JACK McConnell may have just celebrated his third anniversary as First Minister but next year a new biography will lift the lid on the leader penned by a writer with no less a colourful past than her subject.
THIS year heralds the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of Scotland’s greatest biologists and town planners, but the grandchildren of Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) have complained that one of his best-known buildings in Edinburgh is in "a dreadful condition".
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WANTED: one security barrier capable of preventing terrorists driving a van of explosives into the US Consulate General in Edinburgh ... but it must also be in keeping with elegant Georgian surroundings.
THE former Scottish Secretary, Helen Liddell, may be dusting off her Akubra, and corks, before heading Down Under to take up her post as the British High Commissioner, but she will be making one final return to her roots next year.
THE Brodies of Brodie may be one of Scotland’s oldest aristocratic families, but the National Trust for Scotland’s plans to rent out their ancestral seat in Moray as a holiday home for non-lairded types paying £1,750 a week have had to be temporarily shelved.
THE Prime Minister may have decided to lay the blame of society’s current ills at the door of the permissive culture of the Sixties, but those who were at Fettes College with him can probably vouch for the fact that a young Tony Blair certainly did his bit.
THE SNP leadership hopeful Alex Salmond may be getting some stick from his rivals for trying to send in his deputy and co-runner, Nicola Sturgeon, to bat for him in the Edinburgh and Perth hustings, but elsewhere the omens augur well.
HOW times have changed for Colin Montgomerie. Not so long ago, he would have struggled to make the Diary. Now we just can’t keep him out of it.
THE QUEEN Mary 2 may be the last word in cruise-liner luxury, but there is one drawback. Because of her gargantuan size, new passengers are prone to getting lost. With 14 passenger decks and corridors over half a mile long, the best form of exercise is not to be found in the onboard gym but by jogging three times round the viewing deck, which provides just over a mile’s circuit.
THE DIARY hopes that Frank McAveety has packed a road-map with him today on his way to the Open, as he appeared to be unaware of where it is currently being held.
THE NEW Club in Edinburgh has always kept its secrets closely guarded behind its anonymous 86 Princes Street doors, but the bespoke bolthole will at last be shedding a little light on its mysterious ways with a book on its history.
THE Queen Mary 2 sailed into the Firth of Forth yesterday. Anchored before South Queensferry’s famous two bridges, the world’s largest luxury cruise liner looked as majestic as her surroundings. Usually, the Superfast ferry is queen of these particular waters, but it was dwarfed by the colossal scale of the £430 million ship, which feels more like a giant building when you pull alongside it.
AN E-MAIL arrives from a web address named madasafish.com. The sender? - Mike Russell, the SNP leadership hopeful.
WHILE the focus of attention has been on the new Kensington Gardens water feature for Princess Diana, plans for a similar memorial in Edinburgh for the Queen Mother are also taking shape.
IF NOTHING else, Nicola Sturgeon has proved that she is sufficiently fleet of foot to handle the rigours of the SNP leadership. At the launch of her manifesto for the top job in Glasgow yesterday, the MSP was asked by journalists why her slick policy document had no mention of the word "fish" in it - surprising, given the state of Scotland’s fishing industry.
THE FIRST Minister does have a sense of humour. At a recent Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association dinner at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh, Jack experienced something of a doppelgänger moment when he bumped into a fellow guest sporting a natty pinstripe kilt.
JACK McConnell’s three-day mission to bolster Scotland’s image south of the Border got off to a shaky start in London yesterday.
Edinburgh’s Stockbridge will reverberate once more to the welcome thwack of leather on willow as the Scottish Saltires begin their cricket season this week. After an encouraging 2003 debut in the second division of the National League, when they claimed several prized county scalps before their campaign petered away, the team has high hopes for 2004.
DARK times for the well-heeled students of New Town. One of their, and the diary’s, favourite watering holes is under threat after complaints about noise.
AFTER his expulsion from the Labour Party, George Galloway might be forgiven for looking for political pastures new. But surely the famously outspoken socialist firebrand would never consider the Tories?