huggee pull-ups if nothing else


Monday, December 06, 2004


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part ??

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary – w/e 5th December 2004

It’s half past six in the evening, empty coffee cups litter the desk and discarded chocolate wrappers are furled around the legs of my chair. I absent mindedly scratch my chin and examine the code for the umpteenth time, a penny drops. ‘Oookay, so if I just change this line here and then add that line there and then compile it up (again) we should be laughing’

All that could be heard for the next few minutes were the sounds of deep industry or more specifically the tap tapping of keys and the odd kskskluck’ing noise as if someone was idly flicking their tongue against the back of their teeth and inhaling at the same time. Like the rising sun a smile broke out across my face as I added the final full stop and smacked the enter key with smug satisfaction.

My smile lasted as long as a Scottish summer before a flurry of error messages brought in an inordinately large and deep ‘frown front’ from the West. The extreme high blood pressure associated with this front lead to scattered outbursts of ranting before persistent swearing spread across the entire office. Despite my initial optimism we were not as it were ‘laughing’. I wasn’t even smiling. In fact I had a face like a man licking piss off a nettle ‘Okay Ham just think things through’, ‘Just stay calm and think what this problem is and what this rates on a scale of 1 to 10?’ (10 being a meteor striking earth and the entire globe being plunged into a nuclear winter)

I mulled it over for a pico second before deciding that my program not compiling was clearly an eleven. BANG! My fist shot out like a sledgehammer and buried itself in the monitor which immediately exploded in a shower of red yellow and orange sparks. Smoke was pouring from the top of my PC as I theatrically threw my ID badge on the remains of my charred desk, donned my jacket and walked out the door and into urban legend…..

Well that’s what happened in my head. Thankfully my remaining sensible brain cell mutinied, refused to transmit this insane request to my arm and as a result I am still gainfully employed.

Just as well really because we all know what would have actually happened. I would have punched the monitor and my wrist would have instantly broken in three places. My face would have been lacerated by shards of flying glass, I would have been electrocuted and killed as the few nerves left in my butchered and wedged hand would have automatically clutched on to the live electrical wires and cooked me like a crispy aromatic duck!

Whilst being found sitting in a pool of your own urine with an expression like you’ve been trying to push out a particularly reticent jobby will certainly turn you into a legend. Not perhaps the one you would have hoped for.

Instead of punching my monitor and probably dying I elected to be a sour pussed miserable grumpy b*stard and stomp around the office in a thunderous rage with myself and the world in general. ‘Oh cruel world how dare you show me to be a mere fallible mortal’ I fumed shaking my fist at the sky ‘How dare you do this to MeME! a man of such obvious talents’, ‘A man of such coding prowess, a man of …..’ My blood pressure was falling now and reality was kicking in … painfully … ‘a man ….. with ….. with ……. with his head up his own backside’ I finished weakly

These are the times when you wish the last conversation had been in your head ‘Eeeer sorry’ I muttered as I lowered my fist and sat back down in my seat. The few people left in the office stared slack jawed as I sat cringing behind my monitor, my head in my hands….

It’s a bit worrying though because I quite often fantasise about how I would destroy my PC. (as I jack in my job and exit the building - I like computing can you tell) However apart from being dangerously irrational I’ve realised this is extremely unfair on the PC. Talk about shooting the messenger, it’s just returning the commands that I coded.

I bet the poor thing cringes every time I log on ‘Aaaw no it’s the baldy boy again! Were in for a caning today’, ‘Dry yer eyes smart boy it’s me he’s going to hit, your safe enough tucked up on yer mother board’, ‘Yes but we are the brains in this outfit, your just front shop’, ‘Oh oh oh I’m front shop am I … fine then I’ll just have a power nap and we’ll see how much use you are without me ye jumped up calculator’, ‘Ooooo Listen to her having a strop! Just because you have ‘true color’ you think your something special! Face it luv your all image and no substance, you’re the ‘blonde’ in this team AND you cant spell colour’, ‘At least I can count to more than one you Neanderthal

My second favourite fantasy departure is ‘monitor through window’. I do sit beside a rather large tinted window and have oft dreamt of manfully heaving my monitor through said window. I always felt the impressive shattering of glass and resulting cavernous ‘exit’ would provide a suitably dramatic backdrop for my first step into a brave new ‘Cobol free’ world. Some cheesy ‘soft rock’ music playing in the background and a pair of RayBan aviators would finish the effect off nicely, or perhaps a Harley Davidson motorbike. Whaddya think? ……. Hello?

Thankfully ‘Sane-cell’ once again saves the day (I owe that little brain cell a lot. I think I’ll treat it and cut down on the bevy and hallucinagenic drugs) You see the thing about large windows is that they also tend to be extremely strong windows. The most likely outcome of rabid monitor hurling would be concussion from the swiftly rebounding screen. Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection aand all that. Although not an awful lot of kudos to be gained from quoting laws of physics or lying under a 21inch monitor groaning ‘oh ma fuuuckin heid’

In fact the more I think about it, I’m forever indebted to Sane-cell. What am I going to do when he, sorry she, dies? Oh dear god it’ll be terrible! I’ll turn into a complete gibbering imbecile, I’ll be irrational and disorganised and talk complete bolloc….. Heeeeeeeeey (distant sound of bags being packed and the slamming of synapses) ‘Taxiiiiii’, ‘Where to luv’, ‘Spleen! And step on it….


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