It's been a good week for ...

a wee tipple

At last, a study that has found the elixir of eternal youth. According to new research, women who enjoy an alcoholic beverage of an evening tend to be healthier as they get older. Compared with non-drinkers, women in their mid-50s who drank one to two drinks a day had a 28% greater likelihood of achieving what the US researchers call “successful ageing”, meaning good general health in their 70s and beyond.

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It’s not clear if this means just minimal dribbling into the cardigan and the general ability to recognise most members of the family, or if it’s doing the tango at the tea dance. But nevertheless...

Experts aren’t sure if it is the alcohol itself that is beneficial or if it complements other aspects of life.

Perhaps it’s the putting up of feet with a good book and a glass of sherry – all the better for being guilt-free – that makes the difference.

It’s certainly worth a try ... and make that a large one.

It’s been a bad week for ... hedges

Living in deepest suburbia has many advantages. But over the course of a mild, wet Scottish summer, having a hedge is not one of them.

I swear I can gaze through the rain-streaked windows into our garden and visibly trace how much our monstrous hedges grow by the second. If the rain doesn’t stop soon, I ponder, we will be engulfed by soggy greenery. Any day now, hedges will take over the world.

In the meantime, we sharpen our supersized hedge-clippers in readiness for a break in the weather and a chance to wreak revenge and stop the Attack Of The Killer Privet in its tracks.

Let’s face it: privacy is one thing, but daylight is such a scarce commodity in Scotland that giant hedges should not be allowed to steal the sunlight, or sap the ground of the nutrients craved by the punier plants in their shadows.

It’s hardly surprising that high hedges are the thorny issue of many neighbourly disputes. Now SNP MSP Mark McDonald is to bring a bill to Holyrood in a bid to create new laws to tackle so-called hedge rage.

I think it’s called a privet member’s bill.