Language barrier

READER Barrie Crawford's daughter was having an online meeting with US colleagues when one of the participants surprisingly announced: “My husband flips buildings, and one apartment went sideways last week.”

This conjured up a cataclysmic image in the mind of Barry’s daughter. Though all was cleared up when she discovered that "flipping a building" means buying one at a low price, renovating it, then selling it on for a profit. And this particular deal had flopped.

Americans, eh? Their lingo’s so flipping dramatic.

Fame game

ANOTHER story about the late comedian Johnny Beattie, which takes place outside Ayr’s Gaiety Theatre where Johnny was appearing.

As he arrived at the building a lady sidled up to him.

“It’s you, isn’t it?” she said.

Johnny was never high handed with fans. So giving the lady his best showbiz smile, he said: “Yes, it’s me.”

The lady fired back: “Well when are you coming back to finish my kitchen?”

Muddled militia

A MILITARY query from John Harold from East Kilbride, who asks: “In the army, why does a private go into the general office and a general goes into a private office?”

Out to sea

EDINBURGH-based novelist Doug Johnstone has explained why completing a book takes so long. An author has to figure out the precise words for those mysterious objects he’s pretending to be an expert in writing about.

“I spent a long time yesterday staring at a diagram that named all the parts of a rowing boat,” admits an exhausted Doug, who adds in bamboozlement: “Transom… really?”

Prehistoric pun

“WHAT do you call an ugly dinosaur?” asks reader Elizabeth Randall. “An eyesaur.”

See you, Jimmy

WARNING: the following story is about 1950s yoof culture. So it may involve angst-ridden teens and leather-clad louts riding Harley-Davidson bikes whilst sporting James Dean haircuts.

No, wait. The tale comes from Amy Kinnaird, who was brought up in Ochiltree, where folks weren’t so keen on surly Jimmy Dean.

Instead Amy and her friend Mary celebrated their blossoming adulthood by enrolling in evening cookery classes at Ayr Academy. Their wild revelries would culminate with the girls visiting a nearby Italian café to order a hot orange and a Kit Kat.

“We felt very grown-up and daring,” chuckles Amy.

Hairy moment

WE live in a barbarous land with no barbers at hand. Actor Douglas Henshall says despairingly: “I’m beginning to resemble one of those guys who were discovered in the jungle completely unaware that the war had ended 30 years ago.”

Wordplay woes

A WARNING from reader James Cole, who tells us never to use puns while talking to a kleptomaniac. “They take everything literally,” he says.

Read more: Those were the days