It’s a new year and time to register for the SAW conference; enter one of their competitions (closing date this Saturday); pay David for your Christmas copies of Greenock Writers’ anthology; pop along to Anne Pettigrew’s launch; sign up for OKFest in March (see Isobel); and/or think about recording your memoirs with Paul Bristol of Magic Torch …

Grateful thanks go to our adjudicator Theresa Donnelly who pirouetted her way through nine parodies of a fairy tale or folk story. Theresa enthused over endings with a twist, Russian water spirits on a quest, saccharine characters, and the use of Scottish dialect. Tony Watt’s technical expertise (in particular his deft handling of the odd oxymoron) was judged to be top of the class. Tony’s Trial of Cynthia L went from cracker crumbs to cricket, cauldrons to cupboards, wasps to dwarves … and there was a “keen acronym-ophile” in there somewhere. John McLean’s Winter Quarters was awarded second and we look forward to hearing it read. Mary McCue’s Run (third place) captured the human condition in a “teardrop-shaped flask” – choices, freedom, destiny, love and happiness. David McKelvie and Lesley Holligan received honourable mentions. And as they say … they all lived happily ever after.

Print off your e-mailed copy of The Boy for next week and be ready to comment. Don’t forget to bagsy your Scottish icons.