Complaining is so ingrained in some academics that not even Christmas can halt their moaning. The newly merged Manchester University sent all its staff a present to thank them for their patience and tolerance during the disruption caused by the merger last year. They received two days' extra holiday and a £50 voucher that could be spent in a range of high-street stores. And that is where the problems started. Apparently some sniffy academics returned their vouchers in disgust, pointing out that they had no wish to purchase anything from the lowbrow outlets that would accept the vouchers. Surely they could have found some socks to wear with their sandals in Marks & Spencer? Or a little Christmas spirit in Oddbins?