Busy doing nothing

A POLL just published claims that nearly two-thirds of men in Scotland will be desperately seeking time away from their families at the Christmas break, preparing excuses such as having a headache or needing the loo. A third said they’d be finding quiet time to avoid a row with their partner, a quarter said they’d be running away from a political argument with a relative or in-law, and nearly a quarter are desperate to avoid charades.

It reminds us of a reader who was asked by his wife last weekend if he had any plans for the afternoon. "Nothing," he replied. "Good," she told him, "we can go and look for a new couch." "I've told you," he said, "I already have plans."

Hit wrong note

GROWING old, continued. That great compilation album Now That's What I Call Music has just released number 101, including tracks from Marshmello, SieZie, CamelPhat, and DJ Snake. As one music buyer wailed: "Stood here reading the track listing on the back of ‘Now 101’ and think it’s time to look seriously at being put into a home." Someone else responded: "It's less like the track listing on an album and more like the ingredients in a bottle of shampoo you've accidentally brought back from Turkey."

Still, for the older music fan, Bob Dylan and Neil Young have announced they will headline the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park in London next summer. Not everyone's impressed. As comedy writer David Baddiel commented: "What a fantastic gig. In 1974."

Going overboard

OUR story about the unexpected marriage proposal reminded a Glasgow reader of planning to ask his partner to marry him while they were on a cruise. He bought the ring, and as he thought the box looked a bit cheap, bought another box to keep it in, but kept the original anyway. On the cruise he took his partner out on the balcony, took out the empty box, and while going down on one knee pretended that his hand hit the railing, and the box fell into the sea while his future wife screamed. "She did see the funny side," he tells us, "oh about a decade later."

Empty feeling

FORMER football manager Harry Redknapp is delighting TV audiences with his appearance on the jungle adventure I'm A Celebrity. It was a bit harsh surely of a reader who emailed us: "Harry Redknapp should know what it's like putting his hand into a box full of cobwebs and spiders - he did it for years in the Spurs trophy cabinet."

A bit pants

OUR presents for teacher stories reminds Bob Mathieson: "Some years ago, when my wife was teaching in a school in Airdrie, a pupil regularly brought in some doughnuts for her favourite teacher. When the teacher complained that this was too much, the wee lassie said it was OK, because her Mammy worked in Dalziel’s bakery, and smuggled them out in her knickers. Needless to say, the staffroom saw a severe shortage of doughnuts for a long time."

A bit cross

WE mentioned the Queen Margaret Union at Glasgow Yoonie celebrating 50 years in University Gardens. A former student entertainments officer told them that they remembered Billy Connolly performing there when he was changing his act from being purely a folk singer to a teller of tales.

Said the former student: "One of Connolly's stories was The Crucifixion which he was closing his act with when someone shouted out 'blasphemous!'. The Big Yin reacted by walking off stage. He was not a happy man. No one asked for their money back and we put it down to some bad behaviour from a member of the audience and maybe a bit of over sensitivity on the part of Connolly. But that's artists for you."

Hot advice

FORMER Tory Minister Baroness Trumpington has died at the age of 96. We well remember the advice she once gave which was: "If you are attacked in the street, do not shout, 'Help!' shout 'Fire!'. People adore fires and come rushing. No-one will come if you shout, 'Help'."