It is a great thing, as our national bard once noted, to be able to “see oorsels as ithers see us”.
Among the usual stramashes and bad boy behaviour, it was a tonic to see the otherwise hard-pressed Scottish football fans helping to pick up Leicester Square litter to which, no doubt, many of their compatriots had generously contributed.
But it was a better, kinder image to show the world than is often seen, even of the Tartan Army which has a more benign general reputation than many a travelling fitba’ following.
Here’s hoping they will have a better backdrop of results against which to demonstrate it if future tournaments lie ahead in Abroad-shire.
And speaking of which, although we have not yet ventured anywhere on the ever-changing red/green/amber travel list and have no immediate intentions of doing so, we did hie ourselves over the border last week.
Now, given the row between our First Minister and the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, over such actions, the name of Sturgeon is, if not exactly mud in the parts we visited, definitely a bit grubby round the edges.
One could argue, in Ms Sturgeon’s defence, that many have been beefing about slow or no reaction to suspending travel being a major contribution towards the spread of Covid.
But as the irate Mr Burnham rightly pointed out, little was done to stay the movements of the aforementioned Tartan Army. To which the only possible response is: “I’d like to see you try, pal…”
Scotland fans helping to clear up Leicester Square. Fair play. 👏 pic.twitter.com/98MIEmswKO
— Jason Reid (@JasonReidUK) June 18, 2021
Be that as it may, it was interesting to test the water in the north of England about attitudes to the FM and the Scottish question.
According to our hosts, she is widely regarded as crazy, deluded and the long-lost if rather better-dressed sister of Wee Jimmy Krankie, a jibe we hear in these parts, too.
Views on independence range, however, from: “Let them go and pay for themselves for a change” to “Can we come too?”
In, out, or shake UK about?
I had occasion to find myself in a gift shop, buying fun but deeply un-necessary items (as one always used to do on holiday, if you recall) when the gent behind the counter remarked on my Scottish accent.
Pleasant pleasantries then ensued before he inquired: “So are you voting in or out?”
Apart from the obvious Brexit analogy and the fact that as yet, no vote, for or against, is in sight, I said I was not by nature an independence wallah.
But I added that I feared much-needed change, across the entire UK, would not happen unless something fairly seismic took place in the tortured world of politics.
His response: “I would if I were you. And can you take Cumbria with you? We’d all join that round here.”
So there you go. Anecdotal but as a case of seeing oorsels as ithers see us, an interesting balance of good and bad.
I feel, in the interests of fairness, however, that as I was at the time engaged in purchasing a stuffed dog chew in an effigy of Michael Gove, I think the shopkeeper might just have worked out the cut of my particular political jib…
And speaking of seeing oorsels, I bring you the joyful news that those busy boffins have come up with the theory that at least 29 nearby planets are watching us.
How do we know this?
I am not certain but it would be nice to think that Track/Test and Trace has eventually started to work properly somewhere.
For me, it conjures up a vision of a kind of interstellar reboot of Gogglebox
Reports published in the journal Nature reckon that up to 1,800 solar systems could have been looking us over and that as many as 46 are close enough to hear radio and TV broadcasts.
Numbers, obviously, like royal recollections, may vary.
For me, it conjures up a vision of a kind of interstellar reboot of Gogglebox, with a lot of wee ETs tuning in to try to understand life on earth via Love Island, Strictly Come Dancing, The Chase and repeats of New Tricks and Murder, She Wrote.
Good luck with that, then.
As for future links, who knows? Since Britain can’t even get on with Europe, what chance have we of forming good relations with the little green men?
Maybe they sent Dominic Cummings as an advance party? That could explain a lot…
On the other hand, if our entertainment programming is jamming up their airwaves and disturbing their peace, it would be rather ironic if our first contact with other worlds came in the form of complaints from above about the noise.