A Scottish Storyteller


Be prepared ye listeners for an unbridled, fully unrestrained RANT about the substitution in our traditional scottish culture of the beautifully imperfect, purpley/whitey/green, lumpy root vegetable that is THE NOBLE TURNIP for the heinous orange blight on a scottish tradition that is THE PUMPKIN.

Jesus wept.

The reason for my rant was today's visit to Tescos. Yes Tescos... I'm addressing YOU! You have lovely adverts and Yes! We much admire the efforts of the talented Prunella Scales to increase your sales of bargain curries and delicious deli foods... but for GOD'S SAKE!!!

Pumpkins as FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE! And it's not even as if I can rant on and go "pumpkins in all shapes and sizes!" for they are ALL THE SAME SHAPE and ALL THE SAME SIZE! Totally identical! UNIFORM!

But could I find one neep? One beautiful... hairy... knobbly neep? Could I hell. There was a couple of sliced up (butchered! murdered! weeping!) "swedes" in the section labelled "winter vegetables." Swedes my arse! But in the space where in the past my dad and I would have spent ages rummaging for the neep going for the winning vegetable in the "most-astoundingly-full-of-character-and-personality-in-show" section, there was what? Pumpkins. SODDING PUMPKINS! Clean, smooth, utterly personality-free PUMPKINS.

Bloody Americans!
Now don't get me wrong... I love Americans. Truly I do! Some of my best friends are Americans!

And I really LOVE they way they have embraced Hallowe'en and made it their own. But for FECKS sake! Scotland! Can't we just keep our own, home grown neeps?

Why should the bland uniform pumpkin be given the honour of replacing the noble neeps which have been carved for centuries by small children hoping to scare off ghosties, ghoulies, ghoblins and other such things beginning with gh? (ghoulash?)

Like gaelic, storytelling, folk singing and sheep shagging, the humble turnip is being OUSTED in favour of this hideous orange newcomer. And why? "Because it is easier to carve"

EASIER TO CARVE!?!?!? Did the monks of Tibet make their giant Buddahs out of CHEESE because it was EASIER TO CARVE!? NO!

Did the inhabitants of Easter Island cobble together their giant statues out of PLASTICENE because they were a touch on the LAZY SIDE!? NO!

Did the ancient builders of Stonehenge grab the nearest heap of Salisbury clay because Wales was too far away and they COULDN'T BE ARSED!? NO!

Was the fantastically proportioned Cerne Abbas Giant fashioned out of CHALK because it was EASIER TO CARVE!? (Um. well ok he was... but that's not my point)

Think back to your childhood and remember the beautiful smell of burning turnip as you stepped out for the first time with your friends to go Guizing! Remember the turnip soup you ate for the 3 nights after the carving because "it was a waste not to use it" !

Remember taking part in the Hallowe'en Neep Contest! What you could make from them!

Laurel and Hardy Neeps (aged 8. prize: One packed of cigarette sweeties - now named something else so as not to encourage kiddies to smoke)

"Dick Turnip!" complete with 3 cornered hat and missing tooth...

And where would Baldrick be? If not for the Noble Turnip!!!?

So listeners... I am begging of you today to join my fight! My fight against the characterless bulbous newcomer "the Pumpkin"!

Campaign for the Removal Of Pumpkins from Samhain! (CROPS)
Fighting the good fight since October 2004!

Join Me!

"Beautiful! "




3 Responses to “NEEPS!”

  1. # Blogger lost

    LOVE your neeps wifie! I hivnae the strength tae cut neeps this yr wi haein sic an affa cauld. One o my bosses says there's "neep cutting" patterns online - ask Uncle Google.  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Ah jist love yer bloggin rant! Ah hae bin agin bliddy pumpkins fer years but no bein heid o a supermerkat, Ah've hed nae luck at aa. An whit aboot aa they plastic - aye bliddy PLASTIC fer fecks sake - masks an capes an aa thon keech? Nostalgia's nae whit it yased tae be at aa, at aa....  

  3. # Anonymous Procee

    I know this is an old post, but having just made my first neep lantern since I was wee I cannae believe how small the neeps are in the shops now (mine hailed from Asda).

    Still, a bit of good advice here, if you want an easy carving time use a 'crook' or 'spoon' knife. If you've seen ray Mears you'll know what I mean, if not, try google images. Makes it dead easy to carve out the innards, an a damn sight safer than the carpenter's chisel I used to use as a wee boy. Requires almost no effoert, but do be careful not to carve out too much and make your neep lantern all floppy.  

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