AS weird as this story sounds, we're assured it is 100% true.

It concerns a grey squirrel which is an occasional, if surreptitious, visitor to the Edinburgh office of charity CHILDREN 1ST.

The other day, while foraging in the office, it somehow pressed the redial button on the phone of a worker who was away from her desk. This caused a phone to ring in the Glasgow office. A man there tried, in turn, to phone back his Edinburgh colleague. Naturally, there was no reply.

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Eventually she returned, and the two got speaking. Glasgow: "Did you ring me a while back?" Edinburgh: "Me? No." Glasgow: "But the call came from your phone."

It gets better. When the Edinburgh worker asked why her colleague was still in Glasgow when he was soon due at a meeting in the capital, he had to hurtle down the M8. Thus it was that a call placed by a squirrel kept the charity's inner workings ticking along nicely.

Furry friend

STILL on the subject of squirrels – we hear of a minister who was taking the Sunday School when he asked the children: "What am I? I'm small, I'm furry, I've got a big tail and I like to eat nuts."

A girl put up her hand, squirmed and – obviously wrestling with a heavy burden – answered: "I know it should be Jesus. But is it a squirrel?"

Time in lieu

JIMMY Manson read Friday's Diary story about watches being sold at a 50% discount. He says he saw a sign in a shop that read: "2013 diaries, 50% off."

"How," he wonders, "does one fill in the other six months?"

Interesting point

FESTIVE thought for the day, from Martin Morrison: "I've looked everywhere, but it seems that none of the bright sparks who manufacture fingerless gloves has had either the foresight or plain business nous to hang on to the bits they cut off in manufacture.

"In this weather, it's the tips of my fingers that feel the cold first. Once again, consumerism has got it all wrong."

Hobbit talk

PETER Jackson's latest epic, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is exciting lots of interest on social networking sites. On Twitter, Comedy Central's contribution ran: "At the end, Gandalf turns to the camera and says, "Bilbo, you're a hard Hobbit to break!"

Top trumps

SEEN on Facebook: 'Just contacted my gambling addiction hotline – every 10th call is a winner!'

Soaking up information

AND finally ... some quotable lines in Peter Serafinowicz' new book, A Billion Jokes! (Volume One). "My teacher said I was like a human sponge," reads one. "I'd sit in class, silently absorbing information, then, later, water would dribble out of me."