Nov 212013

turra Coo duncan harley2One hundred years on, Duncan Harley examines the story of the Fite Coo.

Almost a hundred years ago Lloyd George’s National Insurance Act came into force. The legislation was intended to improve the lot of farm labourers, fisher folk and factory workers who were often employed for a contractual period of six months or less.

The Act of Parliament (The National Insurance Act 1913) provided for medical and unemployment benefits for workers and their families who were in need of state support through either ill health or lack of employment.

The tax received a mixed reception. Suspicion and prejudice against government interference fuelled discontent in many minds and the bare fact that both workers and employers were required to contribute hard cash caused many to consider direct action.

The Scottish Farm Servants’ Union welcomed the measure since it offered some improvement for those workers who simply became worn out and too ill to continue working and who would otherwise have to rely on the mercy and support of former employers.

Many Scottish farmers, however, remained unconvinced of the merits of state support for those in need.

Protest movements arose in various parts of Scotland and in a somewhat strange alliance for the times, the Liberal government of the time found itself in sympathy with the Marxists over the issue of both land reform and workers social security.

The farmers around the Aberdeenshire market town of Turriff in Aberdeenshire were particularly incensed, partly because of the now increased costs of employing farm labourers and also because many genuinely felt that they already took good care of the workforce upon which they relied.

There were riots, demonstrations and protests.

In the end a farmer by the name Robert Paterson of Lendrum near Turriff became the focus of Sheriff’s Officers when he refused to pay what he called the “unfair and unjust tax”. He had previously been convicted and fined in court for 20 such offences against the 1911 National Insurance Act and had paid the accumulated £15 fine, however he refused to pay the arrears of National Insurance.

the authorities reacted by seizing one of his milk cows

A Unionist by nature, he publicly stated that “because it was a service that farmers and farm labourer would rarely use” he would not pay the tax imposed by a Welsh led government. Lendrum to Leeks became the campaign slogan.

Paterson quickly became a cause célèbre in the North East and indeed beyond. Following court action for the unpaid debt to the National Insurance Fund, the authorities reacted by seizing one of his milk cows, intending to auction it to re-coup the debt he owed to the government for unpaid National Insurance Contributions.

Things got from bad to worse. There were further riots and much civil disobedience. The seized cow then became the cause célèbre and the press had a field day.

The immediate events following the seizing of the Turra Coo by Sherriff Officers are well known.

No local auctioneer could be found to sell the beast and the “Fite Coo”, now emblazoned with the painted slogan “Breath Bad – Gummy Leeks” as a reference to the Welsh born Lloyd George, seemingly ran off home to Lendrum where after a few days it was again seized by the authorities and taken by train to Aberdeen’s Denburn Auction Market where it was sold for seven pounds on 16th December 1913 to a Mr Alex Craig.

Mr Craig then sold the animal on to a Mr Davidson for £14 thus making a tidy profit on the deal.

turra Coo duncan harley4

Mr Davidson then transported the now famous cow back to Turriff where crowds of townsfolk and farm workers gathered to witness the event. The local pipe band played “See the Conquering Hero Comes” and the poor cow sported more painted slogans on her sides including “Free! Divn’t ye wish ye were me.”

The war to end all wars was looming. Indeed many of the participants in this sometimes hilarious series of events would soon be dead. Sacrificed on the battlefronts of the 1914-18 war.

The cow however survived and was returned to Lendrum Farm, where it died of bovine tuberculosis in 1920.

Depending on which account is read, it was either stuffed and displayed at Lendrum Farm for a while before being sent by train to Aberdeen’s Marischal College for display or simply buried in a field at Lendrum to remain undisturbed for many years until excavations for a new water supply uncovered her bones.

The myth of the Turra Coo perpetuates to this day however.

The West Aberdeenshire MP of the time, Mr J.M. Henderson MP, had a take on it. He toured the North East in the January of 1914 speaking to meetings of constituents who were mainly opposed to the idea of state care for the elderly and infirm.

At a meeting in Culsalmond he was heckled after saying that  farmers did not seem to grasp the idea that the Insurance Act was designed to provide for those workers who having attained the age of 50 and upwards who were unable to work due to illness or disability.

“Insurance follows the servant” said Henderson and he told the heckling audiences that although he knew that a good many masters were good to there servants the facts showed that farm workers rarely stayed in one position for long. The Insurance Act was he said, designed to combat this problem by providing a fundamental right to healthcare and assistance in times of financial hardship.

Not only Culsamond but Tarland, Turriff and indeed seemingly the entire Garioch seemed to agree that the Act of Parliament was both unfair and unnecessary.

Effigies of Lloyd George and the local MP WH Cowan were publicly burned in Inverurie town square.

a crowd of around 1500 packed Turriff’s main square

It does seem ironic nowadays that in many cases those workers whose interests the National Insurance Act was designed to protect were often the most vehement in their opposition.

Cynics of the time suggested that the workforce was being manipulated by the land owners and bullied or perhaps being encouraged into opposition. For example a crowd of around 1500 packed Turriff’s main square on the day of the proposed sale of Mr Paterson’s cow to meet the Insurance arrears due by him.

Many were local farmers and many more were farm workers who had been given a half day holiday at a time when the Scottish Farm Servants’ Union had been unsuccessfully campaigning for regular holidays for farm workers.

The more sympathetic amongst us would perhaps understand that the spectre of state interference in rural affairs loomed large in the minds of both employers and employees.

In a court judgement of the time, Sheriff Stewart of Banff convicted and fined two farmers from Gamrie and Fordyce following representations by the defendant’s legal representatives that they had been “misguided” and “stupid” in failing to pay to stamp the National Insurance cards of their employees.

In his summing up, the good Sheriff said that if there were further examples of resistance to the act of parliament then he would seriously consider whether the penalty should not be materially increased.

Strong sentiments indeed.

The Poetry Mannie – Bob Smith has a take on it.


A bronze statue o the Turra Coo
Noo staans proodly in the toon
Ti commemorate a gweed story
A’ve kent since a wis a loon

The fite coo fae Lendrum
Wis the celebrity o it’s day
Fin fairmer Robert Paterson
Thocht NI wisna fair play

Sheriff Geordie Keith set oot
Tae seize property as a fine
Bit the locals widna help him
An refused tae tae the line

The coo wis pit up fer auction
Fegs iss nearly caused a riot
Syne up steps Alexander Craig
As the bodie faa wid buy it

Noo iss is nae the eyn o the story
Fowk  an injustice they hid seen
A fair pucklie did rally roon
Wi fairmer Craig a deal wis deen

The coo wis noo back at Lendrum
Tae see oot the rest o her days
Nae doot neen the wiser o
The stooshie she did raise

At a junction in the bonnie toon
Iss a sculture o the beast
Faa brocht a fair bit o fame
Tae Turra an the haill north-east

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013

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Aug 082013

Turriff’s resident population of 5,743 received a welcome boost over the weekend of 4 and 5 August when the 149th annual Turriff Show was held at The Haughs, just outside the town centre. The Turra Show as it is called locally, is one of the highlights of the farming and agricultural year in NE Scotland, and quite rightly so, writes Duncan Harley.

Farming folk from all over the UK descend on the town during the show weekend seeking livestock prizes, farming machinery and, quite frankly, lots of fun. Bargains are struck, tractors and combines are purchased and, just occasionally, wedding matches are made – just as they have been for the last century and a half of the Show’s history.

With a claimed entries total of over 802 horses and ponies plus some 43 goats on the Sunday, over 450 cattle and 580 sheep, including the return of the Bluefaced Leicester Progeny Show sheep, Turra Show is perhaps the biggest show of its kind in Scotland still going strong after 150 years of traditional agricultural shows.

The Open Dog Show on the Sunday, complete with the ever popular rabbit and cavy sections, is now affiliated and upgraded to 2-star official status. Added to this, the poultry show and the popular Companion Dog event on the Monday makes this a completely irresistible event for the non-agricultural breeders and pet fanciers of the area.

The quite exciting sideshows, funfair and extreme catering franchises also make Turra a Mecca for those seeking a weekend of bacchanalian beer and wine-soaked revelry.

With over 249 trade stands, a very well attended food fayre plus the indoor shopping mall to tour around, Turra Show is a family fun-filled affair indeed. The show exhibition hall with its lifestyle theme and the ever popular home cookery demonstrations will, as ever, attract the homemakers.

And why not?

Those seeking extreme fun should head for that Special Forestry Area and the Special Educational Area to entertain and even educate the children amongst us.

The Industrial Marquee at Turra Show is one of the largest in the country with over 1745 home-based craft exhibits and an excellent horticultural show featuring large turnips and a few enormous marrows to salivate over.

The Turriff Show is always a veritable feast and a huge fun weekend for all the family. Each of the two show days has an extensive ringside entertainment programme with many special attractions including in 2013, the awesome Quad and Motorcycle Flying Daredevil Stunt Show by Jason Smythe’s Adrenaline Tour.

Jason comes from a professional racing background in Motocross. He started competing when he was seven, progressing from multiple regional champion to British schoolboy champion, British amateur support class winner before turning pro at eighteen.

In the professional ranks he has competed in all three classes at World Championship, 125cc, 250cc and 500cc and the World Supercross Tour as well as becoming Luxembourg national champion.

At Turriff, Jason thrilled the crowd by powering his quad bike over 31ft in the air above his articulated rig before landing safely, to loud applause.

On Sunday, Turra’s family day featured some exciting Terrier Racing with Cyril the Squirrel, fine sulky-trotting, pony carriage driving and of course the famous Turriff Pipe Band.

The same day’s Showground grand finale was, as always, the Vintage Tractor and Vehicle Parade featuring agricultural vehicles from the past century, including vintage Fergusons and the local Anderson collection of Field Marshall Tractors.

A sight to salivate over indeed!

On Turra Monday the Parade of Champions was, as is fitting, a splendid climax to what must be the finest surviving agricultural show in NE Scotland.

Norman Christie of Woodside Croft, Kinnellar, Aberdeenshire came best of show in the 2012 Turra Show with his Clydesdale Anguston Amber and in this years show Norman’s quite majestic Amber Anguston came show best reserve.

This year’s best of show was Arradoul Ellie May from Buckie owned by Ian Young. The cattle “Aberdeen Angus” section was headed by Idevies Kollar of Ellon and the British Blonde champian was Whistley Dollar entered by former Turra Show chief Eric Mutch. The sheep and goats also won prizes but were unnamed as were the cavies.

Turriff, of course gained international fame almost 100 years ago as the Scottish town which stubbornly resisted Lloyd George’s National Insurance Act and its provisions for medical and unemployment benefits for farm workers and their families.

Both Lloyd George’s Liberal government and the Marxists of the time rallied against the stance of Robert Patterson of Lendrum Farm who, perhaps unwittingly, became both the focus and the willing local hero of this often humorous but politically quite sad affair. That of course is another side of the Turriff of years gone by.

The anniversary of the Turra Coo is fast approaching though, but that’s another story.

Further Reading.

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Jul 062012

With thanks to Dave Macdermid. 

Turriff’s Alasdair Hamilton finished a creditable ninth out of thirty-three competitors at the Stoke Mandeville International Invitation 70m archery event.

Broch Archery Club member Alasdair was the second placed British competitor in the competition, which was won by Canada’s Kevin Evans.

Alasdair narrowly missed being selected for a place in the Great Britain archery squad for the London 2012 Paralympics later in the year, being pipped in the men’s compound by a single position.

May 032012

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Turriff’s Alasdair Hamilton will have to wait until the middle of May to find out whether he has made it in his quest for a place in the Great Britain Archery Squad for the London 2012 Paralympics later in the year.

The squad was due to be finalised at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire over the weekend – only for atrocious weather conditions to force the cancellation of the second day’s action.

Broch Archery Club member Alasdair is one of four men competing for just two places in the men’s compound, and the selection shoot will now resume at the same venue of the weekend of 19th and 20th May.  After the opening day, Alasdair is in third position on 1269, just behind Richard Hennahane on 1279, with fellow Englishman John Stubs leading on 1348.

Archery GB Paralympic Team Manager Paul Atkins commented:

“It’s really disappointing, but we simply had no choice but to call it off as what we don’t want is anyone picking up an injury, or a cold, by being out in the rain all day.”     

No sport has as great a Paralympic history as Archery. It featured at the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, the modern Paralympic Games’ predecessor, and has featured on every Paralympic programme since the first Games in 1960.

Although Archery was originally developed as a means of rehabilitation and recreation for people with a physical disability, it rapidly evolved into the internationally competitive sport on show at the Games today. The competition procedures and rules for Paralympic Archery are nearly identical to those used in able-bodied competition.

Jul 152011

Charlie Mingin, the Auchnaclatt Bugle’s ‘Weel-Chilled Chiel’ columnist, guests for Voice this week, giving the bebop lowdown for hep cats and byre tabbies, doffing his hiply-angled Panama in the direction of The Fast Show’s Louis Balfour. Fingerprints on Cattle Cake’s ‘bone believed to be those of George Anderson….

Jock Kerouac and the Beet Generation on the road again after sell out concert in Daviot

Within twenty minutes of going on sale, both tickets for Coos in the Park had been snapped up amid fears that a surge in demand might crash Ticketmaster’s system.

I was one of the lucky ones. The minute the ticket tumbled through my letterbox, a vibe in these old jazzman bones of mine told me that something crazy was about to go down in Daviot.

And was I right, Daddy-O?

The concert in The Byre, the north east’s premier teuchter-jazz club demonstrated that Jock Kerouac and The Beet Generation were right back on top where they belonged. On the night, their fusion of bothy ballads and sixties jazz really razzed my berries.

Yes, there were mistakes. Somewhere approaching the middle eight of the opening number, Lousin Time, and half way through his third reefer of the night, Jock realised that the double bass he thought he’d been playing for the last half hour was actually still in the tipper truck that ca’d neeps during the day and transported the band to gigs in the evening. Undaunted, he rattled off the piece’s twenty minute double bass solo on his galuses. Beat that for improvisation.

I’ve been a fan of The Beet Generation since I first saw them perform at Gamrie’s Clockin Hen nightclub in 1987. Granted, nobody asked them to play but they managed to knock off their own rewrite of a Billy Joel classic, In the Midden of the Night before the bouncers got Jock in a headlock, huckled him head first out through the fire exit and into the car park where they pinned him down until the police arrived.

The band’s line up hasn’t changed since the Gamrie gig:

Jock Kerouac on double bass
Ronnie ‘The Rooser’ Roberts on Stylophone
‘Cattle Cake’ Collins on slide trombone
‘Sheep Dip’ Danny Dawkins on trumpet, electric bongos and steam harpsichord.

The first set was an intoxicating blend of old and new material, kicking off with three of my favourites: Lousin Time; Let’s Get Yokit! and Fa Cut Yer Hair an Cried Ye Baldy?

The lads ended the set with the title track from their latest album, We’re Aa Up the Wrang Dreel Noo.

Haste ye back, Jock, we can hardly wait for your next concert.

At the risk of rekindling the trad-bebop wars of the early sixties, Sid Rawlins, music critic of the Crovie Chronicle has given Voice an alternative view.

Bad Tunes A Go-Go as Kerouac’s Beet Generation Bomb at the Byre

Hepcat Harrison and the Kittlins were treated for shock at Turriff hospital last night following the murder of their teuchter-jazz classic, Let’s Get Yoakit! at the hands of jazz fraudsters Jock Kerouac and the woefully unmusical Beet Generation who somehow managed to make this classic track sound like a badly-tuned piano falling down a spiral staircase.

The scene of the crime: The Byre Club, Daviot.
Time of death, 7:30 pm Formartine time (GMT minus seventy years).

Bad jazz stands out like a toonser wearing nicky tams. And make no bones about it, this was jazz at its worst. The evening was not helped by the fact that Cattle-Cake Collins stopped mid-honk during Lousin Time to spray WD40 on his trombone slide.

I sort of liked the Beet Generation’s new project, We’re Aa Up the Wrang Dreel Noo. Yet overall, a lacklustre performance by over-rated musicians.

As Ray Charles would have said had he hailed from Kemnay, ‘Hit the road Jock, and dinna come back ony mair.’

Image credits:  
Trombone © Chris Johnson,
Double Bass Scroll © William Davis | 

Jun 182011

By George Anderson.

We can never predict when a sudden insight into the workings of our innermost selves will light up our consciousness like an 11 Watt low-energy bulb.
We imagine that such events occur in mysterious places such as Ayres Rock or the luminous bowling alley at the Codonas funfair in Aberdeen.

But in my experience, the location of your average flashbulb moment will be as ordinary as chapped tatties. A place like the freezer cabinet of my village shop last Thursday.

I was leaning over the rim of the cabinet contemplating what life must have been like in the days before we could blast freeze our garden peas within ten seconds of hauling them out of their pods. I was considering whether to go for the leading brand (‘satisfaction guaranteed or your money back’) or the Value Pack (‘please see rear of packaging for list of disclaimers.’).

The Value Pack was a pound cheaper but the contents even when defrosted had the density of buckshot. I reached for my choice. And that’s when it happened.

I first became aware that something wasn’t quite right with the world – well, with my trousers actually. I looked down to discover that in my haste to get to the shop before suppertime I had pulled on the wife’s tracksuit bottoms instead of my own (why, oh why are pastel shades so unbecoming to a man in his late fifties?).

The realisation that shunted into the rear of that first thought was that not only were the leggings incongruous, they were outside in!

This would never do. I live in the heart of a rural community. It is a place where a man is a man and is expected to behave – and dress – like one. Let me explain.

Imagine this: A farm worker with a dodgy watch relaxes behind a hay stack during a lunch break. He sucks on a chut (singular of chutney) from his ploughman’s sandwich. Suddenly he realises that his watch has stopped; that he should have been back in harness twenty minutes ago. He leaps to his feet and bolts off spitting Cheddar. He is thrashed to the ground by the mercilessly flailing blades of a combine harvester which breaks both his arms like cheese straws.

Now, in an episode of Casualty, an air ambulance and a battalion of parachuting para-medics would descend fom the sky and the lad with the two broken arms would be whisked off to the heli-pad at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. But you would be hard pushed to find anyone within a thirty mile radius of my village shop who would not expect that lad to get on his bike with a wobble-free lip and pedal to the ARI using the ‘Look-Ma-Nae-Hands’ technique.

How, I thought, could such people ever look favourably on a middle-aged man wearing his wife’s jogging bottoms inside out in close proximity to their rural community’s only freezer cabinet?

And that’s when the 11 Watt low-energy bulb came on. And I released that, actually, I didn’t care what they thought.

I was flying without wings – despite having a bag of Albanian peas under each oxter. I strode flamboyantly to the checkout  with pastel pantaloons ablaze. I was free, free, free at last!

Next week I plan to push the envelope of my new found freedom by nipping down to the village shop for a copy of the Turriff Advertiser wearing my wife’s bra around my head in the semblance of a Spitfire Pilot’s headgear.

That’ll separate the men from the boys!

Oct 152010

By George Anderson.

I was shopping in Turriff last week, failing, as usual, to find a low-salt, low-fat, cholesterol-free, high-fibre titbit for my supper. Something healthy enough to turn my doctor’s frown to a smile, but with a hint of indulgence. Something with the life enhancing promise of muesli and the bohemian decadence of a Walnut Whip.

In pursuit of this unlikely product, I circled the supermarket’s food hall until I was light-headed.

I eventually concluded that I could have decadence or health, but not both in the same foodstuff and finally fell to considering a carton of peely-wally looking cottage cheese with a kirn of minced greenery through it.

A note on the side claimed that the carton contained eighty-five percent of the vitamins and minerals needed to survive the day, including folic acid, riboflavin and iron. I was just swithering whether to look for something nearer ninety percent – just to be on the safe side – when I realised I was obsessed with nutrition. “When did this start”, I wondered? Having been an Aberdeen loon in the sixties when the government urged us to eat butter, milk and cheese as if the four minute warning had just sounded, I certainly wasn’t so fussy about what went over my thrapple.

I stuffed my face each morning with a brace of Aberdeen rolls. By the time I entered the Grammar School in 1966 I’d eaten eight times my body weight in dough – and remember, I’m not talking about dough with cholesterol-lowering plant extracts, Omega-3, or bifidus digestivum. I’m talking about dough with saturated fat and enough salt to corrode the tailpipe of a Morris Minor.

lard was so popular that people would spread it on bread if they had to, but get it they must.

Nutritionally speaking, things didn’t improve much at lunchtime. The fear of being force-fed semolina kept me permanently away from school dinners and I largely survived on a diet of Sports Mixtures and sherbet-filled flying saucers.

Supper consisted of polony which Ma bought by the yard from the Home & Colonial in George Street. Cut into slices, polony could be grilled, fried, or used to wedge open doors during flittings. For sheer versatility and taste, no other sausage came close.

When Ma was unable due to weemin’s trouble to make supper, the spurtle of power passed to Da. Da’s generation embraced the concept of ‘Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook’ long before Ainsley Harriott ever shoogled a skillet in earnest.  In those days working class men believed that standing too close to a domestic appliance (close enough to use it) shrivelled the gonads, so Da avoided cooking whenever possible. This often meant pottit heid: scrapings of meat from a cow’s skull, suspended in meat jelly. It was cheap and required no cooking. I wish it had required no eating either but I had no choice. I wanted to start a helpline for those exposed to pottit heid but Da said “No”.

Supper was followed by mugs of tea, neep jam (What else could it be? It wasn’t made from any fruit I’ve ever tasted) and white panned loaf from which all nutrients had been diligently thrashed. Variety was added to our diet by means of the chipper supper. Did this increase our life expectancy? It’s unlikely. These were the days when lard was so popular that people would spread it on bread if they had to, but get it they must.

Our nearest chipper was Archie’s in John Street. The ten o’clock shout of “Last orders” in Cooper’s Bar across the street from Archie’s heralded a nightly stampede for all things deep fried that made the customer’s side of Archie’s counter look like the floor of the Tokyo stock exchange. If elbowing your way through this stramash for a single mock chop wasn’t worth the inevitable black eye, you could stick your nose in the air and follow the whiff of over-used fat all the way to the White Rose chipper in Mounthooly. Here you could buy a tanner special: a shovel of chips and a fragment of deep fried sea-life that might be coalfish, starfish or seahorse depending on the by-catch landed at the fish market that morning.

“Fit kind o’ fish is this, mister?”

“Fit kind wi’d ye like it tae be, loon?”


‘It’s huddock then. Now, dee ye wint salt an’ vinegar or no?’

There were times when I tried to improve my diet by making stuff for myself. Like the day I was foolish enough to rustle up a batch of black sugar ale from a recipe my grunny gave me. Black sugar ale: The very phrase was as romantic as a Barbara Cartland novel. It sounded like something Long John Silver might have drunk. If he did he was a gype. Only a qualified chemist could supply the main ingredient: a bullet of liquorice so concentrated I had to sign a book before the pharmacist would hand it over.

When I got home I removed the slug of liquorice from the bag using the coal tongs, dropped it into a Hay’s Dazzle bottle filled with water and hastily screwed the top back on. The concoction was to be left undisturbed in a dark place for at least six weeks, so I stuck it on a shelf in the coal cellar. I reclaimed the cobwebbed bottle two months later by which time the contents had transformed themselves into an anthracite coloured sludge of extraordinary laxative power.  I opened the bottle and took an exploratory whiff of the fumes lurking in the neck of the bottle and ……..well, let’s just say they were sliding polony under the lavvy door for days.

Why didn’t we all come down with scurvy and double rickets?  Probably because every Saturday Ma bought a tea-chest of ‘chippit fruit’ from The Orchard in Upperkirkgate. Chippit fruit. Nowadays I suppose it would be called ‘distressed’ fruit — was a generic term for all the fruit the fruiterer couldn’t palm off on anybody sober: oranges that had been knelt on, terminally bruised bananas or melons the shop assistant had been playing keepie-up with during the week. This weekly super-boosting of our immune systems most likely kept us all out of hospital.

I returned to the present to find myself still clutching the cottage cheese. I intended to head straight for the checkout with it but an unseen hand guided my trolley to the cold meats section of the store, where I stood gazing at a yard of pre-packed polony with a nostalgic eye. Maybe, just maybe, polony was as packed with vitamins and minerals as my reluctantly chosen cottage cheese. I examined the food label to see.

The main ingredients were listed as pork and bacon. Then came the phrase: ‘Other Meats’. Which other meats I thought? Badger? Three‑banded armadillo? Rusk followed that. Rusk is a variety of edible sawdust the government allows butchers to mix with meat while the customer roots distractedly in the veggie basket for a decent neep. Further down the list where the tiniest of writing strained my prescription glasses to their limit, I found E450K (Wasn’t this the stuff they put in wallpaper paste to kill fungus?); Colour 128 (I Googled it when I got home. It’s in the Dulux range as Fencepost); and anti‑oxidant 301 (an early rocket fuel used by Wernher von Braun if I wasn’t mistaken). No mention of folic acid, riboflavin or iron.

I stood there for some time looking from cottage cheese to polony and back again. I know our sixties diet would be enough to make today’s nutritional boffins at the Rowett Institute cowk on their Special K, but don’t they say that a little of what you fancy does you good?  It just depends on your definition of ‘little’ I suppose.

“Dee ye ken the polony sassidge is buy-een-get-een-for-nithing jist noo?” the lassie at the checkout asked,

“Dee ye wint tae rin back and get anither een?” I took the lassie up on her offer, put the cottage cheese back where I found it and set off home.

Over the next few days I managed to eat the whole two yards. Guilt free. Or so I thought. The night I scoffed the last of it I fell asleep with a contented smile but looking like I’d swallowed a fully inflated beach ball. At two in the morning, I sprang bolt upright out of a nightmare, peching like a ploughman’s horse at lowsin’-time. I was back in the Aberdeen tenement where I grew up. A gang of vitamins had infiltrated our house through a crack in the pointing. Armed with a tattie-masher, Ma pursued the intruders from room to room, clambering over furniture and twice falling down the back of the radiogram before driving them out.

Before I fell sleep again I promised myself that in the morning I’d devote my life to Ryvita and green tea. I should be fine so long as I stay well away from the cold meats section of the supermarket in Turriff.

Aug 132010

Shock after shock for Highland League fans as last Saturday’s results came in. Voice’s David Innes explains.

Deveronvale, perennially among the clubs tipped for trophies, are one of four clubs sitting on no points after Clach, unlucky at Buckie last week, came raiding and sauntered smugly back to the Highlands with all three points and a stunning 3-0 victory. Continue reading »

Aug 062010

By Dave Innes.

Two weeks in advance of the undoubted sterile dull predictability that will be the 2010-11 SPL, the Highland League kicked off on 30 July, with deposed champions Cove Rangers setting the early pace with a 5-0 win away at Nairn County.

Buckie Thistle, league winners last season for the first time since the late 1950s, opened by beating Clachnacuddin 3-1.

Continue reading »