The Last Dinosaur

For breakfast this morning she nibbled on a perfectly straight diagonal of brown wheat toast delicately dripping with bubbling hot Scottish butter. Minute droplets of perfectly clarified yellow tear drops of marmalade splashed goodness on to the white china plate so carefully balanced on her knee. I removed her boots and rubbed her toes to encourage the cold away after our early morning walk in the snow covered hills. She smiled, again reassuring me with those mesmerising violet eyes that I have gazed into for so many years. I had rarely seen her looking more radiant than she did sitting there with her hair pulled back in her usual casual Sunday chignon, her face fresh of all makeup, full of the excitement that awaits us both. Her unusual nervous smile took me back to the time when I first met her father in his own home. Looking back it may have been slightly inappropriate for our first conversation to contain the dialogue telling him that I would always be in his daughters life. Up until then he had refused to meet the wayward youth with the severely broken nose and such a colourful Glaswegian background. He was correct in all but one of his assumptions about me. A long comparison of this dichotomous binary grouping of sectarian barriers associated with the hatred between religions, faiths and a man and his birthplace would probably take me a decade to compile and you a moment to click off. I haven't got that long, I'm also surmising that you do not have the inclination to want to read about it either. 

The last few weeks have been swallowed up with the oul wans in the dinosaur graveyard that is, and always will be, my beloved childhood playground of Drumchapel and the memories of loyal pals that once shared its history with me. May they rest in peace. To those who accompanied us on the one way midnight journeys when I carried the shovel, no hard feelings, eh? To my many living friends who made it through the quagmire of our past, I say thanks. No post would ever be complete without a mention of the little singing fella and his unwavering loyalty. Mháirtín, no man could ever wish for a better friend. A fear fíor i measc na bhfear. We leave on Friday for a wee while.

Chefs Best Ever Recipe

1 good woman
1 large portion of man
1 warm country
1 big bag of dreams

Take the man and woman, bond together for 30 years, bind them with love, loyalty and a small amount of personal tragedy. Mix them together until they are inseparable and then allow them to rest together somewhere warm. Bake them under a hot sun until brown.


For breakfast this morning, I found myself standing in a grey concrete wasteland in a rather less salubrious part of Glasgow than I am used to. As I stood negotiating with the three men fanned tightly in front of me, I tried not to notice the way in which they visually sized me up in the same gladiatorial way of which I had once done to others in my youth. All, possibly of Albanian descent, I didn't ask, it had no bearing on the job at hand other than I knew I could not give this particular job to the local boys in case word got out that my sons were involved. We live in a small community, people talk! It had all started five days ago in the back room bar at Colm O'Neills place not far fae Baile a' Chaolais. The sons had got in to a wee bit of bother while collecting a few things for me out in the back of beyond. Things had gotten very dirty, but no harm had been caused and they all managed to get out safely. All that was left was for me to take the initiative and clean things up a little.

The tallest of the Albanians, clad in the usual uniform of hooded sweatshirt, cheap chain store denim and the inevitable obligatory designer label running shoes, seemed to be the only member of the group who understood and spoke the same language as me. As he gazed up I couldn't help but notice that his left eye was glazed over in a a yellowy-white opaque. An oddity that reminded me of a jar of pickled onions, the vinegar, milky in colour due to age, that had stood for most of my childhood in the plate glass window of the oul fish and chip shop in the heart of Drumchapel. A lot of hard men were to be found in Drumchapel, but I do not know the name of any man brave enough to eat fae that jar. More worrying was the fact that it was he who stood there with the gun in his hand. I thought it too rude to ask, with his somewhat hindered eyesight, if he was in fact, the best man for the job.

Eventually, after a one way pigeon-English explanation as to how exactly I wanted the job carried out, the way it was to be done and the way I wanted it to look before payment was made, a somewhat staccato conversation developed between them. 'Onion-eye' related the information of my requirements in the way most eastern Europeans do, much pointing and gesticulation in my direction, flintlock vowels continually spat out and unspeakable words penetrated the air. They wanted more money. I put on my best hard stare and said... no. I turned away to walk back to my car. Onion changed his tone. Money was discussed again. A small increase was agreed, the job was on. I wanted it doing there and then. I was aching to get this whole messy thing put to bed before Siobhan found out and there was hell to pay for not only the sons, but also for me.

The details of what happened next are not important. We are all too familiar with what happens when you put a high powered gun in the hands of an experienced man with the promise of payment on completion and is let loose on someone elses dirty work. The crux of this tale is thus: do not send your sons out to poach collect wild hare and pheasant for a game pie you are thinking of preparing, in your wife's very shiny car, especially when it has been raining and the country roads are bogging with thick brown mud. Otherwise, you too may have to sneak her car out of the garage, before she returns home later this weekend, to get it jet-washed, polished and cleaned (inside and out) by the only nationality that cleans cars perfectly for under £20. I'll say this for Onion and his cohorts, they may have many layers of which we in Glasgow fail to understand, but he did a grand job washing the car, one good eye or not!

Scottish Game Pie

1kg 20g free range pheasant (must be hung for at least one week)
680g fresh wild hare with a lean underbelly (usually found within the Duke of Argyle's private land behind the hidden carp lake out of sight of the castle, shhhh... between us, eh?)
226g carrot
170g celery
170g onion
6 scallions
56g butter
4tbsp vegetable oil
Puff pastry, (Enough to cover the top of your dish!)
4 level tbsp plain flour
3/4 pint Chicken stock
4tbsp decent brandy
1 Bay leaf
1 egg beaten
Salt and white pepper

Preparation is the key with this dish. Using a sharp boning knife, separate the meat from the bones, this should be done with feeling and care. A wee bit of  Debussy - Clair De Lune, always goes down well with me and a glass of something strong. We're not talking a nice little Chablis or 12-year-old single malt, perhaps just a small sniff of brandy to help things along. Put all of your meat into a large pan, sear it quickly and then set aside. Dice the carrots and celery into quarter pieces and chop the onion and scallions roughly.
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy based pan and add the vegetables, cook until lightly brown. Then, lift this out of the pan and set aside in a bowl. Stir the flour and seasoning through the usual home made game pie seasoning of your choice, then add a little at a time in the residual oil. Once all the meat is in the pan, replace the vegetables back into the pan. Add the stock, brandy, bay leaf and gravy browning to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for a good hour.
Leave this to cool overnight. It will require a settling period of at least 16 hours before you can proceed further.
For those looking for a quick fix recipe may I ask you to stop reading, collect your things and never return here again. If you carry on for twenty miles or so you will come across a fast food outlet which will happily cater for your philistine needs.
The following day roll out your pastry and cover the top of the pie, Bake, never cook the pie at 200C for 30 mins. Then, lower to 180C for a further 20mins, if necessary then cover with foil. This way you won’t burn the pastry. Serve with thick gravy and new potatoes, garnished with minted garden peas.


The World According To Gym

For breakfast this morning, it was decided that I would deposit and collect my beloved at her weekly women's health class. The hours pass quickly as I make my way towards the majestic marble pillars of 'Womens Health World'. I have never flirted with male yoga, my maleness always protruded, however carefully packed, through my extra layers of cup. I enjoyed running for a few years until I banged my arthritic knee on a cement mixer and consequently dislodged any further desire to travel faster than my own comfortable car. I developed arms with impressive veins that popped in all the right places until my niece asked me if I was in fact Magilla the Gorilla. Further tension loomed when I discovered that increased upper body development could result in ones gentleman sausage losing its girth. I limit myself these days to lifting nothing heavier than a Glaswegian pub landlords heart.

I hover just inside the door that clearly states it is an exit only. The movement of my shoulders alone causes the automatic door to swoooosh and then open and close, open, then close, open... It amuses me for nearly a full moment before I tire of such a childish game and the large woman wearing a medium sized uniform gives me a look as though I have just urinated on the grey corduroy carpet. Perhaps her supervisor has been leaving cryptic notes on her locker door about peculiar stains on the hallway carpets of late. I begin to wonder about the symbolism surrounding the stigma of urine stains and Rorschach tests. I can't decide whether I am an axe murderer or a complex dentist with a smoking beagle fixation. It's hard to say by just looking at the dotted line above what appears to be a map of Croatia. Perhaps if I did urinate discreetly a few centimetres along the top it could actually be a Masonic symbol.

Through the glass viewing window I watch as a rather rotund woman balances herself on some sort of medicine ball. In each hand she has a pair of small silver weights which I estimate to weigh no more than a post-it note. The pink ones, not the insipid yellow ones that remind me of an old Rottweilers teeth. By the look of her double chins I can only assume that she is more accustomed to lifting meat pies to her face than mere silver trinkets. To her side is a paper cup full of what could only be a small gallon of fizzy pop. Diet of course. I could be mistaken, but I could swear she is giving me the eye. Swoooosh, goes the door as I retreat into the safety of the pee stained foyer. Fluuump goes the medicine ball as it throws the cockroach-like creature onto its back. My admirer is replaced by another human replica of a wheelbarrow full of blancmange as the fitness instructor barks and the large woman falters as she peaks the top of the robust medicine ball.

The medium sized uniform to my left has positioned herself adjacent to me through the other side of the automatic door. Her whiskery lips pucker and blow out an inordinate amount of breath as she struggles to persuade her wrinkled shirt back into the overburdened trousers. I am fascinated, but I dare not make a comment in case she mistakes it for romantic interest on my part. I begin to fantasise about how many doughnuts it would take to fill all three of the women immediately in my view. It takes me no more than a minute to decide that the answer to the equation is more than likely unfathomable. Instead I marvel at the way the light through the swooooshing door creates a definitive wave of rainbow colours on the exposed flesh that has begun to glisten on the lower belly of the beached cockroach slurping glucose before me. That ball has seen better days. I am certain I can detect the faint odour of female broken wind.

A new puzzle has befallen me. Trawling through my daily bathroom ritual I try to decipher what density of blade would have to have been scraped down the area between the cockroach's navel and her appendix scar. If I turn my head slightly at an angle I try to reason that it is either dirt or a very lopsided Brazilian that keeps peeking at me from over the top of some very resilient spandex. I try not to think about the probability that it could well be a masochistic vajazzle. For the sake of morality I try to return my thoughts back to the urinary map of Croatia. Swoooosh, the door to the alien craft opens and my friend the uniform steps through and begins to speak to me. It is a moment or two before I realise I have strayed into the club members viewing area only. I nod my head with a cursory final glance at Croatia and step back the few centimetres into the non members section.

It is too late however. The uniform has rearranged itself in a quivering awkwardness beside me and clearly feels that her moment of power has instigated, at the very least, a response in answer to her comment. For the life of me I cannot recall her question. Her withering gaze tells me that between her upper torso and her tattoos, it could well have been connected with penis envy. My own penis is currently struggling to hide itself away behind its two closest companions in case of attack. There are links between my sexual libido and the larger lesbian, but I am unable to categorise a section which teeters between bestiality and a Greek wrestler. I sense she is not a soulful woman. I doubt she has ever purchased a Beatles album. In her eyes I merely pulsate a disgusting bile from my groin shakra. I do what every red blooded male does when confronted with what we call in Glasgow 'the gargoyle come on'. I whistle a happy tuneless tune as I wander gingerly away. Perhaps I'll wait in the car next time.

Chefs Healthy Salad

8 ounces thin asparagus, stem ends snapped off, cut into 2-inch pieces 
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, stemmed 
8 ounces snow peas, stemmed 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon almond oil, or olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
10 chopped scallions
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
4 whole strawberries, for garnish