On yer bike

WITH no expenses spared, the Diary sent its most respected political correspondents to the Conservative Party Conference this week.

In order that they could journey from Glasgow to Manchester in style, we even hired a tandem bike. Which regrettably proved rather tricky to operate, for we sent three reporters, and one of them had to balance on the handlebars.

Once we arrived at the main lecture hall (saddle-sore and four punctures later) we found the Tories delivering thrilling narratives about their future, much to the delight of an enraptured audience.

Tales of hope! Tales of victory! Tales of Voldemort defeated! (Our reporters may have got a little distracted at this point, and started perusing the reading material they brought with them, in case the action on stage got a tad repetitive.)

Like those tall-tale Tories, the Diary spins a decent yarn, as you’ll discover in the following classic stories from our archives…

Tricky customer

A SPOOKY story for the season. A Saltcoats reader said a wee lad turned up on his doorstep on Hallowe’en, and said: “Trick or Treat? And by the way, mister, I’m diabetic, so it’s cash only.”

“Can’t fault the wee man for trying in these straitened times,” chuckled our reader.

Castaway kookiness

“IF I was on a desert island,” said a reader, “the record that I would most like to have is for long-distance swimming.”

Bottling it

A FOND memory of the robust dances at the Highlanders’ Institute in Glasgow. A reader recalled being at a shindig when an Islay chap was dancing too enthusiastically and fell heavily.

“He was bleeding rather badly,” she told us, “so was persuaded to go to the Western, and a couple of hours later, we were surprised to see him back. My friend worked at the Western, and looked at his medical notes, which recorded that he’d been more concerned about the loss of the half-bottle in his pocket, than the fact he needed eight stitches in his backside.”

Brought to book

A LITERARY type once told the Diary: “Stephen King has a son named Joe. I'm not joking, but he is.”

Hard to swallow

UNDERAGE drinking. A reader recalled starting Glasgow School of Art. One of his new chums, a fresh-faced chap from Skye, wanted to enjoy a pint in a Glasgow pub.

They headed to a bar on Holland Street, where the Skye guy, on being asked what he’d like, said: “A beer.”

“What kind?” enquired the barmaid.

His reply of “A big one, please!” abruptly ended that particular session.

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Quirky query

A DAFFY question from a reader: “What is made of leather, a foot long, and sounds like a sneeze? A shoe.”