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When funerals lift the spirits

When funerals lift the spirits

One of the depressing things about the years flying by is that you find yourself hauling the funeral suit out of the wardrobe more often than you used to. Mrs Harper has noticed this increasing frequency, too, and her theory now is that as soon the crisp white funeral shirt is ironed, someone else shuffles off the […]

Coping with oil-industry collapse

Coping with oil-industry collapse

We went out for lunch at a restaurant in Aberdeen a couple of Fridays ago. It seemed remarkably quiet compared to the last time we were there in 2013. The waiter, a bright and breezy lad in his late 20s, hit exactly the right tone of attentiveness, friendliness and efficiency without being overly matey. As […]

Not a horror at all

Not a horror at all

This might seem like a location for a horror movie, but I was walking along Berryden Road in Aberdeen and going at a fair clip because it looked as if storm clouds were gathering and I had taken no coat. I glanced across the road and saw demolition work progressing on the old part of the Royal […]

Tale of two restaurants

Tale of two restaurants

Some years ago, the Scottish Tourist Board ran a campaign to improve customer service in restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions. The board was worried that Scots were not exactly switched on to making sure that visitors, especially from other countries, were cosseted as much as they should have been. There was too much of a take-it-or-leave-it […]

Bubbly in both senses

Bubbly in both senses

I was taken by the recent news of a minor celebrity throwing his weight about when stopped by the police and uttering the line that nobody with sense should even think, let alone say: “Don’t you know who I am?” (You can insert the old joke now.) It brought to mind so many examples of rampant […]

Genius of Davie Do-Aathing

Genius of Davie Do-Aathing

I was leafing through someone else’s wonderful library of old Aberdeen-related books the other day. The collection had been gathered by two, possibly three generations for most of the 20th century. In one, I came upon a little-known story from Aberdeen’s past; from 1610 to be precise. Aberdeen had ambitions to be a trading port […]

Union Terrace in 1960

Union Terrace in 1960

This month’s old photograph shows Union Terrace, Aberdeen, in about 1960, I think, judging from the fashions, the signage and, most of all, the cars. You can just about make out at this resolution that the road surface is still cobblestones (cassies or granite setts in Aberdeen parlance). The awning of the Caledonian Hotel hands […]

Farewell to another old pal

Farewell to another old pal

Ask any of the three surviving Features Editors of The Press and Journal to name the most important person in the department during our respective tenures and all of us would say: “Rena.” You can imagine, then, that I was desperately upset when I heard last month that my old pal and colleague Rena Gaiter had died at the […]

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