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I LEFT you last week as I was experiencing a mild attack of the heebie-jeebies in my Galloway holiday cottage. The ostensibly cosy nook's book collection included an Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, some blood-horror novels, and a golf autobiography. There were statuettes of owls, a real-life Pagan high priest across the road and, in the garden, a grave-shaped piece of tarpaulin held down by stones. Even before dusk was properly doon, I'd already had a brush with a bat.
UNTIL yesterday, if you'd spoken to me about the Lemonheads, I'd have assumed you were talking about a pop group and, ever the eager bluffer, would have cobbled together pithy remarks about their tight sound and compelling beat. How I would have been rumbled! For the Lemonheads are not a funky four-piece but a new species of alien from ooter space. Tschh, I should have known that.
AS I left the city, rain lashed down as if it hated the place. On the CD player in my trusty Focus, I played some "new country" music and the latest CD by Jimi McRae. Some of you may remember Jimi from Edinburgh's High Street, where he would stand and play the bagpipes. Stirring stuff it was, too, and he looked the part in a right Braveheart-style rig-out. I always thought Jimi would go to Hollywood.
HOW I laughed to read that, in the 1950s, citizens used to chuckle three times as much as they do now. Oh, the halcyon Fifties, when a black-and-white sun clearly delineated light from shadow. Now, everything is in colour. Everything is grey.
I'D HALF a mind to go to Texas, but it was too dear and too complicated, and I think you need a visa now, so I went to Galloway instead. It's quite far west. Another of the many halves of my mind thought momentarily of going to Dallas, Stirlingshire, where I hoped I might be able to let the spurs on my trainers clink freely. But several leading authorities told me that, despite the name, it wasn't that sort of place.
THE nation blows hot and cold on Prince Charles. We like his concerned-looking coupon and the way he strides aboot the place in his kilt, with his hand caressing his cromag. At other times, say when he's been oot mangling wildlife, we want to send a tumbril roond to his hoose. That said, you can't find tumbrils anywhere nowadays. Even John Lewis doesn't have them. I bet you Lidl does – it already sells equestrian equipment and spacecraft – but a man in my position cannot be seen in L
CAPITALIST plans to kill us all continue apace. Now it emerges, as we say exclusively in the media, that the amount of calories in a cuppa from those trendy coffee places exceeds that in a fish supper coated in curry sauce.
THIS week's topic is one which I know will put you through the full gamut of emotions. I don't often speak to you about matters of the heart. Love is a private thing. But there comes a time when we should all talk to each other, and share the splendour and joy of our ardour. With all that in mind, I wish to talk to you this weekend about my garden bench.
EVERY so often, I need my fix of Glasgow. It's a great city, and I like its people better than Edinburgh's for all the usual reasons: they're friendly, direct, and not hung up on social station.
HOW predictably discombobulating to read that self-help books make people feel worse.
ON QUIET roads, we came to the Caterthuns. My good friends, David and Nessie, were giving me a tour of Angus, a county largely unknown to me. Some of you are saying: "This is very exciting indeed. But what is a Caterthun?"
NOT unusually, I am feeling out on a limb. Are you out on a limb too? Perhaps there are more of us out on a limb than there are in on a limb. These remarks merely serve to limber you up for the bombshell observation that, as someone with no interest in Glastonbury, Wimbledon, or Lady Gaga, I feel the world is going about its business without me. You too, eh? No? It's just me? I see.
THE last full meeting of parliament this session discussed the Calman Omission yesterday. The narrow-ranging report with the big hole in the middle has had the whole nation talking, with fights breaking out in pubs and massive rallies held in many towns and villages.
THERE is so much of my own country about which I know so little. Arbroath was one such place, somewhere to pass by on the way elsewhere. It's one of these wee broon toons (the sandstone of the buildings is supposedly red, but then I'm as colour-blind as a bat in a 1930s movie) up the east coast, and I was heading thither to spend the weekend with my old friends, David and Nessie.
I AM fully behind Bill Wilson's audacious move to have supermarkets give their products controversial old Scots names, such as "tatties", "tumshies", and "brambles". As you can imagine, the bespectacled MSP's idea has caused a furore in Scotia, the country opposed to itself. Last night, rioting broke out in parts of Dumfriesshire and Greater Glasgow, with effigies of Bill burned and calls for him to be imprisoned for between 17 and 32 years.
IF YOU'RE just a normal person, and not particularly political, you must look at the Calman Commission and surely find it bizarre: prompted by growing support for independence, it looked at every possible constitutional permutation for Scotland – except, er, independence, which also happens to be the main policy of the minority government of the day.
IF YOU are all sitting comfortably, I would like to address you this week on the subject of Life's Snags And How To Meet Them. You are intrigued. One or two of you are running away. But do not be alarmed. The title of this lecture is not mine. It is the name of a book by that Baden-Powell, the moustachioed chap who, in order of importance, wore shorts and founded the Scouts.
YES, it's a wonderful world and we are so lucky to live in such a marvellous part of it, among splendid, upstanding, clever and brave people. Already, you are suspicious or wondering if my personality has had a makeover, one that involves a lot of drilling and a large skip.