MORE irrefutable evidence of global warming.
Readers who are not yet addicted to tranquillisers may recall my chuntering a few weeks ago about a seal I spotted doggy-paddling farther up the River Esk than one had ever been seen before.
Not surprisingly, this came to the attention of the BBC's natural history division, who asked if I was interested in becoming Fisherrow's answer to David Attenborough. After some humming and hawing I agreed, and I am soon to make a 12-part series on the common pigeon.
Meanwhile, as I was mugging up on the subject in my eyrie, I spied on the sofa an object that looked like a lump of muck. Normally, I would have called the Home Secretary away from her chores and asked her what on earth she thought she was playing at. But since she was not around I had little option but to investigate myself. Would you believe that the muck turned out to be a bat? Not since I misidentified a pheasant for a deer have I been so mistaken!
Instructed by the Home Secretary, who knows about such matters, having been brought up in a belfry, I found a box and eased the dozy bat into it. Then I took it into the garden and showed it to my dear friend Derek, who agreed to be a witness should anyone accuse me of being batty(!!!!). Not since Hearts won the Scottish Cup has he been so wide-eyed. Then I let the bat loose in the ivy where it could hide from killer cats. As I say, irrefutable evidence of global warming. How else to explain the bat's presence on the sofa?
EDINBURGH is en fete. George Street, which used to have nothing in it except banks and building societies and churches, is now given over to dipsomaniacs.
In the block between Hanover Street and Frederick Street, a spiegeltent has been erected outside the Assembly Rooms, out of which jazz seeps. There is an air of festivity, enjoyment even, which does not bode well for the future in what used to be the most censorious city on the planet.
Art, one finds, does not thrive on pleasure. What it needs is misery, and plenty of it. Otherwise where will the next generation of Kafkas and Dostoevskys come from? Not from inside a spiegeltent.
ONE star of the Book Festival is my old chum Ricky Holloway, erstwhile Bish of Edinburgh. He appeared with Rabbi Julia Neuberger. He has no hair and she has a surfeit. If we lived under communism, I'm sure she would be told to give him some.
Mr Holloway was blethering about his book, Leaving Alexandria, which I surely do not need to remind readers of this throbbing organ has nothing to do with sphinxes and pharaohs. The Alexandria Mr H is talking about is the one in Dunbartonshire. I have heard, however, that some booksellers have shelved it in their travel sections under Egypt.
Mr H talked about religion and God. I trust I am not misrepresenting him when I say that he prefers the latter to the former. The former appears to have its fair share of what he terms "nutters" and what I would call "bampots". These tend to be happy-clappy types who begin to speak in tongues at the very mention of homosexuals.
Once, Mr H said, at the Lambeth Conference, which is attended by Anglican bishops, an African bishop attempted to exorcise a homosexual English bishop, homosexuality being a no-no in Africa where, like Aids, it doesn't exist.
Not, of course, that Mr H's "nutters" are confined to Anglican church. There are more than a few in the Kirk and the Catholic church, many of whom I would be happy personally to assist in exorcising.
MY dear friend Jim Haynes is currently in this "most heretical of provinces" (as one impertinent Asian divine once described this land), as he has been every year since the Boer War.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous Writers' Conference, at which Mr Haynes was a merry presence. Not only was he a midwife at the birth of the Traverse Theatre, he also founded the first paperback bookshop in the UK. For all these reasons, he deserves a few slaps on the back. This week he will get a couple with the unveiling, one understands, of not one but two statues, one of which, apparently, is of a rhino or perhaps a hippo. Don't ask me to explain the significance of this.
Also in town is John Calder, the inspiration behind the 1962 Writers' Conference and much else, who, even at the age of 312, is still doing his best to ruffle feathers and provoke haverers. Mr Calder deserves a statue or two, too. See to it, somebody.
I have just received an email telling me I have more "friends" on Facebook than I think. Since I thought I had none, since I have nothing to do with Facebook, since the very thought of thinking about it makes my knees knock, this comes as something of a shock.
All I know about Facebook is that after it issued shares their value sank, which pleased me – as long as none was bought by my pension fund.
I have also received an email telling me I have 1300 followers on Twitter and that I, in turn, am following 1186. Cue mild indignation, since I have never tweeted, twittered or twung. Closer investigation – the horror! – reveals that I did, in a fit of purple madness, register for Twitter and that I actually have four followers, each of whom, one suspects, needs their head examined.
AT the Book Fest, every other person I meet begs me to recommend a book. What am I, Richard And Judy?
For the record, the only book worth reading this century is The Italian Sausage Bible by my dear friend Mary Contini, of Valvona and Crolla fame. It runs to just over 100 pages, on every one of which is a sausage recipe to make you salivate. My one quibble is that Ms Contini could have called her book The Salsicce Bible, which would have sorted the heidbangers from the hotdogs.
ANENT – ahem! – the Olympics, the Paralympics are almost upon us. And then what? Roll on the Oktoberfest in Munich or, as it must now be known, the Paralytic Olympics.
This is a caption for all the pictures on the page and the one on the
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