Sunday, 2 March 2014

Curling, sugar and the FATBOB Olympics

Saturday and by 8am the bairns were at a loose end. Youngest had been caught 'being the Jamaican bobsled team' and hurtling himself down the stairs in an old tin bath, wearing my Bob Marley hat.
He had been attempting cross country skiing wearing two pieces of wood tied to his feet with bailer twine (the closest we have to skis) and flapping his way through the mud outside. The Winter Olympics had made a strong impression on him and now he was attempting a gold in his own Farm At The Back Of Beyond (FATBOB) Olympics whilst his family rushed around doling plasters, ice packs and consternation.

The Courier had carried a piece on curling "TRY CURLING!" and Eve Muirhead had been along to help the newcomers on Wednesday at the Dewars Rink in Perth, The Farmer 'kent her faither' and thought it might be worthwhile going along to see what was happening; with the bairns in tow. Youngest had decided he would be part of the Scottish Curling team circa 2030 and he would get to meet his heros, the Jamaican Bobsled team. Rosie wanted to go and give curling a try as she felt it would be similar to the carpet bowls (which she and The Farmer go to on a Thursday).
None of our children had ever been inside an ice rink In Their Lives.

(As a slight aside, I have been zealous with a healthy eating approach and have been making sugar free, fat free and dairy free, ok, vegan, foodstuffs in an attempt to avoid junk food and heart attacks yet unknown to me, they had discovered the American foodstuffs in the 'World Foods' aisle and had breakfasted on marshmallows the size of your head plus Oreo Poptarts).

I stayed at home as I had plenty to do and loathe feeling cold plus two hours of peace - nightmare week. The family were fired up on a sugar rush and ready to curl.

When they returned, they seemed oddly subdued, no doubt the sugar high had worn off and the prospect of my oat and banana slab was nowhere as exciting as a giant marshmallow or Oreo Poptart (shown here with an ordinary and jumbo marshmallow).

I got the truth from my husband this morning and will write exactly what he said, exactly as he said it - then I'll translate.


"Ah kent, ah just KENT whit wid happen. The bairn loupin' an' skitterin' aboot, loupin' on the ice tae see if it wid crack and Rosie fell on her dowp then roared an' gret and ma breeks dinnae fit an' a cannae find a belt, there's nothin' o' me, ah wiz a' poke ersed an a'hin then the bairn skited an' louped an' fell ower and dunted his heed aff a curlin' stane; we were the family fae hell.".*...He looked quite crestfallen.
I was quite shocked. This is the most he has ever spoken in one breath in all the years I have known him.

*Translation: I knew what would happen. Our youngest child was 'spirited' and jumping on the ice to see if it would break then Rosie fell on her derriere which upset her and I have lost so much weight that my trousers are falling and our youngest slipped and fell, his head making contact with a curling stone. I am not sure if this is the criteria looked for by the Royal Caledonian Curling Society.

The bairn is out practicing curling as I write, (cranium intact) mud curling or lobbing large stones into the mud to hear it plop. He is 'clattered in glaur' and 'fair fu' o' gled' *covered in mud and very, very happy. The Farmer has been handed a belt for his trousers, Rosie, lots of chamomile tea and sympathy.

I like to think that this most noble of sports originated (circa 1500s I think) when a laird was taking his leave after giving a tenant grief one hard winter and someone decided to 'caw the feet fae the divvil'. Whatever the origins, it has evolved into a very worthwhile sport to be enjoyed by all ages.

If you do decide to give it a try, wrap up warmly and please look kindly on Team Otter because they are doing it again next week..... without the sugar.


  1. Can we re enact your version of the origin of the sport, do you think?

  2. Oh, yes the fly in the web, especially mud curling and ca' the feet fae the factor.
    I left out the ski jump off the sofa (mind the wooden arms though) and the slalom (farmyard dodge the ducks).
    Bob Marley hat for the winner :)