Life in general goes at a very slow plod here at The Labrador Security Co. The trainee thugs go about their daily business, though I think we’ll skip over that particular point as I’m the one who has to pick it up and put it in the bin. The pups must be keeping a whole Chinese black bag factory in full production. There is a permanent (and thus far impenetrable) miasma around the wheelie bin and I’ve noticed the bin men have opted to wear disposable white overalls and rely on breathing apparatus as they approach our pungent rubbish receptacle on refuse collection day.
The Labrador Security Co. was given its first assignment this past fortnight; providing security for Anja, a visiting teacher from Germany. J organised Anja’s programme for her 2 weeks stay, a process which included awarding the security contract to the enthusiastic pups. Having to provide protection at both lunchtime and during the evenings stretched Miss Blonde and (the very colourblind) Miss Pink to the limits of their not-so-developed maturity. Unfortunately what they are missing in terms of common sense they manage to make up for in terms of shear brutality.
As far as I could tell Anja’s squeals of “Nein…Nein!” had the meaning “Yes…yes!” in puppy Labrador. I did try to explain to the young tearaways that the purpose of providing security was to ensure the client was kept safe from unwanted intrusion: not to give them “a right doin’ “ This observation was met with two flat, menacing, stares.
A visit to Culross gave Anja a chance to see a bit of old Scotland and the pups an opportunity to advance their protection skills. A’s English is incredible given that she only spoke it at school. It’s a sad reflection on the state of the local dialect here in the Falkirk area that I can understand her English far better than I can understand a conversation between locals on Falkirk High St. Come to think of it I can understand her German better than I can understand a conversation between locals on Falkirk High St.
Keeping “a watchful eye” brings me nicely to the subject of meerkats, or more correctly Merkats – as in Merkat Cross. There was instant confusion as I made mention of the said location in Culross old town.
“Meerkat?” said Anja, clearly baffled at why we Scots would name anything after a small rodent that lives underground in a far warmer place than Scotland has been since the Carboniferous period. While obviously a misunderstanding based on pronunciation I did reflect on the fact that we Scots have already penned such foreign based street names as President Kennedy Drive and Nelson Mandela Place. Given that Meerkats are far more popular with Scots than any political figure I can think of, I didn’t see that a Meerkat Wynd was totally out of the question.
Apparently the word meerkats in German is Erdmännchen the literal translation of which is “little men who live underground”. This quite neatly…ahem…brings me onto the fact that the first colliery to be mined below water was dug here at Culross, the owner, Sir George Bruce, having his own “little men who live underground” (most of the time) burrow their way under the River Forth from the north shore. Sir G built the building known as Culross Palace, which isn’t a palace in the normal royal usage of the word but a wealthy merchant’s house. Apparently it was visited (once) by royalty in the shape of James V1 of Scotland, though I hardly think that fleeting contact allows it to qualify as a royal residence.
I found this little piece of trivia on the BBC website…
King James VI, on a royal visit by to Culross, was invited by his host, Sir George Bruce, the wealthy merchant and mine owner, to visit one of his mines which tunnelled down beneath the sea bed. The King ventured into the tunnel which went far out into the Firth of Forth and found himself at a shaft point where the coal was loaded onto the ships. Alarmed to find himself surrounded by water at the top of the shaft, his Highness accused Sir George of an attempt on his life and declared that the whole affair was an act of treason! It was only when Sir George pointed out the rowing boat and explained that one could either use that or return by the tunnel from whence they came that the King relaxed again – and took the option of the boat journey.
It was surprisingly difficult to find a wealth of knowledge on the web about the palace, the National Trust for Scotland (who own the property) being incredibly coy when it came to putting information regarding the building on their website. I expect they have a expensive 60 page book for sale to make up for the absence of info on-line.
On a totally different subject ;this is the nearest piece of footage I could find that might give you an idea of what the pups are like when they “go off on one”. The title of the song is the very antithesis of their general attitude to…well…most things. Here’s the demented Mumford and Sons with I Will Wait (for you).