Sunday, April 23, 2006


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 84

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 23rd April 2006

‘I’m so sorry … sniff …. sniff …’, ‘I just c.c.ccant carry on .. uhuu huu huuu’ The tears were running down my cheeks as I clung onto the wheel. Mrs Shanks slowly shook her head ‘are you finished?’ she asked in a quiet voice. Sniffling and avoiding eye contact, I nodded my head. I could hear her take a deep breath ‘ok first things first, it’s a car ye fanny!’, ‘shhhhh she’ll hear you!’, ‘it hasn’t got any ears’ she exclaimed whilst giving me a withering stare ‘don’t listen to her, she doesn’t know what she’s saying’ I whispered. All the while stroking the dashboard ‘Look you said it was too expensive to run, you were the one that said you had to get something cheaper’, ‘it’s all lies’ I squealed, hugging the headrest. Sighing resignedly Mrs S exited the car ‘do what you like, but do try and get a grip of yourself!’ she slammed the door shut, turned to leave then hesitated before leaning back in the open window. She scanned the interior of the car then whispered ‘he’s been driving other cars you know’ before laughing and walking off.

It was true, I couldn’t afford to run my current vehicle, it was just too expensive. It’s not like its even flash or particularly fast, it’s a ten year old Mazda 626. Trouble is it’s expensive to insure and pretty thirsty on the fuel front, I needed something of a more frugal nature. Luckily I’d just mot’d the Mazda so now was a good time to sell. Mrs Shanks had seemed rather perplexed when I’d started to apologise to the old car, and positively vexed when I’d broken down in tears.

As luck would have it my twin brother’s neighbour was selling a wee Peugeot 106 diesel. My bruv knew I was looking so he’d put in an offer ‘You cannay get any cheaper to insure or run’ he said ‘and it’s a bargain’. I was a wee bit tentative because it’s quite a small car ‘na na min, it’s fine, you’ll really like it’ he assured me ‘ach okay then’, by the sounds of things it was too good a deal to pass up’. I agreed to pick up the car on Sunday.

I was passing the Mazda to my older brother to sell. He used to be a car salesman and a good one at that. He could sell fridges to Eskimos, sand to the Arabs and possibly convince you that ‘utterly butterly’ wasn’t in fact hydrogenated pig vomit. I on the other hand am a tad too honest when it comes to these sorts of things. I’ll show the potential buyer everything that is wrong with the car and even if they are thrusting handfuls of used twenties into my palm I will be convincing then they should probably but looking at that one down the end of the street instead! I blame my mother for this streak of honesty.

Anyway, now I was driving the Mazda up North so my brother could dispose of it. Unfortunately a long motorway journey is exactly what the car was made for and I was starting to regret my decision. It just ate up the miles, cruising along at 80mph, hardly touching 3000 revs. Overtaking was no problem, a wee tap on the accelerator and you sailed past the vehicle in front. It was such a wonderfully serene drive I was beginning to bubble as I pulled into my brothers driveway ‘Alright Bruv how was the journ-‘, ‘Uhuu huuu huuu I cant do it, I cant’, ‘oh for fuuuucksakes‘ Thankfully he knows exactly how to deal with this kind of situation and skelped me with a bit of two by four, pulling me out before the blood or my tears marked the upholstery.

Of course leaving my vehicle meant I was forced to take public transport home, oh the joy. I’d elected to let the train take the strain on my journey back to Perth. For a change I’d even had the foresight to check times and availability the night before. I’m glad I did, the cost was a whopping £24.50 for a single from Keith to Perth, A FECKING SINGLE! I presumed this meant I got to keep the train at the end of my journey.

At least I only had one change to make, at Aberdeen, and the wait was only ten minutes. You can imagine my deep joy and happiness when I arrived at the station on Sunday afternoon to find that there was no longer any trains running between Dundee and Perth, these had been replaced by a bus. AND there was an extra wait in Aberdeen of forty minutes. Total journey time three and a half weeks, give or take the odd ice age.

I wasn’t best pleased but there wasn’t much point in taking it out on the poor soul selling the tickets. ‘Ach well I’ll get my bruv tae pick me up from Dundee’ I thought. At least I could save some cash by not travelling so far. ‘Single tae Dundee please’ the guy tapped away on his ticket machine ‘that’ll be £29.60 please’, ‘what? that can’t be right’ he tapped away again ‘no that’s correct’, ‘but it’s less to go to Perth and that’s another half hour past Dundee!’ I replied incredulously ‘No?’ he said, pulling a face ‘Aye’ I replied indignantly ‘Noooo’ he continued in his talking to a small child voice ‘AYE! It is!’ I replied through gritted teeth ‘Go on check it’. He gave me a disbelieving look but tapped away on his gizmo. After a few seconds the red hue flooding across his face gave the game away.

‘Bit less then is it?’ I enquired smugly ‘I don’t ... eer that doesn’t uuum-‘, ‘make sense?’ I offered. ‘Aye ok you’d be better off with a single to Perth’, ‘What about London?’, ‘wha-‘, ‘well it’s further away, so it’s got to be even cheaper with that logic!’, ‘very funny sir-‘, ‘no make it Lands end! In fact make it a monthly pass from John ‘O’ Groats to Lands end’, ‘there’s no need to-‘, ‘first class’. He gave me a look like I was something he’d just scraped off his shoe ‘£24.50 sir’ he replied curtly, pressing the ticket into my hand. I decided not to push my luck any further and handed over the cash. They got the extra fiver anyway when I bought a digestive biscuit from the trolley service.

My twin bruv picked me up from the station and drove me to my new vehicle. ‘what do ye think?’. I looked down at me feet ‘aye grand’ I replied weakly ‘Get in then’, ‘dunno if I can’ I mumbled as I opened the door of my new car ‘What’s yer neighbours name? Stuart Little?’ I grunted, wedging myself into the driver’s seat. It was a tight fit, but with a knee out each window and my head poking through the sun roof I was in! ‘Oh very nice’ my brother sniggered ‘hold on though, I have the perfect thing inside’ He dashed indoors, returning seconds later with a pair of swimming goggles. ‘Da Daa!’ he exclaimed after fitting them over my eyes ‘Good hunting Wing Commander, give the Bosch hell’ he laughed as I started up the car ‘Remember and keep radio silence! ha ha’.

‘Aye yer very funny, very very funny’ I mumbled as I pulled out on to the road. I turned the stereo on and the tune to Billy Smarts circus blared out ‘Duu duu dididlle du du daaa daa, du du didlidle du du daa daa’ My brother was halfing himself ‘you fnnbaaaas‘


Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 83

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 18th April 2006

The Romans?’, ‘yes’, ‘the fecking Romans!’, ‘yes’, ‘You can’t possibly’, ‘why not?’, ‘Easter is all about celebrating how God sacrificed his own son and.. and… and how he was resurrected and.. and … you just cant support the Romans!’, ‘ I shrugged my shoulders and replied ‘There are two sides to every story’ My colleague stared at me in disbelief ‘but the Romans!’ he wailed. I placed my coffee mug on the desk ‘They were the appropriate legal authority at the time and he was breaking the law’, ‘whaaaaat?’, ‘Turning water into wine?’, ‘but that wa-‘, ‘without the appropriate licence, never mind the unpaid duties’ My friend was aghast as I continued ‘Not only was he making his own hooch he was also serving it on a Sunday, he stored uncooked fish next to fresh bread, he didn’t wash his hands after healing a leper, the list just goes on and on’, ‘lets be honest he had form

‘Okay crucifixion was probably a bit harsh for a first offence, but hey, it certainly reduces the number of repeat offenders’ My colleague seemed unconvinced by my arguments and was hastily building a lightening proof shelter over his head ‘The walking on water gig was good though, I’ll give him that, David Blane couldn’t even pull that one off’ The shelter had gone up in double quick time, he got a wee bit tetchy when I tried to help him position the final sheet of corrugated iron on the roof ‘get away from me’ he screamed, slapping away my hand and feverishly nailing the last piece in place. I took a couple of steps back as he slammed the door shut in my face.

‘What are you doing?’ I enquired through the letter box ‘I don’t want to be collateral damage’, ‘what?’, ‘when the big man smites you!’. I mulled this over for a moment ‘Ok so let me get this right, you believe that I’m going to be smited by God for having a pop at his sons arrest record?’, ‘shut up shut up’, ‘He is omnipotent isn’t he?’, ‘yes’, ‘almighty?’, ‘oh yes’, ‘all seeing, all knowing that sort of thing?’, ‘you better believe it’. I scratched the back of my baldy heid ‘and yet you think he’s going to miss me and hit you?’ There was a long pause ‘he might’, ‘oh so you’re saying he’s actually fallible?’, ‘NO! I never said that, I never said that at all, you’re twisting my words’, ‘Ooooooh I see, so he just needs glasses then?’, ‘shutupshutupSHUTUP!’, ‘getting on for his pension is he?’. My colleague seemed a tad upset at my line of reasoning and I didn’t want to push things further. I left him singing hymns and inflating his rubber armbands. Apparently he was expecting rain?

So Easter is upon us again, another religious festival hijacked for commercial reasons. I’m fairly sure JC didnay have any ‘three for a fiver’ chocolate eggs kicking around in the days of Poncy Pilate. I’d bet there were no giant rabbits divvying out chicken ovulations. Mind you the Easter bunny apparently was an icon, although a pagan one. I doubt it skipped around with an Easter basket in its little hands, it doesn’t seem likely let’s be honest. A more believable scenario is that it rotated gently on an iron spit and was roasted over an open fire while the tatties were getting peeled!

I was going to say ‘while scantily clad maidens danced around in their smalls’ but I think that was just wishful thinking on my part. Mind you if we are going to commandeer ancient rituals and put a modern twist on them I’d certainly vote for nubile lasses frolicking about in the nip! The roast rabbit I could take or leave.

You may have guessed that I’m not particularly religious ‘No Ham, say it aint so’ I hear you cry. However despite my poking fun, I do think that everybody has the right to their beliefs and it must really grate on the folk who do believe when their special time of year is usurped by commerce. Remember the real message of Easter ‘Buy One get One Free on all free range eggs’, ‘Easter cards, five for 99p’, ‘Hurry Hurry Spend Spend’ etc etc

Jings that drives me mad, how bad must it be if ye are a man (or woman) of the cloth. Actually I think I’d make quite a good Minister/Padre/Rabbi, I’d certainly be preaching fire and brimstone. Let’s be honest, I like a good rant. I’d be doon the shops chapping on the front door with ma big sceptre thingy and giving it laldy. Oh it would be great, ye could just wire into folk ‘How daaaaaaaare you *insert breach of holy book here this is a terrible insult against *insert name of deity here and I wont stand for it’. Och I could fair see masel pulling down displays of *insert name of ripped off icon here and sweeping through the shop like a righteous whirlwind. Brow beating some poor member of staff who doesnay want to be working on a *insert holy day of the week here anyway and are only there cos they need the cash.

In fact I think I might start my own religion! Now you may mock but it worked for that Hubbard bloke. Now what could I call my religion? Hmmm? All the best names have been taken already, hmmm. Got it! The Holy Order of Teuchterology! Catchy don’t ye think? I’d quite like to have two holy days, say a Friday and a Monday. I think if ye really want to get in touch with your deity a long weekend helps ye get into the mood. Naturally I’d need a few commandments, ‘thou shalt not covet thy neighbours pie*Scotch or Steak’ springs to mind ‘many a mickle sin maks a muckle big yin’ and of course ‘hoots mon whaurs ma eternal salvation’

I’d certainly need to get a few celebs involved, nothing better to help you rake in the moolah, eeeer I mean encourage donations to help those sick and needy folk in the third world, sorry, sorry, I mean ‘developing countries’. Now the science lot have already brain washed Cruise, Travolta and Bart Simpson, Kabbalah have nabbed Madonna, who could I get? Hmmm. The Nationalists have signed up Sir Sean Canary, so he’s oot the windae. Jimmy Shand is deid, which I have to admit is a bit of a drawback. Hello though! If I could rope in Robbie Shepherd and Jim McColl we could be on to a winner, ach hud on a minty though, we need some eye candy as weel…….. Got it! Ha Ha, och I’ll be swimming in cash…..

Picture the scene, the Mound in Edinburgh. Ham is standing atop a soapbox, or in this case, fishbox. The crowds are waiting expectantly to hear his maiden sermon. Two of them fight over a can of special brew. ‘Hear ye, Hear ye, the time of reckoning has arrived ……’ a hush descends ‘Join The Holy Order of Teuchterology and Jim McColl will dee yer garden, Robbie Shepherd will entertain ye on the accordion and Jackie Bird will give ye a soapy ti-‘ CCRRRKKKBOOOOOM!!

He who laughs in his homemade shelter, laughs last …….


Monday, April 17, 2006


Hamish McShanks Easter Message

The Easter bunny has been! No eggs for Ham though, I’m too old for that kind of nonsense. Happily the Easter bunny provided a couple of bottles of Shiraz and a case of Stella (I’m becoming more religious by the minute)

Not one to look a gift bevvy in the mouth I consumed these Easter treats with gusto. The rest of Sunday was a bit of a blur, I don’t remember rolling any eggs but my heid was certainly spinning the next day and by the looks of my clothes I’d been rolling down a few hills masel!

I have to say I’ve had better Mondays. I did manage to say a prayer to the boy upstairs (via the porcelain telephone) but he didn’t answer, must have been out? Ye think he could get 1571 or something.

Anyway this is a long winded way of saying. Got p*shed, didnay dee ma diary, Sorry

Should be out the Wednesday or my names not Jimmy Saville (which thankfully it isnt)

Kind Regards


Ps Turns out you really shouldn’t mix the grape and the grain!

Monday, April 10, 2006


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 82

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 9th April 2006

I’ve decided shopping can be quite a traumatic experience. A controversial opening statement you may think, but bear with me. If you’re a bloke, you carry out two main types of shopping. That’s shopping for yourself and shopping for others. Shopping for yourself is very straight forward i.e. 1. Enter shop 2. Head straight to desired item 3. Collect item and head to checkout 4. Present item and pay. At this point you usually watch in awe as your gift gets wrapped competently and effortlessly (i.e. by a girl) and then you leave. Simple, straight forward and efficient I think you’ll agree.

The second type of shopping you have is shopping for other people. Fundamentally the same procedure, but with one additional step. 1-4 are as above then you have number five. 5. Watch *Girlfriend/Mother/Sister open said present (* delete as appropriate) then try to mask their disappointment at the thoughtless nature of the gift.

Now, neither of these types of shopping are traumatic. Admittedly the frosty atmosphere after your girlfriend has opened her birthday present to find a pair of oven gloves is not the most enjoyable, but it’s hardly traumatic. Oh and a bit of helpful advice here guys, getting her initials embroidered on the gloves doesn’t really help. Ironing board covers don’t go down well either, and don’t even think about a Hoover. These all come under the category of ‘household essentials’. Protesting that the house doesn’t have a birthday doesn’t win you brownie points either. Trust me on this I have learnt the hard way over the years. Now of course I’m enlightened and twenty first century …..

However I recently discovered another type of shopping that I did find rather harrowing. This I think is a function of age rather than anything else, but it was still unpleasant. I am referring to ‘technical’ shopping. This is when you pop out to get some specific piece of DIY equipment for a household task or a simple part for your car. You know exactly what you need and have always been perfectly comfortable shopping in these kinds of establishments. That is until you realise that the kindly grey haired old gentleman who used to work in the parts department, and was so understanding of your needs, has been replaced with a snooty pre-pubescent youth who doesn’t even understand that excavating nuggets of bogey with his index finger is not a spectator sport.

It used to be great, you would ask for a part and old father time would gently quiz you, coaxing out further snippets of information about the nature of your purchase. All the while he would be silently diagnosing the problem as he continued chatting. Then he would deftly guide you towards the item you actually needed, rather than the one you were about to buy in error ‘Ah yes I had the very same problem myself sir (a complete lie) You would probably be better changing the *insert part name here first and see if that works sir’ He understood people and their little foibles. He knew what customer care was really about.

This was not the case when I visited the cycle shop. Apparently bicycle technology has moved on a lot in the last few years. Unfortunately old Mr Johnstone couldn’t keep up with the times. To my horror this genial, wizened, helpful old gentleman had been replaced by what looked like a toddler.

Having recently started cycling to work and nearly concussed myself with my own rucksack I was after a set of panniers. A rucksack is great for stowing your gear and very comfortable when your walking but it aint quite as practical on a pushbike. Every time I leant forward the top of the sack would skelp me on the back of the head. Worse still it was also pushing my helmet down over my eyes. So not only was I receiving repetitive head injuries but I was also playing blind mans cycle. Not a game you want to play on a busy main road! A pannier rack for the rear of the bike seemed the easiest solution ….

Ding! I slapped the old brass bell on the counter. The youth extracted his finger from his nostril and grunted ‘What?’. Good start I thought. Things didn’t improve when I noticed the bogey covered finger appeared to be attached to a pirate. Presumably the bandana was to protect him from the searing Scottish sun? His T-shirt had a large ‘X’ across the chest. I resisted the urge to ask if it was his signature and ploughed on ‘I’d like a pannier rack for my bike, it’s a Ralei-‘ He cut me off in mid sentence and started rattling away on the keyboard of the VDU in front of him ‘700C or 26?’, ‘-gh .. er what?’, ‘Caliper, V-Brake or cantilever?’, ‘Uuum I .. er’, ‘Do you have Shimano red rock GTR rims?’, ‘possibly’ I replied weakly. This continued for some time and eventually he dived through the back and returned with some bags.

Oookay this is your R34 Double butt aluminium blah blah blah’ It all went over my head. I just nodded at what I thought was the appropriate time. I did manage to query whether I could return the goods if they didn’t fit. He assured me that there was no way this wouldn’t work. Clutching a number of bags in my hands, I headed for home.

After unpacking the various bits ‘n’ bobs and looking at the diagrams it didn’t take long to work out that what he’d sold me wasn’t suitable for my bike. It was a blow. Now I was going to have to go back and try to explain this to the whizz kid. Sighing, I repackaged everything and trudged back to the shop. Ten minutes later I was exiting with yet more parts that ‘would definitely work’. I traipsed home, amazed at my own gullibility.

Unsurprisingly they didn’t work. My bike hadn’t miraculously metamorphosed into one with a pannier rack and all that had been achieved were scraped knuckles and ignition of my blue touch paper. I sprinted back to the shop.

DingDINGDING!Would you stopmmfggn’ I dropped the bags on the floor and pulled Captain Pugwash across the counter until his nose was touching mine ‘It doesn’t work me old hearty', 'you probably just need a-‘, ‘refund?’, ‘agggg’, ‘you said refund didn’t you?’, ‘ugghhhh’. He scrabbled in the till and thrust a handful of notes at me. I carefully counted out my cash and pushed the change back ‘Here’s some pieces of eight for you Cap’n’, ‘Now if I ever’s sees you again I’ll shove a hornpipe in yoor bung hole ye scurvey dog Aaaaaar!’

I could really get into this pirate m’larky ye know….


Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Service Announcement

Hello Blog Readers

Apologies for the woeful service lately. I've recently moved from Tesco narrowband to a decent broadband provider. The chimps on the Tesco helpline managed to disconnect me rather than sending oot a MAC code and then my laptop expired!

I now have gorgoeus lovely Tiscali broadband and a shiny reformated compootah!

Now that I have run out of excuses I hope to return to the usual patchy service forthwith and thank you for your patience, no really I do .....



Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 81

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 2nd April 2006

‘I’m telling ye that’s how they speak’, ‘Och away yer telling lies ye big teuchter’, ‘Nooo really it’s true’, ‘it’s easy to mimic’, ‘how?’, ‘just put a finger in either side of your mouth and-’, ‘I’ll do no such thing!’, ‘look it’s easy I’ll show ye’, ‘NO!’ I placed a finger in each side of my mouth and pulled apart ‘Nouuuw juusht say Raaaber Daak’ Mrs Shanks was looking very pale indeed ‘Ham’ she said in a very level, talking a jumper down, kind of voice ‘Yeeeessh Deaaar’, ‘could you please put both hands back on the steering wheel!’, ‘oh right’, ‘Now could you pull over at your earliest convenience’ I swung the car into the next lay-by ‘What’s the problooomppfff’, ‘Do we know what we did wrong?’ I nodded sheepishly whilst rubbing the red mark on the side of my face ‘Right let’s carry on then

We were on our way up North for a wedding reception. Mrs S had never been to Inverness before so I was trying to explain the Invernesian accent; in my enthusiasm I had neglected some basic road safety. Apparently using your knees to steer is deemed unsafe these days. Anyway, moving swiftly off the topic of my driving, and back to accents. The thing about the Invernesians accent is it has a very distinctive twang. And before ye jump down my throat, it’s actually a very pleasant twang and I like it. If you want to find out if someone is from Inverness just ask them to say ‘Rubber Duck’ and if it sounds like ‘Raaaaber Daaack’ then you’ve caught them bang to rights. You could of course just ask ‘Are you from Inverness?’ but where’s the fun in that?

Delightful though their accent is, I should have known better than to pay less than 100% attention on the A9. It’s an awful road. It’s very busy and is only single carriageway for most of the route between Perth and Inverness. Periodically you get short lengths of dual carriageway where you are given a ray of hope that you might actually get past slow moving vehicles. These hopes are swiftly dashed when said slow moving vehicles suddenly produce bursts of acceleration that would do a Ferrari proud. Large DERV vehicles roar like super cars right until the end of the carriageway at which point they return to their normal glacial pace. Everyone behind has had to accelerate madly to try and get past these F1 dustcarts. Now they have to suddenly jam on the anchors as they see the outer lane diminish with disturbing alacrity and another Juggernaut thundering down on them from the opposite direction. Not only does this experience alter the hue of your underwear, it also leads to frustration, which turns quickly to impatience.

Consequently it is a very dangerous road. The constant slow monotony followed by bursts of manic acceleration encourages some drivers to take unnecessary risks in their quest to get to their final destination fifteen seconds ahead of the car behind them. ‘Time is money’ you can hear them saying as they hug the tail of the car in front whilst making a call on their mobile. Personally I think time is an abstract concept, I’ve never had anyone offer me a tenner for a spare five minutes I had. Nevertheless I appear to be in the minority and overtaking at blind summits and round corners are not uncommon in the mission to be the first corpse in the mortuary. I don’t know about you, but when I can’t actually see what’s coming in the opposite direction and I’m wondering whether to overtake or not, I tend to assume it’s not clear.

The remaining two hours of the journey were completed without incident. A couple of reps driving Ford Mondeos were forced to make impromptu off road excursions as they realised the road wasn’t big enough for them and the oncoming Lorries. There’s something quite satisfying about seeing these pushy sales types wrap the pride and joy that is their car around a traffic sign or a tree. Hands flailing for their mobile as they try to extract their puss from the depths of an airbag. The suit jacket so carefully hung up in the back now fluttering down over their ears. Warms the cockles of your heart.

The B&B was a welcome sight after a nearly three hour journey. Our host was most convivial and 100% Invernesian, sadly the en-suite only had a shower cubicle so I was unable to ask if he had any bath toys. Anyway myself and Mrs Shanks were both ravenous and after some rapid ablutions we headed out for a bite to eat.

I don’t know about you but when I’m going out for a bar meal I tend to scan the menu once, pick the steak pie, and then order. However sometimes, usually in the absence of a steak pie option, I get stuck between a couple of choices, especially when I am very hungry and basically looking for the most filling selection. Today it was the flame grilled steak burger versus the haddock and chips, oh the quandary. ‘So what are you having dear?’ I enquired whilst sipping a mouthful of beer ‘Hmmm I’m not sure, either the burger or the fish and chips’ ‘Gggssppppt’ I sprayed the menu with beer ‘are you alright dear?’, ‘fine fine’ I mumbled, mopping up the table.

‘Oh no’ I thought, the worst scenario ever, food envy! It’s a no win situation, I’ll order the fish and she’ll order the burger. My fish will be the size of a sardine and come with a single chip, while she’ll have half a cows airse wedged between two loaves of bread, a bucket of coleslaw and a mountain of chips. But if I order the burger and Mrs S orders the fish, I’ll get a sliver of beef nestling between two crumbs of bread, with nae veg. And she’ll get a whale supper served in a wheelbarrow of chips, NOOOOOO!

This is what happens when you let your blood sugar levels drop dangerously low and then you have a pint of beer. Your brain becomes febrile and you’re stomach starts to rule the roost. It doesn’t care about anything else but itself. Manners aren’t any concern for a stomach. The brains trying to murmur ‘get a grip fatty, either will be fine, don’t be causing a scene! Why don’t you share’ whereas your stomachs shouting ‘give me everything on the menu, I’m hungry and I want it NOW! ME! ME! ME!!

Crunch time, the waitress arrived ‘Can I take your order?’ I glanced across at Mrs S; her mouth seemed to open in slow motion, the words drawn out like a 45 record played at album speed ‘I’ll have the fish please’ The waitress turned to me ‘for sir?’ The screams from my stomach were making me light headed and I started to feel the room spin. Tumbling forward I scrabbled desperately at the tablecloth. The last thing I remember is mumbling ‘I’ll have the raaaaaber daaaack please’ before hitting the floor. The tablecloth nestling on top of me like a paisley pattern shroud.



Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 80

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 19th March 06

There are three rituals a man has to do every morning. These ancient observances have been passed down over the generations, from father to son. They are steeped in great ceremony and treated with great reverence. I am of course alluding to the oft quoted ‘three S’es’. The first S requires the morning paper, or perhaps Sundays colour supplement, if you’re feeling posh. The second S requires a razor blade, a steady hand and a mirror. The third S; gallons of hot water and cleansing products of your choosing. Ok there are actually four rituals carried out by men every morning but the fourth is generally not talked about; the three S’s and a W doesn’t really have the same ring about it and anyway it should be the W and the three S’es. Or possibly the two W’s and a S ….. Aaaanyway, moving swiftly on.

Having successfully completed the first three two items on my checklist I was ready for a shampoo. I flicked on the radio ‘It’s nearly quarter to seven and time for the sports headlines, Manchester Unite…’ The presenter was droning on as I twisted the hot tap anticlockwise. There was an agonised gurgle or two, swiftly followed by some dull hammering under the bath, after a silent second of two water finally started stuttering out of the shower. Gingerly I placed my hand under the flow to test the temperature ‘och that’s not too bad’ I mumbled as the tepid water ran through my fingers.

I was fully lathered up with my ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ Tea Tree & Mint shower gel when the temperature started to rise ‘Oooh aah eyaaa jeeeesus fu-‘ I jumped out from under the flow ‘what the bloody hell?’ I hadn’t touched the taps, yet the temperature had risen sharply. Cautiously I stretched a finger into the path of the falling water, it seemed normal again ‘bloody boiler’ I grumbled before stepping back underneath.

I was happily exfoliating the skin on my baldy heid when winter arrived with a vengeance ‘Oooooh fuuuuckinhell’ I leapt back as a sheet of ice cold water gushed over me ‘w.w.w.what the ff.f.ffking hell!’ Hammering noises were emanating from under the bath and the shower head was vibrating ominously as I shivered in disbelief. Mouth hanging open at the sight of sleet pelting out of my shower I was finally roused from my trance when the shower head shook itself off it’s holder and started spraying the entire room with torrents of icy water ‘Aaaaaarrggh … fffkinb..strd’ I screamed while wrestling with the taps. Thirty seconds later all was quiet. Wet, but quiet.

‘Ok.k.k.kay H.h.h.h..aa.a.aam’ I whispered through rattling teeth ‘j..j..just s.s.ssstay .. ccc.calm’ I stepped out of the bath and wrapped a large towel round my midriff ‘n.n.nno ppp..oint in goi..nnng m m..mmental’, ‘cc..ccount to’, ‘One ..three ..fouAARRGGHH!’ I ripped the shower out of the bath ‘AAARRGGHH’ the coiled up hose dangling like a severed spine. I ran through to the boiler cupboard and started thrashing the case of the boiler with the remains of the shower ‘You BAAAAASTARD!’ I screamed ‘What have I ever done to you’ I bellowed ‘I service you every year’ THUMP ‘You get the summer off from central heating’ CRASH ‘You only have to heat one shower a day!’ SKELP ‘Why do you taunt me so?’ WALLOP! ‘WHY?’ with one final blow the showerhead separated from the coil of hose I was clutching, ricocheted of the flue and caught me square between the eyes ‘WHYOOooomppfff’ No need for a standing eight count, it was a straight K.O.

Having destroyed my bathroom and boiler, this seemed as good a time as any to have a look at electric showers. After patching myself up I headed off to the local DIY store.

There’s quite a selection on offer it has to be said. Power showers, Tower showers, hydrotherapy cabins, Power Tower Multijet hydrotherapy sauna Spa Cabins and feck knows what else. It was a tad confusing. Reluctantly I realised I needed some advice so I set off in search of a sales assistant ‘Excuse me can you help me with-‘, ‘Sorry Pal I don’t work in the bathroom department’, ‘ok can you find me someone wh-‘ but he had stepped behind a shelf and disappeared. I spotted another orange clad employee arranging bathroom taps on a display stand nearby ‘Excuse me could you give me some advice on showers?’, ‘Sorry pal, I don’t work in the bathroom department’. I glanced at the bathroom accessories he was clutching in his hand ‘That’s a lawnmower then is it?’ I enquired ‘you could try that guy’ he replied, pointing behind me.

I should have known better, the second I turned my back to look I heard the clatter of metal on concrete. I spun back round and he was gone. He couldn’t have been out of my sight for more than a second yet he had also managed to disappear through the magic door to neverland ‘For pities sake’. I was getting angry now and when I spotted a glimmer of orange out the corner of my eye I decided to go for some affirmative action.

‘Right Laddy’ I growled, grabbing the unfortunate gentleman by his collar ‘I want to know all about yer showers’, ‘and’ I continued, pulling his face up to mine, ‘I dinnay care what department ye work in m’laddo’, ‘bu-‘, ‘I dinnay want any of yer shite!’, ‘but-‘, ‘nae disappearing act Mr Benn, spill the beans’. Dragging him across to the shower section I proceeded to interrogate him on the merits of all the different options. He was useless, he couldn’t answer the simplest question. ‘What do they teach you people?’ I bellowed slaping him across the face with a product catalogue ‘I dont-‘, ‘you don’t what?’, ‘Listen?’ slap ‘learn?’ slap ‘possess any cognitive abilities’ slap ‘care about your customers’ slap

No I don’t wor-slapRight you are sir, here’s the paint you were looking for, now what kind of wallpape-SWEET JESUS!’, ‘-k here’ I froze in mid-slap; my hand paused above my head. Quickly my eyes flicked between the member of staff in his orange apron, and the individual I had tethered to the shower stand in his orange football shirt. ‘Ah’ The real staff member was reaching for his radio, I can’t imagine he was going to be asking for a stock check on tap washers. Quickly I pointed over his shoulder ‘Look an Ostrich!’ I screamed before diving through the magic door.

I guess you must have to be a member of staff for it to operate correctly. Three hundred litres of satin emulsion tumbling on top of you also prevents any prospect of a getaway.

It’s not so bad inside, three square meals a day, Sky telly and the showers work, although I’ve learnt to just leave my soap if I drop it…..


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?