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Dec 112015

Aberdeen Voice’s ‘poetry mannie in residence’ Bob Smith, who passed away on March 5.

In March 2015, Aberdeen Voice lost one of it’s most prolific writers and best loved team members, our ‘poetry mannie’, Bob Smith.

Bob was a fierce critic of Donald Trump, and would never miss an opportunity to ‘mention’ Trump in his popular poems, which he contributed weekly in Aberdeen Voice for a period of over 4 years.

In all, Bob contributed in excess of 200 poems, and a monthly column entitled ‘Smithy’s Scribblins’

As we digest the news that Donald Trump has had his honorary degree revoked by RGU, His Global Scot status revoked by Nicola Sturgeon, and a petition to ban him from the UK, launched by ‘Voice’s Suzanne Kelly, becoming the most popular petition ever to appear on the Government’s petition site, with, at the time of writing, nearly half a million signatures, our thoughts turn to Bob and how we miss his unique brand of humour.

Bob would have loved to have seen this day, and undoubtedly would be frantically scribbling down some new verses to mark the occasion.

Therefore it seems fitting to republish one of his many poems, this from September 2010, and raise a glass to a warm and genuine friend we were glad to know and very much miss.

– Fred Wilkinson, Editor.

(Noo the Richt Gits University)

by Bob Smith.

The Donald his been awarded
A University honorary degree
His the principal gin aff his heid
At yon learned placie by the Dee?

Continue reading »

Apr 012015

By Duncan Harley and Fred Wilkinson on behalf of the Aberdeen Voice team.


Aberdeen Voice’s ‘poetry mannie in residence’ Bob Smith, who passed away on March 5.

Bob Smith has passed away at age 74. He signed himself “Bob Smith © – The Poetry Mannie” and told us all that Doric wirds are mair expressive, than onything else ye micht hear.

In true Bob style he kept his last illness very quiet saying only that he was unable to write at the present.

His daughter Kerry later got in touch regarding his passing. He died at home.

To the best of our knowledge, his last published piece, The Wireless appeared in the February 2015 edition Leopard Magazine. A fitting tribute to the man’s talent, the poem reflects on past times when he was a loon.

Jimmy Shand, Sports Report and that Prince Charles favourite the Goon Show all get a mention.

This extract tells of Dick Barton Special Agent plus ace detective Paul Temple, famous sleuth and amateur private detective:

“The Wireless ah the memories
O listenin fin I wis a loon
On dark winters nichts roon the fire
Oor Ecko radio it  sure wis a boon

There wis Dick Barton Special Agent
Fa took on aa the baddies
It fair sharpened the imagination
O fowk like us as laddies

Paul Temple an ace dectective
As weel as yon PC49
Solvin aa the nations crimes
Their adventures I likit fine ……… “

Robert Smith was born and brought up on a farm in Skene, Aberdeenshire and educated at Garlogie Primary School and at Skene School. He only took up writing poetry after he retired.

Married to Linda, Bob’s daughter Kerry lives in Dubai. His son Steven sadly pre-deceased him in early 2014.

Bob worked for many years at Aberdeen Journals before taking early retirement to pursue his other interests which included the buying and selling of antiques, playing golf and passionately following the Dons. He proclaimed himself as their number one fan.

A deep love of the North East of Scotland, it’s landscape, it’s people, it’s traditions and it’s natural heritage are recurrent themes in Bob’s written work. Such passion would be expressed not only by celebrating such treasures, but also by questioning, satirising and pouring scorn on any figure or process which threatened or detracted from that which he held dear.

Bob reserved his hard hitting political comments for those whom he felt deserved them. Donald Trump, Sir Ian Wood and a good few Aberdeen councillors often got a good bashing both in the form of his letters to the local papers and his poetry, which was usually in the Doric.

Bob was widely published. A search for “Bob Smith” in the Aberdeen Voice search box will return around 100 of Bob’s Doric poems. There are of course many more.

When the man was asked if he knew of a poem in the Doric to use at a friend’s mums funeral, he replied in the negative but said he would immediately pen one. It was duly read out by a grieving grandson last November in an Aberdeen church to an audience of relatives. Bob of course was unrepentantly shy regarding his contribution to the ceremony, only saying that he was glad to help.

It would be comforting to think that this unpublished piece might become a classic. The Catto family have a cherished copy and if asked would no doubt share freely.

Alongside his weekly Aberdeen Voice column his Doric poems featured in Leopard Magazine and his take on the Turra Coo featured in the Scottish Review.

The Bonnie Dunes o Menie, stuff about Fitba and the Spikkin o Doric all came under his wry scrutiny.

Smithy’s Scribblins aboot the naitural warld included lines such as:

“Foo lang afore ess prophecy becomes a reality? And Weel the wye we’re gobblin up the Earth’s resources, maybe seener than ye bliddy think.

“The fowk fa war native tae America lang afore the supposed civilised warld visited their shores kent fine foo tae live alangside naitur.”

His take on Trump was less forgiving. But apart from a ribald comment or ten, Bob was content just to criticise the man thus:

The Donald’s bocht a golf resort
Doon on the Ayrshire coast
A’ll get ti host The Open
Wull noo be his prood boast

Thirty Five million he did spen
He got Turnberry fer a snip
Es o coorse micht mean
Interest in Menie taks a dip

Jist cast yer myn back
Fin winfairms he did detest
The mannie made a vow
In Scotland he’d nae mair invest

Fit ti mak o ess U-turn
As he cums crawlin back
Bein economical wi the truth
The chiel still his the knack

Hud on a wee meenitie tho’
It micht nae be plain sailin
The spectre o affshore winfairms
Cwid yet hae Trumpie wailin

Marine Scotland it his reported
Aboot a site jist oot at sea
Far ye cwid plunk win turbines
They’d be richt in Donald’s ee

Fergus Ewing says ess plans
Fer noo are aff the radar
Yet fair refused ti rule oot
Returnin ti them later

If a winfairm cam ti pass
Wid The Donald then renege?
Or wid he maybe in a rage
Blaw up yon Ailsa Craig

At Doonbeg he’d ti stop some wark
Did he nae hae richt permission?
He can tho’ noo  gyaang ahead
Maybe efter a new submission?

Micht Donald hae fresh concerns
A snail in Ireland is protectit
Bi speecial environmental laws
An ess canna be correctit

Trump says he’s gyaan ti wark
Wi environmentalists an sic fowk
If he’d deen aat ower in Menie
He micht nae bin classed a gowk

Noo ere’s nae doot the mannie
Oot the news he winna bide
Wull we next aa be hearin
The bugger’s bocht the River Clyde …

He wrote about many folk and commented wildly according to his well held views. Bob knew how to make those wee moments special.

In not so far off December 2013 he referenced some prophetic words by a Native American tribal leader by the name of Chief Seattle.

“A’ll leave the last wird tae a Native American tribal leader, Chief Seattle, fa said awa back in 1854:-

Humankind has not woven the web of life, We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves, All things are bound together.
All things connect.”

One of his most heartfelt classics is Spikkin Doric  published in the Voice some years ago, the piece reflects on the banning of the native tongue of the north east during the difficult days when locals were encouraged to speak the queens English and stand to attention when listening to the national anthem. Bob would have none if it.

A’ve ayewis spak the Doric
Sin a wis jist a loon
A dialect still weel loo’d
Fae the Spey tae Bervie toon

Fin a wis at the local skweel
In classrooms it wis banned
Ye were threatened wi the scud
Fit wid hae wairmed yer hand

Bit eence oot in the playgrun
It flowed oot o yer moo
An wi yer freens an neipers
Doric wisna thocht taboo

We canna lit iss language dee
It’s pairt an paircel o oor lan
The Doric an the North east
They aye gyang han in han

A’m  loathe tak in fit a’m hearin
Young fowk canna say “ch” as in loch
Fit’s the warld cumin tae
If ye canna git yer tongue aroon roch?

Doric wirds are mair expressive
Than onything else ye micht hear
Thunk hivvens fowk still spik it
In  kwintra placies like New Deer

The  braw wird  “dreich” a like
Instead o jist sayin “dull”
Or maybe gyaan “heelster-gowdie”
As ye tummle doon a hull

Robbie Shepherd he still spiks it
An a Doric sang he’ll sing
Sin the days o “The Garlogie Fower”
Iss chiel’s bin the Doric “king”

Lits aa fecht fer the Doric
Hae it taacht in aa the skweels
Instead o aa the lah-de-dahs
Thinkin the Doric is fer feels

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie

Fred, the Voice Team and I could of course go on. Robert is a man well missed by all who knew him. Well met and well written Bob, we miss you.

Comments are of course very welcome.

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Oct 012010

By Bob Smith.

Trump flees in fae New York toon
Maybe wi flechs on University goon
Some micht say the “louse” is the wearer
Nae his claes fit are the bearer

New York city it is bug infested
At Dyce Airport Trump should be tested
Ti see if he is the cairrier o
Thae beesties fit loup ti an fro’

The thocht o flechs gyaan fae fowk ti fowk
Is aneuch ti mak some hae a cowk
Fit fin Trump is gettin’ his degree
A louse it lans on a wifie’s knee?

Her skirls wid be heard up in Turra
As she leaves the hall in a hurra
Itchin’ ti scratch the bit fit’s yockie
Fowk’ll think she’s deein’ the hokey cokey

The flech o coorse is haein’ gran’ fun
As aa the fowk are on the run
Trump’s fans they micht hae a grouse
The rest o us toast “Ti A Louse”

Here’s ti you wee loupin’ beestie
Awa ye go an hae a feastie
On Donald’s bleed hae a gweed sook
Maybe on his erse ye’ll raise a plook

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie “ 2010

See also Former Principal Returns Award

Jul 082014

“My fit big teeth ye hiv Suarez”

“Aa the better ti bite ye wi Chiellini”

With the knockout stages of the World cup well underway, Bob Smith scribbles his mind with not a care who minds his scribblins.

Football cheat 2aA’ve paraphrased the wirds fae a fairy tale a kent fin a wis a loon ti fit the gyaans on in the World Cup fin Luis Suarez maybe thocht aat haen a bite oot o Italian Gorgio Chiellini’s shooder wid increase his protein an energy livils. Bit the fairy tale o aa fairy tales maan be Suarez’s excuse fin he claimed he lost his balance an fell inti Chiellini an his teeth cum in contact wi the Italian’s  body.

Hivin seen fit happen’t ower an ower again a hiv come ti the conclusion Suarez maan think we war aa born yesterday.

Noo Suarez,the Uruguayan FA an fans fae aat kwintra aa think the ban stoppin him fae playin fer Uruguay fer nine games an a fower month ban fae domestic fitba is  ower the tap. He wis lucky he wisna banned sine die, literally a lifetime ban, as es wis his third offence fer bitin’ anither player.

The last player in Britain ti be suspended sine die wis Wullie Woodburn o Rangers fa lost his timper an landit a fist on Eck Paterson o Stirling Albion. Ess happen’t sixty ‘ear ago an wis the first time he hid punched onybody. The ban wis owerturned bit bi the time es cam aboot Woodburn wis ower auld ti resume playin an decidit ti retire.

Noo a’ll move on ti divin, anither curse o the modern game.

Foo mony players div ye see noo gyaan doon as tho’ the hid bin hit bi an express train or performin the deein swan act jist cos somebody cum inti contact wi ‘em. Maist time the contact is minimal, nae even aneuch ti knock a flech ower.

Es is doonricht cheatin in ma beuk, bit cos o the siller involved nooadays an the pressure pit on teams ti win matches es behaviour is afen condoned bi some coaches an managers.

Maist fair myndit fans are fair sick o es blatant cheatin.

Movin on we cum ti the aa-in wrestlin fit taks place in penalty boxes at corner kicks or free kicks. Michty me cooncillor Len Ironside wid be prood o some o the grips used ti stop an opponent getting ti the ba’. Ti me it’s easily stopped -jist gie a penalty ivvery time an attackin player is manhunnl’t in the box, or a free kick ti the defendin team if it’s the ither wye roon.

Nae need ti sen ‘em aff. Some fowk say es winna wark as the ref wid nivver be stopp’t gien penalties or free kicks in the box. If aneuch penalties war gien the message wid seen git hame. Dinna bliddy wrestle in the penalty area.

O coorse there are ither types o cheatin, like takin a throwe-in ten yairds farrer forrit than it should, gyaan doon fakin injury fin yer team is unner pressure an a practice fit a think cums unner the heidin o cheatin, pittin o a substitute in the last fyow minutes ti disrupt the flow o play.

Some fowk micht nae think fit a’m aboot ti say next cums unner the banner o cheatin bit a’ll leave it up ti you gweed fowks ti mak up yer ain myn.

A’m spikkin aboot cheatin fans oot o their siller bi the wye some teams play the game. If a hear ony mair fitba pundits spikkin aboot twa banks o fower a’ll bliddy scream.Es formation is nae used ti win a fitba match bit jist ti either stop the ither team fae playin or ti mak sure wark ye dinna lose.

Fans are  bein cheatit oot o seein a gweed fitba match wi es tactics an its bin noticeable aat the teams employin es type o team formation in the World Cup hiv maistly bin the European teams. The maist attack myndit teams hiv bin some o the  African teams an the Sooth Americans.

Tak cheatin, divin, bitin an twa banks o fower oot o fitba an ye jist micht see mair fans cummin ti watch the eence bonnie game.

© Bob Smith 2014

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Apr 182014

“When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport. When the tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity”
–George Bernard Shaw.

tiger-165189_640 Bob Smith comments on wildlife crime and Man’s relationship with wild animals.

Noo lit ma say richt fae the stairt ony sort o crime agin nature an wildlife fair gits ma dander up. Bit a hiv ti say there’s times fin we humans are a richt bunch o bliddy hypocrites.

Lit’s tak the case fer cullin badgers.

Ess is deen bi the governmint at the behest o the fairmin community cos they reckon the badgers cause TB in their herds o nowt an as a result are lossin siller.

Yet nae doot the same argument wid be used bi the fowk fa are pooshanin the raptors cos they’re allegedly killin their pheasants an grouse plus the odd lamb an ess is affectin the siller in THEIR pooches.

Ae sort o killin is viewed as a legal cull, yet the second een is seen as a wildlife crime. In ma een they’re baith a bliddy crime.

The pooshanin o the reid kites an buzzards up near Conon Bridge is only the tip o the iceberg fin it comes tae wildlife crime in ess kwintra an tho it micht be only a fyow neanderthal  gamies an their landowner bosses fa are committin the crimes, fin they are fun oot wi shud stick een o their Purdy shotguns up their erse an lit blast wi baith barrels!!! Only jokin fowks bit wi are a bittie lenient fin it comes ti crime agin wildlife.

O coorse wildlife crime is nithin new. Awa back in Victorian times an richt up ti aroon the 1960’s fowk war blastin awa at wild animals an sic like. Back then they war ca’ed sheetin safaris an ess wis leukit upon as bein sport. Onything at moved on the African plains or in the Indian jungle wis shot at an their heids cut aff an stuffed as “Trophies”.

Nooadays wildlife crime is cairry’t oot in the same locations ti satisfy the demand fer animal pairts as medicinal cures in plaicies like China.

Bit lit’s nae forgit oor “cousins” ower in the USA.

In the “rootin, tootin aywis shootin” gun crazy America, fowk ging aboot sheetin bears, deer, dyeuks, geese etc an leuk upon thersels as great hunters.

Noo hunters I wid describe as fowk awa back fa wint aboot  sheetin animals ti feed thersels. Ess lot o so ca’ed hunters gyaang aboot sheetin jist fer the sheer pleasure o’t an ca’ it sport. Maybe wi shud even things up in wir ain kwintra bi re- introducin bears, lynx an wolves back inti the wilds an mak it an offence ti sheet them.

I can jist see it noo, gamies bein confronted bi a bliddy great bear an ha’en ti turn tail an rin wi the bear in hot pursuit roarin “the beet’s on the ither fit noo ye bastard”.

I can myn o a gamie employed bi the local laird in the area far a wis brocht up bein nicknamed “Beets an Bunnet” on the accoont he wore a bliddy great big bunnet an fer his size hid affa big feet. Noo ess chiel wid sheet an ask questions efterwards if onything daar’t ti venture near his pheasants.

He wisna  aat weel likit bi some o the local fowk an eventually got the bung. Gamies an landowners fa still commit wildlife crime in ess kwintra shud be jiled AND heavily fined wi their guns confiscated an gun licences revoked fer ivver.

A’ll leave the last wird ti Mahatma Ghandi fa is quoted as sayin:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals”

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Jan 312014

By Bob Smith.

“Music has charms to soothe the savage breast” – So wrote the 17thc poet William Congreve.

Jablonski Electric Band 1 -  Credit: Julie Thompson

Music his the ability tae calm ye richt doon fin ye git yer knickers in a twist. Masel if a git trachelt or upticht a relax bi lis’nin tae a bittie o Beethoven or Mozart, or sometimes Japanese or Native American flute music. Bit aabody’s different an as lang as the music his a calmin enfluence it disna maitter fit ye listen tull.

A dinna cum fae a musical faimily tho’ ma faither fin his airm wis twistit cwid drag a gweed aneuch tune oot o the melodeon.

As for masel a’m disappyntit noo aat a didna cairry on ma accordion lessons fin a wis a loon,bit a didna gyaang back efter haein ma appendix oot. Still a can jist aboot manage a tunie on the moothie, an am fair tae middlin on the kazoo an the Jews harp.

A confess tae likin maist types o music fae Sibelius tae the Scottish Celtic folk-rock band Skerryvore tho’ am nae aat fond o punk, rap an modern jazz an lis’nin tae music played a big pairt in ma life fin a wis a loon an it still dis. Ilka Setterday nicht we wid sit roon the wireless an fair enjoy Scottish Dunce Music on the Scottish Hame Service.

Ma faither an me wid hae freenly discushins aboot faa hid the best band Jimmy Shand or Jim Cameron. Tho’ a did like Shand a hid a preference fer Jim Cameron. A think it wis the playin o Dod Michie on his cornet fit clinched it fer me. Ma mither likit Housewives Choice an Music While You Work an a learn’t aa the latest tunes an sangs bi lis’nin tae the Licht Programme afore it chynged tae BBC Radio 2

Music cairry’t on in ma teens fin a learn’t the airt o duncin in the village halls o Echt, Garlogie an Skene tae the music o Bert Duff’s Band  an Mary Milne’s Band tae name bit twa, syne twa quines fa work’t wi me in the offices o the S.A.I. perswaadit me tae gyaang wi them tae the duncin in Aiberdeen.

So a coontit masel lucky tae be  able tae dunce tae music fer the Gay Gordons an a Eichtsome Reel on a Friday nicht an Quicksteps an Slow Foxtrots on a Setterday nicht, firstly in the MacRobert Hall at Robert Gordon’s College (MacRobs), syne at The Beach Ballroom an The Palace.

Nae contint wi the music a heard on Friday an Setterday nichts a jined the Abergeldie Jazz Club fit eence wis doon in the Hardgate an ilka Widnesday nicht wid jive awa tae the resident band o Sandy West or listen tae weel kent guest bands. Kenny Ball, The Clyde Valley Stompers, The Alex Welsh Band an Terry Lightfoot and his Jazzmen aa pit in an appearance at the Abergelgie.

A hinna a great voice bit a hiv bin perswaadit noo an agin tae sing

Noo a coont masel affa lucky tae hae bin in at the stairt o the “Rock ‘n Roll” era, an fin a hid some spare siller wid buy the latest hits o the likes o Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Everly Brothers or Chuck Berry.

So far as a’m concerned pop music stairtit tae gyaang doonhill in the 70’s tho there wis a fyow exceptions, like Queen, The Eagles, Dire Straits an Status Quo.

Folk music fae aa ower Britain and the USA aye wis o great interest tae me speeshally the protest sangs o Woody Guthrie an Pete Seeger richt throwe tae early Bob Dylan.

Noo some fowk micht nae agree wi ma opeenion aat Bothy Ballads or Cornkisters cum unner the heidin o folk bit a leuk on them as bein the folk sangs o N.E. Scotland. A hinna a great voice bit a hiv bin perswaadit noo an agin tae sing the likes o “Nicky Tams” or the “Muckin o Geordie’s Byre” at faimily waddins. No am nae takin ony bookins!!!

As a grew aulder a stairtit tae appreciate the soonds o classical music. Nae the heavy stuff like Wagner mair yer licht classics bi Beethoven an Mozart or late 19thc/early 20thc composers like Edvard Greig or Frederick Delius. There’s nithing better than pittin on the heidphones an littin yer myn relax tae Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony or “Morning” fae the Peer Gynt Suite No 1 by Greig.

A’ve afen bin ask’d fit ma faavrit piece o music or sang is. There is a gweed fyow aat wid qualify bit tap o the pile maun be aat Scottish quine Eddi Reader singin “My Love is like a Red Red Rose” screived bi the man himsel Rabbie Burns.Een o the greatest love sangs ivver  if ye ask me.

So there ye hae it – “music has the charms to soothe the savage breast” accordin tae Congreve or as Wullie Shakespeare wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on”.  So far as am concerned baith chiels war richt.

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Dec 062013

There’s a Cree Native American prophecy fit’s worth readin:-

“Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten”

Voice’s Bob Smith scribbles doon ees thochts aboot the naitural warld an oor misuse o’t.

tullosbeethistleFoo lang afore ess prophecy becomes a reality?
Weel the wye we’re gobblin up the Earth’s resources, maybe seener than ye bliddy think.

The fowk fa war native tae America lang afore the supposed civilised warld visited their shores kent fine foo tae live alangside naitur.

They kent they war pairt o the naitural warld an aat the Earth wid gie them fit they needit tae keep them gyaan. Great buffalo herds fit supplied them wi meat, an hides tae bigg their tepees wi, shrubs fit kept them nourished wi berries.

Trees gied them aa the poles tae bigg their tepees aroon an bark tae mak their canoes oot o, an the rivers supplied them wi fresh drinkin watter as weel as fish tae aet. Bit they war savvy aneuch tae ken nae tae use ower muckle o the naitural resources o the Earth itherwise it wid seen rin oot.

Faist forrit a fyow hunner eer an fit did we see? Hardly ony buffalo cos the likes o Buffalo Bill Cody hunted them nearly oot o existence tae supply fresh meat, fer the army an fer the workers faa war biggin the railroads across America.

Rivers war pollutit bi industrial waste an shite fae the big toons biggit tae hoose a the buggers faa rushed tae America in the great hope o makkin their fortunes.

Syne on the scene cam a mannie fae Scotland, John Muir, sadly better kent in America than he is in his hameland.

John Muir emigrated fae Dunbar tae the USA in the 19th ceentury, wunner’t aroon America an throwe his screivins wis kent as een o the early advocates o the preservation o the naitural warld an the wilderness in America. If ye wint tae ken ony mair aboot John Muir then ging on tae

Bit lit us hae a leuk at fit his happen’t tae the naitural warld in war ain kwintra.

A lot o fowk seem tae think aat the naitural warld belangs tae them an they can dee fit they bliddy weel like wi it. They seem tae hae fergottin aat they are jist pairt o the great scheme o thingies in the naitural warld.

Foxglove - Tullos Hill - Credit: Fred WilkinsonNoo fairmers hiv aye thocht o thersels as custodians o the kwintraside bit even some o them hiv bin suck’t in tae the belief aat the earth owes them a livin an hiv begun tae treat the grun in a nae verra gweed wye.

Tae git mair oot o the lan they hiv in placies ruggit doon dykes an hedges, fit are the equivalent o “motorwyes” tae the wee beasties an birdies faa wint tae gyaang fae ae placie tull anither in relative safety. Ess maks bigger parks tae accommodate the muckle modern machinery needed nooadays tae help satisfy the insatiable appetites o supermairket shoppers.

The auld wye o fairmin his gin oot the winda. Foo muckle fairmers div ye see usin the rotation method o fairmin? Crap rotation involves chyngin the type o crap ye grow in a park on a regular basis. Ess benefits the grun itsel bi stoppin nutrient depleeshun an there is less risk o pests an diseases attackin the craps.

Nooadays cos the grun can git a bittie soor kine they hiv ti pit on mair fertilisers fit o coorse can leech intae the ditches, burns an syne intae rivers causin the thingies fit bide in the rivers an alang their bunks a bittie o a problem.

We canna o coorse pit aa the blame on the fairmers as they hiv tae mak a livin an as a hintit afore, their hans are tied bi supermairket customer needs. So if wi wint tae help the naitural warld wi micht hae tae chynge oor shoppin habits.

Fer a stairt we cwid stop expectin tae aye bi able tae buy things oot o season an if we bocht mair fae fairm shops an fairmers mairkets we micht git back tae a mair sustainable wye o managin the lan.

Noo hiv ye ivver thocht foo muckle gweed agricultural lan is gobbled up bi hoosin an industrial developmints in ess kwintra o Scotland?

It’s a fair amunt. As lang as the warld’s population keeps gyaan up then the situation winna chynge as fowk need hooses tae bide in. Bit o coorse wi cwid help thingies a bit bi biggin hames on broonfield sites instead o aye biggin industrial units on them or wi cwid jist nae hae sae mony geets.

The naitural warld in Scotland is a great attraction fer tourists an as tourism, we are aye telt. If it is o great economic benefit tae the kwintra, fit the hell wye div wi keep biggin windfairms in placies o  scenic beauty?

White Butterfly - Tullos hill - Credit: Fred WilkinsonThere are as weel great scars on the hillsides tae accommodate sheeters fa are ower bliddy lazy ti wakk tae faar they blast the hand reared grouse an pheasants oot the skies aa in the name o sport.

They shudna hae ti waak faar as the bliddy birds are sae tame they cum the wye o fowk sheetin thinkin it’s feedin time.

Noo a’m aboot tae invade the realm o a touchy subject in the north–east corner.

The subject o fishin an whither or no stocks o fish are bein depleted cos o ower muckle fishin. A’m nae scientist nor a fishin boat skipper, bit fae the ootside lookin in it seems tae me we humans hiv tae tak some responsibility if stocks o fish are gyaan doon.

Efter aa technology maks it easier noodays fer skippers ti pinpoint shoals o fish faar mair easily than they did eers ago so it staans ti reason aat stocks micht be in greater danger o bein fish’t oot cos o ess.

Noo a dinna wint ti bi flippant aboot the dangerous job on affa treacherous seas the chiels on trawlers hiv ti dee, bit it dis seem nooadays that technology his made the job o findin the fish a helluva lot easier. An the easier the fish are catcht the mair chunce there is o the seas bein scarce o fish.

A myn o readin a beuk bi a mannie fae the East Neuk o Fife fa’s fisherman granfadder said awa back in the 1950’s aat if the wyes o fishin advanced ony farrer it cwid bi the death o the industry. So if ess fishermannie is richt the naitural world micht eventually becum devoid o anither een o its resources.

A hiv cum tae the conclushun aat unless we chynge oor wyes as regards foo we treat the naitural warld an its resources oor affspring’s affspring wull be inhabitin a warld far removed fae aat o oor forefaithers an they micht jist curse us fer bein sae greedy an neglectfu’.

A’ll leave the last wird tae a Native American tribal leader, Chief Seattle, fa said awa back in 1854:-

“Humankind has not woven the web of life
We are but one thread within it
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves
All things are bound together
All things connect”

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Oct 282013

By Bob Smith.


A think it wis Edmund Burke the 18th century statesman, author an philosopher fa said “The age o chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded”.

O coorse wi aa think o chivalry as bein connectit wi knights o aulden days fa gid aboot savin fair maidens fae dragons an sic like an upholdin a quine’s honour an chastity tho’ only if the lassie wis fae the same class system as thersels.

They warna interestit in the peasant quines ither than haein them as a ‘bit on the side’. Fooiver, thingies hiv moved on a bittie sin thae days an a wid like tae think there micht be a bit o 21st century chivalry  in some o us.

A wis listenin tae a programme on the radio nae lang ago fin they teuk ess throwe-han. They war spikkin aboot chiels gien up their seat on a bus tae a wumman bodie or huddin the door open fer the female sex an wis ess noo a form o sexism. A lot o fowk hid differin opeenions wi the feminists scraichin awa aat it wis indeed sexist.

Some ither fowk thocht it wis an act o ‘chivalry’ tae gie up yer seat tae the opposite sex tho’ they widna gyaang as far as layin doon their coat or jaicket on tap o a puddle tae save a wifie’s feet gettin weet like yon Sir Walter Raleigh did wi Queen Bess. Na na the feminists war haen neen o’t.

They war weel capable o staanin on a bus or openin an waakin throwe a door thersels. A hiv tae say maist feminists, tho nae them aa, git richt up ma nib. On seein some feminists on TV a maan say they display aa the instincts o a female black widda spider.

Fit’s wrang wi gein up yer seat tae a puir quine traachlin wi a couple o geets or an auld wifie fair forfochan wi cairryin the messages? Ess wid be a chivalrous act in ma beuk tho nae doot some wid think it jist gweed mainners.

Noo masel fin a ging oot a waak wi the wife I try tae myn an bide on the kerbside o the pavemint. Ess sort o thingie his its origins awa back in the days fin gentlemen wore their swords on the left but unsheathed em wi their richt han. The ladies aye bade on the mannie’s left so he cwid draw his sword withoot her gettin in the wye. A hiv tae tell ye – a nae langer weer ma sword.

Maist war a bunch o thieving murderin cyaards

Later on in time bi bidin on the kerbside o the pavemint ess mint the mannie cwid protect his fair maiden or meybe his floosie fae the mud or dirt splashin up  fae unner the wheels o cairrages.

A hiv bin kent tae escort auld wifies fa are a bittie shoogly on their shanks across the busy streets. Feminists nae doot widna leuk upon ess as bein an act o chivalry. Wid they prefer me tae leave the puir soul tae tak her chunces wi aa the mad buggers drivin aroon in cars nooadays?

Gyaan back a fyow decades in history the knights involved in the Crusades war leukit upon as chivalrous chiels. Naething o the sort. Maist war a bunch o thieving murderin cyaards faa war only interestit in foo muckle plunder they cwid git their hans on.

The Japanese Samurai fa war the military nobility o medieval an early modern Japan  hid their ane form o chivalry ca’ed bushido fit some say dictatit aat fechtin hid tae be face tae face. Nae sneaky ambushes fae ahint rocks fer em.

Some dictionaries ca chivalry a knightly devoshun tae the service o weemin, (or wis’t a nightly devoshun tae servicin weemin), haen the inclination tae defend a weaker pairty or bein ‘gallant’.

In the 21st century a wid say the devoshun tae weemin cwid noo be describit as bein thochtfu tae the opposite sex bi offerin em yer seat fin they’re fair traachl’t an bein ‘gallant’ meanin helpin auld craiturs across the roddie.

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Oct 042013

By Bob Smith.

3kirkpic32Lamgamachies in the papers aboot vandalism in oor bonnie toon mair than afen dweels on the connachin o play parks, brakkin skweel windaes, settin fire tae delerict biggins, damage tae cars or graffiti clartit on wa’s  cairry’t oot bi fowk fa hiv nithing better tae dee or are jist doonricht coorse cyaards.

The “vandalism” a’m spikkin aboot tho’ is cairry’t oot bi the cooncil an their planners or bi developers an their erchitects.

Iss his bin gyaan on sin ivver a cam in fae the kwintra tae bide in the toon close on fifty ‘ear ago.

Gweed fowk compleened awa back ‘en. Nae buggar took muckle notice o them. Fowk compleen nooadays. Nae buggar taks muckle notice o them. So nithings chynged a hear ye say. O aye thingies are chyngin. There’s noo a growein nummer o fowk faa are fair scunner’t at fit’s bin gyaan on in Aiberdeen unner the guise o ‘progress’.

I like the followin quote bi the author C.S.Lewis faa said,

“We all want progress but if you are on the wrong road progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road. In that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive”.

So fit wi need in iss toon is somebody faa staans up an says, “aneuch is aneuch, we’re on the wrang roddie, time tae turn back an fin the richt roddie, syne gyaang forrit the gither”.

It winna be the developers cos their interest is jist profit. Foo biggins leuk in relation tae the neebourin eens disna cum intae their wye o thinkin.

It winna be the erchitects cos their interest is profit as weel an een o the wyes they mak profit is bi drawin up somethin tae please the fowk faa employ them.

Aat jist leaves the cooncil an their planners. Aat bein the case as Private Frazer in Dad’s Army wid hae said “we’re doomed, we’re doomed”. A base aat fact on fit his happen’t ower the past fyow decades.

the faither o them aa fin it comes tae ‘vandalism’, the biggin o St Nicholas Hoose

Cast yer myn back, if yer auld aneuch, tae the bonnie Northern Co-op arcade atween Loch Street an the Gallagate. Noo if ivver there wis a chunce tae turn aat arcade intae a mair modernmall’ sae lo’ed bi today’s shoppers, iss wis it. Fit happen’t?

The Northern Co-op biggit a new store nae a hunner yairds fae far the arcade wis an the auld biggin wis left empty tae nearly faa doon tull it wis ruggit doon in the ‘regeneration’ o the area. Aat included biggin the bliddy Bon-Accord Cinter fit effectively cut aff George Street fae the then bustlin Union Street. Progress? Na, na. Jist anither example o vandalism’ in Aiberdeen.

Jist a wee bittie afore iss, Marks an Sparks wintit tae expand their store in St Nicholas Street. Tae accommodate iss, Wallace Toor wid hae bin destroyed in anither act o vandalism if historian Dr Simpson hidna munt’t a campaign tae save the B-listed biggin. Marks an Sparks gied Aiberdeen cooncil siller tae help shift the toor tae far it is noo at Tillydrone.

Wid Aiberdeen Cooncil hae refused plannin permission withoot gettin fit some fowk aat the time ca’ed a ‘backhander’? We’ll nivver ken.

Noo we cum tae the faither o them aa fin it comes tae ‘vandalism’, the biggin o St Nicholas Hoose, fit ..
1) blotted oot the fine view o Provost Skene’s Hoose an connach’t the adjinin gairdens,
2) wis completely at odds wi it’s neebour Marischal College, an
3)wis doonricht ugly.

They’re stairtin tae rugg doon iss monstrosity an noo we can eence agin see the byowty o Provost Skene’s Hoose. Nae fer lang tho’ cos some Philistines wint tae hide it agin ahint mair bliddy steel an gless boxes.

There are mony ither examples o ‘vandalism’ in iss toon. ‘The Pint’ idea fer the Triple Kirks site bein een o them bit a wid rin oot o space if a wis tae list them aa.

We are telt o coorse that fooiver ugly squaar or rectangular steel an gless biggins are, iss is the wye forrit as they are chaiper tae pit up than the likes o granite.

So there ye hae it fowks—Oor eence bonnie toon wull hae tae leuk like a ‘dog’s brakfast’, cos onything else bit steel an gless canna be affordit. An here wis me thinkin we bade in ‘Ile Rich Aiberdeen’.

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Aug 152013

By Bob Smith.

We’re aa familiar wi the descripshuns o Aiberdeen as the Ile Capital o Europe or Ile Rich Aiberdeen. Noo we’ll jist hae tae tak the wird o aa the billies involved in oil aat oor toon IS the Ile Capital o Europe bit fin it cums tae Ile Rich Aiberdeen weel we can aa as citizens hae wir ain views on iss moniker.

There’s nae doot aat aa thae fowk faa are involved in ile an its “supportin cast” are verra weel aff bit in ma opeenion the toon itsel is nae. Nor fin it cums tae it are some o the fowk faa are nae involved wi the “black gold”.

Lits hae a leuk at a fyow facts regardin oor bonnie toon an foo ile his chynged thingies.

There are mair 4×4 vehicles in Aiberdeen than onywye else in the kwintra yet the toon canna it seems afford tae dee a gweed job o repairin the potholes in oor roads an streets caused bi 4×4’s an ither traffic.Div fowk need 4×4’s in the toon or is iss jist anither example o a status symbol in “ile rich Aiberdeen”?

Great rejoicin  fae the hoose developers an sellin agents aboot the recent news aat hoose prices in Aiberdeen are risin aboot £1000 a wikk.

Bad news fer young fowk faa are tryin tae get a fit or even a tae on the hoose buyin laidder. The likes o Stewartie Milne an his ilk mak a lot o noise aboot including affordable hooses in their various developments. Affordable tae faa? Certinly nae tae a lot o fowk faa are nae involved in ile.

Hiv ye tried eatin oot in sum o the so ca’ed funcy restaurants in Aiberdeen? Michty me leukin at sum o the prices on the menus ye’d hae tae tak oot a mortgage afore ye waakit throwe the door.

The gap between the weel aff an the nae sae weel aff in oor toon is widenin baith in the cost o livin an in the wage structure.

So since the discovery o ile sum fowk in the city hiv definitely got richer bit the toon itsel hisna. Iss shudna hae bin allood tae happen

 iss toon wull survive lang efter the ile rins oot

Myn ye altho’ in monetary terms the toon coffers seem tae be slowly emptyin dinna forgit iss toon is rich in lots o ither wyes.

We hiv a rich cultural heritage. The toon his a richness in its architecture despite some silly eejits o architects an developers buoyed by ile money tryin their best tae bugger things up.

Aiberdeen his a “richness” in its local population faa hiv seen the gweed an the bad o “Ile Rich Aiberdeen” but bide stoically  optimistic aboot the toon’s future. As lang as wi hae fowk faa are nae blinded bi the bling iss toon wull survive lang efter the ile rins oot. We micht nae langer be classed “Ile Rich Aiberdeen” bit we wull ayewis hae anither kine o “richness” fit the ile can nivver bring.

A wid far raither the toon wint back tae bein kent as the “Granite City” or the “Silver City By The Sea” as iss wid dee oor local tourist industry faar mair gweed that bein kent as the  “ile capital o Europe”.

I’ll leave the last wird tae American author, political an financial journalist Matt Taibbi faa said:

“To Wall Street, a firm like BP isn’t just a profitable company with lots of assets like oil rigs and pipelines and gas stations—it’s also a corporation that routinely borrows hundreds of millions of dollars to keep its business up and running”

Soonds like the cooncil o “Ile rich Aiberdeen”

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