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What we learned: Harry loved Balmoral and Queen liked the lift

Prince Harry's book 'Spare' on sale at Barnes and Noble
in New York. Image: John Nacion/Shutterstock.
Prince Harry's book 'Spare' on sale at Barnes and Noble in New York. Image: John Nacion/Shutterstock.

What we learned this week…

Happy Harry

We’ve learned more than we’d like to about Prince Harry recently but the stories about his childhood at Balmoral are among the more welcome revelations.

In his memoir Spare, he tells how fish fingers were on the menu, the Queen took the lift with the corgis instead of the stairs and his dad did headstands in his boxers.

“To me, Balmoral was always simply paradise,” Harry writes. “A cross between Disney World and some sacred Druid grove.”

Despite being allocated a less luxurious room than his brother and the “Siberian” weather, he says: “I was happy there.”


Goose eggs make great cakes. Too good it turns out because a popular honesty box bakery is to go under lock and key as people have been pinching the cakes without paying.

Mary Hood, the Crazy Goose Lady, has been selling delicious home-baking from her roadside Crianlarich house since the summer but is now working on a different sales set up.

Some of the Crazy Goose Lady’s cakes that she has been selling at the roadside – or thought she had.

Cost a coffee

Five staff lost their jobs as Peterhead Prison Museum café was forced to close after energy bills soared by 300%.

Operations manager Alex Geddes said: “If we were to charge customers the true cost for things taking into account income and outgoings, it would mean £10 for a cup of coffee.”

He stressed the museum remains open and will “continue to thrive”.

Peterhead Prison Museum has been forced to close its cafe due to soaring bills. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

All the pies

A traditional Aberdeenshire greengrocer has sold more than 17,000 pies in six months.

After 29 years in oil and gas, Julie-Ann Whyte took redundancy and set up the Covid-19 Community Support Shop at New Pitsligo.

She now owns Whytes of New Pitsligo, a nostalgic greengrocer that employs 10 staff and sell 150 pies a day.

Julie-Ann now has plans for a tea room.

Julie-Ann Whyte swapped a job in the oil and gas industry to run her own traditional grocers, Whytes of New Pitsligo. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Not free food

Foodbanks offer emergency food not free food and the difference is important.

That’s the message from an Aberdeen charity boss worried that foodbanks have been “normalised”.

Instant Neighbour’s Evan Adamson, who has a seat on the council’s new anti-poverty committee, said: “We are at a point where we, as a society, are promoting foodbanks with talk about the ‘amazing job’ they do.

“There shouldn’t be foodbanks in this age.”

Evan Adamson at the foodbank at Instant Neighbour. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Let there be lights

Huge human-like figures will descend on Aberdeen as part of the Spectra art installation event in February.

New images of the artworks were unveiled including jaw-dropping light works at Union Terrace Gardens and 12 giant hoops covered in mirrors forming a winding tunnel on Broad Street.

One of the humanoid shapes that will form part of Spectra in Aberdeen.

Slight hitch

Celebrities have wedding hiccups too. Martin Compston revealed The View frontman Kyle Falconer was in jail on the day he was due to sing at the actor’s wedding.

The Line of Duty star said: “My phone goes, it’s Kyle and he says, ‘mate I’ve got good news and bad news’.

“He says: ‘I think I’ll make the wedding.’ I said ‘what’s the bad news?’ He said, ‘I’m in jail in France.’

“I was like, I don’t think you’re making it wee man, lots of love, hope it works out well.”

Martin Compston said his wedding singer, Kyle Falconer, called him to say he was in jail. Image: Steve Meddle/Shutterstock

Stay well

North-east emergency services reminded people that prevention is better than cure as NHS Grampian faces overwhelming pressure.

The health board offered advice on how to stay well and a handy checklist of important phone numbers and helpful things to have during a power cut.

Between Christmas and New Year, 160 A&E patients across Grampian waited more than 12 hours to be seen. Some spent most of that in an ambulance queue.

Canned ad

BrewDog’s golden can promotion was a £470,000 mistake, its chief executive said.
James Watt apologised after admitting he made “three very expensive mistaken tweets” that falsely said customers would receive a solid gold beer can.

He contacted all 50 winners and offered a full cash amount that was promised if they were unhappy with the cans.

He is now the “proud owner of 40 cans” and asked for ideas on what to do with them.

Otters should be protected and their locations not broadcast to tourists on social media. Image: Barbara Macfarlane.

Otter bother

Otters are very easily disturbed, a west coast ecologist warned.

Barbara Macfarlane, a consultant ecologist with a special interest in otters, says that while communities know where the mammals are it is important not to reveal where holts are for fear of disturbance as holts are protected in law.

She said: “When tourists come along specifically to find otters, it can disturb them, and even when some people know where they are and can get up close to them, it is not close enough and still they are pushing long lens cameras in the otters’ faces.”