At Edinburgh airport the chief drinks coffee and I sip peppermint tea when a man in a luminous lime-green T shirt plonks himself down next to us.
Nothing unusual about loud Americans, I suppose. But this gaudy one bears the words ‘I survived Hurricane Irma’.
It is a good ice-breaker. We and the affable stranger chat about the forces of nature that have been hammering his native Florida Keys.
Folk there are battered and bruised, he tells us. Yet they are picking themselves up. They are fixing and re-building. They are mending and patching. As our new friend cheerfully says, ‘you can’t keep Johnny down!’
I am sure that is the name of a pop song. But you have to admire the cup-half-full mentality of our cousins across the pond. All the Americans I have ever met see defeat as a temporary setback. Which seems like a pretty good way to look at life.
Then I would say that, wouldn’t I? Because yours truly is something of an irritating optimist.
Because one of us has to be. The MacGregor has a tendency to be a bit glum if things go wrong. Perhaps being tracked by bloodhounds in outlawed clan days doesn’t allow for too much jollity. Maybe being outlawed for 200 years does not give much hope.
Meanwhile, the MacNaughties also have very different ways of looking at the world. Say something ever-so-slightly reproachful to the Cocker Spaniel – and deep gloom settles. One cross word and Barra can sulk for Scotland.
With the Norfolk Terrier, however, a telling off is water off a duck’s back. An admonished Rummie simply looks indignant. This dog with attitude can easily bounce back from a scolding.
We deal with the ups and downs in very different ways. And one of the week’s ups is a Chamber of Commerce lunch where the main speaker is the chief executive of STV.
Rob Woodward must be a pretty positive sort of guy. He is credited with turning round the fortunes of Scotland’s first independent TV station.
Under his watch STV has has bloomed. And now this diamond of a broadcaster has just celebrated 60 years.
The more senior among us may remember the opening lines: ‘Welcome to Scotland, land of sunshine and cloud…’
Yes, since 1957 this is the company that brought us hits like Rebus, Take the High Road and The Steamie.
My own favourite is Taggart. “There’s been a murder, get down there Jackie” is one of the great lines.
All those grisly stories. More than 100 episodes. I once met Alex Norton, who played the snappy DCI Matt Burke and he was charming. Nothing like his miserable on-screen character.
I look it up and see that ‘Taggart’ comes from ‘MacTaggart’, which in Gaelic means ‘son of the priest.’ I am sure you wanted to know that
And I am sure you want to know what we were doing at the airport. All very exciting – but more on that next week…