… that Emma Raducanu, a young, British, female tennis player has made the final of the US Tennis Open at the age of 18. No surprise, then, that the media is full of it and also speculating on the riches that await her should she keep on progressing up the world rankings.
Nevertheless, I am indebted to ‘Management’ for pointing out Forbes Magazine’s statement of the bleeding obvious that: the nine highest paid female athletes in the world are all women. Who’d have thunk it?
Juiced-up MPs and the bewhiskered nature of scientists…
I once met Austin Mitchell a former Labour MP, who died recently. He had travelled to Aberdeen’s Marine Laboratory soon after the Millennium as a member, I think, of the UK Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on some sort of fisheries fact finding mission. We met with the Committee in the afternoon after it had earlier held talks with leaders of the Scottish fish catching and processing sectors.
The Marine Lab commonly hosted such gatherings in its net store where there was room to set up display panels and examples of different fishing gears. After my presentation I meandered to the back of the room to observe the rest of the event from a distance. Soon after that I became aware of a distinctly inebriated presence sidling up to me. It was Mitchell who, in the vernacular of the day, ‘had enjoyed a good lunch’.
As the presentations continued at the front, he quietly asked me about fishery discards and what did I think of the Norwegian fishery discard ban; could such a thing work in European waters? I whispered that I’d recently reviewed the Arctic Fisheries stock assessment working group report in my guise as the UK member of the ICES Advisory Committee on Fisheries Management and told him it made clear that its catch data were quite uncertain due to unreported (illegal!) landings and an unknown quantity of discards despite the discard ban.
I explained that the true discard rate was unknown because the Norwegians had no means to measure it. Their logic seemed to be that discarding was not allowed, ergo it wouldn’t happen, ergo there was no need to monitor it (they do prosecute a handful of cases each year, but inspection and monitoring are quite different activities with differing requirements and processes).
(To be fair to the Norwegians, the discard ban is accompanied by a package of permanently or seasonally closed areas, and some real-time area closures when the likelihood of catching undersized fish or exceeding legal by-catch limits is beyond some specific threshold criteria.)
Anyway, I finished by telling Mitchell that the Norwegian scientists knew as well as I did, and as did many others, that when it came to disposing of any unwanted or illegal catches “in Arctic waters the nights are long and the waters deep!”.
Mitchell guffawed loudly and exclaimed merrily (and just as loudly) “Ah, not just a scientist, but a poet as well!”.
After that he nodded towards a couple of scientists and engineers at the front, and jovially asked “Do you have to have a beard and be bald to become a fisheries expert?”
As I also had a beard, but had not yet started to thin ‘on top’, I told him a beard was mandatory, but that baldness was optional (like integrity in politicians, but I lacked the courage to say that).
There once was a drunken MP Went to a marine lab to see If all scientists were weird And bald with a beard And they were, I’m sure he’d agree!
Postscript: I found an interesting quote on the current status of Norwegian fishery discard estimates. The relevant paper explicitly includes unknown discard rates in the estimation of total unreported landings; an acknowledgement that Norwegian fisheries and their management are not as virtuous as their sanctimonious political headlines would sometimes have us believe!
I have to thank the designers of Edinburgh’s new St James Quarter for inspiring this week’s ALAW.
Having just opened a month ago, heavy rain has already caused part of its ‘Galleria’ to be cordoned off due to rain flooding its balconies and dripping onto the floor below, and a day or two later it had to be completely evacuated due to a false fire alarm.
Such teething troubles may be expected in a new shopping and hotel complex, but they’re not the ALAW’s inspiration. What has made me chuckle is the crowning glory of the centre’s hotel; a great big poop emoji on its roof! As the Graun’s coruscating report says:
You can’t polish a turd, but you can clad it in bronze-coloured steel. Edinburgh’s new W Hotel is proof. Poking its faecal peak above the historic skyline, puncturing the globally cherished panorama of elegant stone steeples and spires, this shimmering pile is evidence that, despite all the Unesco World Heritage site protections, conservation group campaigns and lengthy planning negotiations, shit still happens.
I had my first covid vaccination last week and, as with the flu jab at the end of last year, I was amazed that I never felt the needle go in.
That was unlike the time that I sliced into my left index finger with a fish gutting knife and required several stitches followed by both a tetanus and a triplopen jab into my left bum cheek.
The triplopen hurt so much that I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg and, having walked purposefully into A&E with a bloodied hand, I came out limping heavily. As Corporal Jones would say, “They don’t like it up ’em!” and neither did I!
Here’s the limerick…
A doctor was asked would she come To a man with a badly cut thumb. She put in some stitches Then pulled down his britches For a triplopen shot in the bum!
… and the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day
I am indebted to Laurence Fox, erstwhile leader of the newly minted ‘Reclaim Party’, for inspiring this week’s ALAW. His most recent populist tweet, seeking once more to belittle the British Broadcasting Corporation, brought a crushing response from a bunch of Anglo-Irish rapscallions:
So, here we go…
An actor once entered stage right And tried to Reclaim the light But that parcel of rogues That we know as The Pogues Just beasted that herrenvolk sh*te!
Regular readers will know that I’m a great fan of the Hatton Locks café on the Grand Union Canal as it approaches, er, Hatton, a small village just west of Warwick. In particular, its bacon rolls and mega-breakfast are to die for (probably literally if you overindulge).
And you get the mega-breakfast for less than a tenner. I make it a ‘must have’ treat whenever I’m in the English Midlands (especially on those days when you can sit outside, enjoy the view, and watch the narrowboats cruise slowly by).
I also rate the various breakfast options closer to home at Aberdeen’s Inversnecky Café – I recommend the breakfast muffin – and I’m a mug for Stonehaven’s Waterfront Café as well. Both are rather old-fashioned, traditional value-for-money establishments, but there’s nowt wrong with that!
So I was interested to read this week that London’s Savoy Grill is promoting Gordon Ramsay’s ‘amazing’ Full English Breakfast. A snip at only £19. Its launch has attracted a lot of flak, not only for its exorbitant cost, but also due to the paucity of product on the plate. I suppose the price is understandable if the Savoy wishes to keep out the great unwashed, but the lack of scran means it ain’t for me anyway.
Still, I remain a big fan of the Full xxxxx Breakfast (insert English, Scottish or Irish, I don’t mind – I’m a great internationalist), but would want something a bit more substantial than Ramsay’s Savoy offering even at half its price (for which you can get the Hatton Locks Café’s extra-Mega-Breakfast). However, as a long-term Anglo exile en Écosse I am also aware of the rather gruesome drink and diet related health statistics that concern Scotland (a sweeping generalisation, I know, but grounded in truth), so, all good things in moderation please!
Here’s the limerick…
An Aberdeen lassie called Becky Cooked meals at the town’s Inversnecky Café on the beach And it’s where she could teach The Savoy how to make a braw brekkie!
Postscript #1: On the subject of Full xxxxx Breakfasts, when sneaking a peak at Management’s Facebook account (with permission, of course – I’m no longer on it myself), I was intrigued to see this and scrolled through the comments…
I don’t know if the result of the poll was pro- or anti- tomato, but oh boy, most of the comments reflected very strong views on the other constituent ingredients. Clearly breakfasts are things not to be trifled with, but with one eye on my concern over Scotland’s health statistics, the following comment drew a wry smile…
Postscript #2: ‘Scran’, of course, is an old naval term for food, but I never knew until recently that scran spanners refer to cutlery.
A nurse in Clydebank, whose car had been wrecked by a drunk driver in between her 12 hour hospital shifts, was clearly moved by the offers of help that she received. Her comments made me laugh out loud just as I was taking a mouthful of tea. Laugh? I discovered a new word #snaughling
“I’m absolutely stunned, I’ve been greeting trying to wipe my snotters up through a mask from all the support.”
Postscript: I do know that Clydebank is not in Glasgow! The hashtags are intended as generic for the city and the towns and villages in its wider environs. Please send complaints about their use in this context to AA (An@llyRetentivePedants Anonymous)
The quote made me laugh, but the associated article had me in hysterics. It’s a long time since I cried laughing, but the guy’s explanation of the timeline of events really did for me and the hospital’s discharge note finished me completely: “Denies other magnets”.