Washed out

NEWSPAPER hacks are a humble breed. Give them a byline, booze and a bed for the night and they’ll be content. Usually. Though occasionally a grander specimen stumbles into the trade, such as Hugo Rifkind, the regally named son of former Conservative front bencher Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

The London-based scribbler and radio regular is feeling a little unheralded. “I know there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world,” he says. “But we’re a family of four on day eight of a broken dishwasher with another six days until the repair man comes and I honestly don’t know why this isn’t on the news.”

Rock of ages

WHEN exploring remote and exotic lands it’s not unusual to stumble across a cryptic sign of grave portent. Les Reid from Edinburgh was driving alongside Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland when he spotted a huge boulder with "Prepare to meet thy maker" painted on it in big letters.

Fortunately some helpful person had clarified the message by adding below: “Dress formal”.

“Luckily I had a suit and tie with me,” says Les.

Aye, write

WE recently reported that J.K Rowling delivered a barbed comment to a publisher. Now crime scribe Chris Brookmyre has done likewise. Publisher Pan Macmillan made the optimistic claim that authors have more time on their hands due to lockdown, which is accelerating the process of getting books completed.

To which Chris responds tartly: “Yer maw.”


A STORY about a grubby street urchin gobbling up an even grubbier sweetie rescued from the ground reminds a reader of youthful hijinks in Dundee. In that fair city, when a kid was caught eating a tasty treat retrieved from underfoot, fellow youngsters would start chanting “Pickie aff the grund!” to shame the uncouth culprit.

Brought to book (ctd.)

WE’VE been devising Scottish versions of the word ‘bookworm’, which means someone who enjoys reading. Russell Smith from Kilbirnie has several ideas, most of which highlight the lesser qualities of book imbibers. He suggests: Book Sook, Screed Heid, Folio Romeo, Bumf Bum and Opus Dopus.

Wedding woes

EVER wondered why some brides weep at their own wedding? Reader Lucy Webb has a theory. “It’s because they never get to marry the best man,” she explains.

Bright spark

WE continue translating phrases used by engineers so laymen can understand them. Reader Bert Shaw explains that ‘organic grounding’ means: “I got electrocuted.”

Just the thing

“WHAT do you give the woman or man who has everything?” asks reader Liz Dale. “Antibiotics.”