THE BBC news covered the opening of a new exhibition on the Vikings dispelling the popularly held view that they wore horned helmets.

Never happened apparently. It reminds Barrie Crawford: "I was talking to a history teacher at St Pat's in Coatbridge. One day he had to cover for an absent colleague and the topic was the Vikings. He told the class that Vikings, contrary to popular belief, did not have horns on their helmets. One bright lad asked him, 'Please, sir, are you sure you're a proper history teacher?'"


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WE mentioned the blind former cabinet minister David Blunkett in a story from Maria Fyfe's just published autobiography A Problem Like Maria. The retired Maryhill MP also writes about David Blunkett's guide dog. Says Maria: "One day there was a small puddle on the floor of the Members' lobby, and some Tory MP suggested that David's dog must be the culprit. David was outraged. 'How dare he? It was probably some drunken Tory', he fumed."

Cat call

IT'S World Book Day today when a number of schools are encouraging youngsters to read by allowing them to come to school today dressed up as their favourite character from a book. A primary teacher in one of Glasgow's well-to-do areas tells us one of her little charges in Primary One arrived last year in a furry, stripey costume. "That's wonderful!" said teacher. "Is it Tigger?" Silence. She tried again: "The Tiger Who Came to Tea?" Silence.

At this point the exasperated mother butted in "Can't you see? He's Richard Parker, the tiger from Life of Pi!" before heading off in the family 4x4.

Naval gazing

SO what lessons can be learned from Russia's invasion of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine? Well a reader phones to comment: "Perhaps Scotland should note that it's a really bad idea to let your bigger neighbour keep a naval base on your territory, post independence."

Going by the Book

AND after our mention of the large rock on which the painted graffiti "Jesus Saves" had been changed to "Jesus Says Yes!", Angus Macmillan in Dumfries asks: "Does this mean that, in the event of a No vote, we'll have a re-run of the shortest verse in the Bible - 'Jesus wept'?"

A new slant on baking

DAVID Ferguson in Largs tells us about visiting an engineer who was heating himself a steak pie in the oven. When David asked why it was not flat on the shelf but propped up against the oven wall, the chap told him: "The wife said to put it in at 120 degrees - here check for yourself" - and handed David a protractor.

French lessons

WE must say adieu to the dodgy French translations, but not before Ned Keating in Michigan tells us: "My late father, who taught French for many years had a favourite from the many he encountered in his career, "Une longue suite de jours prospères" which a student rendered, not as 'a long series of successful days" but as "a lounge suit that had seen better days".

Whisky soured

WE feel the pain of Glaswegian David Moyes at the shaky helm of Manchester United just now. A colleague tells us Chelsea fans are now ordering "a David Moyes" in their local bars. It's simply a Scotch on the rocks.