Sep 242010

Old Susannah gets to grips with those difficult to understand terms.

Old Susannah thanks readers who wrote in with money-saving ideas for Aberdeen City Council.  Many of you suggest money could be saved by sending Kate Dean and Kevin Stewart to the upcoming oil event in Houston.  On one-way tickets.

Unfortunately, it has been decided to send our Lord Provost on his own this time.  (Obviously someone has to go, how else would the rest of the world know that Aberdeen is an important city in the oil business, and how else would the world find out how well organised and prosperous we are?).


“The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible” as Oscar Wilde put it. Fox-hunting was eventually banned for its pointless cruelty.  Foxhunting supporters pointed out that foxes stole live chickens from hen houses and ate them.  However, that was no justification for this unpleasant blood sport.

The new foxhunting.  Famous figures from the world of golf include

Tiger Woods from the USA, and Donald Forbes, 55, from Ibex Well Engineering Consultancy .  In this hazardous sport, (Winston Churchill reportedly said golf “spoils a good fox hunt”,) players wander around dangerous areas known as ‘courses’ and ‘greens’ – areas inhabited by savage and ferocious ‘wildlife’ .  Devotees of golf point out that foxes steal food from ‘golfbags’ and eat it.  Ideally, to give the golfer any kind of a sporting chance, the wildlife should first be tamed and lulled into a false sense of security so that afterwards it can be hunted while it is looking for food.  Some foxes may grow as big as small to medium-sized dogs, so golf can be a very dangerous sport indeed.

Golfers hit golf balls and sometimes animals – particularly if the animal is asking for it.  Provocative behaviour could include foraging for food and/or going into bags that contain food.  Such unreasonable behaviour in a fox should be countered by the golfer with an appropriate response such as yelling “Hey, get out of my bag”.  Obviously, any well-behaved fox would respond by swiftly running off, perhaps also by saying “Sorry – wrong bag”, or making some other form of apology.  If the fox doesn’t leave or apologise, a player would then be at liberty to call the greenkeeper and ask for help.

The second point is Forbes’ acknowledgement that his actions are not in accordance with everyone’s beliefs.  He’s got that right

However, such a situation can escalate to ‘person-threatening’ very quickly, and a golfer in peril is likely use a wood or a 4 iron, and teach the ferocious giant fox a good lesson.  In the rules of golf it is not clear how many strokes one is allowed for a fox but presumably Donald Forbes of Ibex would be able to answer that point if any readers care to ask.

If a golfer has had to fight for his life, and actually won the contest, the protocol ought to be to leave the fox suffering in order to teach it a lesson.  Old Susannah would like to send her deep regrets to the clearly traumatised Mr Forbes of Ibex.  Perhaps he should stay out of golf altogether. It is understood his current club has let him go for his own sake which is most thoughtful of it.  Ideally Ibex will likewise ensure that Mr Forbes is given a long period of rest to recover from his brush with death.

Forbes made three excellent points in the media this week. Firstly – the fox was dangerous. It was the club’s fault and the fault of everyone who fed it that the creature was looking for food.  Old Susannah has been offered photos of the fox in question by people who used to look forward to seeing it.  Printing these photos, however, would unjustly put the fox in a favourable light – it seems to have been a beautiful, woodland creature with a distinct friendliness towards people.  We now know differently.

we live in a part of Scotland where the local authorities seem to understand the hazards of green spaces

The second point is Forbes’ acknowledgement that his actions are not in accordance with everyone’s beliefs.  He’s got that right.  Some of those not ‘believing’ he did the right thing include Grampian Police and the SSPCA, who are of the ‘belief’ that he’s blatantly broken the law.

Forbes’ third point is that he did not actually kill the animal.  Again, we know he left it suffering from its injuries.  How good of him to own up to that and to make those points in print.

Self Defence

There are, believe it or not, golf courses which have even more dangerous animals other than foxes and bunnies.  There is a course near Atlanta, Georgia that has alligators.  However, nothing can prepare a golfer, even one as intrepid as Donald Forbes, for an encounter with a fox.  As per the above definition of golf, Mr Forbes halfway clubbed a half-tame fox to death, which had, in Forbes’ words “Caused me to fear for my person”.

As we all know, the law allows for a ‘proportionate’ response when we are in danger.  So, if an animal the size of a Scottie dog tries to steal food out of your bag, by all means defend your life with your golf club.  Hopefully Mr Forbes will soon have a good deal of free time on his hands and will be happy no doubt to demonstrate his lifesaving self-defence technique.

A ‘housing shortage’, however manufactured, is good for business.  And we’re told a ‘housing shortage’ is what we’ve got.

Old Susannah used to think she had a narrow escape at being mugged at knifepoint some years ago – but accepts now that Mr Donald Forbes has had a far worse ordeal.
In all seriousness, the sooner we can get rid of any remaining green areas which facilitate the existence of dangerous beasts like foxes, the better.

Happily we live in a part of Scotland where the local authorities seem to understand the hazards of green spaces and are working hard to reduce the number of same.  Mr Forbes and the rest of us will soon be much safer.  After all, when did you last see a fox in a shopping mall or underground car park?

Real Estate Portfolio

It has been said that anyone who has assets as well as being in debt is a fool.  On the one hand, our City Council seems to have slightly over committed itself financially (perhaps it should cut down on outside consultants just for openers).  On the other hand, thank goodness, it owns properties.  Lots and lots and lots of them. We, sorry – or rather the City – own so much property that a spreadsheet list takes up about 18 pages of very small print. There are hundreds of office spaces, many of which are boarded up (which keeps them safer, of course) as well as homes, fields, and so on.

Amateurish suggestions have been made to turn some of these unused spaces into dwellings, rent them out or put City Council staff in them but that would not be much use to the construction industry. A ‘housing shortage’, however manufactured, is good for business.  And we’re told a ‘housing shortage’ is what we’ve got.  The City also stimulates the economy by paying rent on large office spaces at the AECC (convenient for the concerts) which coincidentally had a few City Council members on its board until just recently.

There has even been some wild talk about selling off some of the City’s real estate portfolio to pay some of the bills and possibly even reinstate some of the services that once existed. A city official explained to Old Susannah why this could not be done although the City did manage to allegedly sell a valuable home to one of its outgoing VIP’s some years back for a fraction of its market value.  If I ever come to understand the logic he used, I will pass it on.

In the meantime, be glad you are part owner of hundreds of properties including about 10 pubs.  The pubs may explain why some members of the Council have been seen ‘tired and emotional’, even to the point of falling asleep at dinner functions.