Retreat, determination and determination

Friday September 23rd 2016

Christine Grahame MSP in Parliament

Beating the Retreat

I went to Penicuik House and watched the pipe and silver band play as they Beat the Retreat and a fine sight it was too. At one point a lone piper (shades of the Tattoo) stood on the steps of the refurbished old house and we listened in the last light of a summer evening with the sad skirl of the bagpipes drifting through the still air.

Of course what I have not told you, and will now, is that Beating the Retreat wasn’t just to do with the bands, oh no no, just as they struck up, a wee drizzle set about alerting every midgie for miles to the available banquet of human flesh and mine in particular. You see, politician I may be, hide of a rhinoceros I have not. Indeed the wee b……s find my blood particularly tasty. My late father was the same, so I’m putting that, and my knees, down to his genes and no, I’m not disclosing anything else about my knees.


Yesterday I met up with Stephen Neilson and his colleague John Murphy as my guests at Parliament where they came to see First Minster’s Questions.

Stephen started his working life as a motor mechanic but then macular degeneration set in which means his sight is deteriorating. Despite this he was determined to work and set about going to college to do a Sports Science course.

He had a heck of a time getting past all the bureaucracy and with a wee bit of help from me (and I do mean a wee bit only and oodles of determination from him) he has completed his course and is now a fully-fledged sports therapist. My goodness and you should feel his handshake. My hand might need a bit of physiotherapy from him!

On the subject of determination

I must tell you about my Carbon Monoxide detector.

Now I have had one in my hallway for years. But what do you do with them when the battery runs out? You see they beeb like beebery intermittently and very loudly when their time has come to give up.

This morning I awoke to unfamiliar beebs and having located the source tried to dismantle the detector. Ye cannae dae it! So I carried it all the way into Parliament and stepped gaily across the Garden Lobby to the accompaniment of a beeping handbag.

I searched YouTube and there was a video on “How to Dispose of the Beebing detector”. It was a man battering it with a hammer. I had none to hand and sought the advice of the staff here. Solution? Place item in bucket of water. There was no alternative. Had I placed it in any of the various recycling and non-recycling receptacles I have absolutely no doubt those beeps would have led to mass evacuation of the Parliament.

Do you think I should put my disposal technique on YouTube? Perhaps not. Anyway today I checked and at last the green light has stopped flashing. But is it really dead?

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