Dom Joly: Pop on a kilt, and you will always blend in

Last stop on my Tintin tour of the country. We landed on the beach in Barra in a twin-prop plane. It's an exhilarating ride and apparently the only scheduled flight in the world that uses such a landing strip. The tiny airport building was buzzing with activity for the only plane of the day and we were given a wonderful welcome. This must have been what travel was like before we all had to have our underwear scanned. Mind you, it wasn't long before I was standing in front of complete strangers in my pants. Like Tintin, I had changed into a kilt on the plane to "blend in". It soon became clear, however, that I had not put it on correctly. Two smiling ladies in high-visibility jackets who had greeted us at the door to the airport, beckoned me into an office. There I was told in no uncertain terms to take my kilt and sporran off. As I stood in my pants, the kind ladies put my kilt back on correctly. "Welcome to Barra," they laughed hysterically. I loved this island already.

Pandora: Kilfoyle: I gave Geoff his 'Buff Hoon' nickname

For years it has tormented him and delighted opponents. With Geoff Hoon back in the spotlight, so his unflattering nickname, "Buff Hoon", has once again sprung to the fore. And now, it appears the origin of the former cabinet minister's moniker has been found.

The Sketch: One well-timed retort and Gordon's back in the game

Ah bwaah bah habbab. Hang on, start again. Bwwhaaabwabab darrbba bubbua.

Win the ultimate whisky lovers prize

The wonderful World of Whiskies

Urinating student avoids prison

A student who was warned that he might be sent to prison for urinating on a war memorial was instead given community service yesterday.

Album: Tim Easton, Porcupine (New West)

There's a rough-hewn, rootsy charm to Mojave Desert-based singer-songwriter Tim Easton's latest album, recorded in Nashville with a band that pairs his former Ohio punk buddies' rhythm section of drummer Sam Brown and bassist Matt Surgeson with multi-talented guitarist Kenny Vaughan, from Marty Stuart's band.

Everyday Drinking, By Kingsley Amis

Alcohol is customarily a pastime for writers rather than a topic, but Kingsley Amis wrote three jolly books on the subject. Gathered in this volume, his bluff musings ("Vintages – aargh! Most of the crap talked about wine centres on these") made the New York Times bestseller list.

Observations: Seasick Steve: Stranded by modern life

Steve Wold, the American bluesman better known as Seasick Steve, is dressed in his usual garb of check shirt and trucker's cap. The title of his recently released fourth album, Man From Another Time, neatly sums up Wold's current musical status, and goes some way towards explaining his success.

Win a hipflask and whiskies from The Balvenie

Enjoy the traditional Christmas spirit

Book Of A Lifetime: Journal of a Novel, By John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck's Journal of a Novel is a book I've kept on every desk I've written at for the past 10 years. I've rarely opened it when I'm not working on a book, and never when I'm writing well. But on those days when the engine room of a first draft feels claustrophobic or static, when the words have turned brittle and the whole endeavour seems either pointless or ridiculous, that's when I'll reach again for this idiosyncratic one-sided correspondence which comes together to form a rare map of a literary mind at the point of creation.

Drunk social worker offered detox patient a double whisky

A social worker who offered to buy a double whisky in a pub for a client he had helped through detox was struck off today.

Still brewing in a dry land: Pakistan's only beer and whisky firm

After 150 years, business is booming at Pakistan's only beer and whisky firm. Andrew Buncombe finds out why

Making lunch for a legend: John Walsh meets Albert Roux

It was an offer no foodie could refuse – to cook in the kitchen of Albert Roux. Could John Walsh's bavette steak pass muster with this titan of haute cuisine?

The Harwood Arms, Walham Grove, London SW6

I think gastropubs tend to be best when they remember to be pubs as well as gastro, and don't forget they're also supposed to be down-to-earth boozers as well as purveyors of chorizo and purple sprouting broccoli. But really, there are limits. Standing outside the Harwood Arms, you feel your heart sink. The pub is situated at the end of a dispiritingly bricky suburban street. As pubs go, you're surprised this one hasn't gone long ago: it's so tired-looking, so bored, so uninterested in having anyone come through its doors. There's nothing about it that shouts, or even murmurs, "Trendy eating-house!" The colour scheme is mostly a flat matt magenta, over which the dust of years seems to have settled. Can this be the joint recently voted London's best gastropub? Have we come to the wrong address? As for that awful colour ... "If I remember the Farrow & Ball paint swatch," said my date, Madeleine, "this is a darker version of their Dead Salmon ..."

Games Review: Wet

PS3, Xbox 360, £39.99
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn