A limerick a week #209

Thanks a brunch!

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.

Perhaps the pic shows a child’s portion?

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.

Quotes that made me laugh #58


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.”

#peoplemakeglasgow #glasgowlife

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) 

Quotes that made me laugh #57

A nose for a good story… 

Not really a quote, but a newspaper headline:

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”.

Well worth a read and it’s here.

Meantime, once I’d stopped laughing, it inspired this…

There once was a man of Verona
Who tried hard to cure Corona
The method he chose
Was a magnetic nose
That gave him a repellant persona!




A limerick a week #177

Parody, litotes and satire

I was too young to be allowed to watch the first series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus when it aired on TV, but I did catch the second and subsequent series.

There was a lot that was pretty average in most of the episodes and I’m convinced that they are now viewed as ground-breaking not because they were laugh-a-minute shows, but because of the open-ended and nonsensical nature of the sketches and the ease with which the occasional really funny parts could be repeated ad nauseum by schoolkids in the country’s playgrounds.

And now Terry Jones has died, becoming the second of the Pythons to have “shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible”.

Terry Jones, the naked organ-meister

Subsequent to the Flying Circus series, Jones’ Ripping Yarns productions (co-written with Michael Palin) were, and remain, a joy to watch and, as an amateur historian, he successfully challenge orthodoxy, writing, for example, about the medieval era that:

A lot of what we assume to be medieval ignorance is, in fact, our own ignorance about the medieval world.

Jones’ Hidden History

He also got to voice the best ever line in any of the Python productions…

better than: It’s only a wafer-thin mint, sir…

better than: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

better than: Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

and even better than: PININ’ for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?

’tis simply this: He’s not the Messiah – he’s a very naughty boy.

And here’s the limerick:

There once was a man so imbued
With humour that verged on the lewd
That he took of his clothes
And sat in repose
And played on his organ when nude!


A limerick a week #162

Life! Don’t talk to me about life!

Before The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a novel, film or video game, it was an original radio series and, to my mind, it was better than any of the subsequent adaptations. No-one ever came close to surpassing Peter Jones’ radio narration as The Book or to Stephen Moore’s depressive voicing of Marvin the paranoid android.

The HHGTTG original book cover

Stephen Moore died earlier this month. As someone who remembers the original series and its phenomenal impact, I think his Marvin was the most quotable of characters. I’ve often used the robot’s phrase “Why stop now just when I’m hating it” and occasionally wished I’d had the courage to tell someone “It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level” or “I wish you’d just tell me instead of trying to engage my enthusiasm”.

Stephen Moore and the TV series’ realisation of Marvin.

(For those that don’t know the Hitchhiker storyline, a human, Arthur Dent, is saved by Ford Prefect, an alien researcher for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, just before the earth is demolished to make way for an intergalactic highway. In escaping, they become stowaways aboard a Vogon spacecraft. When they are found they are subjected to a recital of Vogon poetry, a form of torture, before being cast into the void, which is where their adventures really start.)

Anyway, to misquote Marvin: “Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to write a limerick. Call that job satisfaction, ’cause I don’t”.

Farewell to the paranoid android
And the actor that firstly deployed
A robotically aesthetic
Depressed cybernetic,
Now they’re cast to a dark cosmic void!




Quotes that made me laugh #56

The first advertisement that I remember was produced when I was seven years old. It was a billboard poster and depicted the Bayeux Tapestry as interpreted by Guinness, with the strapline: Battle of Hastings 1066, Bottle of Guinness 1966. I recall being fascinated by the play on words.

Sometimes, though, adverts can comprise a more soulful message.

Reflecting on the northeast of Scotland’s decadal exposure to dull, overcast and drizzly weather, the Garioch (pronounced Geary) Glazing Company is currently advertising its services on a local radio station, Original 106, with the following gem that made me laugh.

… and remember, dreich weather ayeways looks better through a Garioch Glazing window.

Only in the northeast!

A limerick a week #153

On Baa Baa Black Sheep and POTUS’ hissy fits…

In the early 1980s, a fisheries scientist from the then MAFF Fisheries Laboratory in Lowestoft presented a novel assessment of the size of mackerel stocks to his overseas colleagues at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea’s (ICES) headquarters in Copenhagen.

Although the principle behind the method was not new, it was newly applied to the mackerel stock and, in a nutshell, it required an estimate of the abundance of eggs produced during the mackerel’s spawning season in order to quantify the number of mackerel necessary to have produced them.

Although not immediately adopted, the egg production method has now been the mainstay of the ICES’ northeast Atlantic mackerel assessments for many years, with a huge effort put into the triennial mackerel egg surveys and estimation of the other biological parameters related to egg production. But it had a difficult birth.

It was rejected for use initially because it was unproven and relied on relatively few observations. When subsequent years’ data were available and some loose ends had been tied up, it was finally accepted as an appropriate assessment method for mackerel, notwithstanding what came to be known as ‘the million tonne mistake’ (see Postscript #2)!

Ironically, when originally presented, the most critical comments on the method came from the man-from-MAFF’s UK colleagues, albeit it from colleagues ‘north of the border’, who added spice to the rivalry between the senior Scottish and English scientists of that era.

As a result of the Caledonian criticism of his method, the man-from-MAFF wrote a vehement letter of complaint to the Director of the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen, the late Alasdair McIntyre. In it, he wrote of his disappointment that fellow UK scientists were the most vocal critics of his work whereas other nationals were more amenable to it.

I was shown the letter many years ago and the reply (copies of both were held in the old registry of the Marine Laboratory, but I suspect the file holding them has long since been destroyed). I can’t recall the exact wording of the complaint, but it was pretty much a frustrated rant.

On receipt, Alasdair forwarded the complaint to the head of the laboratory’s Fish Team, Alan Saville (also since deceased), a herring scientist and the foremost critic of the new approach for mackerel, asking him to reply directly.

His riposte was blunt. He told the man-from-MAFF that his response to the criticism at ICES reminded him of a tantrum thrown by a toddler when its parents’ reaction to the child’s first ever rendition of Baa Baa Black Sheep did not receive the applause and approbation that he felt it deserved! Ouch!

I was reminded of this earlier this week when Donald Trump truculently called off his Presidential visit to Denmark because his plan to buy Greenland was labelled ‘absurd’ by leading Danish politicians. Trump (of all people) later framed the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments as ‘nasty’.

Personally, I think even a toddler would have reacted with more maturity than POTUS.

Here’s the limerick…

So POTUS told the world he’d derail
A visit to the Danes because they’ll
Not accede to his whim
(When they pricked his thin skin),
‘Cos Greenland, they said, ain’t for sale!

Postscript #1: Saville’s harsh rejoinder to the man-from-MAFF was amusingly ill-timed as it preceded publication of the DAFS Marine Laboratory ‘green’ book, Developments in Fisheries Research in Scotland published by Fishing News Books.

It must have been a delightfully retributive occasion for the man-from-MAFF who reviewed it for the ICES’ Journal du Conseil, damning it with faint, if any, praise!

Postscript #2: The million tonne mistake. Imagine, if you will, a graph that looks like a triangle and think of the area under the triangle as representing the number of eggs produced in a mackerel spawning season; that’s the egg production curve. Now imagine the same triangle with a notch taken out of it where that notch represents the egg production of about one million tonnes of mackerel.

In the early days of the mackerel egg survey, a notched curve was the only one observed and scientists were unsure whether the notch was a genuine property of seasonal egg production or an artefact due to sampling error.

Tbe conservative approach was to err on the side of caution and to accept the lower (notched) estimate of stock size albeit with caveats. Sampling in subsequent years indicated the notch to be an artefact and the retrospective view of the stock size was increased accordingly by a million tonnes.

So, who was right? The scientists for taking a cautious  approach with clearly explained reservations, or the pelagic fishing industry that christened it the million tonne mistake?

Answers on a postcard, please, to…

A limerick a week #151

A flash in the pan!

An article in the Metro’s online news website amused me this week, reporting as it did on a lightning strike in the United States. The thunderbolt resulted in an explosion that destroyed a family’s bathroom after it struck their septic tank and ignited the methane gas that had accumulated within it.

According to the Metro, the building’s entire plumbing system was destroyed by a flashover travelling through pipework into the house. The lavatory pan shattered and ceramic shrapnel damaged the bathroom walls which led the householder to declaim “I’m just glad none of us were on the toilet.”

All of which brings us to this week’s ALAW in a tasteless homage to topicality and current events…

With his bowels in a volatile state
He endured a combustible fate.
When their contents unloaded
The dunny exploded.
It must have been something he ate!