It's been a good week for … cut-price national identity
German supermarket chain Lidl is cutting its cloth in the run-up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with special value Highland regalia.
The cheapest kilts ever to go on sale, these poly viscose numbers retail at a mere 20 quid. Classy polyester ghillie shirts complete the ensemble at just £12.99 and a leather sporran can be had for £9.99. (To put that in context, traditional wool kilts sell for around £350, Jacobite shirts around £65 and a sporran can cost £300.) After all that, a man about town might even be able to afford a pair of pants for under his kilt.
Three tartans are on offer - Black Watch, Royal Stewart and the rather enigmatic Granite Grey, presumably a design named after the Scottish weather. The Lidl kilt has a 24in drop and is five yards wide - three yards short of traditional specifications. Scottish kiltmakers are not impressed.
Ken MacDonald, a governor of the Scottish Tartans Authority and owner of Houston Kiltmakers in Paisley, said: "A lot of imported stuff is from places such as India and China. However, the majority of folk want to buy something that is high quality and will last a lifetime."
Lidl spokesman Alasdair Fowle was unable to confirm in which country its kilts were manufactured, but said the supplier was a Scottish firm.
He added: "This fantastic range at unbelievably low prices will allow the people of Scotland to not only showcase Scotland's proud heritage and traditions, but will give everyone the chance to really get behind Team Scotland."
Also for sale as part of the Scotland at Lidl range are junior "playable" bagpipes in Black Watch, Royal Stewart or Mackenzie tartan for £12.99. Traditional bagpipes start at £1200.
Perhaps a new piobaireachd will be composed: The Commonwealth's Lament To The Bargain Basement Bagpipes. Meanwhile, enjoy a tipple from Lidl's tartan hip flask (rrp £6.99) and drown your sorrows.
It's been a bad week for … sprouts
You either love them or hate them. It's like Marmite, except green. Every blinking year - and I'm sorry, I'm going to say the C word - Christmas throws up the conflict over Brussels sprouts,.
How anyone can become so exercised over a vegetable is beyond me, but it's barely July and Marks & Sparks has already entered the fray.
Unveiling its Christmas range, M&S couldn't help but stir it up, by offering sprout juice. Apparently, the drink is intended to capitalise on the growing popularity of vegetable juice. Personally, I find that hard to swallow.
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