If you missed the news from rural Perthshire this week, not to worry: it was Dull and Boring.
I'll put that another way: the Perthshire village of Dull is set to become "sister community" to the American town of Boring, Oregon.
It all started when Scot Elizabeth Leighton was on a cycling holiday in the US and came upon the town of Boring. The unfortunate name put her in mind of the similarly blighted village of Dull back home in Perthshire and a marketing idea was born.
Dull's community council discussed the idea, liked it and overtures have now been made to the Oregon town.
The two communities cannot be twinned because Boring is much bigger, with 12,000 residents compared to Dull's 40, but a "sistership" arrangement is expected to be agreed and letters have already been exchanged. A meeting of the Boring Community Planning Organisation will discuss the proposal in June.
Plans in Dull include getting new signs for the entrance to the village, highlighting the Dull-Boring link-up. Residents in the Perthshire village have been thoroughly enjoying the joke, and expect it will bring more visitors, even if they only come to point and laugh, and take each other's photos in front of the new sign.
Rarely if ever have the Dullards of Perthshire or the Bores of Oregon caused so much excitement. The new association has been reported, not just in Britain and America, but as far afield as Colombo, Sri Lanka, with outsiders wondering if the two communities really do live up to their names.
Not so, say the residents of Dull. The name comes from Gaelic, not English, and is thought to mean "meadow" or perhaps "snare". It may not have a school, a shop or a pub, but Dull has prestigious historic connections. Its defunct parish church is built on the site of an early Christian monastery established in the eighth century by an abbot of Iona. It also has a Highland safari company.
Boring, for its part, is practically a metropolis with cafes, bars and a shop. Home mainly to farmers, it is named after a Union Civil War veteran named William H Boring, and has a lot of ... trees. In fact, Boring's greatest claim to fame is probably its historic importance to the timber trade. So prolific was the town's timber industry that a now-defunct railway from Portland was established in the early 20th century to service it, though the town was unfortunately at the end of the line, making it terminally Boring.
It's not that bad being called Dull or Boring. There are more troublesome names, as the residents of the hamlet of Twatt in Orkney or Scratchy Bottom in Dorset could no doubt testify. Those from Intercourse, Pennsylvania, population 1558 (and rising, presumably) might quite like to live somewhere called Dull.
For now, that privilege is only for the few and with an innovative new transatlantic link-up in the offing, they're showing just how thrilling it is.
.... Dull and Boring
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