Pondering the predicament I got masellie into last week, a favourite Doric word of my mum’s popped into my napper for the first time in yonks.
Fit a rare word it is. Hands up if you’ve heard it afore. Two up if you still use it. Having just tugged it fae the mists of time, and realising how apt it is for my life, it’s gonna be my byword from now on. Snorl – as in: “I’m in a recht snorl.”
Apparently derived from a knot, tangle, kink or twist in a pirn of yard, thread or rope, it means scrape, muddle, confusion, fankle. So perfect. And so precisely does that describe me in recent weeks of high stress. Some of it still ongoing – to be revealed at a later date – and some of it, thankfully, resolved. But isn’t it aye the case that, when you’re in the middle of a crisis, a’thing roon aboot also gings agley?
As in… I was finally due to get a smart meter, having sent offski the last gadgie who came to fit one when he declared it would “cost a lot more” to keep my day-and-night lecce readings. Since then, EDF offered to pay ME £50 to get the one I wanted installed. Back o’ the net.
But fit a palaver; takes two hours, all the power switched off. Awa’ he whistles, a’ thing back in order, except – sod it – that flaming digital oven clock, which has been marginally more of a mystery to me than astrophysics since I got it three years go. Tried to set the time. Nae luck. Gave up.
The next day, after one of my particularly testing events, I decided to relax by makin’ meatloaf for the family tea. Cooking helps me chill oot. Except… nae this time.
Went to preheat the oven. Nothing happened. Pressed a few buttons on the clock dashboard – without having the foggiest fit I was deein’ – which only succeeded in locking the oven door. Great stuff when I needed to get the damnt meatloaf onski pronto. Started ramming at the buttons on the clock, like Roger Daltrey in Pinball Wizard. Still a deid, useless oven. Panic, panic, panic.
That’s when my already acknowledged Asda hero Bill rang the bell with my weeklies: he that became my knight in shining armour when I threw a wobbly in the middle of my beef-in-beer recipe, discovering the packers had forgotten my stout. Quick as a flash, he scooted up to Lidl and bought the necessary bottles. Spik aboot saving the day.
So, last week, as he unloaded my shopping, I ranted on about my gammie oven and uncooked meatloaf. Fit a gentlemen yet again, oor Bill offered to have a look and spent fully 15 minutes trying to help me. “Sorry,” sez he, “I can only think you might fix it if you run the pyrolytic self-cleaning programme, on which it seems to be stuck.”
By this time, truly browned off – which was more than could be said for my meatloaf – I turned it into stovetop mince and called my loon. That evening, he fixed it. And, yes, dear Bill, you were right. I had to run the pyro programme first. How can I thank you for trying to help me oot o’ my snorl – yet again?
Fit are Aberdeen City Council up to?
Beats me fit city councillors and officials are up to. They’ve launched a major drive to get residents to have their say on next year’s budget – listing a load of nightmare cuts which might have to be made to tackle the projected £35 million black hole.
We the people should tell them, they say, where the axe should fall. His Majesty’s Theatre? Leisure centres? New school buildings? Classroom hours? Free primary meals? The Winter Gardens? Hazlehead Pets Corner?
Are they havin’ a laugh? Show me an Aberdonian who wouldn’t fight to keep every one of them. So, why this pretence of public consultation? For us to sympathise with the difficult job they have to do and how they really care? Guff.
Little wonder locals are confused, angry and – yes – downright scared about what is happening to the city they love
Look at the guddle they made of last year’s budget with the pools and library scandal, which is still at the fighting stage. No evidence there that the ruling SNP-Lib Dem administration councillors give one hoot what their constituents wanted.
Yet, amid all this scaremongering about spending having to be slashed to the bone, they find the dosh to splash out on consultants drawing up plans for extortionately priced redevelopments at the beach and city centre. Little wonder locals are confused, angry and – yes – downright scared about what is happening to the city they love. It’s as if the glam projects are being given priority over bread-and-butter neighbourhood services.
And what happens to Aberdeen’s black hole now that SNP leader Humza Yousaf has just declared, in this very cash-strapped city, that council tax will be frozen next year? Madness.
Moreen Simpson is a former assistant editor of the Evening Express and The Press and Journal, and started her journalism career in 1970