Can’t buy me lovely butter? Norwegians would.

OF the Scandinavians, it is difficult to decide which are the dourest but if I had to make a choice I would pick out the Norwegians.

They are a serious-faced, square-jawed lot and nothing seems to phase them. At least it didn’t until recent weeks.

That’s when they as a nation got all in a flutter over butter of all things.

Apparently, Norwegians love the stuff but there has been a crisis in the land of fiords. It was brought on by a craze for a fat-rich, low-carb weight-loss diet coinciding with a shortage of animal feed which caused a sudden drop in milk production.

The result was that supermarket shelves became bare of butter and the Norwegians were left desperately trying to find rare imported supplies.

The searching became ever more frantic in the run up to Yuletide as it is a tradition in the country for households to bake seven different types of Christmas cake (which seems over indulgent to me, I have trouble getting through one).

Prices shot up. One man who advertised half a kilo of butter for sale was offered about �18.50 an ounce which is almost as expensive as silver.

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It struck me that the poor Norwegians were on a slippery slope to having an unhappy Christmas. I hope that they finally managed to spread some festive cheer.

There cannot be many people who as a child (although one can do it at any age) did not hold a buttercup under their chin to see if it turned yellow, “proving” that they liked butter.

That aside, scientists at Cambridge University have been busy discovering why buttercups are such an intense colour. It is a question which has been puzzling mankind for centuries, of course

The boffins found that the petals’ reflectivity was the result of the interplay between its many different layers, and the outer layer is as reflective of yellow light as glass.

Still interested? Well, the flower also reflects ultraviolet light which may help to attract pollinating insects such as bees.

One of the experts said: “The glossiness might also mimic the presence of nectar droplets on the petals, making them that much more attractive.” So now you know.

I understand there were many forced smiles across the country on Christmas Day as the ladies opened their presents, and it was all because their menfolk are pants at choosing pants.

It was estimated that more than 24 million pairs of knickers were given as gifts this year but a new study shows that it’s probable that almost half of these will never be worn because they are either too small (or, more unforgivably, too big), the wrong colour or too racy.

Before we leave Christmas behind and head off into the New Year, I thought I would share with you something a young reporter asked in the newsroom the other day.

His question was: “What was the name of Jesus’ dad?” Suddenly realising the naivety of this, he hastily added: “I don’t mean God, of course, I mean the other one.”