Plumbing the depths

WE recently mentioned the memorable 1960s action flick The Guns of Navarone, which was based on an equally explosive novel by the late Scottish scribble-merchant Alistair MacLean.

Which reminds us of a memorable description of MacLean’s writing style, provided by fellow author Algis Budrys, who explained that what Alistair liked to do to his readers was, "hit 'em with everything but the kitchen sink, then give 'em the sink, and when they raise their heads, drop the plumber on 'em.”

(A similar method of composition is used by Diary scribes, who keep a mountainous pile of kitchen sinks and plumbers in the office storeroom, just waiting to be activated…)

The name game

THE public have been asked to name the delayed and over-budgeted ferry which is slowly being pieced together in Port Glasgow.

“One of the names suggested is Claymore,” points out reader Eric MacDonald, who adds, “surely a more appropriate name would be… Naemore.”

Showbiz shenanigans

THE Herald mentioned that Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond will appear in separate shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

“Their careers may be on the wane,” says David Donaldson, “but it’s hard to stay away from the limelight, so I expect they'll be back next year with more snappily-titled shows.

“Nicola might consider a raw, frae-the-heart evening based on the human side of Scottish politics called The Sweetie, Unwrapped.

“Wee Eck, a more ebullient performer, could do an evening of rousing Scottish ballads interspersed with the gallous and amusing things you hear at football matches. It would be called Salmond Chanted Evening.”

Ringing the changes

IN the Diary’s Celebrity Corner we mentioned Quasimodo, that Parisian man about town who came to a grizzly end.

Larry Cheyne from Bishopbriggs informs us that Quasi (as he was known to chums) was replaced by his brother on bell-ringing duties at Notre-Dame.

“Unfortunately,” adds Larry, “a few days in, he slipped and fell. Coming across his lifeless body, two Parisians engaged in conversation. The first said: 'Do you know this poor soul?'

“Replied the second: 'He's a dead ringer for his brother.'”

Blast off

READING about the rocket launch site being constructed on Shetland’s island of Unst has intrigued Bert Peattie from Kirkcaldy.

“Having seen an example of what they intend to launch,” says Bert, “I can't begin to imagine the size of the bottle required to hold it before it’s lit…”

Hot water

SAFETY-CONSCIOUS water sports fan Gail Holm informs us: “The most dangerous canoes are obviously volcanoes.”