We have at least six charity shops in this town and I ventured into several of them today in my weekly trawl for bargains. There was a lot of stuff outside the 'Sue Ryder' shop again today and on the top of the box of mugs (there is always a box of mugs they are desperate to get rid off) I found this glorious beast! A Heart of Midlothian mug! Clearly someone close by has an understanding of football although it is clear his woman has not. No man in his right mind would dump a mug of such quality and representing his team at that under any circumstances. Clearly there has been a falling out and if there has not been there will be when he discovers the mug gone!
There was a surprised look in that I took only one mug, I had not noticed the price, and when I indicated that having more than one means washing more than one the man accepted this without hesitation and the woman looked at me askance! She then charged me 30 pence, that's six shillings in real money, and being gracious I offered 50p and told them to put the change (4 shillings) in the offering box.
What a find, makes me glad to be alive.
There is a debate on Twitter at the moment concerning Scots delicacies. Two lines of thought, one asks what do you call the evening meal? Is it 'dinner' or is it 'tea?' Obviously those in the east of Scotland who have been educated correctly refer to the lunch as 'dinner,' that's why school employ 'dinner ladies' who are not employed after five in the evening, and the evening meal is called 'tea.' Snobs tend to pretend they are among the English higher orders and deliberately act the 'Toom Tabard' by calling their evening meal 'dinner.' The effrontery of it indeed!
The second delicacy is a real delicacy, fish suppers. In the chip shop you order the fish supper, usually Haddock & Chips in Scotland, Cod & Chips in grubby England, and in Edinburgh the sixteen year old (maybe) lassie will ask if you desire "Salt & Sauce?" The correct answer is "Yes."
In lesser places, such as Glasgow, the 'not quite sure of her gender never mind her age' lassie will give you Salt & Vinegar, polite lassies might ask but don't argue if she/he/it doesn't.
The Brown Sauce, pronounced 'Broon Sauce' is a mix of broon sauce and vinegar. It makes fish suppers delicious and has kept a great many Scotsmen from starvation. The fact that far too many indulge after a night in the pub and forgot the rules of healthy eating does somewhat contribute to Scotland having one of the highest rates of heart disease in the world, only Ireland was higher last time I looked. A lack of variety in the diet, too much beer and smoking combined with no exercise kills. However fish suppers occasionally in Edinburgh, and from one of the better chip shops, is indeed a delight not to be missed.
Elsewhere in the world conflict continues. The picture above comes from Twitter, Kareem Shaheens picture for C4 News, is of Darayya a suburb town of Damascus that has been fought over for four long years siege. Now those remaining are being allowed to leave, the civilians moving elsewhere, the fighters dropping their arms and going separately to another rebel held part of the country near Turkey. I wonder whether the rebel fighters will make it?
The picture is a marvellous insight into the kind of warfare we hear about but fail to take too much notice of. After all it is a far away country about which we know nothing, except they are Arabs and always fighting one another. Sadly this fight need never have happened and the news reports even on C4 appear to be somewhat biased against Assad in my view. This irks me as the whole world is told Assad is a bad man yet few mention that in the middle east he was comparatively gentle in comparison to others. There are as we know NO good side in the middle east, they are all bad!
Trying to read between the lines it seems to me Sunni Saudia Arabia feared nuclear Shia Iran and was none to happy with Obama's nuclear treaty with Iran. Syria, Iran's only friend in the region, was a stable state, one in which visitors could travel around much more freely and safely than they could in Saudi. There were pockets of trouble as in all other middle east nations yet the nation was stable and most were reasonably happy. The troubles that arose in Darayya surely were encouraged by Saudi & Sunni Qatar, another nation wary of Shia Iran, and these protests met with typical Assad type response. Tanks soon took to the streets.
Since then the understandable reluctance of Obama to get involved, both Saudi & Qatar are our oil & money rich 'friends' after all, has led to the fall out from the Bush/Blair war in Iraq leading to IS appearing and joining other extreme groups fighting Assad, Turkey, and anyone who happens to be in the area. With no powerful nation forcing them to stop and Iraq falling apart the fighting increased and the suffering of the civilians, if indeed any are civilians in such a war, increases.
What is the answer?
Now Russia has begun to support Syria Assad has now won two of the three main towns leading the opposition. Some degree of peace here. Aleppo will be the next point of attack, unless some other horror intrudes, and the sieeg, the killing, the finger pointing will continue for another year or two.
Who really is the bad guy? The media tends to point at Assad but he did not start the conflict, others did. The terror, the torture, the nasty use of weapons occurs on both sides, no innocent party here. The US & Russia have say some an agreement as to how far both can go even if outwardly it may appears conflicts occur. The Saudis, in between cutting off hands and crucifying 16 year old's, say little possibly too busy obtaining British bombs to drop on Yemeni children. David Cameron would not intervene in the 16year old's crucifixion because the 'Saudi's pay us a lot of money.' Money and oil and self preservation come to the fore here. Let the Arabs kill one another but let us remember the money they give us also.
What is the answer to this war? I don't know.
Last week Celtic played an Israeli team in the European Champions League. At this game many Celtic fans waved Palestinian flags (something none of them did while in Israel itself I noted) and made out they shared support for the beleaguered Palestinians.
It's nonsense of course. Celtic fans like to portray themselves as victims. Victims of sectarian abuse, victims in work, victims in play and the support for Palestine Arabs has nothing to do with Palestine but everything to do with self pity and encouraging a 'victimhood' they can all gather under.
Not one fan from any other Scots side will sympathise with them, all have suffered from the hordes of yobs coming from Glasgow's east side, all have listened to their sectarian songs, all have seen them attack locals, destroy local areas and frighten men women and children.
Self pitying Celts will be better attempting to change their attitudes and the attitudes of their bigot brothers along the road at Ibrox Park. Just remember Scotland does not want either of you!