Saturday, 24 November 2012

The ultimate approval

Bill Clinton can't wait to play golf at Menie!
You know, when I heard the other day that former president of the United States of America Bill Clinton had booked a round of golf at Dr Donald Trump's heavenly course at Menie I felt a comfortable glow flow through my veins -as if someone had poured warm milk into my ears.  It was a lovely feeling of personal fulfillment, the likes of which I haven't experienced in many a long year.  I even phoned up my beautiful young wife to tell her the great news but someone from British Telecom answered the phone saying that they had been asked to intercept nuisance calls to that number.

Anyway. I will definitely be making a trip over there next year. The news comes just 24 hours after Dr Donald Trump confirmed his intention to build a second international course at the Balmedie site.  This must mean that he is confident of blocking the ludicrous plans to establish an enormous and ugly offshore wind farm in the sea just beside the glorious new facility.

Did you know that the course has attracted some 10,000 bookings since it opened in July from more than 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, Argentina, Ukraine, Japan and the US?  Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and Scottish tourism chiefs have hailed the impact of the new facility on tourism and welcomed news that a second course is to be built in the near future.  It's a complete hole-in-one for Dr Trump and for a host of small businesses in the area - especially plumbers and plasterers - who will benefit from the trickle-down effect often hailed by economists and politicians as the only route towards riches for all.  As I said before, plumbers will be round the u-bend with excitement while plasterers will be heading off to the supermarkets to buy gallons of Frosty Jack's Cider.  Who knows, I might do the same!
an Aberdeenshire plasterer celebrates the news of Trump's success with a huge bottle of Frosty Jack's Cider

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Richard Garlic for Scottish RTPI President

Horizons brighten for planning consultants
You know, a strange thing happened to me yesterday. I found myself reading Planning Magazine - that is the Journal of the London based Royal Town Planning Institute. No - I am not joking.  Talking of jokes, did you know that the Scottish Chapter of the RTPI is in fact much older than the national body, having been established in 1690 - some 224 years before the Goons in London got going. I was told this by a friend of mine the other day but it seems unlikely to me.  Let's see what my adoring readers think.

Anyway, the latest issue of this terrible rag has an editorial by a person called Richard Garlic (which I assume is a name made-up to conceal his real identity). He claims to be the Editor of the Goons journal. I was surprised to read what a development orientated young lad this is, with his sly smile and his unprofessional open necked shirt. He will go far! He has a lot to say about consultancy (an area close to my heart and a firm aspiration for my future). It seems obvious that gaming the planning system - the good guys using their tremendous experience to fight obstructive local councils - will create a far better society than one in which house builders are constantly restricted by local government skivers and ne'er-do-wells who read the Sun in the toilet for hours every morning.
Richard Garlic

Council planners of course are not all like that - I know many Scottish women planners working for Councils whose ideas about planning are as tumescent as the scones in their ovens.  Indeed more fecund than the Swiss Rolls of many male planners! So perhaps, despite the clouds and recent disappointments of the failure of the Union Terrace Gardens projects and the uncertainty over Dundee's Banzai Museum which is being moved inland from the waterfront in a clever move to facilitate future use by Asda, there is hope.  The trouble for Scotland is that this hope seems to be coming from London rather than Edinburgh. The RTPI in Scotland can't even get a planning firm to sponsor its laughable magazine!  It's time for change here and someone like Richard Garlic might be just the person to put some lead in the corporate pencil of the McRTPI.

I was going to finish with a nice wee photie of our leader and Convenor Bob Reid from the most recent and ridiculous issue of the Scottish Planner but I couldn't bring myself to publish it. You know the one with him in a brown suit and the chain of office (from B&Q bathroom accessories, aisle 3 halfway along on the left). Well the boy defaced this by drawing a small black moustache on poor old Bob - you can picture what I mean. I burst out laughing when I saw it but I just can't bring myself to publish it. I've met Bob quite a few times and have the utmost respect for his pioneering, creative and socially motivated work in and around Scotland's dynamo - aka Aberdeen - so I am not about to besmirch his reputation in such a tawdry manner. Instead I urge him to energise the Scottish Chapter of the Goons by installing Richard Garlic as their new head man - or just wind it up before things get worse.  It would be the honourable thing to do!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Little Red Riding Hood

The DWF Biggart Baillie Advert from the Scottish Planner
You know, sometimes you have to respect the goons who run the Scottish Branch of the RTPI. I received my personal copy of the marvellous yet laughable Scottish Planner the other day and the big news is they have lost the sponsorship of the excellent Halcrow.  The Scottish Planner is now sponsored by DWF Biggart Baillie!

So who are they - these Dwarf people? We all know that Biggart Baillie are one of the most prominent firms of solicitors in the land but who are the Dwarfs? Well I've looked at their website but I am none the wiser about what they do. It's all written in some kind of business speak which I've heard before at conferences and CPD sessions but honestly I have no idea what it means. For example, DWF “establishes requirements for the implementation of significant changes in organisational mission”. DWF also, “initiates and influences enterprise wide business process analysis”! It's very very impressive isn't it?  At a guess I would say they were some kind of management consultancy.  They're based in Essex but can travel apparently - which is a useful skill.

From all this, it's a clear sign that the RTPI Goons have recognised that planning is now part of The Enterprise, completely at home with property speculators, smart businessmen and the development industry who game the system to their own ends. Excellent! Why else would the Scottish Planner be sponsored by Solicitors and Management Consultants instead of Town Planners?  Why not Keppies?  As planning disappears as a profession, legislation will eventually reflect this and write planning out of the Statute books.  As a regulator of land use or a ’protector of the environment’ town planning will cease to exist and will simply become a distant memory.

In agreeing sponsorship from a company as blatantly part of The Enterprise as DWF Biggart Baillie, the Scottish Planner has allowed the wolf into its bed. The RTPI is doomed - during the night, in the moments before it enters oblivion, it will find a set of very white teeth round it's throat  - and there won't be a brave hunter to rescue Little Red Riding Hood!  So well done RTPI Scotland for helping to bring a quick end to the Institute. It's a brave move in the right direction and definitely a game changer. But for you, the game is already a bogey. Goodbye!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Catching up

The magnificent Silverburn Shopping Centre
You know, I'm just sitting here with a nice wee cup of tea and a biscuit looking at my personal copy of Project Scotland, the Scottish Construction Industry News Magazine, which is filled with wonderful stories about the men who are making Scotland great - the Action Men of the construction industry.  They are the people with the yellow hats who turn developers' dreams into fabulous reality creating such gems as the Braehead Shopping Centre and its deadly arch-rival, Silverburn Shopping Centre.  Both of these are totally unique!  They represent the most successful developments in Scotland - or perhaps in the whole of Europe!  More popular than going to church or most football teams - that's saying something about the brains behind retail these days. Fabulous! 

I'm also reading Dr Stewartie Milne's fabulous new timber systems aimed at the zero carbon market in 2016. It will be used to create some of the most amazing developments ever seen on Scotland - and it must be cheap or Wee Stewartie wouldn't be promoting it. It's a great advert for the Scottish property and construction sector!  Fantastic, and completely steeped in cost-cutting innovation! Beautiful too! There’s nothing like a nice bit of wood!
Slum clearance for the Commonwealth Games

There's a lot of talk these days asking if Glasgow 2014 can take up the baton dropped by the London Olympics. Project Scotland has an exciting breakdown of what is involved in building a Commonwealth Games fit for the 65,000 athletes who will come here to strut their stuff and dance before the Queen.  It's a great opportunity for foreign types to find out about how we go about creating great projects and that sense of 'let nothing stand in our way' that ensures success.  I'm thinking of the clearance of gypsies, tinkers, show people and other troublemakers from their slum properties - this is an area in which Glasgow City Council has excelled and my hearty congratulations go out to them for their focus and endeavour in this regard. Clearing the ground for RMJM’s terrific masterplan was essential. As any experienced planner will tell you, a strong masterplan is one that sweeps away existing features rather than trying to keep old buildings, trees or frogs. Reptiles can bring an area into disrepute after all - they tried that at Dr Donald's Golf Course from Heaven - but failed.

On a different tack, I noticed that Seona Reid has announced her retirement as Head Teacher at Glasgow School of Art following my devastating article on the missed opportunities for redevelopment on Garterhill.  She will be remembered as the Captain on the Bridge when the decision was made to demolish Keppies great modern buildings to the north of Renfrew Street instead of the old Mackintosh building which is an eyesore. Good riddance!
Wee Dr Stewartie Milne's HQ
I was supposed to be in Aberdeen again yesterday but it didn't work out.  It's a long journey for me and I was looking forward to passing Wee Dr Stewartie Milne’s Headquarters.  I wondered if I could keep me hands on the wheel as I passed those glistening flagpoles.  I wanted to stand to attention and salute but I might have crashed the car.  He is so great and his developments are so classy!  Sitting at work yesterday afternoon though I had another idea!

When I got back home I decided to climb the tree at the bottom of the garden. I don't know what came over me but I got my compass, map and notebook, rolled my trousers up above the knees and climbed to the very top of the tree. Once there, my superior planning and geographical skills came into play. I calculated the exact bearing and direction to Aberdeen from Auchterness, in fact to the Stewart Milne Headquarters on the outskirts of the city at Westhill - just off Enterprise Drive!  Slowly I arose facing that glorious location - balancing carefully until I was standing clear on the topmost branch. I was completely erect!  I knew I was in contact with the Entity - again.  I thought I could see its lights sparkling on the low cloud over the city.  Then I heard someone shouting, "Are you alright Mr Thompson?"  It was Mavis from the shop - she must have good eyesight. Too good!

So I reassured her that I was fine and climbed carefully back down the tree and went into the house and wrote this note. 
I must do it all again soon!  Cheeribye for now!

Friday, 7 September 2012

A Waste of Money!

Flanders Moss viewing Tower
You know, I'm known as one of Scotland's key commentators in the field of town and country planning.  Note what I've just said - not just planning or town planning but town and country planning.  That's what my degree says. My wife used to describe me as a planner or local government officer and she meant these to be derogatory terms. Maybe she had other reasons to speak badly of me.  It doesn't matter for now and certainly doesn't interfere with my critical faculties or my ability to distinguish between an Asda or a Tesco sausage and the backstory of the development decisions that resulted in these products becoming available to the good people of Scotland.

I was looking for something else on the Urban Realm website today - the best source of spurious gossip and tittle-tattle relating to our fabulous Scottish Property Development Industry - when I came across this ridiculous article about a viewing tower at Flanders Moss - yes the countryside! According to Wikipedia,  formerly passable with difficulty, using boardwalks, during the 18th century much drainage of the land was encouraged by the lawyer, historian and improver Henry Home but a substantial portion survived this development.  Flanders Moss is the largest raised bog in the UK - big deal!  Really - who cares?  Now they have built a tower financed by the state funded organisation known as SNH (Scottish National Heritage).  This is a ridiculous waste of money and gives the impression that Scotland is just a latter day outpost of the USSR or some other communist republic bereft of the sort of prosperity creating trickle-down initiatives that make me excited and erect with anticipation.  

Don't get me wrong, being able to look through a telescope at frogs and newts is fine for some but it isn't the answer to economic prosperity. A wee bit of heather is fine - perhaps sticking out of the radiator of some old junk car like a Riley or an Austin that has been saved by some eccentric pervert - but in the 21st Century, Scotland needs to look to Asda and Tesco for identity and, dare I say it, salvation!  This obsession with newts and frogs or old bits of peat bog will take us nowhere!  It is time for wee fat Alex Salmond to address a more exciting agenda - back to basics!  Back to retail!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Slum clearance at Otago Lane

the slums of Otago Lane in Glasgow
You know, I’m always pleased when one of my fans asks me to review a new development or comment on a controversial issue from the viewpoint of one of Scotland’s leading planners - that's me! A couple of people (thanks Phil) have been in touch about a development at Otago Lane in Glasgow and the overdue clearance of a number of slum properties near the banks of the River Kelvin.

To start at the beginning, it's obvious that developers will have had their eyes on this site for many years. Like the magnificent proposals by Clydeport further down the Kelvin which I’ve written about before, this is a perfect opportunity to create a Ribbon of Riverside Residences along the Kelvin connecting the fabulous and award winning Glasgow Harbour to the heart of the West End. It’s a logical move which is clearly supported by the City Council who recently swept aside objections and granted permission for the proposals (as has thankfully become the norm in Scotland). Who actually needs planning these days?

The proposal also includes the eradication of ’mixed uses’ - which are a nuisance for developers and residents - and their replacement by a single or mono-use. What could be better?  The idea of mixed use was seized on and promoted by American Planner Jane Jacobs many years ago but now that she is dead, it can be placed in the dustbin of town planning theory joining townscape, local plans, regional planning and urban design as historical subjects.

Of course as a developer, you can’t make a move these days without encountering resistance from sandal-wearing hippies and selfish Bohemian snobs poking their noses into other people's business but the real threat comes from people living in the past. One of the objections to the Otago Lane development was the necessary and timely demolition of a secondhand bookshop run by a French couple called Voltaire and Rousseau. Absurd! Have these people never heard of Amazon?  That’s what I mean about living in the past. Why would anyone in their right mind want to visit a slum clearance area to ferret about in piles of smelly books covered in rat droppings when they can just click online and get a nice new book in a lovely brown cardboard packet a day later?

The developer also played a Trump card in getting servile practice and journeyman architects Gareth Hopkins to prepare plans for the area - a move which has clearly succeeded. You will recall that this practice helped out Dr Donald Trump in masterplanning God’s Own Golf Course near Aberdeen so they are used to producing plans that flatten opposition. I would call them a very principled practice! They are not really designers of any consequence but are enablers - they’ve cornered the market in solutions for folk who want a problem solved in a hurry. It's a bit like unblocking drains - they are the Dyno-Rod of the development industry! I think this is an excellent niche activity for an otherwise boring architectural firm - more power to them!
one of the planning application drawings - poor isn't it...but it did the job!
The Council’s decision to approve this development is a hammer blow for the conservation lobby who will be sobbing into their Oxfam handkerchiefs and choking on their vegetarian quiches.It’s a completely justified salvo fired in the direction of the Enemies of Enterprise - and they’ve taken a direct hit!

My hearty congratulations to everyone involved in getting this marvellous project approved. I must admit that the design proposals are...let's say underwhelming and that Keppies would have been more able...especially compared to the Unite Student Housing block with its fabulous branch of Greggs just along the riverbank. Nevertheless I’m happy to give it a gold star and a huge 9/10 in my little notebook.

Friday, 31 August 2012

First steps to a new life

courtesy of
You know, I’ve hinted to you recently that it may be time to move on from my sadly unsuccessful marriage. There is little chance that my beautiful wife will return to the fold and in any case, last time I saw her, she had developed a bit of cellulite and didn’t look much like the beautiful woman I married all those years ago. She’s put on a bit of weight around her middle and backside which I suppose is a result of too much chocolate, drink and television as the thrills of carnal activities with her young lover start to fade. So like the television, she is now widescreen too! They laugh at me at work you know - “He couldn’t hold on to his wife” or “she had to seek the pleasures of the flesh elsewhere”.  I’ve been reasonable for years now so being able to call her the Widescreen Wife seems fair after all this time.  Yes I know it isn't politically correct to stray into this territory.

Now I wouldn’t like all my fans out there to think that I had been living the life of a monk for the past wee while. Obviously an expert planner like me, occupying a prominent position in Scottish regeneration, is going to attract a lot of female interest.  Buy unlike most members of the RTPI though, I’ve always been attracted to beautiful women and this is reciprocated.  I remember one day I was out with the boy having a slap-up meal at Burger King in Elgin when this beautiful young gal sat down opposite us. I don’t mind telling you that when she started squeezing her tea bag my mind turned to other things.

A friend of mine suggested the other day that I might find a new wife on the Internet. Yes there are a lot of horror stories about people taking advantage of women called Svetlana from Belarus but there are also women called Svetlana McDonald who are ’at it’ over here - looking for a husband with a fishing boat in Peterhead for example. But to get back to my point, I wouldn’t say no to a game of chess with a Russian Grand Mistress. What do you think?

So if your name is Tatiana and you are reading this, please get in touch! You will be made to feel most welcome at my humble abode and we can start cleaning the place up and doing the dishes. There’s also a bit of sewing to do and after that I would take you out for a nice fish supper as a reward! We can talk about town planning for hours and you will never be bored again.

Looking forward to hearing from you in due course!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

My terrible week

The tearful fate of Union Terrace Gardens
You know, it's been a terrible week - it's taken a long time for me to sit down and give you the benefit of my expert planner’s view of the latest events in Aberdeen. The double whammy last Thursday of the rejection of the magnificent proposals for Union Terrace Gardens designed by Sir Ian Wood and Keppies followed by Wee Stewartie Milne's withdrawal of the exciting New Pittodrie proposals for Aberdeen Football Club have dealt me a hammer blow.  My goodness - next thing will be the cancellation of the magnificent Western Peripheral Route.  I haven’t talked about that before but it's a magnificent strip of concrete and tarmac that will blitz vacant farmland with new development and bring new riches to the good people of the City. They certainly deserve it!

So one minute I've been angry and aggressive - the next, I've been blubbering intae ma keyboard. I found myself sobbing uncontrollably as I drove home that evening - I was weaving about on the road searching for the hankie in my trouser pocket. I imagined I saw armies of proles and philistines taunting me with their half eaten fish suppers and cans of Irn Bru.  I drove straight at them! They think they have won but let me tell you, Sir Ian and Dr Stewartie will be back!
The tearful fate of Union Terrace Gardens

You know, rich and clever people didn’t get where they are today by putting up with the stupidity of Labour councillors with their heads in the trough of the pigswill that is their limited ambition. People have said that Scotland is a frightened wee country -  I agree entirely. But you will see that Sir Ian will return with a new tactic that will forever sweep away the perverts, sheepshaggers and animal rights activists that inhabit the derelict gardens.

You know, a friend of mine told me recently that his young daughter had seen a young football supporter pleasuring himself on one of the benches in the Gardens while one of his friends drank a bottle of fortified wine. I won’t say what football team they were supporting but it is clear that this sort of thing is going to keep happening as long as Union Terrace Gardens exists and as long as Pittodrie is on its current site within the city.

It's a planning issue - and also a moral one.  The Labour Group have said no to the proposal - that is, no to progress, no to economic development, no to enterprise and no to beautification - but they've said yes to perverts, sex maniacs and drunkards!  Thankfully there is no doubt that this situation will be corrected and the matter resolved in favour of common sense and decency.

But what about me? Well sometimes I feel I just can’t go on. The forces of darkness seem to be in the ascendancy. Here at my lovely wee Auchterness the rain is fair pelting down - both literally and metaphorically! Just when I thought that development led planning spearheaded by a vigorous and dynamic property development industry was victorious, the black rancid syrup of the Labour Party seeps under my door to clog up the works.

My personal life has not improved - I will write more on that later but suffice to say that my young son is being brought up very badly by my beautiful wife and her young lover. He is a young hooligan now and it grieves me to say that he is becoming a Ned and a future member of the Tory party.  A selfish young fool with no respect for his elders. He doesn’t want to see me anymore so our happy weekends when we used to go to visit retail parks across the country are a thing of the past - just a little warm memory in the cold world of junket loving, spineless, unambitious, public sector nincompoops.  I will leave it at that for now but we will talk again soon.  Till then, Cheerio.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

That electric feeling

The entrance to Duthie Park - a prime development site
You know, I haven't written to you since my post in January of this year.  I'm ashamed of that although one person commented and said they were glad that I had stopped blogging.  Yes I've thought about giving up my lovely wee blog because there isn't much more to say.  It is already victorious in its assertion that planning has been vanquished and that the property development industry has triumphed over the petty bureaucrats. Auchterness, Dave Thompson and others like me have won!  These include Dr Donald Trump, Sir Ian Wood and Sir Ewan Jamieson of Clydeport - long may his apron and compass dangle free!

I was in Aberdeen the other day.  You all know what I think of that marvellous city -  the buzz of unfettered enterprise coursing through its veins is absolutely infectious. Spellbinding!  I had a bit of business to attend to in the morning but in the afternoon I went to Duthie Park.  It's a popular public park but also a well known retreat for vagrants and down and outs - in other words, a bit like Union Terrace Gardens.  As I was licking my nice wee cone, it suddenly struck me that this would make an excellent development site.  In fact, why hadn't it been developed as a housing site or a business park - both!?  You know, we planners have to be a bit less backwards about coming forwards - as an expert planner I am full of good ideas like this and others should follow my example. Ideas like that would endear any planner to Wee Stewartie Milne and the other dogs of war prowling around the city's property market.

Later down at the docks I picked up a puncture.  I sat in the car waiting for the AA to show up and wondered about this magnificent city. I felt I was sitting in a dynamo of economic growth. I was intensely aroused by the sparks of enterprise crackling around me with their pounding pistons of profit and the arcing blue flashes of free enterprise generating a blizzard of well being fuelled by the turbines of growth. It's a completely unique feeling that you only experience in World Cities like Aberdeen or New York.

Union Square - a nice wee photie courtesy of Aberdeen GatewayI had just been in Union Square, the new indoor shopping mall beside the railway station that also has a giraffe according to the web -  although I didn't see it. The Mall was crammed full of shoppers enjoying a little bit of retail heaven. It was a thrilling experience - so different from the derelict rat-infested slum that is Union Street. I was literally perspiring with the pure pleasure of it all. Even my cup cake was perfect!
a lovely sausage supper

Half and hour later I was still waiting on the AA when I was approached by a lady of the night. She was licking her lips and looked as though she needed a sausage supper, perhaps with mayonnaise on the side.  She asked me if I was from these parts. I said no but mentioned my important position at Auchterness and I'm pleased to say she knew immediately what I was talking about.  Apparently the great developments at The Best Golf Course in the World have been the subject of much discussion in her line of business.  Clearly it has been identified as a growth area - just as I have been saying for years.  Those whingeing mealy-mouthed windbags who have tried to play down the dramatic effects of Dr Trump on the local economy of Aberdeenshire must be eating their humble pie now. I'm thinking of the farmers' wives who queued up at Dyce airport to polish Dr Donald's shoes on his frequent trips to his homeland here or the local plumbers who are in a u-bend of ecstasy at the thought of the vast quantity of work clearing drains at the Trump golf course. This is trickle-down in real-life action!  Don't knock it!

The AA eventually turned up and I was on  my way again.  I know this has been a bit of a ramble but perhaps it will get me writing again.  See you soon and remember, if you are ever in Auchterness please drop in for a wee cup of tea and a natter.  You're always welcome!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

My New Year Message

the way I felt after the Christmas Party(Photo: Christine N. Ziemba)
Well it's all over again for another year. You know, I received so much abuse for my Christmas Tree last year that I didn't bother putting one up this time. But there were some highlights: the office party was great this year. I got a yellow hat in my cracker plus a sewing kit for on the job repairs to my spaver if necessary (check the meaning here if you are not from these airts).
one of my favourite Tescos - Port Glasgow - it's fantastic!
Turning to more serious matters though, I can assure you that 2012 will be a stunning year for planning in Scotland. Firstly, local authority planners will be stunned to find themselves mostly out of work (key words here are 'early retirement', 'package', 'job shop', 're-purposing' and 'deal to go') as the reality of their hopelessness dawns on their employers and others. Secondly, planners working for developers or consultancies will be stunned to find that it suddenly becomes really easy to get planning permission. An enormous Tesco on the edge of town? GRANTED! A palatial mansion in the middle of nowhere? GRANTED! A nice wee collection of volume builder breeding hutches on a public park? APPROVED! And this will be the day-to-day of planning work. In a few years time it will disappear altogether from local government.

At the sharp end of masterplanning, design and implementation (where Auchterness is naturally positioned as a thought leader) there is much to look forward to. Throughout 2011 although I haven't written as much as in previous years, the forces of bright light and intelligence have been extremely active. The triumvirate of Dr Donald Trump, Sir Ian Wood and Sir Euan Jamieson have bossed Scotland in the development stakes with Dr Wee Stewartie Milne close behind. It's a breathtaking and utterly fantastic situation in which golf courses, public parks and riversides will become the most desirable places to live, shop and drive to. Amazing!
Sir Ian Wood carried on a sedan chair to an important event
Most of all, in Aberdeen later this month, Sir Ian will be carried shoulder high on a sedan chair from Torry to Union Terrace Gardens where he will announce the winner of his great competition to flatten the Victorian Slum Garden that is the current focus for wine drinking drug addicts and perverts. I hope he will be wearing his academic robes and ermine for this event.

Just as an aside, Sir Ian is a man of great insight, judgement and taste as we all know but his personal grooming is also important to him. Every day, the hairs springing from his nostrils are cut back by a team of highly trained Aberdonian fishermen and farmers. Of course I'm not suggesting that he's a Big Jessie - but a man in his position has to look good and for Sir Ian, this comes naturally. I also believe that his women dress strikingly - their skirts showing off their hairy knees - in a manner much appreciated by farmers in the area. This is why they are panting on their tractors at the very thought of selling their eggs to the catering caravans situated around the Wood Group HQ in Torry!
Zaza Hadid gives his acceptance speech after winning the Stirling Prize 2011
But I digress. Finally on the subject of architecture, I was going to write up a nice wee blog post about the Stirling Prize again but the moment past and I've let everyone down - I know. In case you need reminding, it was won by Zaza Hadid again for some school in England. I watched the programme and was impressed by Zaza himself who accepted the prize (pictured above). Truly he is the Hercule Poirot of architecture with his smooth European mannerisms and accent. I don't understand why the building won but he is the sort of person I would like to go on a hiking trip with and enjoy some naked fighting in the snow!

Anyway enough for now. I will be back to report on the Union Terrace Gardens result and on many other exciting developments in planning in Scotland. Cheery Bye now and all the best for 2012!