Entrails boiled in a sodding sheep's stomach?: The gammon food critic's Scottish road trip

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who knew that Phillip Schofield was a wrong ‘un all along

SCOTLAND. Is there really any point? 

Alright, they put up a stronger fight than the Welsh and Irish to inevitable rule by their betters, but the weather’s shit, the football’s worse and fuck the bagpipes.

Letting Scotland call itself a country is like letting your daughter be a goth: regrettable, indulgent, a bit pathetic but ultimately doesn’t do anyone any lasting harm.

But I fancy a break and I’ve heard Edinburgh’s alright, so I’ve booked a coach. Be interested to see how it’s getting on under its new Duke. Not said anything offensive yet but he’s working up to it.

Sitting down for traditional Scottish cuisine on the Royal Mile – you won’t catch me in any overpriced tourist-traps – I break the ice. ‘Who d’you support then?’ I ask the waiter. ‘Celtic or Rangers?’

Wrong city apparently. Country’s the size of Norfolk with half the people so how they can have all this sectarian divide when it’s no bigger than a boil on your arse baffles me. And Heart of Lothian’s no name for a team. What even is Lothian? Wood?

Anyway, I stretch out with a few single malts. Says a lot about life up here that the national drink is 40 per cent proof. If I asked for a wee dram of the strong stuff they’d bring heroin.

I start with cullen skink, a smoked-fish soup that sounds like a parasitic lizard that lays eggs in your scrotum. Bland, but these people consider porridge a treat.

Smoked salmon’s no improvement. Do I look like a fucking otter? Then I’m offered haggis, and being no mug I Google that shit.

Sheep’s guts? Wrapped up and boiled in the lining of its stomach? How daft do these Jocks think we are? Nobody’s eating that. It’s like when Arabs serve up sheep’s eyeballs. They’re watching from the kitchen pissing themselves.

I explain to the waiter that he might hate the English as much as we hate the French, but I’d rather he flip his kilt, add a sprig of thistle and serve up his bare arse than haggis. Knowing I’ve rumbled him, he suggests the grouse.

It comes with tatties – potatoes – and neeps, which are turnips. Call them what you like, nobody’s eating turnips and the grouse doesn’t have enough meat on it to feed a cat. So potatoes basically. No wonder all the natives prefer to be homeless in London.

Refusing another snifter, which I take as acknowledgment you have to be pissed to eat this crap, I lurch out. I don’t tip either. They’re tight up here so they’d be offended.

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The very worst places to hide your sex toys, with the Mash sex columnist

YOU get one, then an upgrade, then a quick-and-easy handbag-sized one for dates, and suddenly you’ve got a whole battalion of sex toys doing the grunt work for you. 

But where do you keep them that’s easy access for busy, horny days but won’t find them gently buzzing in the hands of a questing child? Anywhere but these places:

At pet height

Hide something from a toddler and they forget it exists, but pets have powerful noses and love your specific scent very, very much. So out of jumping height unless you want the dog wandering in, tail wagging, with a dildo in its jaws or the cat pouncing on your anal beads.

Too securely

Padlocked in a box and on top of the wardrobe, nobody’s stumbling across these. There, you say, with a glow of satisfaction that soon turns into the urge for a little strum. Now you’ve got to find the key and get the stepladder to free your vibrator, when you only have it to skip all the tedious foreplay.

With all your other sex toys

Hiding all the playthings, from the exotic to the never actually used, in one location lacks deniability. If your in-laws come across them in their multitudes, you’re fucked. They’ll never let you pass the gravy again. So conceal your precious toys in different easily-forgotten locations around the house, like the children do.

With other secret things

If there’s one thing kids are on top of, it’s where you keep the good stuff. From a stash of Percy Pigs to all their presents you’ve earmarked for regifting, they know where it is. Don’t, therefore, pop a butt plug in alongside them unless you want to find your daughter using it as a hair accessory.

In plain sight

You think you’re so damn clever, keeping your clitoral suction stimulator in the pot with your toothbrush, your prostate massager alongside your mini dumbbells, your Hitachi wand in the kitchen drawer with the electric whisk. All very well until your mother comes to stay and whips up a lemon meringue pie for pudding.