Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Sheikh of Ascot builds a Scottish home

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashi
You know, I've only recently found out about Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Ascot. He is from Dubai and is very rich of course. He recently suffered an outrageous slight at the hands of Highland Council planners and SNH (that's Scottish Natural Haverers by the way) who wanted to refuse planning permission for a two-storey lodge overlooking Loch Duich, on the road to Skye. It will boast two wings, 15 ensuite bedrooms and a penthouse master bedroom, a private helicopter pad and its own electricity substation - now that is pure STYLE! With two wings it will look like a bird or an aircraft.

Anyway the good local Councillors overturned the recommendations to refuse the dream home for all the right reasons. So well done Mohammed or Hammie as I like to call him. But the story doesn't stop there with a bunch of hillwalkers and bird watchers getting sent to the back of the class. Did you know that this website of mine gets hits from all round the world? Yes, and some of the recent hits have been from Kenya, Tasmania, Iraq AND Dubai! It seems obvious that Hammie has been looking at my site and will know that I am about to enter the world of the consultant. So it is only a matter of time before he is on the blower asking me to work for him.

Thanks Hammie in anticipation and good luck with your dream home!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

The value of student placements

You know, it's easy to regard students as drunken, sex-sodden layabouts who spend their time doing nothing of any value to anyone. Sponging off the state I always thought. But yesterday we received a visit from a group of rather handsome East European female students who were looking for placements. They are studying a range of subjects including entertainment, dance and nursing, and were looking for jobs in the evening economy of Auchterness.

I must say I was shocked at some of the attitudes of some of the male members of staff who should have known better. The very idea of opening a lap-dancing club in Auchterness is completely unacceptable and I'm looking at the options for disciplining members of the Institute. Town Planners should reject the idea of immoral pursuits as a means of providing interest and variety in our towns - for some members of staff to actively encourage this is outrageous. I don't know what sort of training these people are getting nowadays.

Anyway although they didn't stay long, I struck up a friendship with Natasha who is a spunky girl (second from the left) and I'm hoping that she can join us for a few months. It will certainly brighten up the office and it will be good to fill a fertile young mind with some cutting edge town planning ideas.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

What recession?

You know, at this very emotional time of year when we all think of departed loved ones, it's easy to forget the problems of the rest of the world and too easy to think about our own difficulties. I'm told by some of my clever friends and workmates that we are in the grip of a recession. I like to think that here in Auchterness, we have built a new community that will be able to resist the ravages of economic stringencies. Wee Betty's Chip Shop is doing fine and attendance at the church is as good as it was a year ago.

I'll tell you another area that isn't in recession - the never ending stream of vandalism and graffiti that is bringing the whole tone of our new project to its knees. These words were scratched on the front of my desk where anyone who visited could see them - BUT I COULDN'T. No wonder so many people were looking at me strangely and laughing. I'm not a fool you know - I can tell when things are not right. Someone from outside the organisation pointed it out to me - a consultant actually. At first I didn't know what it meant but he told me. I felt such a fool - as you know I want to become a consultant in 2009 (it's one of my New Year resolutions) and to have to have this filth explained to me was humiliating to say the least.

It will be a great sadness to leave Auchterness and seek my fortune in the big city. My friends have said that it would be the worst possible time to leave but I haven't seen any evidence of recession and being of an independent mind, I don't believe all that's written in the newspapers. I think I just need to put myself on the market and the offers will come flooding in. It will be one in the eye for my wife and her new boyfriend when she sees how successful I will become. But more of that later - best wishes to you all in 2009!

PS - Oh and special thanks to Anja Loscher for the chocolates - although I ate them all myself, they reminded me of the times my wife and I used to play Pictionary on Christmas Day. Sadly these times are over - she took Pictionary away with her and you can't buy anything as sophisticated as that in Auchterness.