ANENT - oy vey!

- the General Assembly, I am reminded of my old chum, Maggie Thatcheroid. Readers of this quietly throbbing organ may recall her saying, "Where there is discord, we may bring harmony, etc".

The Kirk would do well to heed such wisdom. It could, for example, appease those such as myself by immediately reinstating "anent" to its former glory, but I doubt it will, insistent as it is on sowing discord and impeding harmony. What did "anent" ever do to deserve such treatment? If ever a word minded its own business it was "anent" and this is how it is repaid! And the Kirk calls itself a Christian organisation!

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Meanwhile, Lorna Hood, the ex-Moderator, has spoken out against sexists in the Western Isles who do not want women as elders or meenisters. A Very Revved Up David Lacy, a meenister, calls those who refuse to accept women in these exalted positions "grumbling grunters", accusing them of "antiquated gangsterism".

Now you're talking! Everyone knows, of course, to whom Mr Lacy and Ms Hood are referring. But will anything be done about them? Or will the Kirk do as it usually does in such circumstances and pretend they don't exist, like dry rot?

In which case, I implore its panjandrums instead to devote their excess energy to the resurrection of "anent".

ONE imagines, dear reader, that you are not the sort of person who is to be found browsing the sports pages. And who can blame you. One must approach them as one might a foreign country where things are done very differently.

Today we learn that Yaya Toure, who plays for Manchester City, is molto upset and may leave the Premier League winners.

What has got his goat, it would appear, is that his 31st birthday was not marked in a manner which he finds acceptable. Whereas one of his colleagues was given a flashy car on his birthday, Mr Toure was simply presented with a cake.

For a man who earns a measly £220,000 a week this was not good enough and deemed a mark of disrespect.

Consequently, he has hinted that he may now leave Manchester City and seek a club which observes the birthdays of its players more assiduously.

Said his agent, Dimitry Seluk: "If you're a famous journalist and your boss forgets to congratulate [you], you would be a little upset." Tell me about it, mate!

TO London - that sanctuary for corrupt oligarchs - by train from Glasgow, following for the first hour or so the silvery Clyde.

It's early morning, not long after seven, and the light falls invitingly on the bosomy, Border hills.

As we hurtle south, the quiet in the carriage is broken only by the announcer who, at every opportunity, tells us bleary passengers to take our luggage when we leave, switch off mobile phones in areas designated for monks of a silent order, and to remind us that the shop, selling teas, coffees and pina coladas, is now open, though if we're thinking of patronising it, it would be helpful to have some shrapnel at the ready. A few seats from me a wee girl starts to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, accompanied by her doting parents. But while, eventually, they tire of it, their daughter does not, and she manages to keep on singing the same song for more than four-and-a-half hours.

Few tortures, one suspects, are more effective. Had, say, Abu Hamza been subjected to such an ordeal he would have confessed all instantly.

Being British - at least for the moment - we passengers smile indulgently while cursing fruitily under our breaths.

ANOTHER outpouring of gibberish in the North British Times. Apparently, my old chum Christopher Whatley, Professor of Hysteria at Dunderheid University, has reheated cauld kale, in the guise of a new edition of his book, The Scots And The Union.

Mr Whatley says: "It is unthinkable that in the event of a rise in independence in Scotland in the summer of 2014 tanks will roll across the border as they did in Latvia and Lithuania in 1991." Perhaps it is unthinkable because no-one but Mr Whatley has thought it.

He also says that it was Rabbie Burns - "a poet, not a politician or a historian" - who promulgated the myth that Scotland had been "bought and sold for English gold". As a humble poet, however, Burns was bang on the nail. You do not need to be a politician or a historian to know that it was the nation's so-called self-serving elite who forged a union which, had it been the subject of a popular referendum, would never have happened.

'DO you have a particular problem with Angela Merkel? Is it true you called her an un****able lard-****?" asks Jeremy Paxman of Silvio Bonkersconi, who was rendered temporarily speechless, doubtless because his grasp of colloquial English is not quite up to the standard of Tony Soprano. Lord Reith must be birling on his bier.

I have been reflecting on the Funday Times Stinking Rich List, on which I have yet again failed to make an impact. Scots tycoons, one learns, are getting wealthier by the day, including the Barclay brothers, the only zillionaires I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

Indeed, I was an employee of theirs, and witnessed at first-hand the happiness money brings. Over lunch at The Ritz, neither brother drank a drop of the hard stuff, nor did they gobble much.

Like many self-made men, their father sadly died when they were young. This, suggests the Funday Times, is often the spur people need to make their way up life's greasy ladder. That seems to me extreme and could spark an outbreak of patricide.

Scotland's richest man is called Rick Smith. He left here for Australia in 1959. Another of our richest folks is said to be one Mohamed al-Fayed. He, however, says he is leaving us for Switzerland, swapping tartan and the bagpipes for lederhosen and flugelhorn. We shall miss him - as we shall Donald Chump when his time comes to depart.