THIS week, a truly wonderful story slipped somewhat underneath the radar.

Gandalf, the vulture, escaped from a wildlife attraction in Cumbernauld.

Gandalf is a Ruppells Griffin vulture with a wing span of more than 10 feet.

After an absence of nine days, Gandalf was discovered more than 100 miles away, on the remote Inner Hebridean island of Islay.

As a long-suffering resident of Cumbernauld, whose town centre has been voted the ugliest in the UK, I have some sympathy with Gandalf's flight of fancy.

As Chief Fire Officer, I often had occasion to visit our fire stations on Islay.

So, was Gandalf really embarking on a flight of fancy, or, was it a flight to freedom ?

Is this highly intelligent, yet suppressed bird, voting with her wings?

The bleak, urban landscape of the Glasgow overspill or the magnificent, white beaches of a rugged and unspoiled island?

I know which one I would have opted for. Go Gandalf!

IT would appear that Glasgow motorists will face lengthy traffic delays due to restrictions being placed around the Commonwealth Games.

The arrival of the Games will see the creation of Games Lanes, which will allow free movement for games officials and athletes between the athletes village, venues in the East End and slip roads on and off the Kingston Bridge to and from the SECC and the Hydro.

It does rather beg the question though, that with more empty and unused bus lanes than the rest of Europe combined, couldn't we just have used a couple of hundred of those?

The use of such Games Lane restrictions did cause some tensions in London for the 2012 Olympics.

However, while they may have caused some frustration, they worked very well.

We must now all show some patience during the period surrounding the Games.

After all the bidding, planning, building and preparing, I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

And, who knows, maybe when it's all over, our City Council may yet come to realise the benefits of a planned, traffic management system that works. We could certainly use one!

ANOTHER week, another research report. This latest research, from University College London, says that instead of our well recognised five a day, we should be increasing our intake of fruit and vegetables to seven a day.

I'm not sure about everyone else, but I know very few people who actually hit the five a day target.

How then are we supposed to hit this new threshold of seven a day ? If I was to consume seven portions of fruit or veg in any one day, I'm not sure that I could eat anything else. Perhaps that's the whole idea.

I still think more research is needed into the beneficial effects of fermented grapes and hops. I know that they always make me feel better at the time, although not always the following day.

THIS has not been a good week for the LibDem Business Secretary Vince Cable.

In the last few years, Mr Cable has been involved in a number of unfortunate episodes.

In a secret recording, he famously declared war on Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB, barely clinging on to his job in the aftermath that ensued.

A government watchdog has now stated that he priced the sell-off of Royal Mail too cheaply.

The result of this ill-considered, sell-off is that UK tax payers have been deprived of some £1billion of income.

Mr Cable has always struck me as an affable, if not somewhat conceited individual. He is a man who does not like to be contradicted.

I recall, at the time of the sale, he stubbornly dismissing suggestions that Royal Mail was being undervalued and sold to the market too cheaply.

Now, MPs and union leaders are calling for his resignation, as the report from the National Audit Office provides clear evidence that Royal Mail was substantially undervalued.

A previous darling of the banking crisis, Vince Cable once criticised the spivs and speculators of the City.

I assume that he has now amended his view and has seen fit to offer them a first class opportunity to cash in on taxpayer-owned assets.

Mr Cable has blustered that the last thing he intends to do is apologise. Big mistake, although I am not sure that it will be necessary.

Given the botched sale of Royal Mail, and the lost £1bn, it is unlikely that he will be able to continue as Business Secretary for long, unless of course, he is made Secretary for Bad Business.

Royal Mail was a highly valued, national asset, one which we, the taxpayer, owned.

I have a message for Mr Cable. P45 may not be a postcode, but that doesn't mean it's not in the post.