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Frank Gilfeather: Auchterless just might be more in this climate

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Staycation. It’s the buzz word of the moment.

HAH (Holiday at Home)!

That’s what I say to Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts to persuade us to forget summer abroad this year and book a week in Inverness or Auchterless.

OK, maybe two days, maximum. After all, there are only so many cows you can stare at in Auchterless.

And don’t believe any of that “many a bonnie lass in the howe” nonsense.

Until the staycation word was invented, I thought it involved sitting in front of a TV screen for hours on end, clutching a console thingy and hitting buttons with your thumbs at a rate of knots.

I’ve since learned the term for such time-wasting is PlayStation which I’ve still to try.

I understand the need for the economy to be kick-started and that booking into hotels, eating in restaurants and whiling away the hours over countless coffees in innumerable cafes, would help.

There are, however, negatives; and we won’t even include the weather on the list.

The major drawback is cost.

When you learn that a 10-day stay in an airport hotel if you arrive back from a country on the so-called red (shouldn’t that be black?) list will set you back £1,700 without the burger, soggy lettuce and chips.

Whatever happened to budget hotels?

You’d have to call your bank manager – do they still exist? – to increase your overdraft facility if you fancy a week in Oban or Ullapool.

“Wasn’t that a wonderful seafood restaurant we ate at?” you’ll recall a week later before remembering it cost you £80 for two.

We must also remember that to make the whole palaver feel like a holiday, you would have to drive a reasonable distance.

Who needs that?

And there are only so many times you can say: “Ooh! Look at that mountain” or “How much is the ferry to Mull?” It’s £42 return, by the way.

We await greater detail on what the FM has planned for us as, not for the first time, she keeps us guessing.

It could be that the self-appointed border police will be re-recruited to shout abuse at cars travelling from England and Wales to take in the wonders of Glencoe or the Carse of Gowrie.

However, should Boris Johnson welcome those domiciled in Scotland to spend their cash anywhere south of Berwick, where would you choose to visit in the UK?

I suspect for many of us a staycation will mean remaining in our own wee bubble, even if it is Auchterless.

Picture this: Whole new audience at our cinemas

A trip to the pictures, as we used to call it, could now be consigned to history, unless you’re a juror.

The big streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, will increasingly become the principal vehicles for Holywood movies as Covid makes it economically unfeasible to screen them in cinemas.

That’s where jury trials are now the main attraction, beamed, for example, from courtrooms to the Vue Cinema in Aberdeen.

It’s like being in the 1957 flick Twelve Angry Men.

You can almost hear the male jurors arguing: “I bags being Henry Fonda”.

The surroundings, however, do not allow for emotion to be invested in what they see from their comfy leather seats. So, no shouts of “off with his head”.

And forget about popcorn and texting during the drama. M’Lud would come down heavily on such behaviour in the courtroom-cum-film set.

Incidentally, an example of new movies going straight to a streaming channel comes with the release of the new Tom Hanks drama, a Western called News Of The World, now on Netflix.

He travels the Wild West reading stories from newspapers to audiences – like Jackie Bird without the cameras.

I watched it so you don’t need to. Tedious but scenic sums it up. But unlike the cinema-based jurors, I had a remote control.

Have a break? give me a break, KitKat!

It’s the biggest shock in the confectionery world since Marathon became Snickers.

Coming to a supermarket near you – a vegan KitKat.

It’s sure to make the toes of chocolate bar lovers go all curly wurly.

Vegan versions of Galaxy are already out there as other chocolate bar manufacturers look to develop similar concoctions, ditching cow’s milk for a rice-based formula, which is what KitKat V, as it’s called, includes. Hmmm!

What next? A Tunnock’s lunch cake different from the one you’re supposed to eat at teatime?

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.