A Caring Employer, Scottish Bonnets by Vince Nolan


Much has happened over the Season of Good Will to All Men (and Women). Here’s an extract for you starting with a career development interview genuinely overheard in my local pub, The Foot-in-Mouth, between a disgruntled lady employee and her boss. I emailed this to myself having typed it into my phone in “real time” as the drama unfolded:

“I don’t want to mention individuals’, I just keep my head down and avoid contact.”

What about Shirley then?

“Oh, she’s a right bitch. They’re all the same, jealous of my abilities. I’d like to see her doing my job.”
Well we thought we would give her a chance at doing it.
“Look, I don’t swear but you’re joking me!”
You need to be more professional instead of looking for conflict.
“I don’t look for conflict but her customer service is just not up to scratch.”
So when are you coming back off the sick.
“When I’m better and when you give me a chance to show what I can do. I get the impression you don’t want me to progress. You only see me as a receptionist.”
You are a receptionist and one who is not working at present.
“Well now you realise what you are missing.”
It’s not ideal but we are managing and you only work 8 ‘til 2. You say you want training to progress but the sort of training you need sorts the men from the boys.
“What about the women from the girls?”
That was just a figure of speech.
“It’s sexism and you are discriminating against me on grounds of gender.”
No it isn’t and no I am not.

Enough there for you employment law specialists!  You cannot make this stuff up – straight out of David Brent and The Office.  It makes me glad to be self-employed.

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I am currently working with a client who has offices in Stewarton in Ayrshire (no, I had never heard of it either).  Looks like a lovely place though.  It seems that Stewarton is in point of fact, the Bonnet Capital of the World.  What are the chances of that?  This short verse was taken from the 1934 Bonnet Guild Festival Guide and was originally an old song written 1859:

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The Stewarton Bonnet 

“Noo as lang as oor bonnets are worn by us a’

We shall ne’er lei the pride o’ our aold bonnets fa’,

While we’ve heids tae baud up, may our molto aye be,

O, the Stewarton bonnet’s the bonnet for me.

O, cover our heid wi’ a bonnet o’ blue,

A bonnie blue bonnet o’ quiet haimert woo,

Than oor ain Scottish bonnet nae brawer can bea

O, the Stewarton bonnet’s the bonnet for me”.

Good eh?

We now have a belated Christmas Tale, again true.  Me and my chums went out for Christmas lunch.  It matters not where. Our hosts were wonderfully generous, the food excellent, the company even better and we all had a spiffing time.  However, clear elements of Fawlty Towers developed as the day went on. Lunch was booked from 12 – 2 which was a bit of a worry. Our fears were soon realised, since it came to pass that whilst we were still on the cheeseboard and “Time had ticked a heaven around the stars” as Dylan Thomas once said (he wasn’t a guest), we arrived at 13.50 and were physically moved onto another table. Whilst not amused we bore it with great fortitude and British politeness. Imagine our shock then as we were settling into our new surroundings when a sign was placed on our new table “Reserved from 3pm”.  Hmmm, whilst not the leader of our brave band, I asked the waiter what would happen to us come 3pm by which time we hoped to have finished the cheeseboard. I was told we would be moved again. Come 3pm and we were once again evicted and shown to another table. In a very small and flippant way we began to understand a little bit more about the plight of the nomad, bounced from one place to another.  In a distinct déjà vu moment we settled down and a second eviction notice was placed on our table once again saying “Reserved from 4pm”.  My flabber was well and truly gasted at this point and aided and abetted by some non-alcoholic wine, I asked the waiter what would happen if there was no other place free for us to sit at, come 4pm.  He said “you can stand at the bar”.  Such Olde Worlde charm!  I said to him “you are assuming we are all able to stand” which confused him briefly. Sensing blood, I then asked him whether they had a stable around the back since there was clearly no room at the inn.  Alas the biblical connotation was lost on him despite the Joyous Season.

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I have no desire to enter the current battle over term-time holidays that is currently raging between parents, teachers and the Welsh Government.  It seems to me to be a highly emotive subject whichever side of Passport Control you sit on.  Believe it or not there is an organisation called:  “The Let Children in Wales Have a Family Holiday During Term Time Group”.  Catchy isn’t it.  In the interests of balance, I presume there is also one called “Don’t Let Children in Wales Have a Family Holiday During Term Time Group”.

In related matters of political correctness, a marvellous Winston Churchill quote came my way the other day:  “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the journey”. Not sure whether the journey he refers to was made in term-time or not.

Take a close look at this clever picture.  You may have read that an abstract painting sold for £16million at Sotheby’s recently.  When asked what the picture represented, the artist replied, “How a fool and his money are soon parted.”

Vince Nolan 48And finally, rowing news (that is in a boat as

opposed to disagreeing loudly with the current Mrs Nolan):  there is a guy called Cox who is Vice Chair of Welsh Rowing.  How good is that?


Bye for now.