Monday, April 25, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 40

Hamish McShanks Secret Dairy w/e 24th April 2005

Bridget felt a gust of wind on her back just as the wooden shutter slammed noisily against the window frame. The sound made her jump and she spun round to see the linen drape billowing wildly into the room. Quickly composing herself she got up and strode towards the window pulling the cloth back and staring out. Satisfied there was nothing to be found she relaxed. Closing the window and pulling the drapes across the window she returned to her dressing table ‘Oh yer too late now luv far too late’ I knew there was a creature of the night hiding in the corner of her room. I’d seen him climbing down the chimney in the previous scene.

I munched nervously on my popcorn thinking ‘you poor simple child’ as the vampire moved silently behind her. The music was building to a crescendo (as if we needed it) she was brushing her long golden hair oblivious to the imminent danger behind. ‘Turn round ye daft bint’ I shouted at the TV, popcorn spraying across the carpet, ‘vampires don’t have a reflection ye stupid woman’. Still he approached. Still she hummed a tune and brushed her hair ‘for gods sake how long have ye lived in Transylvania!’

The vampire reached out, both hands edging slowly towards her shoulders. He leaned forward his eager mouth opening wide to reveal razor sharp incisors. I was munching fast, my heart racing despite the womans obvious stupidity and lack of basic occult precautions in a vampire infested region of the world.

‘Behind ye’ I yelled. His glistening teeth were about to pierce her skin when a hand grabbed my shoulder ‘FFFFFUUUCKINELL!’ Before I could move clammy fingers ran down the side of my face ‘OH SWEET JEEESSSUUUSSS!’ my popcorn was all over the floor I’d tipped my bottle of beer down my shirt and a minor bowel tremor had left it’s mark in my underwear.

I swivelled round to fend off my attacker only to see the £5.99 coconut palm I’d purchased from B&Q hanging limply in it’s pot. The cane had given way and the whole lot had landed on top of me. I’d been so engrossed in the movie I hadn’t noticed it’s slow but terminal decline ‘Bloody cheap keech’ I grumbled as I shuffled through to the kitchen gingerly pulling my jeans from my skin ‘should have lashed oot fer the fecking banana plant’ I continued whilst peeling off my soiled clothes and depositing them in the laundry basket. I wasn’t in the mood for the rest of the film. Terror’s only funny when it’s happening to other people.

I turned in after making an extended check of all the doors and windows. I’d pulled the deadbolt on the front door and jammed one of the dining chairs under the handle. Despite living in central Scotland I pulled on my garlic collar and tucked a wooden stake under my pillow. There might not be many vampires in Stirling but a mallet a big stick and some scary vitamins probably work on Neds too. I eventually fell into a fitful sleep dominated by bizarre dreams involving scantily clad female vampires that I clearly wont go into here for the sake of public decency. Suffice to say there were two ‘wooden stakes’ in the bed when I was eventually awoken.

It was about 4am when I was roused by the sound of running water. At first I thought it was still a dream, there had been four of us on the waterbed after all …. eeer I digress. Despite the noise I wasn’t yet fully awake. In fact I was in a semi-lucid dithering stupor struggling with an overfull bladder and the eternal dilemma of whether to try and hold on in agony for another three hours or just get out of my comfy warm bed and have a leak. The sudden realisation that my bathroom might be flooding prompted me to shoot up out of bed. Well I would have shot out of bed had I not being wearing a garlic necklace that had trapped itself on the headboard and succeeded in garrotting me as I leapt up ‘Uuumppfffgnnnn

After a brief pause to regain my breath and untangle my choker chain I legged it to the bathroom. It was thankfully dry but I could still hear running water. The sound seemed to be coming from downstairs. I galloped down the stairs and through to the kitchen. The noise was louder here but despite an expansive search under the sink and behind the washing machine everything was bone dry. My bladder gave me a painful reminder that everything was going to be far from dry if I didn’t get to the toilet fast.

After possibly the most blissful two minutes of my life I remembered about my other liquid problem. I wasn’t about to start raking about outside for mysterious noises in the dark of night. There could be scary monsters out there! Things with tentacles and multiple eyes and ‘oooohhhh muuuuum!’

It’s quite sad nearly thirty-seven years old and still I managed to put the wind up myself. Within ten seconds of the phrase ‘scary monsters’ entering my head I was sprinting back up the stairs like a gazelle. Scared to look over my shoulder in case they were closing on me. I leapt into bed and pulled the duvet over my head. I was mildly concerned as my duvet was only eleven tog and convention dictates a twelve and a half tog duvet is minimum adequate protection against a slavering beast from the underworld. So just to be sure I piled a couple of pillows on top.

Thankfully I’d had the foresight to put a torch in my bedside cabinet. Ostensibly this was for ‘emergencies’ i.e. power cuts. But if ravenous monsters’ hiding under your bed isn’t an emergency then quite frankly I don’t know what is! I fumbled about in the top drawer and eventually located it. ‘Okay okay everyone knows light kills monsters under the bed’ I took a couple of deep breaths and flung off the duvet ‘Aaaaaarrgh’ I screamed as I shone the torch under the bed ‘Aaaaarrghooohhmummy’ neither the spirit nor the flesh were willing. All the irrational fears of a seven year old came flooding back and I cacked it!

Morning didn’t come soon enough. I was bleary eyed and trembling as the first rays of the sun came through the window. The edge of the bed was in tatters where I’d been jabbing at the monsters with the wooden stake. I’d managed to pull the rest of the furniture beside the bed to trap them underneath. That way they could only come out that one corner ‘Hmm mmm have to get up earlier than that to catch out ole Ham’ I muttered as I rocked back and forth on my bed.

And the source of the noise that woke me? Cold light of day revealed the small ‘water feature’ my neighbour added to his back garden. A fishpond complete with bubbling brook. Thank you so very much ground force.


Monday, April 18, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 39

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary – w/e 17th April 2005

We sat in the car as the rain continued to bucket down outside. I could just make out the doors of the warehouse as rivers of water poured down the windscreen giving my vehicle a long overdue clean. A fierce gale was buffeting the car from side to side as dark clouds continued to gather overhead ‘nice day for it’ I said sarcastically. My brother ignored me and continued entering the number into his mobile phone. I glanced at my watch, it was nearly eleven am.

‘So he’s meeting us at ten is he?’ my brother didn’t even look up ‘Ten in the morning I presume?’ I continued whilst theatrically tapping my watch and placing it against one ear. My brother looked up and gave me a withering glare ‘that’s a digital watch ye fanny if ye can hear a noise it’s probably your brain cell rattling about, If you actually have one of course’. I sheepishly lowered my arm and stared sullenly at the steering wheel.

We had been sitting for nearly an hour and I’m not the most patient of people at the best of times. I leant back and gazed at the pattern on the roof for a while. Gradually unfocusing my eyes and trying to get that funny 3d effect you can get with repetitive geometric patterns. Well I did until it worked, at which point I went cross eyed and felt rather queasy ‘Ooooh bloody hell’ I pitched forward and clutched the wheel, holding on grimly until my sight returned ‘What’s wrong with you now?’, ‘I was jus-‘, ‘would ye just sit still for christ sake!

I nearly retorted with ‘Ooooh listen to her’ but I didn’t think he was in a particularly humorous mood so I bit my lip. The weather showed no signs of breaking and he wasn’t getting any joy on the phone. I started tapping on the steering wheel, one finger then two, tap tap tappity tap taptaptap tappity, dum dum tap tappity dum dum dum. I was upping the tempo to match the rhythm of the tune in my head. It was half way through ‘Highway to Hell’ when his hand shot out and grabbed my finger bending it sharply backwards ‘Ooohyafuuuuu-‘, ‘don’t drum your fingers please, it’s very very irritating’, ‘mmnngnnff’ I whimpered as he gave my finger one last sharp twist before releasing me.

fnnbaastard’ I muttered under my breath trying to rub some life back into my aching finger. He was already ignoring me, back on his mobile trying to contact the missing auctioneer. We were supposed to be picking up a bureau he had bought two days before. Being the nice brother I am I’d offered to pick it up for him. I was now regretting my kind gesture but managed to console myself with the mental image of taking a long run up and kicking him up the ar*e as he carefully dusted his new bureau. ‘Note to self: hobnailed boots’ I thought as I took an even longer run up.

Another ten minutes passed. I started idly flicking my tongue against the roof of my mouth ‘Cluuuck chhlluck aaah’, ‘Chlluuck chluuck clucck ah’, ‘Chluu….’ I could feel his stare boring into the side of my head ‘ye can bloody well pack that in as well’. Beyond caring now I looked him straight in the eye and made a long drawn out shhhchlluuuckkking noise. Well it would have been long and drawn out if he hadn’t slapped me in the puss. The gloves were off, thirty plus years of sibling rivalry came to the fore and we started knocking lumps out of each other.

‘I’ll gie ye clucking ye blubbery fat git’ wrapping my arm round his neck and rubbing my knuckles hard across the top of his heid ‘Ohhyaahbas .. in yer dreams chookboy’ he retorted whipping an elbow deftly into my Adams apple. ‘aaaggchhhhh.k.k.k’ I had to release my grip as I struggled for breath and clawed at my throat. He followed up with a vicious chop to the back of my neck, or where my neck would have been had I not twisted sideways and dodged the blow. Enjoyable though it was watching him karate chop the gear stick and whimper in pain I had no time to gloat. I went for a sharp poke in the eye followed by a twist of the nose. It was no more than a girly twist though and he slammed the heel of his hand into my sternum knocking the wind out of me.

‘Oggnnnffmm’ my head sagged to my chest I was limp and helpless. He quickly inserted a finger in each nostril whipping my head up and pulling his fist back ready to administer the coup de gras ‘Ah’ll gie ye cluck ya bas-‘. Just then there was a tap tap tap on the window ‘Mr Shanks? Is that you?’ That was just the diversion I needed, as he turned to see who was at the window I took the opportunity to play my joker card and punched him firmly in the testicles ‘Gnnmmfff’ He folded up in a burbling heap ‘Check and mate I believe’

The auctioneer was slightly taken aback at the altercation occurring in his parking lot but after a hasty explanation, much waving of the receipt and threats of litigation he decided it was easier just to get rid of us by fetching the bureau.

He prised open the warehouse doors and I gazed across the room. It was completely packed from top to bottom ‘so where is it?’ I enquired ‘it’s across there’ my brother mumbled pointing towards the far corner of the room ‘Up the top’, ‘What on top of all that lot!’, ‘Aye well I’d give you a hand but I cannay straighten up yet’ he grumbled whilst hobbling slowly behind me.

I was feeling slightly guilty about going for the ‘nuclear option’ during our earlier disagreement so I thought the least I could do was get his damm bureau. There was a fair amount of furniture in the way ‘bloody typical it’s always the one at the back’ I moaned as I fought my way through a forest of chair legs. I struggled to squeeze underneath a couple of sideboards ‘Is it this one?’, ‘No No No it’s much further back than that’ he replied. I trekked onwards traversing a large mirrored wardrobe and scaling a rather large grandfather clock that was blocking my path. After nearly ten minutes of tunnelling and climbing I reached the far corner of the room ‘Which one is it again?’ I puffed as the sweat ran down my back and I toiled to regain my breath.

Oh it’s this one here’ came a faint voice from the warehouse door. The Auctioneer was shutting the back door of my car and I could see the bureau nestling in the back. My brother seemed to have made a miraculous recovery. He shook the auctioneers hand before jumping in the car. He turned to wave out the window grinning broadly as he started up the car ‘Don’t worry though it’s only four miles to Perth and you should be able to get a train from there’ and then he was gone in a plume of tyre smoke. My fecking tyre smoke!

You can chose your friends ……


Monday, April 11, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 38

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 10th April 2005

I surveyed myself in the mirror pulling my outfit down a fraction picking some lint off my shoulder and having a quick twirl to admire the back. ‘Well Whaddyathink?’, ‘What do I think?’, ‘Yeah whaddyathink?’, ‘What do I think?’ the incredulity in his voice was hard to miss. ‘Yeeees c’mon what do you think of my outfit’, ‘Well it’s a bit difficult to put into words, no hold on here’s some that spring to mind, lard, bucket, trans and vestite!

‘Oh aye and your quite the dream princess wi yer nip hanging oot of yer frock!’ he glanced down at his exposed chest ‘Oh for fuuu-‘, ‘At least I’m not putting out ye cheap slut!’ He indicated via hand signals that further input from myself was no longer required. I left him fumbling with the sellotape as I looked for a brush to comb my ‘hair’. Being of the slaphead persuasion the prospect of flowing locks had been quite appealing until I saw my hairpiece ‘sans’ packaging.

I’d held the offending article at arms length, only the very fingertips of my left hand in contact as I stared incredulously at the picture on the box. The packaging depicted a very attractive model wearing a shimmering hairpiece comprised of beautiful long sumptuous red locks. Whereas, and lets not beat about the bush here, what I cautiously held in my left hand looked like a shoddily disembowelled ginger tom. ‘I will be writing a strong letter of complaint to messers Hinge & Bracket I think’, ‘That’s animal cruelty that is’. I have to say it didn’t look any better on it was going to take more than a brush to salvage this. I did briefly toy with the idea of wearing the box and just cutting some eyeholes but that was just silly ….. and I burst it on the first cut anyway.

You may have guessed by now this wasn’t an ordinary Saturday night (no really) my twin brother and I were attending a ‘Murder Mystery’ party at a friends house. I say a friends house but we were in fact there at our older brothers behest. He’d waxed lyrical about how much fun it would be and that everybody was dressing up in period costume. ‘It’ll be a great laugh’ he said, ‘don’t worry half the folk are going as women’ he continued after revealing our ‘characters’ to us. We’d taken a bit of convincing ‘A Countess? Where the hell will we get gear for that?’ He assured us it would be no trouble and in fact offered to get outfits for us. This was where the alarm bells should have been ringing. ‘Ach well we don’t do much together’ I said to Fraz ‘We might as well, it will be a laugh’ he replied ‘Aye well he is our brother……’

He is indeed. In fact he’s the hugely unfunny soon to be ex brother that was dressed as the Gestapo officer and sniggering a lot as the Countesses Bogov & Frazina swept into the room to be greeted by raucous laughter and much flash photography. We were indeed a sight for sore eyes, agonised would have been nearer the mark.

We had made an effort! I was replete in a shimmering black number with a sequined neckline and barely knee length skirt (size twenty isn’t as big as it used to be) a nice long split up the side revealed a large amount of unshaved leg and the merest glimpse of stained y-front. My crowning glory was a pink feather boa and string of pearls. Countess Frazina on the other hand had gone for a blend of silks and furs. She was resplendent in an aqua silk dress. A fur lined Stoll draped across her strapping shoulders and an enormous muff of the brown fur variety. The blonde wig hinted at potential cuff and collar issues whereas the hairy chest and occasionally exposed nipple simply said ‘class’ or possibly trollop.

We looked at each other and then across to our brother who was halving himself in the corner of the room his face as crimson as the swastika round his arm. He hadn’t lied half the folk were going as women, but that’s because they were woman. We were the only ‘cross dressers’ at the party.

My twin brother took a step towards ‘Herr Flick’ before I jumped in front of him ‘Now now Countess Frazina mind your manners’, ‘ah’m gonaa ffffekinkillhim‘, ‘Have a drink dear and settle down’, ‘ahmgonnafeeekinkillthebas’, ‘Ha ha haaaaa a large gin you say’ I replied rather loudly while staring pointedly at him. I’m not sure whether it was the amazing psychic understanding that twins have or the fact I was standing on the hem of his frock but he elected to let my brother live for the moment.

The ‘mystery’ was to be played out at the dinner table and we all moved through to the dining room to take our seats. Our hosts had done a splendid job and the table was beautifully set. I noticed I was sitting between my older brother and ‘Kirk Ransom’ who was being played by Kenny ‘Oh it gets better and better’ I grumbled as I sat down. It was at this point I realised my dress was a fraction on the short side. As soon as I sat down my ‘knee length’ dress turned into a ‘baw length’ miniskirt ‘Jeeeesus Christ I’ve got wider belts’ I mumbled as I felt a warm breeze wafting through the holes in my y-fronts.

This wasn’t nearly as worrying as the admiring glances ‘Kirk’ was giving me. As the soup was being served he leaned over and whispered ‘Hello there gorgeous’ and I was immediately engulfed in an alcoholic haze. My perfectly applied make up started to run and tears welled up in my reddening eyes ‘Oh no he’s been at the cask strength whiskey again’, ‘What’sh a good lookin hic girl doin inaa inna hic place like thish?’, ‘It’s me Kenny’, ‘Yourluvlee..’, ‘it’s Hamish in a dress you fud’, ‘Oh you little tease opening your legs like that’, ‘Kenny you fecking dougball I AM A MAN!’ His hand started moving towards my leg and I’m afraid I was forced to get in touch with my feminine side ‘I’m warning ye’, ‘Hush my sweeooommpppff

Okay technically my handbag got in touch with his spuds and he pitched forward into his soup but I feel I was striking a blow for woman everywhere. I was standing up for my sisters and wasn’t going to be treated as some plaything. I’d had enough of being patronised and talked down to by men! ‘I’m a person not an object’ I screamed as Kirk slumped under the table burbling. It was at this point I noticed the slack jawed expressions on everyones faces. Time for a swift sharp harp methinks …..

My monologue certainly seemed to have spurred countess Frazina into action as she was knocking seven colours of keech out of ‘Otto Von Pinckelwurst’ as I stepped over them and out into the night .


p.s. the butler did it

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 37

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 4th April 2005

Sweat dripped off my brow as I laboured to push through the bushes, flies buzzed incessantly around my baldy heid, occasionally alighting to rest and sunbathe on my chrome dome. I waved a hand irritably in front of my face ‘fecking insects’ I grumbled. The sun was high in the sky and nary a cloud to be seen, my throat was parched ‘I could murder a cup of tea’, I grumbled ‘aye well ye can put the kettle on when ye’ve finished that weeding fatboy!’, ‘Oh aye and what exactly is your contribution to this little endeavour you lazy fat git’

My brother dropped his newspaper, gave me a withering glare. He pulled his sunglasses down to the end of his nose and retorted ‘I am supervising my rotund friend, you know your not allowed to play with scissors on your own’ he sniggered ‘They are shears ye blubbery dough ball and I may trim the legs of yer chair if ye don’t shut it!’ But he was already ignoring me and deeply engrossed in his colour supplement. I grabbed a handful of foliage and pulled hard imagining it was his neck I was wringing.

Not having wrung a neck I’m not sure how easy it is but this plant was definetly hanging on to life. ‘Bloody hell’ I grimaced and tugged harder, it didn’t budge. I got both hands on it and pulled for all I was worth, I could feel it starting to give, I was ready to ease off when my view of the bush suddenly became a view of the sky. This vista was rapidly replaced by an inverted view of the greenhouse and finally a glimpse of an incoming size eleven boot hastening towards my face ‘I’m not that flexible’ I thought as a steel toecap smashed into my nose.

When I regained conciousness my back and neck musles confirmed that I was indeed not flexible enough to touch my toes or in fact anywhere near them. My brain couldn’t decide whether the fractured hooter or the multiple displaced discs should have more pain receptors firing so it just let them both go wild. ‘Finished playing about have you?’ enquired my brother as he picked up the shears ‘gnnnffmmm’, ‘I’ll put these away will I?’, ‘ffffmmbaaasss’, ‘No no you just lie there I’ll do it’, ‘fffecck-‘, ‘That’s you through and through isnt it, start a job but never finish it’ I wanted to retort ‘at least I start’ but I was so racked with pain I couldn’t speak. Luckily my last reserve of strength was sufficient to feebly extend my middle finger before passing out for a second time.

Some time later a light shower of rain roused me, it was dark but my wee ‘rest’ had allowed my spasaming muscles to relax enough to allow me to gingerly pull myself upright and hobble into the garage. My back was a bit fragile and each step had a trace of adventure. After a small pitstop to examine a particularly interesting oil stain on the garage floor I eventually managed to make it into the kitchen.

My Granny was bustling round the kitchen making the evening meal ‘Alright son you look worn out’, ‘Oh aye Granny ah’m fair jiggered’, ‘why don’t you have a nice hot bath, you dinner will be about an hour’, ‘Oh that’s a great idea’ I shuffled off towards the bathroom and bumped into my brother ‘Oh aye Flash where are you sprinting off to then?’, ‘I’m going to have a bath if you don’t mind’, ‘Oh I’d give it ten minutes if I were you’ he replied with an evil grin ‘Oh and you might want to get a fresh one of these while your at it’ and with a whistle he departed thrusting an empty toilet roll in my hand.

Given the fetid aroma that greeted me I doubt a week would have been long enough. I’m surprised the paper wasn’t peeling off the walls! Still the bath was definetly a good idea even if my eyes were watering, wax was dripping out my ears and the rubber duck had passed away (god rest his soul) Ye see the bath in my grannys house is quite old and therefore actually quite big. Big enough in fact for a large gentleman like myself to be submerged in water rather than have nine tenths of my bulk above the waterline. It’s like being an inverted iceberg.

I’ve never really understood the evolution of the domestic bath. A hundred years ago they had huge big cast iron baths the size of swimming pools. Big deep things with cavernous enamled depths and beautiful brass taps. All when the average height was three foot two! Nowadays with the average height nearer six foot that five foot your typical bath is composed of a cheap composite plastic that flexes if anything heavier than a feather touches it and it’s barely large enough to wash one buttock at a time. Now I know what your thinking ‘my god he’s got a big arse’ and while I’d agree it may be generously proportioned (yet still firm and supple) it’s not that smegging big!

The only blessing was the rapid clotting of blood in each of my nostrils meant I was now oblivious to the caustic nature of the atmosphere and could really enjoy my soak. The hot water fairly soothed my aching muscles, the tension slowly draining away. So much so I dozed off and when I woke I realised I’d been lying there for nearly forty minutes. I better make a move or I would miss my dinner.

My granny always hangs fresh towels when we visit. Big soft fluffy towels. I reached up to the towel rail and fumbled around, I couldn’t feel any towels. I leaned further back and still nothing. I stood up and turned round…‘You baaaaastard‘ There was a single sheet of toilet paper draped over the towel rail. ‘Ach I’ll use my clothes to dry myself…’ I looked on the floor; my clothes had been removed. Clearly my brother had been busy while I was asleep. A single sock lay scrunched up on the floor. No clothes, no towel, no cover. Looked like I was going to have to make a dash from the bathroom to the upstairs bedroom.

Luckily the bathroom is almost opposite the stairs so with a well timed dash I could be up the stairs and in the bedroom in less than twenty seconds. I opened the door a fraction and peeked out. I could hear my granny in the kitchen, I had to assume my bastard of a brother was watching TV in the lounge. I was about to dash out when I remembered the sock ‘better than nothing I suppose’ I pulled it over my tackle making a mental note to use more fabric conditioner in future.

One last glance and I was off, I took the stairs three at a time, reaching the top and rounding the landing in double quick time. The door to my bedroom was slightly ajar; I dashed in and slammed the door behind me. I was breathing hard still dripping wet courtesy of my brothers’ jolly jape. I was feeling pretty smug though. Even with a dodgy back I’d made it ‘Ha ha fatboy ye have to get up pretty early in the morning to outwit old Hamish M-‘, ‘Is that you son OOOHSWEETJESUS!

‘Hello Aunty doing some dusting are you? Ahaa ha …a……a…’


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