Monday, January 31, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 29

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 30th Jan 2005

I glanced at my watch 17:07hrs ‘Feck two minutes till the bus’ the stop was thirty seconds from the front door but I was still rummaging around the bedroom for a second sock. I was in such a rush I’d even given up looking for a matching one anything would do ‘Bloody hell’ I bellowed as I fumbled in the back of another drawer ‘Is their a fecking sock devouring beast living in this house!’. I went through the dresser a third time, tossing clothes across the room. Time and patience were at a premium; I was about to blow a gasket.

I gave up with the drawers and expanded my search to the nooks and crannies behind the bedroom furniture ‘Is it too much to ask’ I enquired of the alarm clock. ‘Am I being unreasonable’ I screamed at the bedside lamp ‘A sock A sock, my kingdom for a bollocking, fecking sock, ANY sock!’ I roared angrily. One final lunge under the bed and I came up trumps ‘Ha haa…. oh….’ My elation was short lived and I dropped the offending item and it rattled on the floorboards ‘Ok any sock…… but that one’

Luckily I found a red hill walking sock wedged behind the bedside cabinet ‘Oh glory be, it’s a bleeding miracle, it’s a sock!’. I might even have made it to the bus if I’d not let my joy get the better of me. In my haste to put on the sock I made the schoolboy error of trying to multi task. I should have known better, after all I’m not a woman, what was I thinking of…..

But then again a woman would have probably had nine drawers of pristinely washed and ironed socks in the first place. No fevered rummaging for the girls, in fact the socks would almost certainly be stored in some sort of colour order, perhaps even by fabric. Whilst this kind of organisational skill has to be admired, let us not forget that most woman would still be late cos it would have taken them another forty five minutes to decide which fecking pair matched their handbag!

I digress, but only in the interest of parodying a chauvinistic stereotype of woman, so nae need to get yer dungarees in a twist sweetheart!

Anyway only being a man I made the slight mistake of trying to put the sock on and hop towards my shoes at the same time. Unfortunately the foot without a sock was attached to a leg that also seemed to have fallen out with the brain. I don’t know the history, maybe they just never got on, family can be like that. What would a leg and a brain have to talk about anyway? ‘Been up to much lately?’ enquires the leg. ‘Oh firing the odd synapse, carrying out a thousand tasks a second, you?’ Replies the brain ‘Mainly standing really’ …….. tumbleweed!

You can just see the brain glancing at it’s watch and praying for someone else to come into the room ‘Aaaah liver Liver, come and join us, how are you? dear god save me’. ‘Oh I’m fine fine, little bit of a hangover but-’, ‘Just go’ hisses the brain and they head off for some canapés as the leg just stands there looking at itself going ‘muscle contracts, muscle relaxes, muscle contracts, muscle relaxes’. But to fair steady reliability are the qualities you look for in a leg. No point in having a leg that has ideas above it’s station, that would be mayhem. Imagine your leg decided it wanted a ‘career break’ hmmm, what’s going to happen? Your on your backside arnt you, doesn’t bear thinking about.

Whatever the reason this particular leg certainly didn’t get the message that there was action going on at the foot end. As a result the errant limb tried to take a normal step. This combined with me pulling the sock violently upward meant inevitable conflict.

I would like to think my style marks would have been quite high. The degree of difficulty must have been at least 3.6. A forward roll with half pike, one and a half twists and a one point landing on the corner of the bedside cabinet. Shame the one point was my nose ‘Ooooohfu-‘ At least I managed to finish getting the sock on as I lay on the floor, blodd pouring out of my nose. I glanced at my watch, forty five seconds left. I could still make it! Pulling on my shoes I raced out the door. That was mistake number two, rushing again, I just didn’t plan ….

After about eight or nine steps I knew I should have tied my laces. The flappa flap flap noise was the first indication of trouble. ‘That’s ok’ I thought ‘I didn’t tie my laces’, ‘No problem, I cant possibly stand on the laces if I keep my momentum going’ Quite a reasonable premise I think you’ll agree. I even managed to formulate an ‘exit plan’. As long as I’m careful when I slow down and lengthen my strides I should be fine. Comfortable with my flawless logic I focused firmly ahead and kept pounding my legs.

My goal was in sight ‘Only one hundred yards to go’ I puffed. The bus was pulling up to the stop, there were people in the queue, and it would have to wait. Ha haaaaaaaaa I was going to make it!. Less than fifty yards to go and I started wheezing noisily. The heavy cold that had been brewing all week was starting to take its toll. My lungs were burning and snottery green mucus was running down my face.

Flappa flappa flappa flap.. .flap ….flap. Disturbingly the flappas were less frequent and reducing in volume, there was no doubt about it, I was starting to slow. ‘Oh feck’ I gritted my teeth and pumped my arms ‘Must keep going’ I wheezed ‘As long as I keep running I wont trip over mywooaaaaaaaaaaaaaoooommmpppffff! I just made out the tail lights of the bus pulling away before I succumbed to unconsciousness.

When I awoke some kindly youths had relieved me of my wayward footwear and also my mobile phone and jacket. Poor wee mites you cant blame them. It can’t be easy having the peer pressure to buy those expensive designer shell suits and Burberry caps. It’s a searing inditement of global inequity when TK max is out of your price range and a bottle of Buckie is over a fiver. The upcoming G8 summit in Gleneagles needs to address these burning issues. The bigwigs need to tackle these problems head on so the youth of tomorrow don’t have to resort to crime to feel part of society. And more importantly so I don’t have to walk home in my fecking stocking soles!

Given the attractive green sheen on my face and the deeply embedded pieces of tarmac I elected to give the team night out a miss, I would only have made a fool of myself …..


Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 28

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 23rd January 2005

Scrape scrape scrape, brush brush, scrape scrape scrape …. brush brush. It was a pretty awkward position and I had to work with the benefit of an angled mirror. Another twenty minutes of patient scraping and all the skanky bits were off, my brush was looking a bit worse for wear though. I admired the fruits of my labour ‘That’s more like it were looking all ship shaped and Bristol fashion’. The back of the toilet bowl was positively gleaming. ‘Right just the clag under the rim now-‘ I heard the front door open ‘Awright bruv where are ye?’, ‘Eeer just cleaning the cludge gies a minute’ I hastily rinsed the black bits off his toothbrush and put it back in the stand.

What are ye doing’ he enquired as he opened the door ‘Eeer Just a bit of spring cleaning’ I replied whilst feverishly scrubbing the wash hand basin and trying to look innocent ‘I thought ye were supposed to be studying?’, ‘Aye well-.’, ‘Yer exam on household hygiene is it?’, ‘No I-‘, ‘Honours degree in convenience management is it?’, ‘Ha ha you know fine well it’s-‘, ‘I know it’s not going to get done through here is it laddy?’ He gave me an exasperated look before shaking his head and departing. As soon as he was out of sight I gave him the finger before removing my marigolds.

I returned to the lounge and looked gloomily at my study timetable. It sat proudly atop my books, colour coded and beautifully laminated. I was secretly wishing I hadn’t laminated it so I could now schedule in ‘Kick twin brothers balls 19:00-19:05hrs’. The smug git was sitting there opening a bottle of my red wine ‘found the wine then did you?’ I said sarcastically ‘Aye fine thanks, how’s the studying going then, finished your dissertation on the varying absorbencies of brand name toilet rolls versus greaseproof paper have you?’ I ignored his laughter and sat down .

I was supposed to be studying for my Financial Planning Certificate (FPC) not that I wish to be an IFA or have the slightest interest in financial services. But it is the industry I have found myself in and in a moment of madness I thought it might help me understand ‘what we do’. I suppose in a way it has helped me understand certain things. For instance now I understand what sleep apnea must be like, not a great deal of use when it comes to the ins and outs of mortgages I’ll agree. But never lose the opportunity to learn that’s what I say, except when I’m saying ‘Bloody hell this is dull as ditchwater’

I picked up my books and trudged through to the bedroom leaving my brother guzzling the red wine immersed in ‘101 ways to be a tosser’. With hindsight the bed probably wasn’t the most conducive location to try and study something that was interminably dull. I lay back and flipped open the text book at Legislative requirements ‘Oh scintillating stuff’ I wasn’t even through the first paragraph before my brain was turning to mulch, I fought to keep my eyes open but to no avail. Even the introduction of sticky tape on each eyelid didn’t help and I began to mutter ‘cant read anymore ….. will to live disappearing … eyelids drooping …. feeling very slee..zzzzzzz……’

I don’t know how long I was out but when I opened my eyes I found myself somewhere very strange. Tall scantily clad and heavily armed women were walking down an ancient earthen road. The buildings were best described as primitive, worse even than a wimpy show home. I was also standing in nothing but my underpants.

Actually that wouldn’t have been too bad if they were my underpants. But I was wearing a pair of Y-fronts! Y-fronts!!! Off-white, urine stained, gaping pocket Y fecking fronts. They are a crime against underwear! Who could possibly design a garment that can simultaneously choke your nuts and have your old man hanging out in the breeze? Hmmmm? Cmon? A bloody woman that’s who! Y-fronts are woman’s revenge for ….. for …….. for …….EVERYTHING!!

‘Okay Ham don’t worry, your just in a dream, simply concentrate and you’ll wake up’ I closed my eyes and counted to ten. When I opened them again I was still in the street. I tried again, this time I really concentrated, I could feel my forehead wrinkling up with the effort and knew my heid was turning a fetching crimson. I opened my eyes ……. ‘b*gger’. I was still there and now an enormous 18 stone heavily muscled warrior ‘maiden’ was taking a definite interest in the rotund baldy man wearing the yellow stained biffs and looking like he was trying to curl one down in his underwear.

This seemed as good a point as any to leggit, you know how these dreams go, fighting people off that just laugh when you hit them, being unable to run because your legs are like jelly or your stuck in a deep bog. All the while the object of your fear pursues you relentlessly laughing and cackling as it drives you into the very depths of terror before you finally wake up in a cold sweat.

‘Right sod you pal lets gerrit over with and I can wake up in the nick of time’ I turned to the mountain maiden and enquired ‘Who ate all the pies? who ate all the pies? You fat bas-‘ and she was after me. I have to admit she had a surprising turn of pace for such a large woman but then again this was a dream so she was bound to catch me.

I sprinted down the street turning left at the sign marked Swamp ‘That’ll do me’ I accelerated hard up the hill glancing briefly over my shoulder. She didn’t seem to be gaining ‘Pick it up sweetheart I haven’t got all day, and a bit more cackling wouldn’t go amiss!’ I think the sweetheart jibe did the trick and she ratched it up a notch or two steam coming out of her ears and her eyes burning with hatred.

I was coming over the brow of the hill when I spotted the next sign Danger Quicksand accompanied by a nice skull and crossbones motif ‘Sweet’. I slowed to a canter and picked out the boggiest looking route. Sure enough within 30 seconds I was stuck waist deep in quick sand ‘Oh no woe is me’ I wailed ‘I’m soooo scared’ I continued. A few minutes passed and there was no sign of my pursuer ‘cmon luv gerra shift on I’ve got to wake up now!’ I heard a twig crack behind me ‘bout fecking time too’

I struggled round to see this goliath of a woman brandishing a fairly hefty hickory stick ‘Cmon sweetheart give it some laldy’ She lifted it high over her head and swung down ‘Here we go, wakey wakooompppfff … sweet fecking jesummmppfff’ ‘Aaah’

These blows felt real, I opened my eyes and my brother was slapping me across the face ‘Wake up yer having a nightmare’, ‘Ok ok I’m awake’ he continued slapping ‘I’m fecking awake!’, ‘Just making sure’ and with a couple of more slaps he left.

Ah well only ten days till the exam …………..


Sunday, January 23, 2005


Hamish McShanks Management Takeover

Hamish McShanks PLC has been the subject of a management takeover. The new board are pleased to announce a raft of innovative changes in customer services. For a kick off we now have some!

Due to Mr McShanks constant inability to meet his Monday deadline the board have implemented stringent performance enhancement measures and moved it to Tuesday. These radical policy changes will ensure immediate inprovements and reap dividends over the short to medium term. It also means that we meet our KPI's for this year collect a wopping great bonus and continue bathing in champagne whilst been waited hand and foot by scantily clad women of negotiable affection.

These performance enhancements take immediate effect and therefore there is no diary today.

HMC Plc looks forward to continuing a strong customer focused relationship and values your business .... ya de ya ya

Kind regards

Monday, January 17, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Dairy - PArt 27

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 16th Jan 2005

A cloud of blue smoke enveloped the car and I shuddered to a stop. The vehicle behind, caught unawares by my rapid deceleration, was forced to swerve round the back of my car and shoot past in the bus lane. I glanced out the passenger window to see an extremely angry and red-faced man violently shaking his fist at me and shouting something about me resembling the vista between a naked woman’s legs. Apparently a useless vista at that. Unperturbed at his vitriolic outburst my eyes were drawn to the sign again ‘All you can eat for £5.95

I parked the car up in a convenient disabled parking lot and rushed in. ‘Good afternoon Sir-‘, ‘All you can eat for six quid then?’, ‘Yes sir we have-‘, ‘Where?’, ‘Well if sir would like to give me his jacke-‘, ‘Where?’, ‘Would you like smoking or non sm-‘, ‘WHERE?’ The poor man sighed and pointed at a large table, groaning with food. He was a bit short with me but I think he must have had some staffing problems on his mind. He was muttering something about greedy fat bar stewards as I sprinted towards the buffet knocking pushchairs out of the way.

The plates were quite small, obviously designed to make people think they were having more than they actually were. Ha! I wasn’t going to fall for that old chestnut. First thing I did was build a wall of spare ribs round the edge of the plate, I further strengthened the construction with an inner circle of chicken legs before lining the base with slices of honey glazed ham ‘Okay now were ready’. My new expanded plate balanced in the crook of my arm I set off along the pasta ‘trail’. I had a 5.5k cross country race to run that afternoon so I had to carb up.

I spent a few minutes perusing the selection of pastas ‘Hmmm a little more spaghetti I think, some conchiglie, touch of cannelloni, a smidgen of ravioli, a wee bit fusilli, 2lbs of roast beef and half a dozen langoustines’, well you cant have pasta on it’s own, that would be too bland. I settled down to my feast as the waitress glared at me ‘Dry yer eyes lassy, if ye cannay hack it take yer sign doon!’ A slight miscalculation to slag off the waiting staff before I got my mineral water. I’ve never seen green mineral water before, and I was always under the impression that it shouldn’t have ‘bits’ floating in it either.

An hour later I was ushered out the front door. I say ‘ushered’ when of course I mean ‘thrown’. There’s just now way to keep your dignity when your having a chicken wing prised out of your fingers whilst three waiters try to wrench your greasy hand from the door handle then heave you down the front steps ‘Your no getting a fecking tip’ I roared whilst rolling towards the main road. Thankfully a wheelie bin broke my fall and prevented me from tumbling in front of the No10 bus. I picked myself up and dusted a few crustaceans off the front of my shirt ‘right then off to Edinburgh’.

Glasgow to Edinburgh, how hard can it be? There is a big smegging motorway in between and I have a map. Earlier in the day my twin brother had offered to lend me his in-car GPS navigation system. I had looked at him askance ‘A GPS? What do I need a GPS for?’, ‘Cos ye cant find yer airse with both hands?’ I ignored his sarky comment and waved my streetmap in his face ‘I have a map laddy! A map and what’s between my ears!’, ‘So you’d rather have a map and fresh air than a GPS would you?’ ‘Look sonny just cos you need an electronic woman telling you how to drive dusnnay mean I do!’, ‘Oh so your taking your inflatable woman are you?’.

A frank and forthright exchange of views ensued and after a fierce debate we finally agreed to differ ‘Aye well you can just fuuuuuuuuuuuuck off too ya baaaaaaaaastard’ I screamed as I slammed the car door, sped out the driveway, and on to the main road. My humiliation was complete when I had to do a u-turn and drive past the house as he waved his GPS receiver at me.

These memories came flooding back as I removed my now dishevelled napkin and studied the map ‘Ah’ll show you ya bawbag, Mr la de da da GP fecking S’. I studied the map for some time making notes and highlighting landmarks on the route. I was organised godamit and I was feeling pretty smug as I fired up the engine. ZZ tops ‘She’s got Legs’ blared out of the radio as I slid on my mirrored Ray ban Aviators and admired my reflection in the rear view mirror ‘I have a plan, I have a fully inflated co-pilot and I’m feeling bad, let’s roll!

My cheesy rock ballad induced smugness was short lived as I learnt a valuable lesson about street maps. Street maps don’t always show one way streets, some do, but not the one I had. This makes planning a route somewhat troublesome. Having got lost in a warren of one way streets in the centre of Edinburgh I was beginning to panic. Trying to read a map and drive at the same time would clearly be a foolish and dangerous idea. Only a complete imbecile would attempt such folly.

But if you wedge the map between the spokes of your steering wheel then it’s quite safe! Practically a GPS. If GPS stands for Gormless Prick Steering! I was doing ok until the first roundabout, quite difficult to read a map and keep your eyes on the road as it spins through 360 degrees (the map not the road). After the fourth large bump I elected to pull over and ‘re-establish’ my location.

The old boy clinging on to the radiator grille was quite grateful for the opportunity to peel himself off the front of the car and retrieve his zimmer frame from under the back wheels. ‘No trouble sir’ I said ‘pensioners travel for free’ I smiled and waved at him as he extended a shaking and now fractured middle digit and waggled it in my direction before stumbling off towards the bus stop.

I wasn’t too far from Holyrood park as the crow flies so I decided to ditch the car and run. My ‘all you can eat’ turned into an ‘all you can chunder’ half way there but I made it to the start just in time. Salt was rubbed further into the wound as I spied my brother sitting in the gallery with his picnic table and deckchairs out slurping a cup of tea ‘Alright then fatboy, find it alright did you?

‘You complete and utter-‘ my reply was drowned out by the starters gun and I headed off up the hill…..

33 minutes 6 seconds, 471st out of 686 and a prick fer a brother!


Sunday, January 16, 2005


Hamish McShanks Excuses PLC

20:45hrs : Weather closing in, rations low. Have run out of fuel for the stove and it’s only a matter of time before it peters out and I freeze to death. My brother left a while ago saying ‘I going out I may be some time’ I did start to weep thinking it was indeed a noble gesture ….. till I saw the roll of andrex wedged under his right arm. It’s been half an hour and this isn’t the sort of weather to linger in so I have to assume he’s now iced up in a squatting position with his left hand frozen to his backside for all time.

20:55hrs : Still no sign of my brother and the stove is out, goodbye cruel world, I’d say it’s been nice but it hasn’t. I mean I never won the lottery, I never sullied any virgins (I did try) I never tap-danced the fandango and I never saw an episode of ‘Some Mothers do have them’ all the way through (for that I am grateful) If there’s one thing I’ve learnt …….. eeer ………. It’s not to start a sentence you cant fini…..

ps of course there’s no diary! …… I’m dying here! …… ok that ‘may’ have more to do with three bottles of Merlot than any weather phenomena but how would ‘sorry no diary I was rubbered last night’ be any better? Hmmmm? Weeeeeeeeeel?

pps sorry no diary I was rubbered last night …… see!

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 26

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 2nd January 2005

Gimmie it, gimmie it, gimmie it’ we struggled for a couple of minutes before I finally wrestled the bottle out of her hands and took another swig. Terror can drive people to desperate measures and Vonnie wasn’t for giving up ‘I said Gies it Shanks!’ she feinted with her right then grabbed the neck of the bottle with her left hand ‘Feck off wummin yeroooommppfff’ I had fallen for her elaborate rouse and neglected to protect my crown jewels. Her free had shot out and deftly swatted my testicles. It was at this point I elected to be a gentleman and relinquish the bottle after all ‘jeesuuusss

I collapsed in the foetal position and watched from the floor as she greedily guzzled the Baileys like there was no tomorrow. The way the bus was being driven none of us were expecting to see the end of tonight never mind tomorrow. At that particular moment we appeared to be on a giant slalom course, certainly we were treating the surrounding traffic as if they were gates to be negotiated at great speed. My head was bobbing about violently as the bus careered from lane to lane. We must have encountered some traffic calming measures though because every second jolt I was bounced high enough to make out the top two tiers of the Buddhist shrine being hastily constructed against the rear door.

My concussed mind wandered. When we were planning this it had seemed the sensible thing to do. Why have a designated driver on Hogmanay when we can hire a minibus! The best laid plans of mice and men (or in this case mice and Vonnie) It was bloody hard work organising a bus and Vonnie did a sterling job. No one blamed her, how could she know? None of us could have known …..

The minibus itself was fine, the prerequisite number of wheels, fully functioning doors and a generally well-kept interior. What they failed to tell Vonnie was that our ‘pilot’ for the evening was Michael Schumacher. Or more correctly, someone who thought he could drive like Michael Schumacher. Maybe he can, if we are talking about the Michael Schumacher who works down our local MFI superstore. The same Mr Schumacher, who doesn’t in fact have a driving licence, drives as proficiently as a plate of tapioca and whose only claim to fame is a worryingly large knowledge of soft furnishings and their proper aftercare.

An in-depth knowledge of stain removal was going to come in handy as our journey progressed. I was certainly going to be interested in the Blood/Sweat/Keech stain devil if I survived long enough to purchase some. I don’t know if they do one that works on tartan!

It’s funny that if you were in a car you’d be astonished if there were no seatbelts, you’d never stand for it, however no one bats an eyelid when the same is true in a bus ….. well normally ….. We hadn’t gone very far before everyone was ferreting around all the nooks and crannies, frantically trying to ‘clunk-click’. My seatbelt had been fastened as best I could but there’s only so much strain a couple of shoelaces tied together can take. A few of the girls had shown great improvisational skills by removing their bras, refastening them outside their blouses, and securing the whole lot around the backs of their seats. Quite a sight it has to be said ‘Oh marvellous now we look like Madonna groupies’ I muttered. Further grumbling was swiftly curtailed as we hit another speed bump and I was flung against the roof of the bus.

I wasn’t on the roof for long though, gravity played its trump card and centrifugal force was compelled to fold and leave the table without its shirt. ‘Ooyaaoommpffff’ I slammed into the floor, the wind completely knocked out of me. The driver looked over his shoulder ‘Ye awright pal?’ Horrified that he had taken his eyes off the road I tried to wheeze a reply ‘ff..ff….ine’, ‘Hud on ah’ll help ye up’ he was starting to clamber over the divider when I shot up to me seat ‘I’m finefinefinefineFINE!!!’ I screamed.

The remainder of the journey was obscured as I held my hands tightly over my face rocking gently in my seat repeating ‘there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home’. I did catch the odd heart-stopping glimpse between my fingers before deciding to close my eyes and concentrate on clicking my heels.

I did think afterwards that it’s funny how all muscles contract in times of stress, well all muscles except your sphincter! No no really think about it. How bizarre is that? If two people are involved in a collision and one is asleep at the time of impact. The individual having the kip usually has fewer injuries. The driver has time to tense every muscle in his body, fart (possibly follow through) and whimper ‘mummy’ before nutting the steering wheel receiving multiple fractures and some very cheap dentistry Whereas the other person wakes up and groans ‘Uuuughh what’s that fecking smell?’.

Not what you want to hear when your vehicle is in a ditch and your hanging upside down with your limbs jutting out at odd angles, dentures like Shane McGowan and fresh keech dripping out of your collar….

Fate decreed we would see another Hogmanay and we arrived at Murrayfield in one piece. Ok we arrived looking like a group of Vietnamese boat people, groggily clutching each other as we staggered out of the bus towards the west stand and the safety of the Ceilidh.

Amazing the difference a few hours (an awful lot of beer) and a new year make. We positively skipped back to the bus and wrung the drivers hand as we wished him happy new year (six hours earlier it was his neck we wanted to wring!) Everybody piled on to the bus and the singing began. Half a dozen ‘liberated’ wine bottles and a couple of sporran flasks fuelled the return journey. Everyone was in festive mood and Vonnie ‘mooned’ every police van on the way out of town. I think it was only the fact that she was being a true ‘Scotswoman’ that we got away with it, although I imagine the driver needed to use a spot of vinegar to clean the windae!

It was a top quality night, with top quality company and below average driving. But hey two out of three aint bad and we all survived to tell the tale.

Aw’ra best for 2005 folks, I hope ye get everything ye wish for, ye remain hale and hearty and as we say in teuchterland ‘Lang may yer lum reek’ (no I’ve no idea either!)


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