Fact-finding mission

THE Diary has always been a collector of strange and wonderful facts. They don’t even have to be true.

Philosophical aside: does something have to be true to be deemed a fact? For instance, the existence of the galloping beast called the horse is a fact. A spiky horn is also a fact. Add those two facts together and you have a third fact. And that fact is a unicorn. End of philosophical aside.

One of the world’s finest fact-finding fellows is the scholar Chris Sutton, who our sporting contacts tell us used to kick a ball about for a living. Which must have been entertaining, though not as entertaining as the following snippet of info.

“Scotland consumes 237,250,000kg of oats per year,” says Chris, adding: “That’s 13,000 servings of porridge served every day in Scotland. Beat that for Scottish facts.”

Now that sounds suspiciously like a challenge…

What’s bugging him?

CURIOUS phrases from the past: Amy Kinnaird from Ayrshire remembers a colleague in the 1960s would say, when faced with a tough problem: "If it's no bugs, it's reek."

Watered down welcome

RIVER City actor Sanjeev Kohli is in an unsatisfied mood. “When someone offers me a cordial greeting, it always feels a bit diluted,” he says.

Down in the dumps

THE nature of their work being self-examination, playwrights often bear their souls. Though sometimes too much information is offered up. For instance, the playwright DC Jackson reveals he recently found himself sitting on the toilet, for the usual reason. What wasn’t so normal was the fragrance filling the room. To be brutally frank (and icky) this was unfamiliar smelling bodily waste.

Clearly suffering from the medical condition known as pooranoia, Daniel says: “Does anyone know if fraudsters have any way of accessing one’s colon?”

With mounting suspicion, he adds: “I use the same password for everything.”

Stock response

ONCE more we dip our quill in a bottle of ink and continue, like Daniel Defoe before us, with our Journal of the Plague Year…

Colin Cloud’s a Scottish magician, though based in the States. That doesn’t make it easier for our man, as the coronavirus is a gruesome gadabout with a global reach. “Before supermarkets run out of food from panic buying,” says Colin, “I’m off to stock up on lots of food and water.” Pausing for thought, he adds: “Hold on, am I now part of the problem?”

(The Diary feels it right and proper to add our own public health announcement at this juncture: We’ve been assured by scientists that readers who buy 100 copies of The Herald each day will dodge diseases of all kinds. And that’s a fact. You know. The unicorn kind.)

I spy

READER David Fowler says his wife thinks he doesn’t give her enough privacy. “At least that’s what she said in her diary,” he adds.

Read more: John Smith, Labour's lost leader, 1991 and 1992