Scratch that

THE son of reader William Harrington celebrates his 18th birthday this weekend, marking the end of callow youth.

Nasal hairs, bifocals, a paunch and grumbling about that “bleedin’ awful racket” emitted by modern pop bands surely can’t be far behind.

Though it seems that William’s son still has some petrol in his tank, for he organised a jaunt to London with pals to celebrate his entry into decrepitude… sorry, adulthood.

Our reader, who is a generous father, gave his son a birthday present of £100.

“I told him it should just about pay for his first pint in London,” says William. “Though I’ve no idea how he’ll scrape together the cash for a bag of pork scratchings.”

Led by donkeys

THERE was a time when the Tories were a jolly bunch, who organised political conferences in English seaside towns, allowing them to munch candyfloss and take giddy rides on donkeys when they weren’t slashing public spending or grumbling about immigration.

Nowadays they seem to have lost their joie de vivre, and meet up in candyfloss-free zones such as Manchester. (Though it has a few donkeys, mostly playing for Man U.) 

Thankfully the conference itself has provided the occasional thrill, with Rishi Sunak promising to change the status quo.

“That is worrying,” says reader Chris Robertson. “What next? Meddling with AC/DC and The Rolling Stones?”

A-Pauling knowledge

MORE musical musings. Reader John Mulholland’s daughter was reading the music playlist on his phone when she came across that catchy tune released by Paul Simon in 1986, You Can Call Me Al.

Confused, she said: “Dad, how come they were singing so long ago about Artificial Intelligence?”

Ruddy, muddy marvel

SCIENCE correspondent Connor Forrest points out: “The shovel was a ground-breaking invention.”

Driven to distraction

CONCERNING stories are emerging of electric car drivers getting enraged with each other at service stations as they struggle to use the inadequate charging facilities, points out reader David Donaldson.

“Were Tennyson still alive,” he adds, “he’d surely be tempted to write The Fight Of The Charge Brigade, including the stirring words, ‘Into the valley of dearth drove the six hundred…”

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Letter lopping

SHOPPING in the snug Marks & Spencer in Queen Street Railway Station, Roberta MacPherson heard another customer say: “It’s a toaty wee M&S, this. It should just be called M, cos there’s nae room for an S.”

Jungle japery

DAFT joke time. “What’s yellow, smells of almonds and swings from cake to cake?” asks reader Anna Jones. “Tarzipan.”