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The Flying Pigs: Wi’ nae barbers open, those o’ us still wi’ hair look at sheep-shearing equipment

A shearer clips sheep on a large farm in Goose Green on the Falkland Islands.
A shearer clips sheep on a large farm in Goose Green on the Falkland Islands.

Cosmo Ludovik Fawkes Hunte, 13th Earl of Kinmuck

Well, slather me in hollandaise, pop me in a muffin and call me eggs Benedict!

I must say I’m jolly impressed with Aberdeen City Council’s most newsworthy member, Alan Donnelly.

As far as I understand it, despite not being from one of the more notable families, he nevertheless appears to possess the kind of cast-iron self-belief in the face of all evidence to the contrary one would normally associate with the aristocracy. Or Gavin Williamson.

This is a trait of which my own family is justly proud, so it’s quite disconcerting to observe it manifest in the lower orders. Like seeing the royal warrant on a vape shop.

Donnelly’s pig-headed refusal to accept he’s done anything wrong simply because he’s been convicted in a criminal court of an imprisonable offence reminds me fondly of my great-grandfather, the 10th earl, a paragon of defiance whenever the local do-gooders turned up to wring their hands at him after another servant had been hospitalised with exhaustion.

Did he kowtow to the busybodies who thought they knew best? No. He saw them off the premises by threatening to uncork the vial of smallpox he kept handy for the purpose. The same one he used to motivate slovenly staff.

Good old-fashioned British strength of character, that’s what it is – just the sort of admirable recalcitrance which gave us The Empire, Brexit and 23 series of Midsummer Murders.

Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of witch-hunters with the all the other councillors, the Standards Commission and the increasingly Stalinist Conservative Party by pillorying the poor fellow it’s high time he was presented with some sort of award. I happen to have a statuette of a giraffe in my collection which would be eminently suitable for the purpose, as it too has an unbelievable brass neck.

View From the Midden: rural affairs with Jock Alexander

It’s been a reproductive week in the village. Aye, but nae lik ‘at, ye filthy aminals.

As we tak in the news that lockdoon will remain till the end of April, and we order in another twa months supply o’ essential supplies like whisky, creme eggs and new jammies twa sizes up fae wir last eens, those o’ us still wi’ hair stairt tae look thoughtfully at wir sheep-shearing equipment as a viable solution to nae barbers being open for another nine wiks.

So as a distraction fae a’ that, I’ve been gan big on space news. Files we continue tae ponder if Boris is on the same planet as the rest o’ us, I’ve been following the reports o’ the wee trundly robot on Mars. Gaan aboot your business in a wildly inhospitable environment and total isolation is affa impressive. But enough aboot me, the robot is a stammygaster an’ a’.

Closer tae hame, there’s the north o’ Scotland’s upcoming role as a launch site for space rockets, and a company in Forres fit’s making components using 3D printing technology.

In this particular instance, the 3D printers in Forres is gan tae produce components using a blend of metals designed tae withstand the extreme caul and high pressure o’ space. And fit wi’ Forres being jist up the road, and Meikle Wartle being no stranger tae either o’ that extremes, if they can dae it, fit wye nae us?

Weel there are a few reasons fit wye we probably canna dae fit that company’s daein, chief among these is that 3D printing technology has yet tae reach Meikle Wartle, proudly the last village in the north-east wi’ a working Telex machine, doggedly hudding oot against the new fangled ‘Fax’ (or “the de’il’s typewriter”, as Feel Moira cries it).

Noo the concept of 3D printing has ayewiz baffled me, even more so fan I found oot that ye can use a 3D printer tae print baffles. So I’ve hid a lookie on the interweb, and tae be honest I’m naen the wiser.

But apparently it allows ye tae mak components without having tae cut things oot, or pit ony glue in. Instead, ye tak a digital model and turns it into a three-dimensional object by adding material one layer at a time to make something amazing.

Weel, that is a concept we in the village a’ ready ken a’ aboot. We’ve a’ got a midden, fit started aff as a single layer o’ sharn but has grown over time, ending up as a highly complex creation fit fairly taks yer breath awa.


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