Double date

THERE will be two good reasons to get merry and misty-eyed in Scotland tomorrow, with both Burns Night and Chinese New Year bumping into each other on the social calendar. Reader Brian Aitken has been invited to a mixed event, organised by friends, which is being promoted as Chinese Burns Day. “I wasn’t going to go,” says Brian. “But they twisted my arm.”

Chow voyager

IT’S often said that travel broadens the mind. That’s certainly the reason why reader Rob Milton’s 14-year-old son is so keen on visiting parts of the world he hasn’t yet encountered. Sounding like one of those brave explorers from Britain’s past, such as Scott of the Antarctic, he recently said to his father: “I really have to visit New York as soon as possible.”

And why does this bold rover yearn for such an epic adventure? “I totally have to know if their McDonald’s tastes the same as ours,” admitted Scott of the McNugget to dad.

Life hack

ON social media a bunch of journalists have been debating the relevance of using shorthand when covering stories.

Jotting down a slew of scribbles that are as decipherable as Egyptian hieroglyphics was once the stock-in-trade of the professional newshound. One reason being that it prevented an interviewee glancing at a hack’s notepad and screeching: “Oi! I never said that!”

But Scottish media consultant Paul Hughes has a more cunning strategy: “There’s no need for shorthand secrecy,” he says. “I prefer to use ‘illegible scrawl’ or tiny writing for that purpose. Sometimes I put my arm across the page to hide my notes, occasionally looking up and shouting: “Stop looking, stop looking you!’”

Mac Musical

WE continue to receive ideas for Scottish movies, based on previously released films. Moira Campbell concedes that a certain musical starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison was an entertaining diversion. However, a new version, with a Caledonian setting, would undoubtedly be an improvement on the original. “It would be called Ma Braw Lassie,” says Moira. “The leading lady would be Lizzie Daethebareminimum, and songs would include: On The Street Where You Skive and Get Me Tae the Pub On Time.”

Cutting comment

FUMBLED phrases continued. A reader recalls being with a friend and arranging to meet up with him at a later date, at a precise place and time. The chap looked at his watch and said: “Okay, let’s circumcise our watches.”

Case histories

THOUGH he looks forward to flying abroad on vacation, reader Philip Barker says there’s one aspect of a holiday that he really doesn’t enjoy. “I always worry that I’ll be in the airport picking up my bags and I’ll suddenly notice that everyone’s luggage is much swankier than my own,” he says, then adds: “Though I suppose I shouldn’t be too concerned. That really is just a worst-case scenario.”

Read more: We have become a land of adult babies