Sleeping Dogs

This morning I sat down to breakfast with an old friend. We enjoyed square sausage and potato scones. He is rather keen on his blended tea between the hours of 6 and 10am. After that, anything goes. I upset him once over a spilled drink in the school playground a long time ago. He whispered in my ear that he had wired my calculator to an explosive device.

I wasn't sure, but I refused to count on it.

On the outside looking in, the big ugly Glaswegian who is often seen tinkering in the front garden with his trellis fences and flowers probably doesn't live the kind of life from which you expect scandal to bloom. On an ordinary weekday in his middle-class village he is often found to be chatting with the postman, walking the dogs and occasionally hosting dinner parties of which he prepares the food himself for those closest to him.

But suddenly this week, at the age of nearly 50, his past may have caught up with him and he must now cope with the possible devastating effects of a darker time that has resurfaced after 20 years.

Last week, a piece appeared in a Scottish newspaper identifying him amongst others as being a former money lender from the notorious Blackhill area of Glasgow. Over twenty years ago as a young man in Provanmill he and a friend had been involved in collecting monies owed and frequently dealing out punishments to people who took money from other such lenders. At 25 he was detained on remand at Her Majesty's pleasure in a very grim place indeed. He was released five and a half months later after he was acquitted of all charges and has gone on to form a new life and career, most notably as a successful builder. Never has he glorified or boasted about his former life. The stories about the scars to his face have always been assumed, never confirmed.

"I've done my best to put it out of my mind," he says. "Once you have admitted you are at fault, and I was, you have said 'I'm sorry, I'm utterly, totally sorry', without excuse, and paid your price, then you have to put it behind you."

The effect on this mans life after this disclosure of his past life could have been damaging. His wife is a pillar of the local community and a long-serving member of the Scottish Law Society. Intelligent, happily married, dignified, she would obviously have relied on her strength and Irish humour under normal circumstances. However, satisfied that her husband of 24 years has buried his past, she is concentrating on holding on to the fact that although sleeping dogs do occasionally wake, this latest juicy new bone is in fact old and with not enough meat for his friends to make a meal of.

In the past, the bitterness and bigotry at this mans past has been a decider in the multiple blogs that have sprung up decrying him and his family for what happened a long time ago.
Not anymore. This time he will stand his ground and be the solid brick wall he was in his youth. These days his good deeds far outweigh the bad. It is time to stand up and say enough!

Besides, who really knows what secret fertiliser he uses to grow his fabulous roses....


  1. He has his moments. However, it might be wise to keep his grass cut nice and short while he is away, just in case eh?

  2. Aye. It's not like I'm not familiar with his ride-on mower! :/

  3. I heard that you gave it to him as compensation after you sunk his boat on that last fishing trip on the Shannon. You remember the one, flashing yer bare arse to the tourists, drinking a bottle of rum and an hour later declaring you were a pirate?

    Is it all coming back? (just like the rum)

  4. He swore that would never come out! He's a fecker for the gossip, a great sense of rumour! :¬)

  5. I have yet to meet anyone who is perfect and those who gossip will find I am conveniently deaf. :)

    Now, would the Chef charge too highly to share a recipe for potato scones with a southern gal who's never tasted them? I'd run right over and politely ask if I could sit at your table, but it's Saturday, meaning I'm doing laundry at the moment.

  6. He told me that you went to the zoo yesterday and there was only one dog in it.

    It sounds as if it was a shitzu.

  7. well, sugar, i do so hope y'all's neighbor will just keep on doin' what he's doin' and ignore the muckrakers! (propriety kept me from typing the actual words i said outloud instead of muckrakers!) ;~D xoxoxoxox

  8. Miss Hope: The traditional Glasgow recipe for tattie scones is a secret, however, here is my own.

    You will need these...

    500g of mashed spud (Maris Pipers if available)
    100g of plain flour
    50g of butter
    Pinch of salt, nip of white pepper.

    A griddle pan is the only way to make proper scones though a frying pan will get the job done. The trick is not to let the potato scones mixture get too dry.

    Boil the tatties and then mash them thoroughly while whistling or humming a Gaelic tune. The recipe will be ruined if you choose any harmony composed outside of the Scottish borders, for the love of all things holy do not choose an English song.

    Add butter and more salt if needed. A healthier potato scone recipe should omit the salt and concentrate more on the white pepper, but living dangerously can also be fun.

    In a pottery mixing bowl, mix in the plain flour with the mashed tatties ensuring the potato scones mixture is slightly moist. Remember to use a wooden spoon as plastic implements would just be wrong.

    Empty onto a flat surface and use a warm rolling pin to roll out the mixture evenly and to a desired height of about 3mm. Potato scones should always be cut into the traditional shape of triangles. Round tattie scones would offend the little Pope fella, and that can never be allowed to happen.

    Put each triangular potato scone into the griddle or frying pan and cook lightly on both sides until brown.

    Serve with gusto, square sausage, a poached egg and lashings of love.

    Good luck hen, and thanks.

  9. My dearest Savvy, I believe you and I are confident enough to know that our friend is pretty resilient when it comes to life's little woes.

    Any man that can sit through an entire evening watching his wee crooner friend having ladies undies thrown at him on stage can withstand anything.

    I do wish he wouldn't perform at those retirement homes.

  10. Mr Mapstew, the recipe you requested, as below.

    You will need the following ingredients.

    2 slices of wholemeal or plain bread.

    Put bread into toaster

    Switch on, wait 3 minutes.

  11. Thanks, but I'm not allowed to use the toaster, so I'll stick to the eggs for breakfast, I find a boiled egg is hard to beat. :¬)

  12. I often enjoy some imaginary eggs for my breakfast.

    You can't beat them.

  13. Thank you kind Chef.

    I love to bake...which is why I still use wooden spoons, no matter who laughs about it.

    So you're telling me if I use my round biscuit cutter (which is for my southern biscuits) I may indeed go to hell? ;)

  14. Anonymous7:50 am GMT+5

    i believe i'd pay money to see the "mapstew/chef comedy hour". but it had better be near a source of whisky to assure that the audience is in the proper state of mind(less). who says vaudeville is dead?

  15. Ms Hope: Cooking is an exact science and must be adhered to at all times if one is to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. I once knew a chef who stirred his pots to the left instead of the right. Overnight he was cursed and within days both of his arms and one of his legs had fallen off three times. His soufflé recipes were a disaster and would never again rise. He now drives a tram (slowly and only in a straight line) in Copenhagen.

    It is also written in the bible that Jaysus spent five days wandering in the desert looking for a wooden spoon in exchange for our sins.

    I must apologise here as three days worth of sins were mine alone.

  16. Dearest Daisy, my good friend Map is also a street magician. He specialises in vanishing before your very eyes whenever it comes to buying a round, picking up the tab and paying the cab driver. Around some of our local haunts he is otherwise referred to as the 'Scarlet Pimpernel', and it's not because of the loudness of his attire.

  17. You know, it's not that I don't want to pay for things, It's just that my brain gets so addled what with all the creativity and whatnot going round inside me heid that a lad becomes a bit forgetful!. I've often thought about cloning a new, more efficient brain, but I'd just be getting a head of myself! :¬)

  18. Oh hello! I must catch up with the food and the company here...

    xx Leah

  19. Doesn't my forefathers homeland have a thing called "statute of limitations", a fancy phrase meaning that after so many years if you got away with it there's nothing the powers that be can do... lemme know if the Chef needs a dishwasher for his kitchen, it's been one of the myriad of jobs i've held for more than a few weeks and i'll gladly take payment in black pints.

  20. Glad to see you and your friend aren't letting the fuckers get you down. And that potato scone recipe looks like something I may have to try. Soon.

  21. Leah, I suggest you return here on a regular basis unless you wish to offend the chef. Not a wise move. For your tardiness in my absence I will require you to begin using the talent that your God gave you. Write words.... now!

  22. Kono, there has been a multitude of water that has flowed under that particular bridge. The Spartans used to kill the children of their enemies to ensure that no revenge was taken in later years.

    See me? the wheels may turn slower as the years mount, but the hamster still has enough life left in him to keep those who seek revenge firmly in their place.

    Mr Earl, my glass is always half full, never half empty. Refill?


Thank you, the chef is currently preparing an answer for you in the kitchen. Do help yourself to more bread.