AS tourists begin to make their way to Scotland for the summer, we doff our hat to the tour guides.
We recall for example the Glasgow tour guide pointing out the site of the Battle of Langside, where Mary Queen of Scots suffered a bloody defeat. "Why was it fought there?" asked a visitor. "Handy for the Victoria Infirmary," replied the guide.
Jim Torbett in Troon was recently in Russia's Sochi, where the guide said the next building on the left was the US Embassy. Everyone stared out of the coach window - and saw a McDonald's.
Any other favourite tour guide tales?
THE news Robert Burns's original handwritten Ye Banks and Braes O' Bonnie Doon is to be sold by Bohnams next month for an estimated £30,000 to £40,000 reminds us somehow of the Burns Supper speaker who called in at Govan Library to brush up on Burns's verse before he spoke. "Robert Burns - the complete works," he told the librarian when he strolled in.
"The massage parlour is next door Mr Burns," she replied.
A READER catching the bus into Glasgow is still puzzling over the woman he heard telling her pal: "You know Marjory, and how she talks really fast? I've never heard anyone talk as fast as Marjory does.
"Her mother was just the same."
IF you go into a bar or a restaurant in St Andrews, the chances are the young staff are students. Which explains why, when a reader was in a takeaway, a couple of girls ordered pizzas with extra cheese, and the young man serving them confidently told them: "Ah but cheese will make you fat, and you won't find a husband then. And that will make me sad for you."
A rare treat
A WAITER in a Glasgow restaurant tells us he struggled when a customer ordered a steak and he asked her how she wanted it cooked. She hummed and hawed for a bit before saying: "Oh I can't decide. Can you make one half rare and the other half medium?"
THE Herald reported yesterday that young people feared for the Scottish economy if Scotland became independent. Muses reader Jane Crawford in Lossiemouth: "The article says that 16 and 17-year-olds worry that their parents will be financially worse off in an independent Scotland. Perhaps they just worry they won't be kept in the style to which they've become accustomed?"
FED up with all these sales calls on your house phone? A chap in a Glasgow pub the other night explained: "Had TalkTalk on the phone the other night who were determined to sell me their latest broadband package. I ended up replacing them with themselves as my existing provider."
A COLLEAGUE wanders over to interrupt us with: "Tried to buy a bull terrier but nobody would sell me one."
Inevitably he added: "You just can't get the staff these days."
YOU still can't beat people in Ireland for being so lyrical in their conversations. A reader in a Dublin sandwich shop heard the girl behind the counter ask the elderly gentleman in front if he wanted feta cheese on his salad. "Ah no thanks," he told her. "Feta cheese is a young man's game."