Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Iain Maciver: Keeping my own counsel has often been best for me – particularly if The Chase is on

SNP MP Joanna Cherry
SNP MP Joanna Cherry

You know when you want to say something but you cannot say it out loud? That can really be difficult.

I got that impression listening to Lady Hale reading the decision of the Supreme Court to slap down the prime minister.

I also thought Joanna Cherry, the Scottish MP, was holding back when she spoke outside court. I thought she may be thinking: “See you, Boris. Told youse, didn’t I? Ye widnae listen though. See you, you’re history.”

Instead, she said the court had upheld the democratic process. Same thing?

Iain Maciver

We drove down to the peninsula of Point here on Lewis on Monday night. There is a beach by the roadside called the Braighe. At certain times, like now, a lot of seaweed comes on to the beach.

The tide was out and Mrs X suddenly piped up: “Was that you? Ooh, there is something wrong with you. You need to get to a doctor to sort out your guts.”

I was flabbergasted. What was she on about? It took me a while to realise that I was somehow getting the blame for the seaweed rotting around the beach.

For some reason, she thought that the whiff of manky seaweed on the Braighe beach, the Isle of Lewis’s seasonal answer to the famed Stinky Bay on Benbecula, was in some way connected to my, er, digestive tract.

I wanted to tell her she was wrong but the strong pong assailed my nostrils and I couldn’t speak. What a beach.

It was like when The Chase with that Bradley Walsh was on TV the other day. Actually, The Chase is on just about every day with that Bradley Walsh. She likes that Bradley Walsh. She says he is smart, funny and good looking.

That Bradley Walsh ticks all three boxes, she often says. I thought she might say “just like you” but even a surprise coffee with her favourite Bounty bar has not got me any more than a grudging “well, one out of three isn’t too bad”. Yeah, I am pretty smart, aren’t I? Hold on. Funny? Are you saying I’m thick?

A favourite saying of the late great Muhammad Ali was “Silence is golden”. How profound. How true. How wise. Then Ali would add: “When you can’t think of a good answer.”

I am always ordered to keep quiet when that Bradley Walsh is on the TV. It’s more than my life is worth to interrupt her viewing pleasure.

Then that question came up. It was a really difficult one. It asked: “What does the firm of Paxton and Whitfield deliver to the Queen?”

Blank looks all round.

Mrs X says: “What sort of a question is that, Bradley? It could be anything.” She did not even notice that I was straining to speak because I knew the answer. I was almost bursting. I knew it because I had done that very thing – delivered that item.

Before I started on my first newspaper in London, I had taken a temporary job as a delivery driver with a firm, off Piccadilly. It was Paxton & Whitfield in Jermyn Street.

It was a constant battle each morning to get through London City traffic to get their consignments of Wensleydale, Roquefort – made from the creamy milk of happy sheep, they always claimed – to caterers in the executive suites at some of the nation’s top law firms and insurance companies, including Lloyds.

Banks whose lifts I got to know well included long-gone names such as Lehman Brothers and Barings Bank, which was brought to its knees by trader Nick Leeson.

After I was checked out as not too much of a security risk by the cops, I got tasked to deliver to an address in Kensington.

I headed for the high street but that was the cunning plan dreamt up by the protection squad. Mysterious cops just stepped out of nowhere and redirected my van until I ended up in a park.

Then I noticed a sign saying that I was at Kensington Palace, where Princes Diana and Prince Charles lived back then. Apparently, Welsh rarebit was on the lunch menu for the Prince of Wales. Neither of them came out to personally take charge of their mature cheddar.

Phew, the van smelled a bit like the Braighe after that delivery. Anyway, my point is that I knew the answer to that Bradley Walsh’s question. It was cheese.

When we got back from Point the other night, there was a knock on the door. We sat there in silence.

Then knock-knock again but I told herself to ignore it. Who could it be at that time except a drunk?

I was determined not to answer in the hope that they would just go away. Then the persistent knocker decided to stare through the window.

Heck, it was a policeman. He was getting a bit ratty and shouted: “I can see you in there, sir. Open the door.”

I panicked and said: “It’s late. You’re not coming in.”

The cop said: “I don’t want to come in. I just want you to step out of the van.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in