Monday, August 29, 2005


Hamish McShanks Delivery Failure

Good morning readers (or non-readers as is more often the case)

Hamish would like to apologise for the non appearance of yet another diary. I'm afraid Hamish is on holiday at the moment and forgot to give ye all a 'heads up' that there will be no diary this week. Now I know what yer thinking 'so where's last weeks baldy?' and all I can say in my defence is I am lazy.

No no no hear me out. As some of you may know I'm an early riser not a night owl. As a result last weeks backshift (working till 2am every night) took its toll. This coupled with getting completely rubbered on Friday night, having a hangover on saturday and general fatigue meant my creative juices dried up (were they ever flowing you cry)

On the plus side the weather forecast for this week is hurricane force winds and rainfall of biblical proportions so I may yet have a chance to put pen to paper (or key to stroke)

Many apologies I do realise there are a few poor deluded fools who actually look forward to getting this drivel each week. So to them I would simply say 'sorry mum'


Sunday, August 21, 2005


Service Announcement

Greetings long sufferring customers!

Yes you've guessed it, no diary today. Fraid I am not feeling 100% today, knock a couple of zero's off that figure and you'll be nearer the mark.

I'd love to claim it was a virus or a nasty bug going around but lets be honest it was drink! Well technically it wasnt the drink but the associated reduction in blood sugar, the dehydration and the accumulation of acetaldehyde all associated with imbibing large quantaties of alcoholic beverages.

It seemed a spanking good idea at the time, in fact I was quite vocal on the merits of a particularly fine merlot, I slurred my appreciation of some fine belgian lager and I positively raved and dribbled about the qualities of Drambuie.

Next day I mostly groaned and went for the occassional trip on the porcelain bus.

I'm also on backshift at work this week (16:30hrs - 02:00hrs) Hence the reason I'm still up at the witching hour. I have propped open my eyes with matchsticks and I'm 'enjoying' late night TV in the hope I may sleep till lunchtime tomorrow!

You will get a diary at some point this week but I cant say I'm sure 'when'.

Anyway must dash the No22 is on it's way and I feel like I will be catching it!



Sunday, August 14, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 55

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 14th August 2005

‘Sunday Bloody Sunday, Sunday Bloody Sunday Ooooh la la laa’ I hummed away to the radio as I flipped the last four rashers of bacon onto my sandwich. It’s always been a quest of mine to find a frying pan that can take a regulation eight rasher packet of bacon, but alas I have yet to find such a beast. As a result my bacon sarnee is a two-stage affair, a small price to pay for a proper bacon butty tough and anticipation is hal;f the pleasure. The bread (white obviously) had already been buttered and I arranged my eight crispy rashers in a precise overlapping fashion. This is essential to prevent any rogue rasher slipping out the side. All that was required was a drop of good old HP sauce. I continued crooning away as I slapped the base of the HP bottle in time to the strains of U2.

The sauce steadfastly refused to budge. This is always the case with any bottled condiment. As a result you will invariably give it one last extra-hard slap and the bottle will immediately vomit half it’s contents over your sandwich. It’s the fifth law of thermodynamics, also known as ‘Sods Law’. Luckily I’m not one for moderation and quite enjoy a lake of HP sauce upon my mountain of bacon. I carefully placed the second slice of bread on top of the puddle of sauce before gripping the monster with both hands. A quick squeeze to gauge overall thickness and calculate the optimum jaw apperture. Then savour the smell before drawing the beast towards your open mouth ‘Come to papa’

I’m not one for ‘savouring’ either and less than thirty seconds later my breakfast was finished. I dabbed at my mouth with a napkin before belching loudly, lifting my left cheek for a complimentary chuff and then strolling out into the garden.

Sunday for godless souls like myself is not a day of rest and contemplation, unless I’m hung over and I’m contemplating killing myself as a merciful release from my self inflicted agonies. Sunday is my gardening day, and I probably need a bit of exercise after a two thousand calorie bacon butty. Unfortunately for my garden, I’d been neglecting my chores for the past few weeks. In my defence I had been incarcerated in a decorating boot camp in the North East of Scotland. My parole was finally granted this month but the weeks of neglect had left my front garden in a fairly sorry state. It needed some work. Lets not mince words it needed a lot of work.

You see the main problem is I don’t know what’s actually in the border of my front garden. No I don’t have Alzheimer’s, I moved into my house in February and the front garden had already been planted. I’m guessing the previous owner found some great ‘bargains’ doon the garden centre because a plethora of foliage has been sprouting forth ever since the first frost lifted, and I cannay keep up!

To be honest I wouldn’t be bothering my backside this weekend if it hadn’t been for the fact the postie has stopped delivering mail. You can’t actually get to my front door without hacking your way through a jungle of large green ‘rushes’. At least I think that’s what they are, my botany is a bit sketchy. They seem to have sprouted large orange flowers at the top so I’m thinking they might be triffids. Either way they were going to have to go.

I surveyed the front garden with a full belly and a critical eye. The small amount of ‘grass’ in the centre was plagued with a mixture of dandelions and thick damp moss. The floral borders had gone wild, steadily encroaching, progressively and inexorably enveloping the turf. ‘Och would ye look at that, ye can hardly see any grass’ a feeling of horror swept over me. Suddenly it was obvious. They were trying to annex the lawn and assimilate it into a new shrub dominated world. A land where the herbaceous perennial would rule as King and mere grasses have to bow down low. Forced to grovel at the feet of their flowery masters, pleading for a little light, begging to photosynthesise. An abused and forgotten underclass slave to the Poppy and the Delphinium. Even the diminutive Candy Hearts able to slap them about and extort their remaining chlorophyll. Oh why do such injustices happen again and again? Does history teach us nothing!

My bottom lip quivered as childhood memories flooded over me. The boisterous happy chatter of children playing on the lawn. The screams of laughter as water bombs explode around you. The feeling of grass poking between your toes as you run hot foot to hide behind the shed. The delicious smell of burning sausages and undercooked chicken wafting tantalisingly in the breeze as you laze on your back. Soft grasses tickling your skin, the sun toasting you pink. Farewell to all this? Farewell to the clatter of cheap plastic on even cheaper tennis ball? Dear god the days of swingball would be over!

A tear rolled down my cheek and roused me from my reverie. I glared at a nearby shrub and rolled up my sleeves ‘Right ye baaaas wur no having that’. My neighbours looked on in bemusement as their large baldy neighbour proceeded to hack his front garden to pieces with a set of garden shears. They chased their own children inside as I ranted and screamed ‘Yer no gonnay win, ye can take oor blades but ye’ll never take oor FREEEEDOOOM!’

After three or four rather frenzied minutes it was done. I looked down at my bent and buckled shears. One blade had broken in two when I’d attempted to butcher a particularly hardy Hosta. In my fervour I’d failed to notice it’s close proximity to the cast iron fence enclosing my garden. Unperturbed I’d pulled the plant out with my bare hands and proceeded to strangle it whilst shouting ‘I’ll give ye loose well drained soil and a shady spot in the garden ye fecker’. I think that was when they called the police. To be fair if I saw someone trying to throttle a Hosta I’d do the same, now if it were a Lavandula that would be a different matter.

I have to hand it to the boys in blue though, the bastards were there before you could say ‘Why don’t you fight some real crime’ which in hindsight wasn’t the cleverest opening gambit I’ve ever used. I’m quietly confident that the Hosta wont testify though. I managed to whisper ‘I’ve got round-up in the shed’ before the constabulary carted me off for some police brutality and ice cream. Alas I only received the brutality, the officers had the ice cream. It’s hot work kicking seven colours of shit out of people, especially as I appeared to only have three.

Credit where credits due though, they tried for four.


Monday, August 08, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 54

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary – w/e 7th August 2005

‘Ok lets see’, ‘I’ve got my kitbag, my sandwiches, my juice, suncream for ma baldy heid and of course my sunglasses’ I stroked the case before opening it reverentially. These glasses had been very expensive and a rare treat when I bought them five years ago. They were still pristine, the shiny pearlescent lenses glistened and shone ‘Oh my beauties’ I mumbled as I gently eased them out of the case. They received a thorough yet cautious buffing with the correct cloth before being delicately slipped on my face. A sad vain person might have looked in the mirror to reassure themselves, but I knew how cool I looked ‘Lets rock and roll’.

I fired up the engine, slipped on my driving cloves and fastened my seatbelt. ‘Mirror, signal, maneouvere’ Having checked my mirrors I made one last lifesaver glance for any cyclists before pulling out into the road. My time would have been better spent checking for oncoming vehicles as I nearly ploughed into a white transit van ‘Jeeesus fu-‘ Thankfully my brakes were in good working order. I raised an apologetic hand at the van driver. His signaled reposte was a tad more vigerous and a good deal less friendly. He wasn’t finished though, as he drove past he took the opportunity to point out that I had limited visual accuity and was a ‘fuuuckinwaaankaaaa’. Which while inciteful to the point of embarrasment, didn’t need to be bellowed out his window.

My second attempt at departure was thankfully less eventful and I toodled round to pick up my first passanger. We were off to play in a touch rugby tournament in Edinburgh and I was picking up four of the posse. First stop was for Ginge.

I pulled up outside her house and switched off the engine. I was about to exit the vehicle when she came out the front door. She was feverishly shoving cans of juice and sandwiches into her napsack as she jogged towards the car ‘Your early’ she exclaimed in a chastening voice ‘Aye well your always running lat-‘ I was cut off in mid sentence ‘Where on earth did you get those glasses’ she enquired supressing a giggle. ‘Why?’ I replied in an icy voice which wasn’t lost on her ‘oh no reason, no reason’ she replied hurridly ‘there lovely I thought Chris might like a pair’ she trailed off ‘You better get in or well be late’

I turned the radio on to prevent any further conversation on my beloved sunglasses. Next for pick up were Paulo, Chopper and Skippy. Fortunately they were only five minutes drive away and one song was sufficient to cover the akward silence. The three of them were waiting patiently at the side of the road as I pulled over. I stopped the engine and went out to open the boot. Chopper was holding the bags and I started transferring them into the boot ‘Alright Ham hows it goi-‘, ‘Jesus fuck where did you get those glasses?’ he roared and laughed. I froze with my hand on one bag.

By this point he had seen Ginge mugging furiously at him from the front seat, her hand was up by her throat making rapid horizontal gestures and she was firing a warning glance ‘Why?’, ‘Oh there just so …. Fantastic!’ he exclaimed ‘Oh aye they are the mutts nuts, no doubt, I’d love a pair’ Chopper is a bit of a radical dude so I gave him the benefit of the doubt ‘They’re good arnt they?’, ‘Oh aye magic magic, better be going handnt we?’ I stowed the last of the luggage and we set off.

There had been a fair bit of arguing over who was getting to ride ‘shotgun’ in the car. Ginge had won by playing her trump card of ‘I’ll vomit if I sit in the back’. I think you’ll agree that threatening to spew yer ringer in a confined space wins most arguments. Unfortunately she hadnt realised that this meant she was also the ‘navigator’. It might be worth mentioning at this point that Ginge doesn’t know her right from her left. No really I’m being 100% honest, she hasn’t a clue!

When were playing rugby we have to shout ‘ring’ or ‘no ring’ to let her know whether to pass left or right. Of course we tend to lose the momentum as she stops to look at her hands to see which one has her wedding ring. Were all shouting ‘it’s on your left hand Ginge, your left, YOUR LEF…. Oh forget it’.

I handed over my carefully written directions ‘Ok Ginge, your co-pilot’, ‘Bu-‘ I could see the look of panic on her face ‘Don’t worry you don’t have to decide which side is which, you just need to read out the directions’ She visibly relaxed ‘Anyway It’s only the last few miles I don’t know, so your ok for now’ she placed the paper on the dashboard ‘See if you can find anything on the radio will you’ She leaned over and squinted at it ‘there’s a couple of little buttons on here and some numbers?’, ‘That wasnt quite what I-‘, ‘Oh there’s a bit of pie stuck on the tape button ‘‘Noooo see if you can tune in a music station’

It wasn’t long before we were grooving on down to Queens of the Foofighter Audiodribble or some such modern keech. I just mubmled and la la la’d as the hip young kids in the car sang the ‘lyrics’. God knows what drivel constitutes music these days but they were havering on about peaches or something like that. I just hummed along and took refuge behind my sunglasses. I was so engrossed in my appreciation of their refractive qualities that I nearly missed our turn off. ‘Oh Shiii-‘ I yacked on the anchors and dived off the sliproad

‘Ok Ginge is it left or right at the roundabout?’ there was no answer and the sliproad was rapidly disappearing ‘Ginge?’ still no answer ‘GINGE!’, ‘Don’t rush me?’ she replied tersley ‘I’m reading’, ‘Aye well get yer mincers working luv wur running out of road!’ It was a pretty big roundabout hoving into view ‘Well?’, ‘ok we need 4 ounces of castor sugar and three eggwhites’ I looked at her incredulously ‘The other fecking side woman!’, ‘There’s no need to be snippy’. It was too late we were on the roundabout .

I had no choice but to keep circling until we knew which exit to take. Unfortunately after five or six laps I was feeling rather dizzy and worse still we were speeding up. We seemed to be in a decaying orbit and with mounting horror I could feel my glasses getting pulled from my face by the centrigugal force ‘Nooooooo’ I screamed as they shot off my face. ‘Left’ shouted Ginge and yanked the steering wheel. We exited onto the correct road as I watched my sunglasses (and dignity) fly out the drivers window and under the wheels on an oncoming lorry. ‘Ahahahaaaaaaaa’ I wept anguished tears as everyone became suddenly interested in the fine detail of the upholstery and the state of their fingernails anything other than the wailing man.

No sorry, it was Right’ ……. ‘Ahaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaa


Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 53

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 31st July 2005

‘You want me to do the rings?’, ‘yes’, ‘me?’, ‘yes’, ‘I thought Neil was doing it?’, ‘there’s been a change of plan he has to drive the wedding car’, ‘so let me get this straight you want me to hand over the rings?’, ‘YES’ he replied irritably. ‘Right right no probs at all bruv’ I replied soothingly before continuing ‘that sounds kinda responsible?’ He sensed the hint of uncertainty in my voice. We both knew I was getting the task because he was out of options ‘Just think of it as a promotion’ he replied. My eyes lit up and my chest swelled with pride ‘Promotion you say! Does that mean Neils the 2nd best man now?’ My twin brother just rolled his eyes and walked away.

‘Hot diggity’ I slapped my hands together and went in search of my older brother. I found him hunched over the engine of the wedding car, cursing and swearing under his breath ‘Fecking French Sh*ite’, ‘Alright Bruv’ I enquired in a breezy voice. He didn’t even look up ‘No it’s nae alright the fecking car is running rough as a badger arse’, ‘Oh that’s terrible I replied desperately trying to suppress my glee. I have to admit I was mildly intrigued as to how the topography of a medium sized omnivores backside correlated to the workings of an internal combustion engine, however that had to wait, I had some serious gloating to do.

‘Aye well ye better hand over the rings then laddy’ He looked up at me his face smeared with engine oil ‘Oh aye’ he reluctantly pulled a small green ring box from his top pocket and tossed it in my direction. I caught it in mid-air ‘Aye apparently I’ve been promoted’, ‘That a fact’ he replied returning to his labours ‘Aye it’s a real shame yer wee scalextric car is playing up! What’s wrong? Elastic band broken is it?’ He had been removing a spark plug as I taunted him and his hand froze in mid twist ‘What?’, ‘Oh nothing nothing’ I mumbled hastily trying to backtrack ‘Aye apparently Fraz is gutted that ye cant hand over the rings, absolutely gutted, but he realised only you could drive this car’

My smarming seemed to suitably massage his ego and the old hackles settled down. With hindsight I would have got away with it if I had just shut my yapper instead of pointing out that he was now the second best man. It was probably my emphasis of the word second. Perhaps ‘joint best man’ would have been a more diplomatic phrase. Now of course, one could use the phrase ‘My car is running as rough as a best mans face’ Mine was certainly a phrenologists delight courtesy of the second best mans efforts with a tyre wrench and panel hammer.

I was brushing the dirt of my crumpled shirt as my twin brother came pelting out of the house pointing frantically at his watch ‘Button holes’ he screamed at me ‘whut?’, ‘The fecking bugggggery button baaastarding holes’ my gaze fell to his pointing finger ‘that’s a watch isn’t it?’ I replied with a blank expression. But he was gone. Small stones scattered as he legged it up the pebbled driveway and on to the street. Anguished screams of ‘Noooooo’ faded into the distance and after a few seconds I could hear a far-away thumping and scrabbling noises. ‘He’s feeling the strain’ I muttered returning to the task of re-shevelling myself.

I had just removed the final spots of engine oil from my face and straightened myself out when he strode back into the garden. He very carefully closed the sliding doors behind him and marched towards me rolling up his sleeves ‘Find your watch did you?’ I enquired. He didn’t reply, he was sweating buckets and had a face like thunder. ‘Do you remember our little trip to drop off my car at the hotel today?’, ‘Oh aye what about it?’ I replied, spitting on my hanky and dabbing at an oily smudge on my kilt ‘Any snippets of conversation spring to mind?’ I screwed up my face in concentration ‘Well you said you needed a dump when you got back?’, ‘No not that’, ‘eeeeer you hoped the rain would stay off?’, ‘anything else?’ he continued whilst starting to crack his knuckles. ‘OH that’s right you said we needed to pick up the button hol…. es’ ‘Well done’, ‘Ooooomppffff

1:08pm in my Big Brothers house and Ham has had two kickings in half an hour. The rest of the ‘housemates’ are in the summer room wondering if he was adopted. Ham is upstairs searching for a fresh shirt and some plasters.

It was quarter to two by the time I patched myself up and crept back downstairs. Guests were arriving thick and fast and I was kept occupied showing them in and taking their coats. I was just heaving the last few jackets into a cupboard when I heard the skirl of the pipes ‘Oh feck!’. Everyone was already in the garden as I jogged out the back door and up to the wedding party. ‘Sorry sorry’ I mumbled as I sidled up to my twin brother, wilting under his withering glare.

Luckily I was saved another tongue lashing by the distinctive put-put-put’ing of the wedding car as it motored down the road and swung into the driveway. The piper was giving it big licks and the rain had even stayed off. Neil expertly parked the car and the father of the bride took Shirley’s arm. She looked absolutely stunning, thankfully the dressmaker had managed to repair her dress after last weeks little misadventure. They strolled up the garden, Shirley grinning from ear to ear, a wee glisten of a tear in the corner of her eye as she stopped in front of the registrar.

We were all assembled under a weeping willow as the registrar said her bit. A quick reiteration of her legal right to carry out weddings, which was a big relief I have to say. I was this close to asking for some identification but I felt I was in enough trouble as it was. She then asked if anyone had good reason to stop this marriage and to say now or forever hold his or her peace. Again I seemed to get a lot of fierce glares but I bit my tongue. Then there was some mushy keech about having to stay together through sickness and blah blah blah. I have to admit I started day dreaming at that point.

I was away in a world of my own when I received a sharp dig in the ribs ‘ooomppf what?’, ‘The rings ye fanny!’ growled my brother. I stared at the registrars outstretched hand ‘Oh aye right right’ I fumbled in my pocket for the ring box. I opened it up and extracted the two rings, one was a small platinum band for Shirley and the other was a slightly larger silver ring for my brother. I clutched both rings in my left hand as I placed the box back in my pocket.

‘Sorry sorry’ I muttered before placing the rings in the palm of her hand. She looked down at her hand then back at me meaningfully. I returned her gaze ‘Mmm?’ she was pointing with her eyes at her outstretched palm. I glanced down and noticed the rings were stuck one inside each other ‘sorry sorry’ I picked them up and pulled ‘oh fu-‘. Have you ever seen that trick where a magician smacks a couple of seemingly solid rings against each other then all of a sudden they’re joined?

I could feel everyone’s eyes boring into me as I fumbled with the rings. The sweat building up on my palms wasn’t helping matters and I could hear my brother muttering ‘yer fucking deid pal’ under his breath. The congregation were getting pretty restless and a few were craning to see what was going on. ‘Ha ha just a little ha’ I was just about to ask for some olive oil as they sprung apart, along as it happens, with my butt cheeks. A nervous little emission crowning my moment of shame.

The registrar continued at a much brisker pace, her nose wrinkling up as she hurried to finish. ‘Do you Frazer ya de yah yah and do you Shirley blah blah you may now kiss the bride’ and she sprinted off retching into her handkerchief as a somewhat bewildered bride and groom played tonsil hockey.

Thankfully the congregation burst into rapturous applause the general feeling of goodwill joy and happiness saving my bacon. I leant against the willow and dabbed my forehead with a handkerchief as my heart slowed to a gentle purr and the bridal party went off to sign the marriage certificate. I was mercifully exempt from this task and took the opportunity for some long overdue imbibment.

The rest of the afternoon was spent mingling with the guests and necking a few more blizzardly cold beers. One of the Guests had provided a case of exceptionally fine home brewed ale. Homebrew is too crude a description. This was ‘micro-brewed’ and a huge hit with everyone. I was finding it particularly palatable, a fact that hadn’t escaped my newlywed brother. ‘Ye better ease up on the sauce there Ham ye’ve got a speech to make later’, ‘Ach dry yer eyesh min ahm fine … hic’

A handsome spread of food arrived but I didn’t partake. Who needs ‘girly’ food I surmised when there are so many calories in beer ‘that’s for puffs who cannay hud there drink’ I slurred when Fraz proffered me a plate. Yes well hindsight is always 20:20

‘Good evenings spladies n gentsh, fuuuuck ah’m pii.i.i.shed’ My granny keeled over with my opening gambit, never a good sign ‘Thish is f.f.n good thish beer, what choo lookinatyef.f.f.nbaas? Eh?’ Spraying the father of the bride with alcoholic spittle is also unlikely to ingratiate ‘Championaaaay championaaay oooh we are weeee’ I don’t know where that came from I don’t even like football. Thankfully for all concerned my address was over in less than a minute. My choice of a 300-watt speaker as impromptu urinal brought my best mans speech to a rapid close. A prolonged jolt of mains electricity shooting through your bell end tends to do that.

Crispy pancake roll anyone?


*Ham Shanks would like to point out that all events portrayed in this diary are entirely fictitious and the wedding was in fact a bloody great day. Shirley looked gorgeous my bruv was ‘over the moon’ and everybody had a great time. Well except the ring bit that really happened and Robs beer was indeed the mutts nuts as they say. Oh and it was fecking Baltic. My nips wur like chapel coat pegs ye could have hung a wet duffle coat on them …………. Ye probably didn’t need to know that

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