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Scott Begbie: I’m encouraged after taking my first steps on road to ‘normality’


Is there anything better than a cold beer in warm sunshine and a bit of hearty food to go with it?

It’s a touch of the sublime, even in the most unlikely of places such as sitting on a cooncil bench on the Upperkirkgate.

I have to admit, when I first saw the pictures of these seats being installed, I was a tad sceptical.

I mean, who really wants to spend time sitting in the middle of the road? Eh, me and the missus, that’s who, as we discovered on our first sojourn into Aberdeen since lockdown.

We just happened upon the row of benches, all gussied up with plants and everything, as some folk were getting up to leave.

Opportunistic as ever we were parked as soon as the previous incumbents were two metres away.

Then we realised you could get drinks from the Kirkgate. Well hello cold, refreshing pint from a bar. How I’ve missed you.

And, added bonus, Pig’s Wings was also right there, open and serving. Never have loaded fries tasted so good – even if I was keeping an eagle eye out for swooping gulls.

All of this in warm sunshine, right in the heart of Aberdeen.

Any “what’s the point?” thoughts I had about street benches evaporated in an air of relaxed contentment.

And this is just the beginning of our baby steps back to normality.

Shopping malls have now joined already reopened shops.

Restaurants and pubs are letting folk indoors from tomorrow. Our table is booked at the Marine for Friday night (he said, clapping his hands gleefully).

Sure, there will be restrictions and constraints. But if everyone plays nicely and uses common sense, it will be a scoosh.

I have a very clear aim as I start to get my life back.

I’m going to support the local businesses who supported me through the frankly rubbish past few months.

If I can buy something from a north-east firm, I will.

Six Degrees North kept me in beer during all of this. Grainger’s Deli kept me in fine sandwiches, yummy cheeses and excellent coffee.

Afternoon teas from Arduthie House and Red Red Robin, lifted the spirits of the Begbie household.

All of those deserve thanks. You, no doubt, will have others who did the same for you.

So, show your gratitude by giving them what they need most now: Your custom.

Covid-19 has brutalised our economy and local firms have borne the brunt. Let’s do all we can to help them back on their feet.

Credit where credit’s due – except when it involves SNP

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw

Is Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw incapable of talking up his own country?

When asked in a TV interview why Scotland had been more successful in tackling Covid-19 than England, he didn’t say “well done us”. He actually argued the toss saying it was a “subjective point”.

Good on the interviewer for pointing out it was quite objective, given the precise data on the rate of cases and deaths.

Has it not occurred to Tory boy this constant sniping, even in the face of facts, is doing his cause no favours?

Go on, Jackson, just for once, say “well done” when it’s due – even if it means praising Nicola Sturgeon.

White-knuckle ride in the countryside


Nothing eases the soul more than a walk in fresh air and glorious countryside.

Provided, that is, you can reach it.

At the weekend, Mrs B and I decided to stroll around Loch Muick.

Unfortunately, the entire population of the north-east decided to do the same.

On the long and winding road in, there was a convoy of cars in front and behind us.

There were also a lot of cars coming the other way, making the twisty, narrow route a bit “eek!” at times.

As we got closer to the car park we realised the place was mobbed, but had no way of turning round. People were parking at the side of the road and even in passing places.

Who knew that Covid-19 could make folk recklessly daft?

As cars squeeze past in both directions “eek!” became “oh my God, this is a nightmare”. At one point I thought we were trapped. Eventually we managed to get turned and get out, but not without some white knuckles and swearing.

At the end of the day, we were able to follow the sage advice of avoiding crowded places.

Which, frankly, more folk should have done.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.