You Read it Here First

I am afraid that this might turn out be a rant, possibly a ramble and maybe a non-event. I don’t know where I might end up but I feel the need to set off on the journey anyway.

On 19th May 2012, Embra’s big team, the mighty Heart of Midlothian gave the wee Embran team a thorough skelping in the final of the Scottish Cup. The following day, there were, by common consent, 100,000 Jambos on the streets of Auld Reekie celebrating that result. My chosen vantage point was at the foot of the Castle Rock.

You can see it was glorious weather. Turns out it might have been absolutely perfect conditions for improperly-maintained cooling towers to do their worst in disseminating Legionella pneumophila.

As you may or may not know, there are presently 40 confirmed and 48 suspected cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in Embra. Two people have died in the last week. All of the affected individuals had strong connections with Saughton. Dalry and Gorgie, site of Tynecastle Park to which the Cup made its triumphal procession and heartland of our support. Said procession happened well within the incubation period of LD.

None of which matters in the great scheme of things, of course. Sometimes, you just can’t help being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My deepest sympathies go to the friends and relatives of those who were unlucky enough to contract the disease. I hope that they find and punish the irresponsible bastards who failed to do their job and make sure that the cooling towers were safe.

Today was a major sports day and Mrs M handed me the remote to work my way through a feast of rugby from 3 am when Scotland kept up the honour of the Northern Hemisphere by winning yet again. Followed by three gripping games where Ireland and Wales were, in my opinion, unlucky, and the Bokke won despite a spirited fightback by England.

The reckoning, of course, was that I was on supper duty while Mrs M caught up with ‘Holby City’ which she had recorded – don’t ask! She just likes it and we should all march to our own drums.

So, one of my signature dishes from our early marriage. We were just about able to afford to go once a month to a cheap and long-closed restaurant on the Meadows called ‘Palumbo’. Their house sauce incorporated morello cherries and Mrs M loved it.

In those days it was veal but she went off meat and I moved it to a pasta sauce. These days, it’s toasted garlic, oregano, finely chopped onions, mushrooms, enough ham to keep me nearly happy, cream and fresh cherries soaked overnight in Fino sherry. For the avoidance of doubt, it worked well tonight.

But I had a slight ear on ‘Holby’ despite myself. The story line, to be continued next week apparently, was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease. There were no announcements before the programme about what that story line was going to be and nothing afterwards with call lines for people who might have been affected by issues raised in the programme.

To date, if google is to be believed, there have been 11 complaints about the BBC being insensitive by airing the episode at this time. Only two pontifications from local politicians about said insensitivity, both along the lines of ‘Would they have shown the episode if there had actually been an ongoing outbreak of LD in London just now?’ One statement from the BBC along the lines that they recorded it three months ago and could not be expected to cancel it because of an unfortunate coincidence.

I think this might still be a major flair up. We live in interesting times in Scotland and those of us who support the Union are only too aware that the SNP will use any weapon to attack that Union. On this particular issue, I’m not prepared to say that they will have any real justification for the self-righteous indignation up with which they will probably puff themselves.

But, to be fair, a tiny wee part of me is always going to wonder if the episode would have been aired if the outbreak had been in London or Salford.

14 thoughts on “You Read it Here First”

  1. JM – my dear,chap, you’re going to have to translate the first para or so into English for the benefit of us 99.999% of readers. 🙂


  2. O Zangado :

    JM – my dear,chap, you’re going to have to translate the first para or so into English for the benefit of us 99.999% of readers. :-)


    Oz, good evening.

    One non-standard English word, ‘skelping’ in the first two paragraphs. Easily understandable in context, in my opinion. Certainly googleable, if you can’t work it out for yourself.

    Auld Reekie is a common nickname for Edinburgh throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as far as I am aware. You may, of course, have been furth (google will help) of our country for too long to remember that.

    A few smiley things, but not very many.

  3. But JM, might the SNP, who run Scotland now, be responsible for these cooling towers? Or for public health? It would perhaps be wiser of Salmond and his bunch to keep quite quiet and not attack the BBC for this coincidence.

    Btw perhaps the word “Jambos” threw OZ. I just worked it out – Hearts supporters?

  4. Of course it didn’t need translating!
    Pretty off of the BBC not to pull that show, especially considering the source has not been found and it is an ongoing event likely to kill some more. Don’t tell me they didn’t have more in the can.
    I think you are right, they would have pulled it if it had been in London or Salford.
    About time the BBC was sold off, too many own goals for words.

    PS be there were more people out for that victory procession than there were/are for that tacky torch!

  5. I think the number of people out for the victory procession is because it’s so unusual in Edinburgh. It’s often held in Glasgow.

  6. sheona :

    I think the number of people out for the victory procession is because it’s so unusual in Edinburgh. It’s often held in Glasgow.

    Sheona, good evening. ‘A hit, a very palpable hit’ and your comment deserves lots of smiley things.

    Jambos is derived from Jam Tarts, rhyming slang for Hearts, familiar form of Heart of Midlothian. I thought everybody knew that?

  7. Flare up.

    I see an opportunist theatre group is thinking about making a play about “Auld Reekie’s” tram service. The show is to be called- A Streetcar named Disaster.

  8. No doubt if it were the UK the Danish series Borgen would have been pulled because it ran the risk of clashing with Helle’s real-life hell.

    I’m sure the Beeb often ignores events outside London, btw.

  9. I know how you feel about a lack of sensitivity. I broke my leg a few years ago and then, while I was recovering, saw a program on SABC that involved a chap who had broken his leg. I was gutted.

    I mean really JM, I think that you are pushing it a bit. People suffer all sorts of disasters and tragedies all the time. Holby is a medical drama. I imagine it is written to be fairly realistic. People who are afraid of that should not watch it.

  10. Sipu, good morning.

    What part of my post makes you think that I am ‘pushing’ anything other than my belief that the SNP will probably try to make political capital with yet another allegation that central BBC does not care about anything that happens in Scotland? And it is a slight worry to me that there could be a grain of truth in the suggestion that, if people were dying of the disease in London just now, they might have postponed that particular episode or, at the very least, made a warning announcement.

    I’m not saying they should have done either but that is what tends to happen in public broadcasting these post-Diana days and I’m a bit surprised that nobody thought about it this time.

  11. JM – I have read your blog twice to make sure, and I see you are making minor points that aren’t too prickly, but still, come on! The SNP can snipe all it wants at the BBC – I can’t see what political gain it may get especially when the fact that Holby is filmed in Bristol and the BBC management are mainly based in some Northern outpost these days much to this southerner’s annoyance.
    Sheona’s #3 is also very apt – are the SNP not the governing party responsible for H&S?
    What I want to know is why do people think the BBC has a brain when considering such matters? After all, it stopped an episode of QI with Jeremy Clarkson on it due to some funny comments he made that upset a few tree huggers, so they clearly haven’t got a clue anyway.
    More interestingly, why on earth have Hearts let their manager go after winning silverwear?
    Plus – I didn’t have a clue like OZ what your second paragraph said, but I did get the gist.

  12. Hi Sheona and cuprum.

    Well since you asked, the Health and Safety Executive who are investigating the outbreak are a UK agency as Health and Safety legislation is reserved to Westminster. They do, of course, work closely with the Scottish Executive and the SNP minister with whom they liaise is Michael Matheson, popularly known as ”Who?’

    The other organisations who are obviously relevant to the outbreak are the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian.

    Early on, the second biggest ego in the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and heir to the Blessed Alex when he finally explodes out of sheer smugness and puffed-up self-pride, came stomping in with lots of concerned press conferences, sound bites and photo opportunities. She seems to have gone quiet. My suspicious Unionist mind suggests that here has been a turf war and she has been told to butt out or that the SNP spin doctors have decided to keep their powder dry to see if they can, in due course, attack yet another UK institution for incompetence and an uncaring attitude to us poor, oppressed Jock victims of a brutal occupation

    I could, as ever, be wrong.

    Moving on to important things, cuprum, it was all about money. Paulo was being paid half his salary last year by Sporting Lisbon as part of their settlement when they sacked him. That finished at the end of this season and Hearts could not afford to make up the difference.

    All our best wishes go with him and he will be a very good manager indeed for anybody who can afford him.

  13. I agree with Cuprum. I don’t think the BBC has a brain at the moment. Just look at its coverage of the Diamond Jubilee pageant on the Thames. If the calibre of some of the presenters is a reflection of the brain cell count at the top …

    But the BBC does show Holby on a different night in Scotland so that it doesn’t clash with River City, set in Glasgow. How’s that for consideration? Bet the SNP don’t know that.

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