Diary’s nifty nuggets

THIS week a metal detecting enthusiast discovered treasure in the grounds of Trefoil House near Hermiston, Edinburgh. Did the chap unearth a trunk of gold doubloons, buried by buccaneers? Not quite. It was a little girl’s purse, lost in the 1960s. The purse was duly returned to the (not so) little girl, who was delighted to find her priceless hoard – one sixpence, five old pennies and two halfpennies – still intact. Of course the real treasure is the memories the purse will bring back. That sort of value can’t be quantified. In the spirit of such things, we’ve unearthed some of our own most treasured tales and one-liners from the past. Such as the man who helpfully suggested to a tourist: “It’s only five minutes’ walk if you run.”

Rogue sweeper

THIS tale from Dumfries is said to have happened during the last spell of decent weather in Scotland, which dates it to the year of 1993. The hero of our story was disporting himself in warm-weather wear and did he not get a wee stone lodged in his sandal. He leaned against a handy metal structure and shook his leg violently, in an effort to dislodge the stone. This performance attracted the attention of a passing roadsweeper. And what would you do if you saw a fellow clutching a power-generator box thing and shaking violently, obviously suffering from an electric shock? You would do exactly what the Dumfries roadsweeper did. Remembering how dangerous electricity is, you would use your brush to whack the man free and save him from electrocution. Even though you might send the bewildered sandal-shaker to hospital in the process, to be treated for a broken arm.

Mystery meal

THE scene was a Little Chef in deepest Ayrshire where a customer had ordered the soup of the day. “What is the soup?” he asked as an afterthought. The waitress replied that she didn’t know. When she returned with a bowl of soup, she confessed that she still couldn’t identify which variety it was. The soup did not immediately identify itself from appearance, aroma or flavour. Now thoroughly intrigued, the customer asked to talk to the chef.

“What is the soup?” he said to the chef, who had appeared in full cook’s regalia.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “It comes in a plain brown packet.”

Market mix-up

THE Barras held a farmers’ market a while back where folk from the country could sell their produce direct to the customer. A local citizen spied an old pal wandering around the stalls and asked him what he was up to. “Oh, I’m just in for a gander,” he replied.

His friend looked dubious: “I’ve not seen anyone selling them,” he said.

Root cause

AN Antipodean reader was once confused by The Herald’s sports page description of a football team being "rooted" at the foot of the Premier League. "Root" is an Aussie variation of the F-word.

This reminded the Diary of an Aussie joke. A Queensland farmer told his mate that he intended driving down to Sydney for a short break. When his mate asked which route he was taking, he replied: “I think I’ll just take the wife. She’s stood by me through thick and thin.”

Talking balls

WE conclude with a metaphysical question. A reader once asked: “How did they measure hailstones before golf balls were invented?”