Christopher aus Trier in Embra – Part 1

All of you have,  presumably, heard about the Pandas in Embra Zoo. According to Sleekit Salmond, and the Scottish Government , Department of Misinformation, they were a gift from China to Caledonia to celebrate the historic links between us.

Let us ignore the fact that those historic links include two Jocks being involved, root and branch, in fomenting the Opium Wars.

The truth is that the Chinese Government  ‘gifted’ us the two non-performing Pandas for £640,000 a year for ten years. I say ‘us’ but I do, of course, mean you as well, if you happen to share my status as a UK tax payer – panda purchasing is not devolved at the moment.

It follows that, despite Chris’s love of things Chinese  I have no intention of running him out to Corstorphine and the afore-mentioned Embra Zoo to watch some useless wastes of space failing to deliver. If, however, he insists on experiencing that particular phenomenon, I’ll get him a ticket for the public gallery at the Scottish Parliament instead.

Moving on, we do have exciting news and I am worried that Chris might miss it.

All of Embra is agog. An Arum Titan  is, apparently, about to flower in the Royal Botanic Garden.

As you can read, it is stated that the Arum gives off a ‘stench like rotting corpses.’

I would just like to assure Chris that, if  he misses the flowering, I can still help him to experience the stench by getting him that ticket for the public gallery at the Scottish Parliament.

28 thoughts on “Christopher aus Trier in Embra – Part 1”

  1. JM, thank you for this. However your guest does not answer to Chris – or so I have heard – whatever the visual or olfactory provocation.

  2. I second j, having been castigated for the crime of ‘Chris’ already.

    Very amusing non performers you have up there, one would infinitely prefer the rotting flower.

  3. Aye right then. Janus and CO.

    I think that you will find that I have consistently addressed Christopher as Christopher to his cyber face throughout the entire history of our Charioteer interaction.

    Nonetheless, you are both right and I am wrong for ‘Chris’ing him when I referred to him.

  4. I have a few issues with the Scotsman article on Chinese history. The first is nearly a pedantic point, but in this case, the devil is well-and-truly in the details. Foreign subjects were not limited to a few “warehouses” in “Canton”, they were limited to a few “factories” in the Port of Canton. The term is different, although the use is similar and were said foreign subjects to be seen in the streets of Canton itself, they’d risk at best a thoroughly unpleasant encounter with 18th century Justice and, at worst death. As foreigners they were exempt from the due process which Chinese subjects were given. They were also only permitted at the Port of Canton for 6 months out of the year, the rest of the time they restricted to the Portuguese enclave at Macau. Moreover, the Imperial Court was well-aware of the problems associated with Opium and had been so for some time. They did not put up more than face-saving token resistance on occasion as they were only too aware that they needed the vast sums of tax revenue it was bringing in. What changed was that the British East India Company lost its monopoly. So long as the Honourable Company was in charge, it was managed and manageable. Once “free-trading” “country traders” took over, there was no longer any order or sense of control. I should also add that in the 1830s the Canton System was still in effect. The only way that Opium could even enter the Chinese economy in any notable quantity was with the active and eager collusion of organised Chinese trade networks, often in collusion with corrupt Chinese officials. The two Scots were providing a commodity, the Chinese were making a fortune on distribution.

    That said, I despise Pandas. When last in China my hosts asked if I wanted to see some, I said “only if I can shoot them and turn them into rugs”. Utterly useless creatures and hideously dull. I hang my head in eternal shame because I unintentionally violated my vow to never see a panda in October 2013 when, out of necessity, I walked past the panda cage at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. I shall agree with CO — better than corpse flower than either.

  5. The only way that Opium could even enter the Chinese economy in any notable quantity was with the active and eager collusion of organised Chinese trade networks, often in collusion with corrupt Chinese officials.

    That is very interesting and rather logical when you think about it.

  6. So that’s Pandas off the menu then, Christopher?

    Not a problem . £15 a pop to watch them failing to perform has always struck me as a wee bit OTT.

    Good evening, Sheona, They are, apparently ‘Tian Tian’ and ‘Yang Guang’.

    Which, being translated from Chinese into Scots, means ‘Colossal wastes of space and money which were a vanity project for the scumbag that is Alex ‘Two jobs, three Pensions and I have never, ever, bothered my backside about ripping off the public purse for every penny that I could screw out of it’ Salmond.

  7. CO: most importantly, to this day you will accomplish nothing in China without having “connexions”. Nothing in China works without knowing the right people and knowing how to grease the proper palms the correct way. At Macau and Canton, incidentally, it was well-known that on occasion Chinese officials would seize opium, burn it, make a big show of banning it — and then quietly paying traders off for it and spending the next few years ignoring it once again.

  8. John: oh, absolutely. I bloody despise the useless things. Worst of all, they’re simply dull. They really should re-name the two Nichola and Alex since they’re all equally useless and costly.

  9. In my midsummer mood, I wonder whether anything matters in N Britain, except the endless daylight and a wee dram or three?

  10. Good evening to you, JM. I like your terse description of Salmond. Any chance Sturgeon will be an improvement?

  11. Janus, Good afternoon.

    Christopher does not, apparently, do whisky, unless it’s a flavour in tea.

    This is a relief. We will have have no such muck in our house so, if he wants a cuppa, he’s going to have to settle for Taylor of Harrogate’s ‘Yorkshire Tea’, brewed to Mrs M’s usual industrial strength.

    And my extensive collection of single Malts will be safe. I will, of course, be urging him to sample them on a regular basis, secure in the knowledge that he won’t want one.

    In re ‘Yorkshire Tea’, I had to stock up at Waitrose this morning – Mrs M. wheechs through it so quickly that this is a weekly event.

    Anyhow, it’s on special offer this week. £3.50 per 160 bags. Or, and this is the bit I do not understand, it’s £3.50 per 150 for their tea bags which have been created for use in hard water areas.

    You only have to look at our teeth here in Scotland to appreciate that hard water is not something with which we are over-blessed.

    So much for sophisticated demographic targeting by supermarkets.

  12. Hi Sheona.

    Regards to Colin and please thank him for his comments on Embra. It is clear that he gets the place.

    The Blessed Nicola is a problem for me. I quite like her, despite the fact that she is obviously a torn-faced and nippy little number who is enjoying body-surfing the waves of adulation created by the deluded ranks of the SNP cultists.

  13. John: oh, you might suffer a nasty shock. I intend to bring a bottle of whisky as a gift to a certain Tokyo-dwelling, Japanese-type chum who, as it happens, is rather fond of the stuff. Being by nature obsessed with the concept of not losing face I will insist on ensuring that I would not be offended if someone offered me a dram before I offer him a bottle.

  14. Hi Christopher.

    We’re all going to have to work on this bring/take thing which is one of the great divides between US English and Proper English.

    Initially, I read your comment as meaning that you intend to bring a bottle of whisky here but I suspect that you actually mean that you are going to buy the bottle here and, in due course, take it to your Tokyo-dwelling chum.

    Whatever, I will be happy to help you taste the options to ensure that you pick the right bottle for your friend..

  15. I’m glad you know your Japanese chum likes whisky. We sent daughter on her first visit to Spanish penfriend with a bottle of Drambuie for father, only to discover he was the only teetotaller in Spain. No idea what they did with it.

  16. JM, “Regards to Colin and please thank him for his comments on Embra. It is clear that he gets the place.” Our 45th wedding anniversary next month and I’m still trying to educate him as to the real jewel in Scotland’s crown.

  17. John:in German one says “ich möchte was mit bringen”. Or, for the less Teutonic among us, “I want to something with bring”. Ironically, I tend to say “ich muß dieses Formular einfüllen”, “I have to fill in this form” rather than the correct, for Hunnish purposes at least, “ich muß dieses Formular ausfüllen” or “I have to fill out this form”.

  18. “Regards to Colin and please thank him for his comments on Embra. It is clear that he gets the place.”

    Thank you John. But there’s one thing that puzzles me still, and has done for some years. Why does Embra describe itself as the “Athens of the North”? Has it gone bankrupt? Does it now have killer heatwaves and photochemical smogs? Do waiters now spring out automatically from under awnings to solicit one’s custom when taking a lunchtime or evening stroll past their establishments?

  19. Sir, sir, me sir! I know! It’s cos the SNP boasts that Scotland invented everything, just like the Athenians did.

  20. The appellation “Athens of the North” originated in the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment. Embra was one of the great centres of learning and innovation. The architecture was also fantastic.

  21. “Athens of the North”?? These days, Brussels of the North, more like.



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