Abracadabra! Your holiday’s vanished
Chris Roycroft-Davis, The Sun’s genial executive editor who prides himself on being something of an amateur magician, may have pulled off his greatest conjuring trick. Just like that, with a wave of his wand worthy of Tommy Cooper, he has apparently made four days from some Sun hacks’ annual holiday entitlement vanish into thin air.
None of the puzzled journalists though has been able to work out quite how he did it. One minute they thought they thought their contracts entitled them to “six weeks and eight bank holidays” off every year. Now they find they only have six weeks and four bank holidays.
What, it seems, Roycroft-Davis has done is convince some staff that they are only entitled to time off for a bank holiday if it falls on a day when they would normally be working.
In a long e-mail to staff, he explains: “If you work a four-shift week on a rolling three-week rota, you can calculate mathematically that because of the effect of leap years and the fact that when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the Government moves the bank holiday back to a weekday, you will over a period of four years be asked to work an average of four bank holidays a year.”
Everybody clear about that now?
Diana’s crocodile tears for ‘ard-done-by Arthur
The Sun splash that angered palace, left, and led to ban on Edwards
Arthur Edwards, the Sun snapper who is the innocent victim of a royal ban after the paper printed another photographer’s pictures of Prince William and Kate Middleton, is no stranger to palace officials going over the top.
There was a total hullabaloo in 1982 when The Sun ran his pictures of a very pregnant Princess Diana in a bikini on a beach in Eleuthera in the Bahamas.The palace went potty. But was Diana upset? “No,” says Arthur. “When I next met her she said to me, ‘How much did you make out of that picture?'”I told her, ‘Not a pennyâ€¦ honest.’ “‘Oh, dear,’ she said, ‘pass me the Kleenex.'”
Two Scottish hacks are avidly contesting which one has claim to first labelling members of the Scottish Parliament as “numpties” – an appellation which has haunted the MSPs ever since. Former Daily Record man Tom Brown pitched his hat in the ring by saying its first use was on the front cover of the New Statesman for an article he wrote 50 days into the new Parliament in 1999.
Not so, points out The Scotsman, claiming its sketchwriter Rab McNeil did the business in a piece just 28 days into the first Parliament. It looks as if Brown must concede, but my admiration for the way he tells them. Brown recounts that the New Statesman editor demanded he provide a dictionary definition to establish there was such a word and its etymology.
“Thinking on my feet and adopting a pseudo-academic pose, I told him: ‘Of course. It’s a combination of the Latin ‘nullus’ meaning ‘nothing there’ and the old Scottish word for a turnip, ‘tumshie’. Actually, the word numpty is in the Scottish Vernacular Dictionary, between – appropriately – ‘ned’ and ‘nyaff’. That dictionary defines numpty as a ‘useless individual’.”
Glad we got that cleared up.
At a time when the licence fee is up for review, it’s good to see the BBC getting right to the heart of the stories that really matter
PMA Training has advertised a list of very useful courses on page 31 of your latest issue,” writes alert Dog fan Nicola Carroll, features editor of The MJ (formerly Municipal Journal). “Us thirsty hacks here at The MJ were particularly interested in the course on 30 April entitled ‘Preparing for Pint’. Is this to help weary journalists ready themselves for a session at the pub after a hard day’s graft?”
Meek’s memories of Herald editor’s domino effect
Edinburgh freelance Brian Meek, who has given up his weekly opinion column in the The Herald after 18 years, signed off with a lovely anecdote about the editor who hired him the late, great Arnold Kemp.
Meek had dragged Kemp off to the races at Kelso, and they landed in a pub in a little Borders village.
Late in the night, Kemp phoned the office to order a car to take them home. Recalls Meek: “The employee at the receiving end of his call expressed doubts as to whether the man claiming to be Mr Kemp was, in fact, the editor and demanded to know why he and his columnist were still stuck at this ungodly hour in an unknown border hostelry. ‘Because,’ bellowed Arnold in his best Captain Mainwaring voice, ‘we have reached the semi-finals of the dominoes competition.'”
This week, Dog launches a major new competition called “Most Concise Answer to a Regional Newspaper Vox Pop Question About Estate Agents By A National Newspaper Editor Of the Week”. Our first winner comes from page 13 of the Western Daily Press from 24 March.