Top idea

IN an unrepentantly hypocritical fashion, the Diary continues to rail against the obscenity of graffiti while enjoying a sly chuckle at examples of such wanton vandalism that tickle us. Fraser Hamilton recalls a visit to Iceland with his wife. It was a cold January day with snow fluttering to the ground. Heading from the car park to the changing rooms of the famous Blue Lagoon spa, Fraser was amused to spot a message scrawled on a lamppost, presumably the hand-work of a fellow Scot. It read: “Taps Aff.”

Sober thoughts

ZOOM conference call technology isn’t only used by businesses. It’s also adaptable for fun and games. Eric Scott, who’s based in Sydney, Australia, joins a weekly Zoom quiz with six old school pals in Glasgow. There’s only one drawback. The time difference between Oz and Scotland means Eric has to rise, bleary-eyed, at 5.30am. “I look forward to a shower and breakfast afterwards,” he says, “While they’re visible on screen enjoying a beer or single malt. Still, you can't put a price on 50 years of friendship.”

Gardening leave

WITH misty-eyed affection, Catherine McLennan from Thurso recalls the good old days when she would sprint round with a Hoover and duster before guests arrived. With visitors no longer making it past the threshold of people’s homes, Catherine’s cleaning regime has evolved somewhat. She explains: “It's a case of rushing round with the lawnmower and scrubbing the bird poo off the garden bench. Again.”

Sand, sea… snarling

OUR latest mission improbable is to devise bold new advertising slogans for Scotland’s towns and cities. We’re rather fond of reader Bill Thompson’s suggestion for a certain seaside town where family outings often get fractious. He offers up the bellicose blurb: “Ayr your grievances here.”

Bene-fit up

WE’VE been focusing on the generosity and charitable instincts of lawyers. A few years back a youthful legal eagle told Russell Smith from Kilbirnie that his senior partner had been discussing the administration of a wealthy estate and advised staff: “There’s a lot of money involved. Don’t waste it all on the beneficiaries.”

Tartan terminology

AN important political intervention from reader Ian Kinloch, who says: “Now that English and Scottish lockdowns appear to be diverging, could we differentiate by calling the Scottish one Jockdown?”

Talking (bingo) balls

PRINCE William and Kate Middleton had a go at being bingo callers, and we continue devising alternative "number call-outs" for them to try. Moira Campbell suggests Kate could yell: “Seventeen… I wanna be Queen!”

Tongue lashing

SOME breaking news from reader Albert Kavanagh. “The tongue twister world champion has been arrested,” he informs us. “I hear they’re thinking about giving him a tough sentence.”

Read more: Those were the days