I once lived on the same street in Chesterfield as EDWARD CARPENTER, the celebrated socialist, poet, vegetarian and activist for gay rights. But we weren't there at the same time. Edward stayed there in 1877.





Cleyhole Cake

Why is it called a Cleyhole Cake? Because I stay near Stranraer, also known as the Cleyhole, and I invented it, and since Dundee FC's duplicity dumped my team into the 4th division I'm not eating anything that bears the name of that town.


12 oz  mixed fruit
4 oz margarine
1/4 pint water
4 oz sugar
8 oz self-raising flour
2 heaped teaspoonfuls cocoa powder
1 orange

Put the fruit, sugar, marge and water into a large saucepan and simmer it for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool down.

Cut the orange into halves. Squeeze the juice and pith from both halves into the pan. Next, stir in the flour and cocoa. 

Scoop the mixture into a greased cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven at about 150 degrees Celsius for up to an hour and a half, depending on whether you like your cake light brown, dark brown or black.

It's delicious and it's suitable for vegans. They don't sell anything as good in supermarkets nor, in my opinion, in cafes either.​

I can't speak for anybody else but I want to have my cake and eat it. What else am I going to do with it? I'm not going to make a tasty cake and then just throw it away uneaten! 


Did I mention that I used to live in Chesterfield? For a good few  years my MP was Tony Benn. I met him lots of times and he was a genial and friendly guy. I also encountered Dennis Skinner but I'd sooner not talk about him. He was awfie rude. Now my MP is Alister Jack but please don't blame me. I never voted for him, obviously, (nor for David Mundell when I stayed in Annan) but I know somebody who did so and then boasted on Facebook that she had voted twice by post because her husband was away and she thought she would borrow his vote. She also told her son to vote for Jack so that's at least 2 votes he shouldn't have got. Aye, and one crime committed too.

Sometimes I used to go to a Costa coffee shop that was around 5 miles or so from our house. Then, another Costa's opened up just around the corner from where we stayed. It seemed daft to drive for 5 miles when I could walk 200 yards, but it was also silly to walk 200 yards to buy coffee when I could make my own, at home, for free. So I never drank Costa's coffee again.

No cure yet for the Coronavirus,

including these:

Here's a handy list of things, provided by The Ferret, that won't help anybody fight off or cure  Covid-19. 

1. Vitamin C. There's no evidence that Vitamin C helps a body fight against  COVID-19. If it did so, we would all have been told to eat lots of fruit & vegetables, and I suppose thousands of folk would be arguing that the authorities are trying to take away their right to eat crisps and pizza instead.  In fact, we are advised to eat fruit & veg but that's a general bit of good advice and nothing to do with the virus.

2. Garlic. It'll not do anybody other than vampires any harm to eat garlic and it's a tasty addition to a diet but there's absolutely no reason to suggest that it's of any use against the coronavirus. 

3. Drinking water every 15 minutes will just make you go to the toilet a lot more frequently. The idea that it might rinse the virus out of your throat and into your stomach, where it will be destroyed by acid, is a daft one. It won't.

4. Dettol. Some people posted photos on social media of bottles of Dettol where, on the back, it mentioned killing coronavirus germs, but this did not refer to new virus COVID-19.  If Dettol killed C-19 there'd be none left in the shops and we'd all have been given our very own bottle of the stuff. The makers of Dettol have never claimed it's of any value against C-19 and have also advised people to sling a deafie at Donald Trump and to not inject themselves with bleach. 

5. Sunshine. There's no evidence that heat makes any difference. It wis sunny and warm in Spain an Italy, where in April the virus was killing more people than anywhere else in Europe.. There's nothing wrong with enjoying a bright day but don't get burnt; it'll hurt and it won't make any difference to whether you do or don't get infected. 

6. Alcohol. Washing your hands in vodka isn't going to help because the alcohol levels in neat vodka are not enough to protect against the virus. And drinking it to excess is a bad idea; it could affect your immune system and make you more likely to become ill.

7. Even though a doctor has apparently said otherwise, plugging in a hairdryer an directing the air into your face and up your nose will do nothing for your health other than to possibly give you a nasty burn. The doctor that suggested that this would be useful is not a medical doctor; he's a Doctor of Education.

To the above we can add reiki, acupuncture, prayers, Hopi ear candling, crystals, Tarot and so on.


And don't forget that thousands of folk die from malaria, TB and AIDS every week. None of the above suggestions help with those conditions, either. 

Who'd be First Minister? You might have noticed that Nicola Sturgeon has not been on a vacation this year but many who have had a few days off or a spell at their holiday cottages, and who possess keyboards and aren't afraid to use them, have not been shy when it comes to accusing her of:

Being too quick to impose lockdowns on pubs and indoor hospitality.

Not imposing lockdowns on pubs and indoor hospitality quickly enough.

Colluding with Alex Salmond to cover up accusations of sexual harrassment.

Conspiring against Alex Salmond to have him accused of sexual harrassment.

Being obsessed with the pandemic and neglecting independence.

Being obsessed with independence and neglecting the pandemic. 

Not sacking Margaret Ferrier (even though she doesn't have the power to do so.)

Not supporting Margaret Ferrier and allowing her to be thrown to the wolves of the press.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list but it illustrates that someone is doing a rubbish job, and I'm not referring to the First Minister but to the wolves referenced above. Also to others who don't have many bodies they need to answer to, such as Alex's friends at Sputnik and Russia Today, Willie Rennie, Douglas Ross, Reporting Scotland, Craig Murray, Jim SillarsKenny McAskill and Stuart Campbell aka Wings Over Scotland

You don't have to spend money on food that comes in plastic containers. Make your own hummus by mashing up 1 or 2 tins of chick peas with a good clove or two of garlic and some salt, tahini and lemon juice. For chocolate pudding all you need is some Alpro custard and cocoa powder, mixed up together just as you would do if you were making a drink of cocoa. Mix some powder in a spot of custard to make a smooth paste and then top it up. But make sure to eat it on the day you make it because otherwise it tends to go runny. 


Please. Don't be put off by the way the pudding looks. It's only like that because I ate half of it before taking the photo and consequently made a mess of the bowl. For the hummus, my advice is to go easy on the chick peas and lemon and be generous with the tahini and garlic.


The National used to be a serious and interesting newspaper and most of the time it's still a good read, but the editor needs to be told that somebody being blocked on Twitter does not count as news. In order to attract working class readers it's not necessary to write gash. We can cope with the real thing. Some of us have been to university, although I admit that for one or two that was a very long time ago. 


It looks to me that BBC3 is all about young adults with beautiful hair, classical torsos and glowing smiles having loads of fun and kissing each other. If you turn the telly onto the news channel there might well be an item about the problems of young people being bullied and feeling suicidal because they have a poor body image and consider themselves not pretty enough. I'm a wee bit surprised that nobody has connected the two.

DEHENNA DAVISON, MP for Bishop Auckland in County Durham, is a radge. She can't, or doesn't want to, recognise the difference between ordinary folk with conservative views and right wing extremist bams. She's been looking foolish for another reason recently; she sent a comic tweet saying that Richard Leonard is unpopular in Scotland because of his Lancashire accent. You'd think that the MP for Bishop Auckland would know the difference between Lancashire and Yorkshire, which borders County Durham and is where Richard Leonard comes from.


Richard Leonard grew up in Malton, which is only 50 miles away, as the crow flies, from Bishop Auckland. Ms Davison herself comes from Sheffield, which, of course, means that she is from Yorkshire too. Chuffin 'ell!

The Embra Evening News called this a massive hole.

English speakers eh, readers? A hole can't be massive, because it doesn't possess a mass. It's an empty hole, a space, and whatever its depth or circumference might be makes no difference at all to that fact.

Chocolate Ginger Tiffin

Don't read this if you don't want to become as fat as the Empress of Blandings, but if you think life's too short to be worried you'll be needing: 

2 or 3 handsful dried mixed fruit

1 large bar chocolate

1 pack ginger biscuits

2 tbs treacle

125 g marge

Put some greaseproof paper into a cooking tray. Beat the biscuits to smithereens with a rolling pin and put the wee bits in a bowl. Melt the marge and add it, along with the treacle and fruit, to the biscuit crumbs. Mix up the whole thing.

No cooking is necessary. Let it cool down and spread the mixture into the baking tray. Whan it's cool, melt the choc and spread it on the top, then transfer it to the fridge.


If you watched ITV drama Des and also watched the documentary entitled The Real Des then, like me, you might wonder what was the point of the drama when the other programme told the story more succinctly, less expensively and without making anything up.


Aye, David Tennant looked just like a mirror image of Dennis Nilsen but the real Nilsen was even more like him. Still, it was good to see the victims get a mention and their families a chance to talk about their feelings, and the two shows quashed for ever the image of Nilsen as a mild-mannered civil servant. It was bad enough that he was a murderer 15 times over but it turns out that he was unusually dislikeable and arrogant as well. 

If the Scots Ee were to show the infamous cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad that originally appeared in Dagens-Posten not many people would see them, but I'm not going to do it all the same. This isn't because I consider the drawings to be blasphemous; I just don't want to risk having my head cut off, as recently happened to a teacher who showed the caricatures to his teenage class in France. It's not a very attractive head by any means, but I'm quite attached to it regardless. 

For a few minutes on 15 October the world, or at least the richer parts of it, smelled fresher. Peace broke out, there was less racism, fewer conspiracy theories were shared and the number of idle threats, insults and lies declined. Inappropriate use of the words fuck and cunt dropped by 95%. Then Twitter came back online and things turned to shite again. 

Everybody has opinions but it's not always appropriate to share them. Here's a good example of when and how not to do so:

My friend Maria was having a secret affair with a man called Jimmy, who lived with his long time girlfriend. The only person she told about what was happening was her workplace best buddie, Ruth, who was sometimes apt to be jealous. One day Maria came to work in tears; the previous evening Jimmy had told her that their relationship was over because he wanted to be fair to his loyal partner back at home. Ruth took the opportunity to cheer Maria up and to get things off her chest at the same time, telling her that she had had a lucky escape; Jimmy was nice to look at but he was shallow and weak, a pathetic mummy's boy whom she had always known would break Maria's heart. Not only was he a moral coward but he was duplicitous and dishonest, and on top of all that he was thick as well.  A couple of days later Jimmy changed his mind, pledged his love to Maria and moved into her house.

Jimmy and Maria eventually got married, but Ruth wasn't invited to the wedding. In fact as far as I know Maria never spoke to her again.

It would be fun to chat to a professor of human behaviour about the football season being played without any spectators allowed to watch from the stands and terraces. Even though the grounds are as good as empty everyone seems to be carrying on as normal. Music is played as pre-match entertainment and to celebrate goals, the names of the scorers are broadcast to the non-existent fans and when players get a goal they still run to the edge of the pitch to celebrate. One or two have even put their fingers to their lips as if to shush the opposing supporters, who aren't there. 

Also, managers and coaches are still the same as always, forgetting that their shouts are no longer drowned out by crowd noise. Highlights of the match between Ayr United and Queen of the South are on You Tube, and at one point there's a loud yell from the Ayr bench to the ref of "Fuckin dae yir joab." Normally you can shout stuff like that and get away with it but the ref at Somerset Park must heard the abuse he was getting. That expert in behaviour might also be able to tell us the likelihood of the ref giving a penalty against Ayr just to get his own back. He didn't, but I must admit I probably would have. 

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