ROBERT White heard a little girl in Dumfries this week tell her mum:

"I feel sorry for Papa. He sits on his own with no-one to talk to except his dog, and nothing to do but watch TV. He's lonely and it's a shame." The girl's mum replied: "Would you like to spend some time with Papa this afternoon?"

"Nah," said the little girl. "Can we go for hot chocolate?"

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Driving you to drink

TENNENT Caledonian managing director John Gilligan was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by former Rangers manager Walter Smith at the awards night in Glasgow of drinks industry magazine Dram. John recalled his early days as a salesman with Dryburgh when the company introduced fuel cards for the salesmen's cars and people soon added on newspapers and soft drinks when buying their petrol at the garage.

Things came to a head, said John, when their boss called the reps in and asked: "Right, who bought the barbecue?"

New job?

SEEING Walter Smith at the Dram awards reminds us of when Walter left Rangers as manager and soon after was in the Ben Nevis bar in Finnieston with protege Ally McCoist having a quiet pint. Landlady Elaine Scott went into the kitchen to fetch some food for other customers and allowed Walter to go behind the bar to pour his own pint. At that another customer walked in, stopped dead at seeing Walter at the taps and asked: "Is he working here now?"

Who let the dogs out?

THE Bridge Inn at Ratho was named Dog Friendly Pub of the Year at the Dram awards. A previous winner of the title tells us she invited all her doggy-owning regulars to the awards ceremony, but was surprised when they all said they had to leave the event early. "We've to get home and let our dogs out," they explained.

On your bike

THE new bike hire stations in Glasgow appear to be proving popular. As Liz Small tells us: "One evening around 10pm it was still light and I saw a well-dressed young man in a nice suit arrive on a hire bike outside a flat in the west end. He hopped off, and carried it up the steps into the tenement. Presumably it was cheaper than a taxi, and he returned it the next morning."

The big picture

THINGS to do when you're retired. A reader in Renfrewshire passes on: "Two retired ladies were enjoying themselves at an early showing in a cinema at Linwood - quietly giggling at jokes between themselves until an elderly man came over and asked them to 'shoosh' as others wanted to enjoy the film. "'But it's the adverts', they exclaimed with surprise. 'I want to hear them as well,' he argued as he walked back to his wife four rows away in, as they looked round, an otherwise empty cinema."

Hot topic

ARTIST Moose Allain tells us: "My wife said the kids need to let off steam. So I've got them bleeding the radiators."

Uniform displeasure

THE Scottish Commonwealth Games team's Brigadoon-style uniforms are still causing rancour. Scottish Greens councillor in Glasgow Bailie Nina Baker says: "First reaction from my husband was 'Now that the Red Road flats are not to be demolished for the Opening Ceremony, maybe there could be a ceremonial funeral pyre of the uniforms for the closing ceremony?'"