Sunday 26 August 2018

The coming of the Cruiserists, a brand new Beatcroft Social show, and that old kangaroo/wallaby joke

They come to Zetlandia in their hundreds, not exactly tourists, as they do not really tour. They cruise. They are cruiserists, observers mostly  from behind glass, with occasional forays into souvenir shops and restaurants primed to provide them with portion-controlled bulk-catered fodder included in the price of their on-shore excursion. For lo, they have arrived by ship, where everything is free, or pre-paid, and they will leave by ship. In many ways they were never really here at all.

That’s if you can call these gigantic alien floating holiday camps ships. They’re more like vast, incredibly ugly apartment blocks, floated out sideways and sharpened at one end. They dwarf the small town of Coalfishreek, and from their enormity fleets of buses take thousands of cruiserists to gaze at our sheep, our (not total) absence of trees, our strange knitwear, our imitation vikings, our boiler suits and beards.. Well, apart from myself, Zetdogg, of course; I am not a Bearded collie so my facial hair is slick, smooth and carefully tended. Attempts to dress me in a boiler suit have failed on more than one occasion. And I have only once been forced to wear Fair Isle, in the middle of winter, something which nearly caused a nasty traffic accident involving a quad bike, an invalid carriage and a migrating parrot (climate change - it’s having some odd effects).

The Lords and Ladies of the Grand Aristocracy of Ports and Havens (GAPH) in Coalfishreek welcome the cruise ships, of course, as they earn money from everything to do with them - the harbour fees, the bus parking charges, passengers’ right to breathe Ports and Havens air. But as to the actual fiscal benefits to Greater Zetlandics, who knows? I believe tour guides and bus operators do quite well, but I have heard that shoplifting has become a something of an issue when busloads of cruisers descend on souvenir and knitwear emporia. So much so that The Omnipotent Bishopric of Coalfishreek Haberdashers (OBOCH) has begun insisting that certain parties of cruisers (those from the Level One ships, the refurbished prison hulks offering full board and all the Buckfast you can drink for a fiver a day) must have their arms cable tied behind them prior to entering their members’ establishments. This has not proved entirely popular. Most food and drink outlets allow the cruiserists to be conjoined, one of the pair having a single hand free to feed or water each of them in turn. Again, there have been incidents of a messy and unfortunate nature as a result. Such is the price of security.

There is little I, Zetdogg can do save observe and bark foul mouthed abuse at any cruiserists who dare to try and photograph me. One particularly embarrassing incident occurred when I was attempting to - I believe the term is ‘do my business - on the grass at the Hillhead in Coalfishreek, a well known canine toilette, when some cruiserists began snapping away with their digital camera box machines. 

“Look!” I heard one cry, “A small native kangaroo! Or perhaps a wallaby.”

I said nothing, finished my ablutions and then chased them with deep barking of an intimidating kind into the nearby Miniature Library. 

“I am Zetdogg!” I cried, though I feel they did not properly understand me.After a few hours I allowed them to leave. By that time their ship had sailed. Suddenly, they were no longer cruiserists, but touristics. If only they’d had sufficient money to pay for accommodation. Still, the police cells are relatively comfortable, I believe.

Soon the cruiserist season will be over, and life will return to the abnormal. I’m looking forward to it.

Sunday 12 August 2018

Polydogg! I am become vegan. Or sort of. Apart from the dead sheep. Oh, and here's some music

It is the summer country show season in Shetland, and I, Zetdogg, have been banned
from attending any or all said events after that incident at Cunningsburgh two years ago
with the chickens.

It was self defence! That cockerel was a psychopath, and pushy with it. Cocky in fact. 
He  will undoubtedly come to a bad end, hopefully one involving soup and cushions. 
Although it is obviously important not to mix the two up. That way confusion, disaster, 
indeed indigestion lies.

Not to worry, as there has been a great deal of activity here in the People’s Republic 
of Northmavine, deep in the upper digestive tract of the Greater Zetlandics, and the 
top news is...I am become vegan! Or vegetarian. Or at least, I ate a lettuce leaf the other 
day by accident. Although I think there was a caterpillar on it to provide at least a 
semblance of protein. I can still feel it wriggling. Which is nice. Slow release protein!

This veganism stuff  is all due to the household’s current obsession with growing 
inanimate matter, or vegetation as I understand it is called, and excitement about the local
health centre’s new polytunnel thingy (actually, it’s made of hard plastic so it doesn’t blow 
away in one of our mild Zetlandic zephyrs), which is called a Polycrub. 

It’s meant to be therapeutic, which I suppose means some people actually enjoy 
digging in the earth with their little trowels and then watering the green objects which 
subsequently, magically appear. This supposedly provides calmness and serenity, leading to mental health.

Personally, I find chasing Rottweilers, or otters works every bit as well.

I have been observing this vegetation, and some pieces of under- or overgrowth can 
even change colour, turning red, almost as if they were tomatoes or suppurating boils. 
I know, I know, it all sounds very unlikely. 

And I mean, it all appears so artificial to me. Contrived. 
What is nature for? What is the rain for? If you didn’t have plants inside a polytunnel, then 

The rain would get at them naturally. And the snow. 

Most odd.

At any rate, having consumed said lettuce leaf (seasoned with the aforemention bug of 
some sort) I went nosing around the beach and - oh joy! - discovered a dead sheep in the
kind of advanced state of decay I find particularly appealing. I rolled happily in 
its noisome innards for a good 10 minutes until the Human Companion noticed, 
and I managed to snatch a couple of mouthfuls of aged once-mutton before
I was hauled away. Tasty maggots abounded too! If only these vegans knew what they 
were missing.

Wonderfully, I have been vomiting now for three days! Isn’t life grand! 

(And by the way, here's some of the self-indulgent nattering the Human Companion 
insists on placing online,  along with unlistenable yowling from so-called 'musicians'):

The coming of the Cruiserists, a brand new Beatcroft Social show, and that old kangaroo/wallaby joke

They come to Zetlandia in their hundreds, not exactly tourists, as they do not really tour. They cruise. They are cruiserists, observer...