WE were sad to hear of Sir Sean Connery’s death. Perhaps the Diary’s greatest claim to fame is that Sean was a firm fan of our flippant foolishness and once phoned Ken Smith, the previous scribbler of this column, asking for a story he didn’t quite understand to be explained.

Ken did the only thing a professional journalist can do at such a moment. He glanced suspiciously round the office to see who was having him on.

But the famous voice did indeed belong to the famous fellow. So Ken did his duty and explained the story.

Alas, Sean didn’t reciprocate by supplying choice titbits of Hollywood gossip. A gentleman spy never discloses top secret information.

Balanced battering

WE recently reminisced about the primary school where an entire class of misbehaving pupils were forced to belt each other in pairs. Reader Norman Geddes was one of the children who participated in the mass walloping, which took place in Paisley’s long-gone John Neilson Institution.

He adds one intriguing fact unknown to us. There was an odd number of youngsters punished that day. So having paired off the pupils, the teacher doubled-up the final unruly scallywag with himself. Once this lad had been thwacked by the teacher, he was encouraged to thwack the teacher right back.

An inspiring though ouch-inducing lesson in the lofty principles of democracy, as once practised in our classrooms.

Old joke

BOBBY Ball’s death brings the curtain down on that exuberant style of humour that rocked seaside piers and working men’s clubs. Scottish broadcaster Paul Coia once asked Bobby what was the worst part of ageing.

He answered: “When you’re showing an old, grey-haired lady across the road and you suddenly realise she’s your wife.”

Dry humour

THE things they put on telly. Reader Karen Watts’ husband was flicking through the sports channels trying to find football to watch. No footy did he find, though eventually he stumbled upon competitive fishing.

With a shudder, he turned to his wife and said: “What next, the Watching Paint Dry Olympics?”

Dictionary corner

WE continue rewriting the Dictionary. Jane Porteous from Kinross suggests: Semi-conductor (n). A chap who worked part-time on the buses.

Completely trolleyed

A DIARY comment about actuaries reminds former Labour MP Jim McGovern of a comment he heard about the noble profession. “What’s the difference between an actuary and a Tesco trolley?” he was asked. “An actuary can hold more food and drink.”

Lingo larceny

“I created a new word today,” boasts reader Adam Hawkins. “Plagiarism.”