HUNDREDS, nay thousands, of readers of this throbbing organ spotted the deliberate mistake in last week's diary.
I refer, of course, to the suggestion that it is possible to take a train from Arbroath to Brechin. Little did I appreciate when I wrote this that so many of you would attempt to do it.
My dear, revered friend James Robertson, novelist extraordinaire, was certainly not alone in pointing out that Brechin has no station worthy of the name, which makes travelling to and from it something of a challenge. May I therefore, on behalf of myself, apologise to everyone who was inconvenienced.
I would also like to add, though, that it is unwise to take literally what is written in this hallowed space. Indeed, sometimes your diarist has been known to make things up. Please keep this to yourselves. The last thing one needs is to be hauled before the Leveson inquisition.
READERS of the small print may have noticed that Tiger Woods, a cheetah among gowfers, won a tournament recently. It was his 74th victory, which means he has surpassed Jack Nicklaus, another gowfer, in the all-time winners' list. Now he has only Sam Snead, who won 82 tournaments, to catch.
That this feat got such paltry coverage can only be due to the fact that the censorious scribes who cover gowf have not yet forgiven Mr Tiger for his sexual rapacity, preferring to champion the likes of Wory WhackIroy and Wee Leastwood, both of whom have as much charisma as taxi drivers. Meanwhile, Mr Tiger remains a great favourite with the public, irrespective of what he does off the course. This is one of the few reasons to feel cheerful about the state of humankind.
AT the height of the financial crisis I considered investing a shekel or two in Barclays, principally because its panjandrums made a big deal of rejecting an injection of cash from the taxpayer. Something, however, stopped me, possibly the lack of the aforementioned shekels.
Its chief exec, Bob Diamond, has now resigned, following yet another banking scandal which, if nothing else, has diverted the spotlight from poor (well, not so poor) Fwed Goodwin.
In the hours before Mr Diamond did the honourable thing, his chums in the meeja were begging him to stay, on the basis that he would be awfully difficult to replace. Where, you might say, apart from Hatton Garden, would you find such another valuable diamond?
This is one of the myths that the likes of Mr Diamond have spread in order the justify their ugly salaries. It is, of course, nonsense, as Ferdinand Mount notes in his timeous book, The New Few. There are, in fact, plenty of people with the brains and nous to replace the Goodwins and the Diamonds, with some of whom it may even be worth trusting the odd shekel.
QUEEN Tupperware is out and about. Earlier in the week she was in Embra, though she could easily have mistaken it for Dresden after it was blitzed, given its present bedraggled state.
One of the places She visited was the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, where of a morning the blue rinses of Morningside gather daily to ignore the paintings. As it happened, I was in the vicinity, albeit on the top deck of a No 26. According to The Times, Queen Tupperware was greeted by "huge and enthusiastic" crowds, by which you may imagine Hampden in a bygone era or the first day of the January sales. In truth, outside the SNPG there were at most a few hundred drookit souls whose enthusiasm was not conspicuous from where I was sitting.
In front of me was a family of four Aussies who quickly sniffed royalty. "You wanna get off here and see the Queen?" said Mrs Aussie. "I don't think so," said Mr Aussie, "I wanna go to Abercrombie & Fitch." End of discussion.
MY old chum Damon Hill, who knows his way around a dashboard, has declared that he finds driving at more than 70mph "stressful" and would prefer the speed limit to be reduced to 55mph. I agree. In fact, I would go further. I would like all cars removed from the roads, all new road building to be stopped forthwith, and for horse-drawn carriages to be reintroduced pronto.
Reluctantly accepting that this is unlikely to happen, I must support Mr Hill who says: "Most people aren't safe to drive over 55mph." You do not need to be a Formula One maestro to know this but we're still in denial over it. For instance, the A9 is to be "upgraded" at inordinate expense to allow the lunatics who cause accidents to drive even faster and kill innocent others.
ON this day last week I attended the wedding reception for my dear friends Jenifer Johnston and Kevin Pringle, he being Alexei Salmonella's big toe.
I was chauffeured there by Kevin McKenna, the Observer's Tony Soprano lookalike, whose in-car choice of music rendered myself and my two fellow passengers speechless. Who but Mr McKenna is still clicking his fingers to Andy Williams?
Many were the Gnat dignitaries on parade, including Bruce Crawford, Meenister for Parliamentary Business, whose moves on the dance floor put one in mind of another great Bruce, ie Forsyth.
Encouraged by Mr Crawford, I stroked his beaver which – I hasten to add – was what his sporran was made of. The bride and the groom were happily oblivious to such shenanigans.
A spokesperson for the former said that she'd done what brides normally do when a wedding looms.
Apparently, Ms Johnston had climbed every Munro, run a marathon every other day and swum from Ardrossan to Arran and back again.
On top of all of which, she'd had her nails polished. Aren't women incredible?
Meanwhile, Mr Pringle, who was deprived for a few hours of his BlackBerry, made no such efforts, other than invest in an £8 haircut which, I am reliably informed, had to be booked for him.
Such is the art of delegation.
SO faretheweel Eric Sykes who even that misanthrope, Kenneth Williams, half admired. "He is an acquired taste," Mr Williams wrote, "like avocado pears."
Tiger Woods is loved by the public, regardless of his little foibles
The Queen is loved by the public - but not as much as shopping
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