The Angry Corrie 26: Feb-Mar 1996
Aficionados of Catch 22 - of whom I believe there are a few among the readership of this blat - will be familiar with the sad story of Doc Daneeka. The old sawbones, in order to collect his flight pay, used to fake flights with McWatt. All went well until the fateful day when a McWatt prank backfired and severed the two halves of Kid Sampson's body. McWatt, unable to cope, deliberately crashed his plane. As far as the air force was concerned, Doc Daneeka died with him and he had a job convincing anyone he was still alive.
I can see the Ed tearing out his meagre ration of hair at the thought that the Urban V has finally flipped. Well in order to collect my hill pay for this blat, I too have to clock up some hours aloft. Aloft on the bloody hills unfortunately. Why I don't just write for a darts journal I'm not sure. Thus it was that one recent Sunday I was out with the Editor himself. The suspicious blackguard thinks I am faking if I report back on a fullscale winter ascent of Tower Ridge with Archie Hind and two lightly-clad waitresses from Babbity Bowster's (this was the article I submitted last month).
So we mucked around in Rob Roy's grave and set off up Meall an t-Seallaidh (so I am told). I shall spare you, gentle reader, the details of our ascent. I shall further spare you any details of your man's language as he peched his way up. Although I used to cut a particularly dashing figure at the dancing in my halcyon days, the strict training I now put in at my Southside club disposes me not much for running up mountains. And that is the manner in which the Ed does it.
At this point I should make mention of my coupon. A wonderful word coupon. I also have a certain fondness for the term pus which they use in Dundee. "Punch 'es pus Doddsy" communicates much more than just the random violence of the terraces. But coupon is face, countenance, demeanour and visage all in one, and as such, one of the glories of our vernacular. Anyway, back to my coupon; it was like a beetroot. I was gasping for a fag but realised that one drag would probably tip me into hypoxia. Of course no torture goes on forever. It would lose its effect.
So we did eventually reach the top. It took some minutes for the Urban V to regain his composure. The Ed was ramming bloody sardines into his face in an alarming manner. Maybe he believes the myth about brain food. The only advantage to being where we were appeared to be that it was a perfect position to plan which pub to patronise on the way back. Having thus opined to the Ed I was appalled when he informed me that we still had to visit Rob Roy's so-called putting stone. Hollywood has obviously taken more liberties than necessary with the character if they felt it necessary to have him playing golf. A sport I despise, by the way, although the part of the oldest member in the Wodehouse omnibus does appeal; lounging in an armchair on the veranda sipping goldies as I dispense my years of accumulated erudition. Anyway the so-called putting stone is just a bloody big boulder, but we had to visit it. This involved trachling through interminable bogs by the end of which the old polished brogans were much in need of attention. However a couple of Woodbine had given me sufficient adrenalin for the trip.
Rob Roy's bloody stone of course was a great disappointment, or it would have been if I had harboured any hopes for it in the first place. As Ed and I languished at its foot, however, did we not have the most singular encounter? Four old fogeys approached and was one of them not old Tam Weir himself? Now your Urban V is not unused to celebrities. I have been known to dally all day in the bowels of BBC Scotland with Lesley Riddoch and it seemed like 10 minutes; and of course I see Archie Hind almost every night of the week. But I have to say there was something quite moving about meeting Old Tam in his natural habitat. For a start there was his coupon. No old reruns of Weir's Way or photies in the Scots Mag will ever prepare you for the majesty of that coupon in the flesh. I have spent a few grand on my own over the years, but is Tam's not the very epitome of the bon viveur? Now I don't have overmuch time for Tam's mother Molly. She is the Queen Bee of what I famously christened the Wee Black Sanny brigade along with Sir Clifford of Hanley. But Tam himself in all his glory with the coupon and all, it made the whole bloody day worth it. Even the descent - which again I shall spare you.
Chatting to the blat's medical correspondent on the Monday - a Dr Gareth Jones - did he not tell me that the notion that such noses as Tam's derive from the amber nectar is a myth. What does he know the young whippersnapper? He wasn't born when Tam was wrapping himself in the Daily Record and napping under the Narnain Boulders.