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Welcoming all - except for midges

It's been a good week for … terms of endearment

It's been a good week for … terms of endearment

Ey up … preparations to host the Tour de France in Yorkshire have been hit by controversy after the tourist board told volunteers to avoid using traditional greetings like "darling".

Thousands of volunteers have signed up to steward the opening two stages of the Tour when it starts on July 5 and 6. But an online training video sparked complaints because it advised volunteers to avoid words such as "mate", "love" or "darling".

Now Tour organisers have hit back, saying they are keen to preserve the county's identity and maintain the traditional northern greetings when visitors descend on the Dales, despite warnings the phrases "could offend some people".

A Yorkshire tourist board spokesman insisted that the race would "celebrate everything Yorkshire", and said the language warnings were issued to avoid "confusion for our overseas visitors".

"This is not about volunteers taking elocution lessons, it's about making the volunteers aware in the training process that some of our accepted local turns of phrase could get lost in translation."

Commonwealth Games organisers might like to take note. I'm sure visitors from around the world are looking forward to experiencing the quaint vernacular of Glasgow. How they will take to being called "hen" and "doll", though, is anybody's guess. Best stick to "pal". Surely such a friendly term could never be lost in translation.

It's been a bad week for … midges

The tiny tyrants are estimated to cost the Scottish tourist industry £286 million each year in lost revenue. But perhaps they have finally met their match.

After noticing that midges never come near model airplanes in flight, retired electronics professor Alistair Stewart has invented an ingenious device to keep midges at bay: the Bugwisa, a baseball-style cap with a built-in anti-midge fan designed to blow the insects away.

The cap is fitted with solar panels so that in the summer the fan can operate without batteries (although this might be over ambitious, given the Scottish weather). Stewart, from Connel, near Oban, has also come up with a hard hat version for construction workers.

He said: "It can be manufactured for sale for under £10 for the cap and £25 for the hard hat, but I am just an ideas man, I want to find someone to manufacture this for me."

One for the Dragonfly's Den perhaps.

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