April 25, 2011


Do you remember when postmen were part of the community? Every householder knew them by name. They always had time for a quick chat and would check up on the old ‘uns. Ah, those were the days.

Well, thank goodness we’ve still got at least one left. Okay, he was only “filling in” for a couple of weeks. But what a difference.

At The Workspace in West Calder the new postie happened to get chatting to one of the business people; he had worked out that it’s important for businesses to get their post as early as possible, and wondered if it would be helpful if he rearranged things to ensure a more prompt delivery.

Well, yes. Until then, post was arriving well after the sun was high in the sky – sometimes about to set.

All of a sudden, there was an early delivery each morning. In fact, he even pops his head in the door to let people know there is no post for them that day. It’s like a return to the good old days.

But, hang on… A little bit of research and I discovered that he used to deliver to the houses in another village. The cheerful postie; he always had time for a chat, and would call in to make sure the senior citizens in the street weren’t in need of anything.

So, when the Mighty Royal Mail in their infinite wisdom decided to move him to another area there was uproar. Such was the impression he made on the community that the locals even presented his bosses with a petition pleading with them to change their minds. All to no avail.

And yet here he is, years later, still giving sterling service. But you have to ask yourself why.

Here’s somebody who does more for Royal Mail customer relations, and promoting the friendly face of the Royal Mail, than their whole PR department. Any company worth its salt recognises the strengths of its employees… he should be running the training department; at the very least.

Come on, Royal Mail, you know who I’m talking about. Time to recognise the talent in your ranks.

Drew McAdam



April 16, 2011


So, Land Securities who own The Centre in Livingston is going to start charging for parking. Well, that’s good news. It really is.

Well, it’s good news if you happen to be a shopowner in any of the county’s towns other than Livingston. If you run a little hardware store, grocery shop, hairdressers, Post Office or stationery shop then your business is about to rocket.

For years now we’ve grown accustomed to “nipping down to the centre” for odds and ends.  You need a pair of shoelaces? Or a lightbulb? No problem. Zip into the centre carpark, run into the shop, grab what you need and get out again quick.

Livingston residents didn’t really think about it. A pen, or a newspaper – some small item that you urgently needed – you would jump in the car, zoom down to The Centre, pull into a parking space, get what you needed and be gone again within minutes.

Easy and free car parking was always one of the major attractions of using The Centre.

But that’s no longer the case. Now, a pair of shoelaces will cost you 50p, plus whatever they decide to charge for the pleasure of shopping there. That’ll be right.

Want to post a letter? Or check your bank statement? Then add the parking charges. And if you think you’ll be able to park in the streets around the centre, we have been warned of “resultant traffic management issues”. You can bet you life the area will be crawling with Parking Wombles.

And if you think you can go by bus, think again. Have you ever tried getting a flat-pack wardrobe onto a bus? Or what if you get your purchase home and find it doesn’t work? That’s right; back you go and pay the parking charges again!

I predict that sales over the Internet will rocket throughout the county.

You know, I have shopped at – and supported – the centre since 1976, when Woolco was the only shop that was there. Remember that?

Well, no more.

There are plenty of little towns around the county that offer quick and simple shopping – with no parking fees. If you’re a butcher, a baker or candlestick maker in Broxburn, Bathgate, West Calder and so on… you have a new customer the minute they turn the ticket machines on.

And I suspect I’ll not be the only one. Good news for you, eh?

Drew McAdam


April 11, 2011


I bet this has happened to you. You’re walking along a crowded pavement, and some dimwit is walking directly towards you with his phone held in front of his face.  He’s so busy typing a text that he is unaware of anything going on around him. And you – along with everybody else – have to step out their way so as to clear a path.

Ignorant and impolite. It’s also incredibly annoying.

You would love to just keep walking directly at him until he is forced to stop and look up at you. Then you snatch his phone and hurl it off to the other side of the street. Actually, it should be the law that you can do that; no right-thinking court in the land would convict you of anything.

But you don’t. No, you move to one side.

Okay, stick with this for a minute. I’ve just returned from performing in Kiev, where there are so many cars that parking on the wide pavements is permitted. However, there are some places where they restrict parking by placing concrete flower blocks – at about shin height – at random points on the pavement.

And that’s why you never see a walk-texter in Kiev. Because concrete block trip-hazards don’t move out the way. If the text-twit tried it on the pavements of Kiev it would lead to a full somersault and end with him spread-eagled on his back in a puddle.

Well, it got me thinking. Perhaps we should have some of these trip hazards placed at arbitrary locations on our pavements. It would certainly concentrate their thinking. In fact, some randomly placed knee-high metal posts and holes would all add to the excitement.

Those of us who concentrate when we’re walking, and politely negotiate our way through crowds of oncoming pedestrians, would be fine. Those who think their lives are so important that they can communicate by text and everybody will simply move out their way would keep the ambulance service busy.

Rather entertaining, too, I think. 

Drew McAdam


April 4, 2011


One perk of my job is that I get to travel. I get to travel, a lot. Because of the distances covered, my preferred mode of travel is aeroplane. So, I don’t know if the same sort of thing goes on in buses and trains, but I rather suspect it does.

Last week I was flying back to Edinburgh. A good chance to catch up on some well deserved sleep, I thought. But no. Two passengers, one male and one female, sat directly behind me. It was obvious that they didn’t actually know each other, but they decided they were going to find some common ground by chatting in voices that drowned out the welcome drone of the plane’s engines.

For an hour and a half I was treated to their entire histories at full volume: employment, love lives, family and medical. It was interminable. While I desperately tried to nap, I couldn’t drown out their chattering on about how their bosses didn’t appreciate them, rotten boyfriends, cheating girlfriends, family feuds and hospital appointments, with particular attention to irritable bowel syndrome.

Now, in a bus or a train you can just get up and move seats. In an aircraft you’re buckled in and stuck with it. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one on that flight that fantasised about beating myself to death with the in-flight magazine.

He was trying to impress the young lady with his in-depth and all-encompassing knowledge about – well – everything. She chattered on inanely about every aspect of her life. And her work colleagues’ lives. When she wasn’t doing that she was cackling in a pitch that alerted dogs a mile below us on the ground.

To make it worse there were no cushions on the flight. Nothing to stuff into my ears; or their mouths.

They must have been so engrossed in their conversation that they didn’t hear the stewardess announce: “Please open the overhead lockers carefully, because after a landing like THAT things are bound to have moved around.”

When the young lady opened the locker a heavy flight case fell out and hit the poor fellow square in the face. I’m sure there was a silent cheer went up from the entire planeload of travellers. Sweet.

For a short time there was wonderful, delightful silence while he scrambled around on all fours trying to work out where he was.

Unfortunately, that incident just gives them one more story to recount on their next flight. I only hope that neither you nor I are sitting in front of either of them when they decide to share it.

Drew McAdam