No red carpet for Boris Johnson in Orkney. No inviting waves or friendly hurray. There was hardly a happy "oh aye!"
The greeting he received as his presidential-style car line raced through the southwestern city of Stromness was as cold as the sea breeze and twice as salty.
PG Wodehouse once thought that it was never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a complaint and a sunbeam. Sure enough, Orkney's best had a lot of complaints.
The Prime Minister's team believes it doesn't matter what he says on the street, grab him in a warning jacket and hard hat and that's all everyone will care about. He bumped his elbows with a couple of fishermen before holding up a few large brown crabs
There were fluctuations in posters at every corner: stop the Brexit. Save the NHS. Time for another referendum.
There is a village called Twatt here, so imagine how much fun some of them had with it. The islanders have such wonderfully stealthy ideas.
Boris had ventured north to announce a £ 100m cash surge for Orkney. There is a lot of talk about making the place an important part of its green industrial revolution. "Build, build, build" was the slogan of the day.
In the first place, however, he came to talk about the union, whose enthusiasm waned during the Covid crisis. Not least because Nicola Sturgeon waged a good war.
There were fluctuations in posters at every corner: stop the Brexit. Save the NHS. Time for another referendum
Yesterday, she accused Boris of using the coronavirus pandemic as a kind of "campaign tool".
Nicola is not the friendliest host for dignitaries. When you visit Bute House, she'll likely let her take her shoes off at the door. Boris was at least tidy. Green rubber boots. A pretty chic quilted coat that surprisingly fit. Carrie had obviously been shopping.
He paused to chat with reporters.
"I'm thrilled to be here in Orkney!" He snorted. Phew. If he had accidentally said Shetland, he probably would not have come from the island.
Mind you, "enthusiastic" could have driven it forward.
For all the Prime Minister's exhilaration, he would clearly have preferred to be back in Downing Street's garden with his red boxes and a bottle of Vino Collapseo.
He got into one of his alliterative soundbites and claimed, "We'll assemble better" before increasing the island's potential economic wallop.
"Here in Orkney, they're ahead of hydrogen technology and wind technology," he enthused.
"This location can meet around 25 percent of the UK's energy needs." It's a little worrying when Boris goes into details like this. Even unnatural.
He clearly handled details from a memo he had read on the flight from London. Or maybe he'd just memorized a passage from Orkney's Lonely Planet Guide.
The demonstrators didn't seem to have stopped him from walking, but then Boris endured much worse.
During his first unsuccessful tenure in parliament, then Tory leader Michael Howard sent him on an apologetic tour of Liverpool after he approved an article in The Spectator (which he edited) that made some unsavory judgments about the city.
If you can survive a walk of shame around Merseyside, Orkney is probably a snap.
The conversation turned to the Union. It was a "fantastically strong institution," he said.
"It has helped our country through thick and thin." It was very, very valuable in terms of the support we were able to give to all corners of Britain. "
A polite way to remind the Scots of the big checks Westminster sent north to pay their vacation pay during the crisis.
We later caught a glimpse of the PM on a fishing boat in Coplands Dock. This is the mandatory bojo photo shoot.
The Prime Minister's team believes it doesn't matter what he says on the go. Get a photo of him in a warning jacket and hard hat, and that's all everyone will be interested in.
He bumped his elbows with a couple of fishermen before holding up a few large brown crabs. They looked vicious, with terrible claws and deep, hollow eyes.
Reminded me a bit of Dominic Cummings. I suspect the crab is a little friendlier.
We later caught a glimpse of the PM on a fishing boat in Coplands Dock. This is the mandatory bojo photo shoot
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Debate (t) Boris Johnson