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Sauce, Vinegar And Big Vulgar Television Sets

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Jeff Zycinski | 19:53 UK time, Thursday, 30 April 2009


It's been one of those weeks when I feel as if I'm on some kind of 'round-Scotland charity event. In the space of three days I've been from Inverness to Glasgow then Edinburgh then Aberdeen and now I'm on the train and heading back to Glasgow again. Tomorrow afternoon I finally return home to Inverness and I expect the dog will go for my throat thinking I'm a stranger breaking and entering.

Team Briefings, you see. Part of the all-important communication process for a radio station where the production teams are spread across the country. It's a chance to review recent programmes and to share information about future plans. Yes I could do this with conference calls and video links, but I know that the staff like to see me in the flesh and confirm who has won the monthly bet about my weight-gain. I also invite the programme makers to ask me questions and that always throws up some surprises

In Edinburgh this morning, for example, we were reviewing the recent week of Adventures on the M8. Audience feedback has been very positive, the special website was incredibly popular but still, it seems, one vital question was left unanswered:

"Did we ever discover where salt 'n' sauce ends and where salt 'n' vinegar begins?"

To those of you unfamiliar with Scottish culture I should explain that this relates to the purchase of fish 'n' chips (or fish suppers) and is designed to seek information about the customer's preferred choice of condiments. Generally speaking salt n' vinegar is offered in the west and salt 'n' sauce in the east.

But where exactly is the dividing line? Perhaps you can help. Perhaps not.
Meanwhile, in Aberdeen this afternoon, I was told that the people of the Granite City are firmly in the vinegar camp. The Team Briefing there, however, threatened to turn ugly when one brave soul vouchsafed the view that most gardeners are female and that female gardeners are most interested in growing flowers while men grow "useful" stuff like food. Outright violence was only avoided by the timely arrival of United Nations peacekeepers. Or maybe I just imagined that.

Finally - and just to prove that BBC senior management in Glasgow are not immune from such bizarre curiosity - I must tell you about a debate that emerged during a gathering of my senior colleagues last night. Somehow the conversation turned to the subject of those huge flat-screen television sets and what you call the room where you sit and watch the telly. The sitting room? The living room? The main room? The TV room?

I, of course, attempted to rise above the herd and declared that I didn't own such a vulgar device and that I have a radio in every room.

You could almost hear a jaw drop.


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