44 Scotland Street, Abbotsinch, Alexander McCall Smith, Auld Reekie, Chris Hoy, creme de la creme, Gardez Loo!, Glasgow airport, Kelvinside, Miss Cranston's, Miss Jean Brodie, Morningside, Muriel Spark, Mussolini, Royal baby, Sauchiehall Street, Valvona and Crolla, Willow Tea Rooms
Chlamydia and I were back at our favourite haunt, the
Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe in High Street,
Suttonford. It seemed a million miles away from genteel Edinburgh
and the trendy Valvona and Crolla Vincaffe in the New Town. Still, the
topic of conversation might have been identical: both sets of clientele
commenting on the amazing precocity of the new, Royal and (as yet)
nameless babe, who managed to wave endearingly from the woolly depths
of his swaddling.
THE NAMELESS ONE: Lang may its lum reek!
Alexander McCall Smith may have made a fortune from weaving the foibles
and fancies of the inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street into a fictional web, but
I, Candia Dixon Stuart, am seeking a publisher for my observations on the
activities and lifestyle choices of Suttonford’s fairest inhabitants.
Yes, as I told Clammie, Edinburgh folks are generally well-mannered, and,
even the homeless bow their heads discreetly while begging on the streets.
I observed a grubby, long-bearded man who was carrying a 4xlitre carton of
semi-skimmed- for it had been purchased in health-conscious Auld Reekie.
Around 2:30pm, the aforesaid stopped in front of his acquaintance, the beggar
with his bull terrier, and frankly expostulated:
I would have thought you’d have retired for the day by now.
Clearly he was concerned that his friend had not had his tea.
But, as I explained to Clammie, I had also
visited Central Scotland’s other city.
How different is the patois of the Glaswegian! On landing at Abbotsinch, or
Glasgow airport to the less au fait, even as we were instructed that it was only
now permissible to unfasten our seatbelts, enthusiastic locals were leaping up
to open the overhead lockers, in readiness for a speedy disembarkation which
would have impressed Chris Hoy.
I must have looked a little schoolmarmish, as the man who had been snoring
next to me for the duration, leapt up to reclaim his hand luggage, without any
apparent sign of chivalrous altruism. But, judge not that ye be not judged; he
immediately looked down with Christian neighbourliness and regaled me with
this attentive interrogative:
Is that your hat ‘n that?
Aye, one has to look not on the outward appearance, but on the heart and,
rough quartzy Cairngorms though they have at their core, Kelvinside kindred
are just as likely, or perhaps more likely than the Morningside matrons, to
ensure that one will have had one’s refreshments, even if time is pressing
and there isn’t really time to linger:
You’ll surely take a wee moothfie a’ tea in your haun?
How disinhibited compared to the rather reserved partakers of creme de la
creme in the South’s Costamuchamoulah. They probably think that Mussolini
is a shellfish starter and Gardez Loo! is a jardinage WC servicing the children’s
tree house and the gazebo.
Ah, Miss Cranston’s Tea Rooms it isnae. Suttonford High Street will
never aspire to the drama of Sauchiehall Street and the Willow Tea
As one looks around, Muriel Sparks’ words come to mind:
Ah well, ..I often wonder if we [are] all characters in one of God’s dreams.