Now that Ian Paisley in his dotage has stopped masquerading as a ranting bigot and taken on the role of cuddly national treasure it is apparent that all the time he had been concealing a quiet and delicate sense of humour, typified by the friendly if disrespectful sobriquet he gave to Joseph Ratzinger: Old Redsocks.
However, he may not be at all pleased to find that his friend was received in Scotland and England with some warmth, though clearly not by everyone. Whether the protesters in London numbered 2,000 or 12,000 depends on which newspaper you read.
Although many did not feel that we got much value from the pontiff's visit, the police certainly pulled out all the stops to earn the £1 million we are paying them to look after the old rascal; within a few minutes of an allegedly sinister conversation being overheard, they had arrested six Algerian street cleaners, and only a couple of days later had found out who they were and established that it was all a misunderstanding and that these miscreants were not planning a terrorist attack, just having a giggle.
But it was a near thing, and JR must have been shaken by the non-incident. He can't say he wasn't warned before his arrival in Edinburgh that a majority of UK residents did not particularly want him here. The Scotsman suggested that rather than kissing the earth on arrival he ought to take a shovel and dig himself an escape tunnel.
Anyway, the small discomfitures he must have suffered at various points in his visit justify me in using for the title of this post a phrase which I have treasured for years. Sadly, it did not originate with me, and I cannot remember where I first saw it.