Susan Morrison: It can take the patience of a saint to be Pope these days

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OH my word, the conspiracy theorists are having a field day. Why is he resigning? Has some dark secret from his past finally come to get him?

Is the murky world of organised crime involved? Did he wake up in his bed one morning and find a horse’s head on the pillow? In which case, I think we can guess what happened to the rest of it, and can I say, it tasted just great after 25 mins at 180 degrees in the oven.

No, folks, sorry to say I think the Pontiff just got tired, and thought to himself I’m fed up with this lark. I’m off to sell ice cream on the Italian Riviera. Can’t say I blame him.

Being Pope just doesn’t look like a lot of fun, these days. I mean, it’s a far cry from the days of the Pontiffs like Alexander VI, who threw terrific parties, or Julius II who got to storm about leading armies or even Gregory XIII who got to change the entire calendar – oh yes. Messing about with the calendar, man. That makes the pope a Time Lord, which explains the funky clothes he gets to wear.

There was a time when the Pope could wake up and announce, this place looks a bit dated. Get that Michaelangelo in here. I want the ceiling done. And by jingo, it was done.

And let’s not forget they got to fire off Papal Bulls at people who annoyed them, like ticking off the Queen of Cyprus for being unchaste and telling the bint to get married, or the crusaders who got a right dressing down for cutting up dead people and throwing them into the sea. Or Edward I, who might have rejoiced in the nickname Scottorum malleus but he got it in the neck from Boniface VIII, who told him to get his mits off Scotland.

Now that’s what I call fun. No, these days it seems to be endlessly meeting Bono and Tony Blair and, let’s be honest, you’d have to be a saint to put up with that double dose of smugness.

Rehabilitating 16th century nutter quandary

James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, is one of my favourite psychopathic 16th century aristocrats (there’s quite a lot, so well done him).

He died in Denmark after he fled Scotland following that bit of unpleasant business with Mary, Queen of Scots. Denmark was a bad move by the bold lad, on account of jilted wife called Anna Throndsen and a small matter of being wanted by the English.

Sixteenth century Denmark was not the paradise of socially progressive thought and Sarah Lund jumper-wearing telly ‘tecs we think of today, oh no. Following his arrest, they say James ended his life chained to a pillar in a dungeon for ten years. His body was accidentally preserved, and they found him when they were taking the floorboards up in the church.

Should we bring him home, my new friend asked? You bet. Think of the media frenzy we could have for that.

Don’t panic, it’s 12 days away

Incidentally, Gregory’s calendar proved to be a great hit worldwide, with everyone taking it up except for the good folk on the isle of Foula, who opted to stay on the older Julian calendar. This means that they are 12 days behind us, which is a great excuse for anyone who forgot Valentine’s Day this year.

Real-life Bobby’s a proper terrier

The tourists were crowding round Greyfriars Bobby last week, taking pictures of each other round the statue, despite the fact the weather was that terrific combination of sleet, rain, hard wee bits of ice and slush we’ve recently developed.

A woman came huckling across the road, walking so fast that the wee terrier on the lead behind her was practically flying.

I’ll give your Skye terrier this, when the occasion demands you can be sure those short wee legs can belt at a pace to match a Glaswegian on a mission.

The woman moved at a speed that seemed to set up a force field. Tourists scattered in all directions as she zeroed in on the statue of Greyfriars Bobby. She slammed the brakes on front and centre. The wee dug parked itself sharpish next to her.

She glared – glared, mark you – at the iconic image of Bobby. She glared with laser intensity down at the terrier. She raised one terrible finger and pointed at the statue whilst eye-locking the dog.

“See!” She bellowed. “See that! A statue! What have you done, eh?”

And with that, she snatched up the terrier, who was, I bet, vowing come back in the night and

dig that particular S O B up . . .