It’s always a real pleasure when readers comment on my column. And a lot of people have said some highly complimentary things over the months.
Of course, the comments are not always positive. One recent email to the editor asked if I was the original “grumpy old man”. I have to admit, several of my acquaintances and friends would knowingly nod their head to that. And one of my Christmas gifts was a coffee mug with an embossed image of “Grumpy” from the animated film “Snow White”.
Oh, Dear Lord, I’ve turned into my father! When did that happen?
I admit it. The great thing about writing a column is that it allows me to get things off my chest. But I can also help the readers and my friends to have a jolly good moan about things, too. It’s amazing how often the idea for my column comes from a friend being mistreated by some jumped-up jobsworth.
Mind you, I don’t always take a negative view. Over the past few months I’ve backed teachers, and banged on about Russia – in a positive way. I’ve praised the Post Office, and paid tribute to the guys who were gritting the road. I‘ve thanked organ donors through my column, and once I even offered an upbeat suggestion as to the Secret of Life. (You can find some of the past columns at http://www.westlothianhp.co.uk if you want to check for yourself!)
But, okay, I DO enjoy having a pop at bungling bureaucrats who cling to the attitude that: “We don’t need common sense; we have rules and regulations.” There is an old saying that the relationship between newspapers and the councils should be the same as a between a dog and a lampost. Not just councils, really, but any muddle-headed thinking by any authority, really. I like to think I’m doing my little bit.
But my New Year resolution is to be more lavish with my praise in future columns. I will try really hard to wean myself off the grumpy pills.
But if I really am turning into my father, I’m not sure how long it will last! Watch this space.