RETIRED Maryhill Labour MP Maria Fyfe is launching her autobiography, A Problem Like Maria, this week in which she tells of a Glasgow MP who wanted to send a letter to the blind Government Minister David Blunkett, and went to the trouble of having it put into Braille.

Well done we say. However, when he got the Braille copy back, he then faxed it.

Washing? Got it licked

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MARIA writes about many of the important subjects debated in Parliament, but somehow our eyes are drawn to the tale of her being asked how she found the time to do all her own washing and ironing of her clothes at her London flat while at Westminster. Writes Maria: "Well, it's not difficult. You can compose questions or a speech in your head while doing the washing up or the ironing. But one other Glasgow member, who shall remain nameless, said he had a better idea, 'You know these huge, super-sized stamped envelopes we get? I put my socks, pants and shirts in them and send them up to my wife, and they're ready for me when I go home at the weekend'."

His wife must have been so pleased.


"CHEER up," a young man was heard telling a female friend he met on the train into Glasgow yesterday. "Just remember you've won as many Oscars as Leonardo DiCaprio."


GOODNESS that's quite a love-in between Celtic fans and club saviour Fergus McCann just now as the 20th anniversary of him buying the club is celebrated - I must have imagined all those fans booing him when he raised the league flag at Parkhead. Anyway, fellow journalist Paul Drury remembers phoning the Scots exile in 1992, when no-one had heard of him, to ask if he was buying the club. Says Paul: "After a long ring, a gruff voice answered, 'Hello'. Then, after hearing a reporter from Scotland wanted a scoop, he added, 'Mr Drury. Do you know what time it is in Montreal? It is 4am. Goodbye.'

"The relationship went downhill after that."


WE also recall Billy Connolly being invited to the club, and as he was about to be introduced to Fergus, someone whispered to Billy that Fergus was a bit of a stickler about attire, and Billy should really have been wearing a tie.

Billy strode forward, shook Fergus's hand and told him: "What kind of club is this you're running? I've only been here 20 minutes, and already someone's nicked my tie!"

No accounting for laughs

DONALD MacLeod, head of actuarial at financial services company Scottish Friendly, is attempting to set a world record tonight in Glasgow's Park Bar for the number of jokes being told in an hour - the record's 549. He warmed up by telling us: "My new racehorse can only run in the dark - it's a nightmare."

Incidentally, actuaries, who pore over swathes of statistical tables to work out risks, are never regarded as great funsters. The joke is told of two actuaries on a pheasant shoot with one missing the first bird 10ft to the right and the other missing it by 10ft to the left. They then jumped up to celebrate because on average they shot it.