John Gibson: Just pad the hoof, dear, follow me

THE natives of Dumbiedykes, the housing enclave next door to the Evening News office, have been revolting. Up in arms.

A crusty old pensioner confronted me (I could feel a confrontation coming on) at the 36 bus stop. "Lothian Buses have dropped the 36s on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. It's no fair. Put this in your column."

I tried to placate her, standing there in the bitter cold on the 23rd. "Now look, bus drivers need to be with their loved ones on such days, just like you and me. Goodwill to all drivers. We're all in this together. Do what I have to do and pad the hoof. A brisk dander in the white stuff won't do you any harm, if you take care.

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"We all pulled together during the war. Spam, dried egg. Couple of ounces of butter and meat per week. comforting songs from Vera Lynn. Nae 'nanas (I never saw a banana until my 20th birthday)."

Suddenly this gritty old soul wandered off. Bored with my conversation? Surely no. I'm told she had a ball over the festivities regardless.

Arch enemy

Blood on their hands. I never watch the soaps, never allow them in the house. EastEnders the other night, though, was an exception. Shackled and gagged, I was obliged to watch that melodramatic episode where Archie Mitchell was discovered murdered, done in with a blunt instrument, as they say down the nick.

Nobody would miss him. A right bad egg. Nasty piece of work. But whodunit? Hard to tell what was most horrific . . . the murder, which was bloody, the acting, which was dire, or the script, which was torture.

Honest truth

Idle gossip across a footballing table in Gordon's Trattoria on the Royal Mile. Steve Archibald, nicknamed "the White Rat" and given to swanning up to Easter Road in a Roller, trousered 200,000-plus in his 18 months or so with Hibernian. This was in the Alex Miller, David Dudd and Jim Gray era. Hardly believe it, but gospel if I'm to believe the goss.

Afterwords . .

• . . . Bad for the blood pressure. A hint of Jackie Bird's decolletage while reading Reporting Glasgow. We're not used to it. She had the lads all agitated in the run-up to the festive frolics.