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Unexpected taste of wartime

Unexpected taste of wartime

I don’t know how you’re getting on with the BBC’s new Sunday-Night drama: SS-GB. Len Deighton’s tale of what Britain would have suffered if the Nazis had won the last war is undoubtedly chilling. It brought to mind a wee frisson of my own from more than 30 years ago. I was a recently qualified […]

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 […]

Don't let them burst your balloon

Don’t let them burst your balloon

I had to smile the other day when I read a magazine column in which the writer said she had plucked up the courage in middle age to do in public what she had always done only in private: singing. She had been pressured into doing a turn at a charity event, but as the […]

All in the delivery

All in the delivery

I was chatting with an accomplished reciter of poetry last weekend. Frank is the go-to man if you need a poem delivered by a pro, but we had a minor difference of opinion on the performance of one of my favourite Doric poems: Bennachie, by Charles Murray. Frank subscribes to the view that it’s a stirring […]

Minister's advice to young husband

Minister’s advice to young husband

Some time ago, I mentioned “The Nor’ East”, a 1919 book of humorous anecdotes by the Rev. W.S. Bruce, a Church of Scotland minister who travelled Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Kincardine in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Mr Bruce decided to set down some of the amusing tales and sayings he came across in his time ministering […]

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 […]

Chance meeting at Banchory

Chance meeting at Banchory

You know they say you should never meet your heroes because it will spoil the fantasy? I had a chance meeting at Banchory with one of my heroes who turned out to be as charming and delightful as I hoped he would be. I had been roped in as chauffeur to accompany Mrs Harper on various Saturday-morning […]

Wrong idea about Doric

Wrong idea about Doric

Every morning, the website people send me a digest of the search terms that Internet users have typed into Google or other search engines and which have brought them ultimately to this site. This daily list can be interesting, and sometimes a little alarming. Shortly after I appeared recently on BBC TV, someone went to Google […]

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