As a journo, I would often get invited to a game of Scrabble here and there. People always think writers know interesting words and give them a good run for their money.
The board was often got out on special occasions, when the After Eights had run out and the red wine was flowing freely. They say alcohol slows your mind down, but somehow these particular mints were speeding mine up.
A few years ago, a cove called Donnie challenged me. You know what? I was quite good at it. I was on fire. An English teacher who had reached the pinnacles of academia, he was getting out of his pram a bit.
Then, my winning run began to grind to a halt. I needed a good few points to win, but was left with only A, Q and T. That doesn’t make a word. Donnie thought he had me. I thought he had me.
Not yet. I got out an After Eight mint and began to suck. Then it came to me.
I remembered that there had been news coverage of an Arabian bush that had its leaves designated as a class C drug to discourage high-flyers (if you know what I mean) grinding them down into a mind-blowing tea. I was sure that was the qat bush.
Donnie was aghast and Googled furiously to prove that I was talking nonsense. Bingo, I was right. Championi championi, way-oh, way-oh, way!
Donnie found himself stuck with the letters O and D at the end. He had to try and make do. Then he took the huff and stomped off home. Just before the door slammed, he let fly with an insult. It sounded like Donnie had just called me an Arabian bush.
I’ll have to play Gaelic Scrabble against myself
The big news is that a Gaelic version of Scrabble is being released. There is only one problem that I foresee here. There are only 18 letters in our language. Gaelic does not have the letters J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y, or Z. These are all high-scoring letters in Scrabble.
Oh, heck. You get five points for a K, eight points for J and X, and a whopping 10 points for Q and Z. What are they going to do?
Maybe we can go to Comunn na Gaidhlig, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Clì, An Comunn Gàidhealach, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, Comunn Gàidhlig Thoronto, and the Scottish Gaelic Texts Society and ask for our missing letters back.
They will say they were never there in the first place, but that depends on how far back you go. Gaelic used to have all letters except L. That was because the Gaels were deeply religious, and the angel Gabriel said: “No L.”
The sad news is that I’ll have to play Gaelic Scrabble against myself. Mrs X cannot play. She doesn’t speak the language of the Garden of Eden. That’s Stornowegians for you, as my late aunt Chirsty Ann would whisper loudly.
So, I can spell out all those Gaelic words which she has banned me from saying in the house, even though she can’t spell them. She won’t have a scooby.
Here goes. Tòn, màs and cìochan. Oh, manachainn. I haven’t used the Gaelic word for buttocks for years. She won’t have a clue.
Stirling’s Smith doesn’t have a clue about Scotland
Someone else who is clearly clueless is Alyn Smith MP. Despite the shambles that our SNP Government has made of the ferry contracts in recent years, this self-centred Central Belt MP claims that ferries are not a significant issue in Scotland.
He is quoted as saying: “Actually talking to people out there in the real world who want some hope, who want to know that politics isn’t all about WhatsApp messages, iPads, and ferries. It’s about bigger stuff than that. It’s about dealing with the priorities of the people of Scotland.”
Blimey. Dozy Smith is one heck of an out-of-touch politician. For many years, an even more out-of-touch MEP, Smith tried to get elected back here, but came fourth in two elections. Now limping along as a Stirling MP, this ridiculous fellow is trying to raise his own profile.
— Neil Schofield-Hughes 🔶 🇪🇺 🏴🇺🇦 (@SZeitblom) November 18, 2023
He is failing miserably by assuming landlocked Stirling is the centre of all Scottish political thought. His party deserves elected members who do not try to downplay errors they created, but who instead focus on fixing them.
Alyn Smith has made me angrier than any other politician in the UK. OK, there have been one or two others, too. He has been around a while. Smith should know better.
Just as the singer Sonny should have known what Cher would say when they were playing Scrabble. Sonny pulled a tile out of the bag and Cher asked him what he’d picked.
He replied: “I’ve got U, babe.”
Iain Maciver is a former broadcaster and news reporter from the Outer Hebrides