ON the basis that every cloud has a silver, or indeed gold, lining, wholesale jewellery company Macintyres of Edinburgh is urging folk facing a credit-crunch Christmas to trade in their old gold for cash, now that gold prices are at a 25-year high.

The Frederick Street company has already extended its opening hours because of interest. One ex-wife who cashed in her now redundant wedding ring said ruefully: "That's more money than I got out of him in 10 years of marriage."

Staff also managed to smile politely when one lovely lady handed over a gold chain and admitted that she had never liked it as much since the dog ate it. "Hopefully, he coughed it up," said the staff member who handled it.

Cultural exchange IS it a coincidence, wonders reader Chris Gibson, that Ryanair started flying Scots from Prestwick to Bergamo in Italy a couple of years ago, and now a pizzeria in the Citta Alta area of Bergamo is now selling what appears to be sausage supper pizzas? And is it a coincidence, wonders a Partick Thistle supporter, that Rangers striker Kris Boyd announced at the weekend that he was eschewing Scotland's cause to concentrate on playing for Rangers, and the next day the Rangers share price fell by three pence?

Blue streak TALKING of Kris Boyd, the Rangers hero was back in his native Tarbolton in Ayrshire the other day where a local was checking out his new Ferrari, rumoured to have cost £142,000 or thereabouts. Not that folk in Tarbolton are easily impressed. The local worthy looked at the stripped-down racing-style of the car and asked: "Could you not have spent a bit more and got one with carpets and a radio?"

No love lost NIGEL Manuel in New York tells us of a Wall Street banker pal lamenting the market collapse and telling him it was even worse than a divorce. "I've lost half my net worth," he explained, "but I've still got the wife."

Late save SPOTTED on the Stansted to Glasgow easyJet flight the other night - failed RBS banking boss Sir Fred Goodwin. Ah, if only he had showed such financial prudence when he was running the shop.

Unheavenly wings A MOTHER was steering her young son across Glasgow's George Square the other day when the little one spotted that rare sight - a dead pigeon. "What happened?" the little one anxiously asked his mum.

"He died and went to Heaven," she replied, hoping that would end the conversation.

"Did God throw him back?" persisted the lad.

Reel local wit CHEEKY staff, continued. Reader Brain Wadham was in the famed Leo Burdock's fish and chip shop in Dublin where, not being a regular, he looked at the menu and asked what was in a "fish box". As the shop sells hundreds of fish boxes every day - the local term for fish and chips - the old boy behind the counter fixed Brian with a pained stare, and told him, slowly and clearly: "A pig's foot and a head of cabbage."

Working for a change "TALKED to my bank manager the other day, and he said he was going to concentrate on the big issues from now on," said the loudmouth in the bar the other night, "So I bought one from him at his new pitch outside the Subway."