December 18, 2011

Not so long ago, I was invited to answer a series of fun and informative questions for a newspaper. One of the questions was: “What would you do if you were invisible?”

The possibilities are endless. And then I realised the one thing I would definitely do is take great care when crossing the road.

Let’s face it, being invisible and wandering around on a busy road would be – to put it mildly – stupid.

So, just how concrete-wall-thick does that make the increasing number of Ninja Cyclists on our streets? What I’m talking about are the black-clad lunatics you see – or more accurately don’t see – who weave and crisscross through nighttime traffic on black bicycles with no lights. I mean, they must have a death wish to do that.

One of my Facebook friends wrote that she had come within inches of KO’ing three of these twits in the space of one dark Edinburgh night. Although, how she knew it was three different ones, and not just the same bloke, I’m not sure. I mean, they all look the same. Shadows. Black cats lost in coal mines on a dark night. Invisible.

Becoming a Ninja Cyclist is easy. Black trackie bottoms and a black hooded top. Then perch yourself on a bike with no illumination whatsoever, and push yourself out into the main traffic stream. Doesn’t take a lot of skill, really.

But who’s going to get into a whole world of trouble if you actually run one of these clowns down? Well, you, of course.

Maybe they should bring in a law allowing anybody who happens across a Ninja Cyclist to spray them with aviation fuel, set them on fire, and shove them on their way.

Not just lights, but noise too… We would certainly know exactly where they were.

Drew McAdam



December 11, 2011


I have to admit: I enjoy writing my weekly column. It offers the opportunity to vent my spleen about things that annoy me. And, hopefully, things that annoy you, too.

However, I have a confession. I’m not really a grumpy git. In fact, most of my columns are written with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

But not this time. I’m deadly serious here.

The recent ice, wind and rain really brings out all the negative emotions in people. Everywhere I went, people were complaining about the weather. It seems that rain combined with wind and the cold turn us all into moaners and whiners.

But you know what? I have a favourite saying, and whenever somebody starts mumping about something I suggest that: “Every day spent above ground is a good one.”

Think about that.

And that’s why I offer this: one day I will be lying on my death bed. That day is coming, and there is nothing I can do about it. But you know what? I bet when it happens I will be lying there, probably in a warm room, and there will be something I will desperately want to experience – with every part of my being – just one last time.

The feeling of rain on my face.

I’ll be lying there, unable to go anywhere – except the great beyond. And the one thing I will be trying to recall as vividly as possible is the delight of clear drizzle as it runs down my cheeks. The invigorating caress of life-giving water.

So, if you’ll excuse me, it’s raining outside. I’m off to the garden, to turn my face skywards. Just to lock that memory in place.

And I might just jump in a puddle or two.

Drew McAdam


December 4, 2011


NOVEMBER 2: We were told to prepare for more travel chaos. We were about to be hit by Siberian temperatures. According to experts, temperatures “…will drop to below zero within a fortnight – and could be down to Siberian levels of -20C by December.

So everybody rushed out and bought salt and spades. A chum of mine spotted somebody in Livingston Centre with seven – yes, seven – snow shovels.

Another expert reported “…signs of a significant change in the mild weather in mid-November.” Another warned of “frequent and widespread heavy snowfalls during November… with below-average temperatures.”

Now the rush was really on: snow tyres and anti-freeze. Nobody was going to get caught out this time.

NOVEMBER 9: The same expert alerted us to “… snowfalls during November to January” Really? Snow in December and January? This guy is good. Mind you, that’s probably based on the weather patterns of the last 8,000 years. Pretty much a sure thing, eh?

By now we were feeling smug, because we were ready for it. We had stocked up on everything to last us through an Ice Age of Holywood proportions. However…

NOVEMBER 19: And the headline reads “UK Heatwave a Month Before Christmas.”

Just to put you in the picture. Despite the experts’ warnings that Arctic conditions would freeze us into blocks of ice then bury us forever under tons of snow, it was warmer here than in Istanbul and Ankara. In Otterbourne, in Hants, the mercury reached a level higher than the average June peak temperatures.

NOVEMBER 28:  Met Office figures show the average for the month so far is 9.4C – almost double the November average.

We were now using the snow shovels to fan ourselves. The sledges were being used as barbecues, and the anti-freeze had been exchanged for suntan lotion.

DECEMBER 3: It is officially announced that this has been the “Warmest November in 100 years, since records began.”

The Met Office stopped providing long range forecasts a while back, because they got them wrong so often. Quite simply, nobody can predict the weather weeks in advance, any more than you can predict the lottery. But that hasn’t stopped the one-man weather wizards – internet “experts” – from trying. Their forecasts are based on sea patterns and sunspot activity rather than science, satellite imagery and years of academic training.

They might as well have used tarot cards. Or phoned Wanda, the 4-quid-a-minute psychic.

So, don’t blame the Met Office. It’s the “expert” wet-seaweed brigade who came out with all that twaddle. And it’s thanks to them you have a shed filled with snow shovels and rock salt.

But have they hung their heads in shame and embarrassment? Have they wheech. No, they’re still running their pointless websites and making their equally pointless predictions, sound in the knowledge that sheer chance and probability means they must get it right some time.

Just not this time, eh?

Drew McAdam