The Brechin railway/train saga continues, despite one's best efforts to shunt it into a siding. Mr Andrew M Webster, chairman of the Caledonian Railway (Brechin) Ltd, writes, saying that he is "incandescent" (call the fire brigade!) because I wrote last week in this throbbing organ that the twice aforementioned Brechin does not have a station "worthy of the name".
Of course, I knew that, because hundreds, if not thousands, of trainspotters told me that Brechin has a railway station, which as Mr Webster says is "a beautifully restored Victorian terminus". What it does not have, however, are many trains passing through it. Hence my remarks, which have turned Mr Webster into a ball of fire.
However, I share his chagrin, not least because he quite rightly refers to myself as "revered", and asks: "Can I really believe what happened in his ramblings for the remainder of the week?" To which the only reply must be: NAW!
MY dear friend Niall Ferguson, historian extraordinaire, is currently giving the Reith Lectures, named after our kinsman, John Reith, upon whose foundations the Beeb is built. His latest lecture was obviously based on a close reading of this diary, which, I'm told, is religiously digested in the groves of academe and associated places where swots gather.
In particular, Mr F appears to have been smitten by my chunterings about litter and the need to do something about it urgently. Mimicking moi, he bought a supply of black plastic bags and began to clean up the beach near a home he has in Ayrshire. This is what is known among scholars as "affirmative action", or what we in sunny Musselburgh call "getting off your backside". It could be a subject worthy of a PhD.
Later, Mr F told agog Radio 4 listeners, it became obvious that the task was too big even for a man of his talent and energy and he had to call on the help of similarly well-minded citizens who, I am assured, could in no way be described as research students.
TO the Giant's Causeway where there is a new multi-million pound visitor centre which allows the National Trust to charge big bucks to view the old rocks. This ought to be the subject of international outrage but it has been eclipsed by a ruckus over an exhibition in the centre in which creationists claim that the earth is a mere 6000 years old when anyone with a chisel can see that it was formed 60 million years ago, give or take a year.
Although most sane folk believe the latter, the NT's position is that it must "respect" the views of others, such as creationists, even though they're bonkers. This is typical of the modern era when respect has replaced common sense.
Having said that, I firmly believe that the Causeway was built by a big bloke with a giant stride who single-handedly placed the rocks in a formation which would allow him to get from A to B without getting his feet wet.
THE Irish, among whom I have been moving and shaking, like nothing better than to tell stories which may or may not be apocryphal.
This one was told to me by my dear friend Polly Devlin, who was the first journalist in the UK to interview Bob Dylan and is the sister-in-law of my equally dear friend Seamus Heaney. Once upon a time a pal of Mr Heaney's was driving homewards and stopped at traffic lights. In front of him was a car which, as the lights changed from red to amber to green, showed no sign of revving up. When this happened a couple of times, Mr Heaney's pal got out of his car and knocked on the window of the other car, which the driver wound down with a quizzical look on his coupon. "Would there be a particular shade of green you're waiting for?" enquired Mr Heaney's mate.
EVERYWHERE one goes, one sees women of a certain age with beads of sweat on their brows. Closer inspection reveals that they are reading a book called Fifty Shades Of Grey by EL James in which, one gathers, a woman is handcuffed naked to a bed and is therefore unable to prevent her lusty mate tickling her toes, which he does until she begs him to stop, although she doesn't really mean it.
This is yet another example of a most unlikely bestseller. All over the country, apparently, publishers are asking their authors if they are interested in writing something similar. But, as one author told me, how many ways are there to tickle someone? Alas, it was a question I was unable to answer. I advised her to try Mr Google.
Meanwhile, the Home Secretary recalls being handcuffed by "a female friend's girlfriend" who – unnecessary detail – hadn't grown up but out. By the by, the handcuffs were pink and fluffy and proved devilishly difficult to unlock. A handyman was summoned and while awaiting his arrival the "friend's girlfriend" said she'd like to crack an egg on the HS's stomach and lick it off, presumably because she was feeling peckish.
To this day the HS wonders whether she was referring to a raw or a fried egg. I have a sneaking suspicion it was scrambled.
ANENT – very sexy word! – Countless Shades Of Grey, I have been asked by numerous frustrated souls what they should read once they've read it. Why me, you might ask, and understandably so. Do I look like the kind of person who reads books that might tickle the toes of the female populace?
After racking my brains, the best I could come up with was a collection of stories by Anais Nin called Delta Of Venus. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I have learned that it was commissioned by a private collector and was made into a film, which I may or may not seek out. One story involved a woman on a horse which bore little resemblance to Black Beauty. Simply riding the beast seemed to make her toes tickle excitedly. Is it any wonder men find women unfathomable?
Niall Ferguson could well be the fresh blood my 'war on litter' needs
AT one set up and three all in the second, a friend called and told me that "he" (ie Andy Murray) "can do it". I told him I couldn't bear to watch. Any idea what happened next?
Seamus Heaney's pal opted for a gentle Irish approach to road rage
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