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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 […]

Victoria Wood: exceptional

Victoria Wood: exceptional

She was probably Britain’s finest observer and writer of character comedy across the last 40 years. Some have said the finest since Dickens. She had an ear for the ridiculous and unwittingly funny dialogue which trips daily from ordinary souls, and an eye for visual comedy that often touched genius. I have surprised myself by how sad I […]

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 […]

Extra eye on driver neepery

Extra eye on driver neepery

A few weeks ago, while driving home from Deeside, I became aware of a white Mini Countryman on my tail. The driver, a blonde in her late teens or early 20s and wearing a baseball cap, was driving far too close for the conditions and wet roads. A grey BMW was similarly close behind her. […]

Cabrach remembers its war dead

Cabrach remembers its war dead

Back in February, 2014, I helped in a BBC programme which documented the sacrifices made by rural Scotland in wartime. My segment consisted of a tribute to the many hundreds of men and boys from the Cabrach, roughly that triangle bounded by Dufftown, Rhynie and Lumsden, who gave their lives in World War I. You […]

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 […]

Story of a granite marker

Story of a granite marker

If ever you have travelled the B9119 road from Echt to Tarland, Aberdeenshire, you might have noticed a pink-granite cross on a lonely spot by the side of the road, just before the summit and the slow descent to the Howe of Cromar. There is a sad tale to tell. The cross marks the spot where a promising […]

Peering back almost a century

Peering back almost a century

Some of you might be familiar with a book called The Nor’ East, by W.S. Bruce. It was a 240-page hardback published first in 1919 by James G. Bisset, booksellers, of Aberdeen (latterly in Upperkirkgate). Mr Bruce was a Church of Scotland minister who decided he had better record some of the wit and wisdom of late-Victorian and […]

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