SNP conference: Coming of age in historic vote year
The SNP is 80-years-old. John Swinney is rather younger but, nevertheless, today is his birthday and conference delegates sprung a surprise upon him as he prepared to speak - they sang Happy Birthday.
An abashed Mr Swinney vowed gentle revenge on the chair, Derek Mackay, who had orchestrated the ambush.
Later there was folk singing and a satirical drama on stage. But it was not all cakes and ale at the SNP conference, despite the structured jollity and the genuine version among delegates. There was a deeply serious strategic purpose.
Delegates in an SNP audience love nothing more than Braveheart rhetoric, lampooning and lambasting their rivals.
Alex Salmond gave them none of that - or very little. Instead, he exhorted them to go back to their constituencies and prepare for referendum. His talk was all of diversity, of inclusion, of consensus.
SNP conference: Nicola Sturgeon in plea to Labour voters
Party conferences, like everything else, have their traditions.
The financial appeal is preceded by painful jokes.
Postcard from Brussels
All power blocs have their palaces. All palaces have their courtiers. All courtiers have their intrigue.
The European Parliament is no different. Ditto the wider European Union.
Margo MacDonald: 'Scotland is the poorer for her passing'
To drop into Margo Macdonald's Holyrood office, as I frequently did, was an experience. You might become engaged in a hugely intellectual debate about independence - or some other issue that had grabbed Margo's attention.
Alternatively, you might be assailed with the latest gossip or the future of the Hibees or, indeed, brought up to speed with her latest purchase on a shopping channel.
Scottish independence: Contest of doubt and reassurance
Does it matter that an unnamed minister of unknown status follows an undiscernible motivation and gives an off-the-record comment to The Guardian? Frankly, yes it does.
Remember that this is a referendum, not an election. It is not about competing policies, it is about rivalry in trust. It is, as it has been from the outset, a contest of doubt and reassurance.
Scottish Lib Dem conference: Clegg hammers 'sunshine strategy'
They are perpetually hammering their opponents or hammering home the truth to a reluctant, neglectful electorate.
When not hammering, they are to be found "cracking down": on crime, the causes of crime and other manifestations of our troubled society. Endless hammering and cracking down. It must get dreadfully tiring.