The Diary: The Best of 2021

THIS year has become known to Herald readers as the merry-go-round of mibbes.

Mibbe there would be (yet) another lockdown.

Mibbe our footie team would win the Euros. (Or at least win a match. Or score the occasional goal…)

Mibbe Boris and Nicola would at last become best buddies, and, like the protagonists of a Hollywood romcom, they would amble off into the sunset, hand-in-hand, romantically discussing macro economic policy.

Amongst the multitude of mibbes there was one solitary certainty in 2021. The Diary continued doing what it does best – dishing out the daftness.

Here’s our favourite tales and gags from the last twelve months…

What’s your poison?

TWO Campbeltown worthies – committed worshippers of Bacchus – were employed as coal delivery men, recalls reader Freddy Gillies.

One of their customers was a farmer, but when they drew up at the farm gate their progress was halted by a police constable who said: “You can’t go any further, there’s a case of anthrax.”

Quick as a flash, the driver responded: “Don’t worry son, we’ll drink anything.”

White wedding?

AUTHOR Deedee Cuddihy recalls a tale told to her by a Church of Scotland minister. A bride had decided she was going to sing a solo at her own wedding and had chosen to belt out the crowd pleaser ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

Alas, her minister had to persuade her that this was not the best number for the occasion, especially as the song contained the line: “I’ve had so many men before.”

Info overload

THOUGHTFUL reader Jenny Phillips says: “Why does someone believe you when you explain that human beings are descended from monkeys but they have to check when you say to them, ‘Hey, watch out. That paint is wet.’”

Fit of fits

WE ran a tale about a bus driver’s inscrutable brogue, which reminds reader Gordon Fisher of the Aberdeen quine out shopping for a new pair of stylish stilettos. Upon being presented with a pair to try on she asked, “Fit fit fits fit fit?”

Triumphantly torpid

CHATTY Malcolm Boyd from Milngavie was asking a neighbour if he was exercising more during the pandemic.

With a sluggish shrug the fellow replied: “I haven’t exercised since electric windows were first fitted in cars.”

Jog on

WELL-INFORMED Charles Bissett tells us that researchers have discovered that laughing for two minutes is as healthy as a twenty minute jog. Our reader adds: “So nowadays I sit in the park laughing at all the joggers.”

Picture this

A COMMENT about emojis in the Diary inspires a Stewarton reader to tell us he never uses the little grammatical icons himself: “Unless, of course, it’s an emojincy.”

Jinxed by gin

VISITING the Hyndland branch of Oddbins, David Donaldson spotted a certain brand of bottled refreshment going by the name of ‘Piston Dry Gin.’

Which led him to imagine the following vignette…

Traffic cop: “Have you been drinking?”

Motorist: “Yes … Piston gin.”

The brush off

THE Diary looks into the jaws of despair with the following traumatic tale. Reader Mary Hughes says: “My extra sensitive toothpaste doesn’t like it when I use other toothpastes.”

The hole truth

RELAXING in a coffee shop in Glasgow’s west end, reader Jennifer Curran overheard two middle-aged ladies chatting at a nearby table. The conversation went like this…

Lady 1: I can’t believe you only ordered that one doughnut… and without the caramel filling!

Lady 2 (in a proud tone of voice): Well, nobody said that dieting was going to be easy.

Figurine or Fergurine?

FOOTBALL focused reader Robert Irvine notes that Aberdeen FC have commissioned a statue of their most famous manager, which will proudly stand outside the ground.

“Is there any truth in the rumour that they will pay for it by selling porcelain miniatures of the statue?” wonders Robin, who adds: “You know… Ceramic Ferguson.”

Peculiar purchase

A DIARY tale about those folk who have a great deal of love for the colour orange inspires reader Gordon McRae to tell us of a Hollywood memorabilia auction where there was some frantic bidding from Northern Ireland.

The lot in question was the sash Mia Farrow wore.

Naughty nauticals

LIKE an archaeologist grubbing around in the soil, the Diary continues to unearth curious fragments of information, perhaps unknown to the world at large.

A reader was chatting to a chum who served in the Royal Navy. He informed this fellow that the Royal Navy was known by those in the Merchant Navy as ‘The Grey Funnel Line’.

The chap responded by revealing that members of the Royal Navy referred to themselves as ‘Auntie Bessie’s World Cruise Line’.

We wonder if Auntie Bessie herself (aka, the Queen) knows about this most mutinous of monikers.

Up in arms

THE previous tale of seafaring chaps inspired Fraser Kelly from Manila to tell us about the relationship between the army and the army reserve. Apparently it was a tad fractious, especially during those times when the reserve was called the Territorial Army, or TA.

The regular army would refer to their rivals as STABS. This was not alluding to sharp objects used in warfare, but instead was an abbreviation of Stupid TA B******s.

The TA responded in kind by labelling regular army types ARABS.

Which had nothing to do with Middle Eastern natives, but instead stood for: Arrogant Regular Army B******s.

Killer queen

CERTAIN awe-inspiring occasions are sometimes undermined by inappropriate musical accompaniment. Reader Hugh Lamont was standing at the starting line of the Great North Run, listening to local radio presenter Alan Robson read out dedications from the athletes, which were in memory of loved ones who had passed away. Unfortunately the first record played after this slot was the Queen anthem ‘Another One Bites The Dust’.

Fiery faux pas

ANOTHER occasion undermined by inappropriate musical accompaniment. Bill Rutherford from Galashiels has a pal who once attended a cremation. There must have been a mix-up when it came to choosing a tune, because as the coffin was passing through the curtains, Gracie Fields started singing, “Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye…”

Wee mistake?

YET another occasion undermined by inappropriate musical accompaniment. Hilarie McCallum visited the automatic street loos in Paris where recorded music is piped into the cubicles to add to the chic ambience of the experience.

At the time of Hilarie’s visit the song being played was a moving rendition of… Yellow River.

Floaty fella

A BARBIE doll went for sale that was modelled on Dame Sarah Gilbert, the creator of the Oxford Covid vaccine. It was specially commissioned to honour her and her work. Reader Joan Dale would like to see a toy inspired by Boris Johnson.

“An over-inflated balloon would be perfect,” she says.

Fruity comment

THE Diary tends to avoid mentioning anything as disgustingly healthy as fruit. And we never encourage our readers to eat something that hasn’t been deep-fried into submission first. Yet to our horror we discover that in an unguarded moment of reckless abandonment we have toppled, headfirst, into the subject of… apples.

And not the pie or toffee variety, either.

Reader Russell Smith says: “If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, is it fair to ask, ‘What does a pear at night do?’”

Two’s company

WITH a sigh of relief we move from the subject of fruit to alcohol. Reader Ken Dean was visiting his local hostelry when he overheard a wobbly imbiber at the bar say to the fellow serving him: “Well, I’m certainly no an alky cos I never drink alone. You’re always wi’ me.”

Taking a powder

THE above yarn about a puggled pub patron inspires Gordon Fisher from Stewarton to point out that it is not only imbibers of that noxious fluid called beer who have habit-forming personalities. He recalls the tale of the louche thespian who insouciantly remarked: “Cocaine is certainly not addictive. And I should know. I took it every day for twenty-seven years.”

Just desserts

CURIOUS about all things culinary, reader Paula Clark is eager to learn how to make ice-cream. “I’ve decided to go to sundae school,” she says.

Baby talk

A VIGNETTE of everyday life, courtesy of reader Harvey Metcalf, who spotted a young Glasgow mother struggling with her shrieking toddler, no older than two.

“Peter!” scolded the mother, “you’re just venting your frustration unnecessarily.”

For some unfathomable reason this astute psychological analysis of the child’s shortcomings didn’t prove as persuasive as was hoped.

Peter shrieked all the louder.

Board stiff

AT the grand old age of thirteen Sky Brown won a bronze medal for team GB at the Tokyo Olympics, thanks to her prowess on a skateboard.

Though the husband of reader Stephanie Beard wasn’t quite so impressed as most fans.

Slumped on the sofa and watching the spectacle on TV, he muttered: “So let me get this right. You nail a roller-skate to a miniature ironing board then try not to fall off… and that’s a sport?”

He then brandished the remote control with a righteous flourish and clicked over to Netflix.

Dotty drive

GLOBETROTTING gadabout Pete McNeill recalls a memorable visit to the UK capital. “I shared a London taxi with a group of spotty youths,” he says. “Must have been an acne carriage.”

Wickedly wedded

A LONG-RETIRED primary headteacher recalls hearing a report from one of her pupils on a Monday morning regarding a wedding the youth had attended at the weekend.

“Was there singing and dancing?” enquired the heedie.

“Dancing… but no sinning,” came the shocked reply.

Mission impossible

NAÏVE apprentices are often sent on a fool’s errand to break them into the harsh world of work. In the 1950s Thelma Edwards from Kelso was based in an engineering drawing-office where one innocent young fellow was ordered to fetch a bucket of steam.

The bucket still hasn’t arrived, so we assume the poor apprentice is still on the hunt.

Masked ball

NIGHTCLUBS and their ever changing masking stipulations made 2021 a complex tango to navigate for dancers and drinkers. Scott Macintosh from Killear thinks this could lead to a popular new chat-up line:

“Ye dancin’?”

“Ye maskin’?”

“Ah’m maskin’.”

“Ah’m dancin’.”

Cliff’s edge

“What has ten teeth but two hundred legs?” asks reader Rab Briggs. “The front row at a Cliff Richard concert.”

Deadly dealings

“IF a Tyrannosaurus Rex got a job manning a stall in the Barras,” muses reader Tim Croft, “would that make it a small arms dealer?” 

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