A BIT OF THIS AND A BIT OF THAT
TRAVELLING TIPS FROM THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE - BUSES
1. When standing at a bus stop with all your suitcases, look anxiously
around at least once every ten seconds wearing an expression that
suggests you are anticipating at any moment the arrival of a mad
2. When you step onto a bus and find the driver is shielded behind a
thick Perspex barrier, shout very loudly through the few meagre holes
that are in place to allow communication, 'A pound of sausages and twa
3. If you have the misfortune to find yourself sitting beside a very
smelly person, say quietly in their ear,' Ah'm sorry son, but ah've
keeched ma pants.' The said smelly person will then, in all probability,
leave the bus at the next stop.
4. Always carry a brown paper bag for situations where the person
sitting immediately behind you has an overpowering smell of garlic on
their breath. Whether you use the bag on that person or yourself is
entirely up to you.
5. If a wee old woman gets on with freshly permed hair carrying a small
farting dog in a coat, get off immediately as there is no other
6. If the driver of your bus is a bounder who brakes and accelerates too
violently and clearly thinks he's driving a sports car instead of a bus,
speak quietly with all the other passengers and arrange it so that when
he next comes to a halt after yet another serious bit of braking you
will all scream in unison as loudly as you can, 'AAAGGHHHHH... MA LEG!!!'
He may then get the message.
7. Always carry a broken raw egg in a handkerchief for occasions when a
drunk man tries to sit beside you, whereupon it may be removed from your
pocket and displayed to the inebriate with the phrase, 'Huv you goat
anuther hanky mister. Ah've goat a terrible cold.'
8. If you have insufficient knee-room, it is permissible to hang your
legs over the shoulders of the passenger in front.
9. Always carry a small hand-held megaphone in case the 'STOP' buttons
either do not work or do not illuminate to tell you they are working.
You can then remain seated, and on approaching your stop switch it on
and shout, 'NEXT STOP DRIVER, THANK YOU!'
10. Always ensure you have at least twenty pounds worth of one pence
coins for those situations where the driver requires the right money for
PUBLIC ASKED TO HELP OUT DURING FUEL CRISIS
With combined thoughts of tackling both the soaring price of fuel
and the nation's desire to save the planet, the Scottish Government
has introduced a series of measures. As from July 2011, no vehicle
will be permitted in any city centre with its engine on.
Further to discussions with a government spokesperson,
The Good Soup Guide understands that the system will actually allow
vehicles into demarked areas, but they will not be allowed to switch
their engine on. Leaflets will be sent to every household in the
country informing citizens about the regulations, and asking all
members of the public to help out.
'All we're asking,' said a spokesperson, 'is that
pedestrians in city centres take a few minutes out of their day to
help push a car. It's not a lot to ask. Recent research has found
that two persons can push a small vehicle at a speed of 6mph for two
hours with very little effort. Our citizens will get fitter, our
cities will be cleaner and less polluted, and this planet on which
we find ourselves will survive for just a little longer.'
When asked what will happen if a vehicle finds itself with no
one around to push, the spokesperson had this to say: 'Our
legislation takes into account just such a scenario. Unemployed
persons will be posted for three hours each day on every street
corner, and they will be under strict instructions to assist in the
pushing of vehicles. Those who refuse, will lose their benefits.'
'Car owners themselves can help out. We have a leaflet
that gives step-by-step instructions on how to remove the floor of
your car, thus allowing your feet to make contact with the road
surface and assist with movement of the vehicle.'
Public opinion is mixed. 'Pushin'? Pushin'? said a wee
woman in Partick. 'Ah'm already huvin tae lie doon on the road to
help they bastarts get traction, an' noo they want me tae push? Ah
canny be in twa places at the same time.'
LOLLIPOP MEN AND WOMEN...
DO WE STILL NEED THEM?
I question whether there is a role for lollipop men and women
in today's world.
One, we could save money by getting rid of them.
Whoops, for a moment there, there was such a sharp intake of breath across the
nation that I was struggling for air. 'But our wee Johnny and Susie will
no' be safe crossing the road,' I hear you all shout in unison, to which
I would reply, 'And you think they're safe now?'
Listen, cars are too fast these days, fast and with
frightening levels of acceleration. What we do not need is some
old yin, no matter how fluorescent they may be, waddling onto the road
with a stick and trying to stop the traffic. It is silly. And dangerous.
There's one on Crookston Road in Glasgow. It's a wide
and very busy road. And fast. A lollipop person is positioned so as to
allow schoolchildren to get to a nearby school. But - and listen very
closely - the lollipop person is positioned just up from a pedestrian
crossing at Paisley Road West, and just down from a pedestrian crossing
at the school itself. Why on earth are we encouraging our children to
cross where it is patently not safe to do so? Think about it.
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Sometimes when shops change hands or are renovated, a little
architectural bit of their past is revealed. From under old layers
of paint and modern plastic facades come golden hand-painted letters
and names more common to our forebears.
The resurrection of these old shop signs is usually
momentary, allowing us a tantalising glimpse of a bygone era before
the paint and plastic do their job for another few decades.
These leftovers are often given short thrift by our
fast-paced world. I once picked up a few wooden letters from the
gutter in Glasgow's Queen Street. They had been removed from above
the grand entrance to some chambers by a painter removing paint. He
was removing anything and everything. He was removing our past.
A walk along any city street will reveal small signs of
how we once were. A building at 1163 Argyle Street, near Finnieston
in Glasgow, for example, is currently being renovated. At its corner
there once was the Kelvingrove Cafe. We know this because the golden
letters are there for all to see. 'Established 1896,' it says. 'Ices
a Speciality.' If you look real close below the letters there are
green tiles and a window whose wooden surround was made by a
craftsman. It is designed to both stop the window from falling out
and be pleasing to the eye.
And next door to the Kelvingrove Cafe is a newsagent,
its golden letters gleaming for all to see. For now. Soon, it will
all be gone. A fleeting visitation.
The Past Revealed
AN OLD SHOP SIGN IS EXPOSED ON ARGYLE STREET, GLASGOW, DURING RENOVATION
A GLORIOUS OLD FRONTAGE SEES THE LIGHT OF DAY AFTER MANY YEARS COVERED
OVER BY PAINT AND PLASTIC. THE KELVINGROVE CAFE, 1163 ARGYLE STREET,
OLD PAINTED TRADE MARK REVEALED ABOVE THE ORIGINAL ENTRANCE TO THE TWO
WAYS PUB IN GLASGOW DURING RENOVATION.
AN OLD PAINTED WOODEN SHOP SIGN ON MARYHILL ROAD, GLASGOW, IS EXPOSED
DURING CHANGE OF TENANT.
Just along from the Kelvingrove Cafe, at the junction of Kent Road
and Argyle Street is a public house. It was more recently known as
the Two Ways, but has gone through many transformations over the
years. During its recent renovation an old name came to light:
Finnieston Station Bar, the name coming from the station that once
stood across the road, but it too is gone. Also revealed above the
pub's original entrance was a painted trade mark, interlocking
letters, a red fancy 'B' and 'S'. These tell an older story, of when
the pub was a wine and spirit merchant under the name of Buchanan
Scott & Co, way back in the nineteenth century, from around 1880 or
thereabouts. These too have now gone, painted over during the
I suppose we have to be thankful that in many cases
these remains are not lost forever. It is much easier to simply
place a modern plastic shop sign over what's already there than to
rip things out. At 1857 Maryhill Road (once Main Street, Maryhill),
a recent change of tenant revealed the name 'J. C. Kydd.' A little
bit of research found that in the 1930s James C. Kydd was a
restaurateur, so it looks as if amongst the butcher and baker and
fishmonger and all the shops that provide life's basics, Maryhill
once had, at the very least, a small cafe, and possibly a little
culinary piece of heaven.
BENEATH DECADES OF GRIME, THE PAST IS REVEALED. THE KELVINGROVE CAFE, 1163 ARGYLE STREET,
Why does each successive UK government make empty promises about
broadband for all?
BREAST IS BEST
There has been much talk about breast-feeding over the years. More
recently, some brainy person said (undoubtedly via some public-funded
research and too many beers) that 'prolonged breastfeeding may harm
Twaddle. Whatever happened to the idea of just letting mothers do
what comes naturally? We appear to be drowning expectant mothers in
We rely too much on advice tailored for Missus Average.
We also seem to shy away from breast in favour of some made-up formula.
Pressure from milk-formula makers? Pressure from folk who think bare
breasts are the devil's work?
If you want my advice, simply follow your instincts and
give your child what you think it needs.
ANOTHER SMALL SHOP FOR GLASGOW'S WEST END
It's always nice to see another small shop spring up. Invariably
small shops are tiny oases of genuine friendliness where you are not
bombarded with questions about Hector cards, vouchers for pampers,
bag for life, and will you manage to pack that banana all on your
own or do you wish me to call in a specialist team of banana
packers? In small shops you actually engage in communication with
another human being, one whose brain has not been footered with by a
commercial, uncaring giant. But most important of all, you are
buying stuff that in most cases has not gone on a large voyage
around the world. You are, in short, buying locally, and you can't
get more local than stuff that is baked in the very shop itself.
The Cottonrake Catering Company have opened their shop
at 31 Hyndland Street in Glasgow's West End. They bake heavenly
sweet cakes and gooey goodies on the premises.
You may get an idea of how superb this small shop is if
I tell you that they have retained old shop frontage lettering which
was uncovered under modern signage when they were renovating the
premises. And such apt and totally suitable lettering at that. The
'HOME BAKERY' is there for all to see, brought back from the past and
given a seriously fine new lease of life. There's also a small
section of painted wall inside that the owners have seen fit to keep
as another glorious reminder of the past.
I did a bit of rooting around in Glasgow's Mitchell
Library and could find no mention whatsoever of the Home Bakery, or
indeed any bakery, at 31 Hyndland Street. Sometimes these painted
remains are all that is left to remind us that such a business ever
existed, and why it is so important to try wherever possible to
retain them. Apart from anything else, it makes commercial sense as
you're saving on the cost of a new plastic sign.