A hen 'do'

FARMERS are famed for getting 'practical' things for their Christmas – and so Jim and Selina Ross, of Galloway cattle fame, from near Dumfries, were delighted with their present from daughters, Lyndsay and Carolyn – three bantie hens.

But, as the saying goes, these were 'no ordinary hens ... these were Jack Ramsay hens...' Which meant they were special and bound to be top notch.

Carolyn's boyfriend, Dexter Logan, was given the task of putting the wee Xmas birdies in the hen hoose. As is usual for Dex, he couldn't just do it 'normal', so when he put them in their new abode, he planked a fake egg that had purple spots on it and a wee ribbon.

We suspect Jim was still full of the Christmas spirit next morning when he went our to proudly inspect his 'show quality' banties. He was even more chuffed to spy an egg to collect for his tea that night – and was fair excited when telling all the family 'they're laying already'. It was only later that his bubble was burst when he found out it was a fake yin.

My new club

THE RAIDER'S own main Christmas present from 'she boss', was a pretty memorable one too.

As some may have gathered, The Raider is partial to the odd wee tot or two and so membership of the Scotch Malt Whisky Association's new club in Glasgow, was pretty dramtastic.

It's not open yet, so I'll let you know how it all works. I've always wanted to say: 'Let's go to my club!'

A swatch around the office came up with similarly quirky pressies. Gordon Davidson got a panda 'onesie' (no pandas were harmed in the making of that); Karen Carruth received a DNA testing kit (she waits in fear!); while Claire Taylor got a hand warming device to help her write when it's cold.

But Patsy Hunter topped the lot – her ever-thoughtful husband, Ian, got her the usual tax-deductible waterproof coat, leggings and new wellies courtesy of Carrs Billington!

Is it a vreligion?

SO I see now that a tribunal has deemed that being an 'ethical vegan' is a 'philosophical belief' and thus protected in law – that gives entitlement to similar legal protections in British workplaces as those who hold religious beliefs.

This came after Jordi Casamitjana claimed he was sacked for being an 'ethical vegan'. But the quirk in this story is that he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports – they say because of gross misconduct.

It is alleged that he became a fox in the henhouse after disclosing the animal welfare charity invested pension funds in firms involved in animal testing. Whatever happens, hypocrisy seems to be the rule of thumb!

Retired farming social group expands to Wigtownshire

The successful retired farming social group, initially set up in the Dumfries and Stewartry area, is expanding into the Wigtownshire area with its initial meeting set for next Wednesday, January 15.

The group has been welcoming retired farmers to get together with like-minded people and enjoy the company of those that have shared the same industry for many years. Crucially, those with Alzheimers related conditions are welcome to attend the meetings.

This meeting will be to see if there is an appetite to start up a sub group in the Wigtownshire area. It is being held in the cafe at Green Valley Gold Academy, Castle Kennedy, with teas and coffee provided. For more information contact: Mary Anne McWilliam - 07875 775184 or Jill Rennie – 07788 583687, or you can e-mail: retiredfarminggroup.info@gmail.com