For breakfast that morning we, along with a small ensemble of neighbours, assembled outside of the local magistrates court to await the news on a retired gentleman farmer who lives less than a mile from our property on the west coast of Scotland. At the back of eleven he emerged on the steps of the courthouse to be welcomed by a loud cheer and rapturous applause. He nodded briefly, grunted, then disappeared in the direction of our local bar.
Of course, we followed.
In December of last year, two days short of Hogmanay, our retired gentleman farmer friend was awoken by the sound of splintering wood coming from the area of his storage barn. He dressed, fetched his trusty side-by-side and went to investigate the noise that had awoken him from his slumber. Throwing open his barn door he was confronted by two Lithuanian travellers. One was happily defecating amongst our friends animal feeds, while the other was busy filling sacks of sugar beets and turnips as fast as his grubby little hands could muster. To ensure that he had their full attention, our gentleman friend fired one barrel into the night sky and made ready to let go the other in the general direction of his visitors. He shouted to his wife, who then rang his son. By the time his son had arrived, somewhat worst for wear after an evenings entertainment, his father had managed to corral Mr Turnip and Mr Shite into a milking pen. Mr Shite was minus his trews, while Mr Turnip was rather unhappily holding his stomach as he squatted on the ground surrounded by the remains of rotting veg.
Our retired gentleman farmer is nearly eighty years of age. He served his country well and was once a recognised face in Glasgow. He doesn't believe in involving the polis, neither does he welcome people of a certain ilk on his property. He is old school. He merely put into play (single handed) a wee bit of Glasgow justice to those who think they can ride roughshod over innocents who choose to live quiet and respectful lives within our community. He left Mr Shite to freeze his Lithuanian knackers off, while Mr Turnip was made to eat the rotting veg that is used to feed livestock. Fortunately, our gentleman friend's wife also called the polis as well as her son. After more than an hour, not to mention a lot of laughter on their part, a fair amount of consumed rotten veg and a small, shrivelled pair of jingle balls. The polis took away the trespassing Lithuanian duo, a sample of manky veg, two fecal stained grain sacks and our retired friend. The shotgun, mysteriously, had conveniently been misplaced in the ensuing stramash prior to the polis arrival. Our man was later summoned to appear before the honorary magistrates on the charges of false imprisonment, intimidation, possible cruelty and failing to register a shotgun (never found) on his property.
Strangely enough, the case against a member of our community was thrown out of court due to the non appearance of two key witnesses. The verdict was 'not proven'. No witnesses for the prosecution, no case against the accused, case dismissed. Joking aside, it could easily have been a tragic case had Mr Turnip and Mr Shite chosen the option to overpower our retired friend. Luckily, for them, they were thoroughly humiliated instead and given a sample of Scottish justice, Glaswegian style. I had to smile when he informed me that the drinks that he had just purchased for his supporters, were funded by the sale of the body and engine parts he had dismantled from their rather shiny getaway car that had been hidden behind his barn.
We are getting kind of fond of the oul fella, although his scowl would indicate otherwise.
Lowland Turnip Broth
3 green onion bulbs, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Crushed sea salt
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup long-grain white basmati rice
3-4 medium turnips, cut into small bite-size cubes
3 small branches fresh rosemary – 2 whole and 1 chopped
Grated parmesan cheese
Add the olive oil to a heavy stockpot and warm over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine and stock, and bring to a simmer.
Add the rice, and simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low. Add the turnips and two whole rosemary branches. Cook about 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season with more salt, if necessary. Discard the rosemary branches, and serve the soup into bowls. Top with grated parmesan, fresh-ground black pepper, and chopped rosemary. Lock the doors of your outbuildings, sit and enjoy.