WHAT’S a little distancing between us? Go on, stick your nose closer to the page or screen. Let’s snuggle in a little closer.

I say, unhand me, madam! Some people take things too far. Or not far enough, as far as social distancing is concerned. The latest intelligence suggests social distancing is likely to continue for some time.

At the time of carefully composing these ill-chosen words, there are signs that common sense measures might allow more contact among families and other criminal organisations. But it’s the workplace that experts are warning about.

Even after the lockdown ends, there’ll be no more conversations at the water-cooler or the well if you are in England and your building doesn’t have running water. Banter will have to be shouted. You won’t be able to whisper aboot folk behind their backs.

There’ll be no more sharing of computer equipment either, and an end to “hot-desking”, the ghastly practice whereby you don’t even get a small space of sanity to call your own. I used to have a little plastic cow called Sadie on my desk. Somebody snapped its head off. But that’s newspapers for you,

I never see another soul from one day to the next anyway, so none of this makes much difference to me. If I ever do have a conversation, generally it goes like this:

“You all right, Rab?”

“Tippety-top. How about you, Rab?”

“Fine, old fruit. Just dandy, don’t you know?”

“I see there’s a report in the paper about the lockdown causing people to go off their onions.”

“Really? These people need to get a grip on themselves. It’s diet, you know. Not enough bananas.”

“It says here that folk are talking to themselves.”

“Ridiculous. Right, I see the sun has crossed the yardarm. Fancy a quick one before siesta time?”

“Don’t mind if I do. Make mine a double.”

“Righty-oh. Two doubles coming up.”

Truth to tell, I’ve never really been an office person. In my last staff job, I’d been away from the office for so long I had to ask a tourist for directions to it. Then I found they’d changed the security since I was last in. I had to wear a lanyard saying “Visitor” – to my place of employment.

One place I’ve no plans to visit is Sweden. There, everybody hates each other but loves the government. Social distancing has always been practised anyway. It’s disgraceful.

In Sweden, other people are never to be trusted, at least those not in your inner circle. It’s an extension of liberalism. Whereas bigots “other” – verb – other people, liberals other their own people. And Sweden is the world headquarters of liberalism.

In Russia, meanwhile, there are reports of folk puttin’ the boot into Putin. Old Vlad reportedly faces a revolt on account of the health service being in tatters, the oil price collapse, and rich cronies looking after themselves. Just had to double-check it wasn’t Britain they were talking about there.

Here, though, there are hopes that a new freedom-loving order will emerge from the authoritarian nightmare that has characterised the coronavirus. I was about to suggest mass arrests of the police. But I’ve spotted a fundamental flaw in that plan. Get back to you when I’ve thought it through better.

In the meantime, join me in a uplifting wartime song: “It’s a long way to the nearest person, it’s a long way to go …”

U eff – oh!

SEEN any UAPs recently? I’m talking about Unexplained Aerial Phenomena. That’s UFOs to you and arguably me, but is how the US Department of Defense (sic) chose to describe mysterious alien spacecraft, or possibly just mundane drones, in recently declassified videos.

These are the real deal. Proper, grainy pictures of what even the most sceptical would have to admit are, er, blips. True, the videos had already been leaked, and the Pentagon agency’s purpose was just to “clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real”.

Well, the footage is real. But what about the stuff on it? Well, there’s something here that’s definitely disturbing and should concern us all. In one incident, a Navy pilot exclaims: “Look at that thing, dude! It’s rotating!”

In another, the flying object is described to base as “a f***ing drone, bro”. Another pilot says: “What the f*** is that?” Well, clearly, it was an Unidentified F*****g Object.

This is shocking language. And what is a bro? A dude? One pilot says, “My gosh!”, which is perfectly acceptable, gosh being a respectable rendering of God, better known to deeply spiritual people like you and I as Jehovah the Merciless.

But another says: “Oh my gosh, dude!” To which a fellow airman adds: “What is that, man?” Man? Had these pilots injected marijuana before getting into their planes? No wonder people are sceptical about the incidents.

England didn’t win the Second World War with soldiers pointing to the German trenches and saying: “Right, you chaps, let’s attack these f*****g dudes over there, man.”

Just because you’ve seen an alien craft from ooter space is no excuse for letting standards slip in such an appalling manner.

Opinion: Rab McNeil: Bottom line – no nudes is good nudes

Another vine mess

FOLLOWING recent shock revelations that countless barrels of beer were going down the drain, we now learn that a billion – a billion! – bottles of wine could also go to waste.

As I understand it, the wine is not being poured into the environment, which is a blessing as no one wants to see a lot of fish stoatin’ aboot.

Instead, it’ll be used to make industrial ethanol for use in hand sanitisers and cosmetics. Surely that should make those and such as those wonder what they’re sloshing on their coupons first thing in the morning.

To be unusually honest, I don’t really care about the wine, except perhaps as it affects jobs and businesses.

Being male, I don’t see wine as a proper drink like beer and whisky. I have male friends who only drink wine and I’m sure they won’t mind me pointing out here that they are markedly effeminate.

Still, I am aware that the stuff is right sophisticated. You need to be an expert to know that the good stuff is on the top shelf and the vinegary plonk on the bottom.

Top Markies

I HATE to sound like a big Jessie but I’m missing Markies. Prior to the lockdown, I’d only been off Noisy Island once in nine months, for two days in Inverness. How I hated my first day back in the Big City. But the second day was better. Loved Markies.

Maybe it was the locale. Both Inverness’s Markies and Aberdeen’s John Lewis are better than their Edinburgh counterparts. I believe it’s because the capital adds froideur to every experience.

Markies in Inverness had good food. Everything was bright and clean. Staff were pleasant and helpful. Later, the day got even better when I found a pub that was showing the Hibs game and sold Lagavulin (though the young staff had never heard of it, nor yet Ardbeg, and I had to chastise them).

Bizarrely, too, Hibs won, which is not something that happens every week. That said, we’ve done better than usual recently.

But it was Markies that made the visit, and I so look forward to returning. I remember I bought a shirt and some plastic flowers. You are tittering. Well, at least I didn’t buy any wine.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.