CONGRATULATIONS to the University of Glasgow on being named Times Higher Education University of the Year.

No award is needed to recognise such an august institution’s many achievements, of course. Its past scholars are a formidable bunch, from the father of economics, Adam Smith, in the 18th century, to former Labour leader John Smith in more recent times.

Over the years there have also been a smattering of students who were not called Smith, thus proving that Glasgow Uni got into the diversity game early.

Although we are happy to acknowledge the achievement of a successful academic institution, it’s also true that a degree isn’t essential in life.

A daily dose of the Diary is the only education needed, as the following highly instructional tutorials from our vaults emphasise.

For instance, we once received a crash course in elementary arithmetic when we were told of the woman who, when requiring help, announced: “I’ve only got two pairs of hands.”

Cold comfort

A TUTORIAL in thermodynamics: One summer in Glasgow’s west end a reader overheard two young people discussing whether to buy a bag of ice for a party they were having later in their back garden.

“It’ll melt before we get it home,” one of them said.

“If it does, we can put it in the freezer,” the other replied.

Starter stopped

A HISTORY lesson: A reader once went to a posh hotel in Belfast for dinner where the waitress took his order, which included a starter of prawns Marie Rose.

Ten minutes later she apologetically reappeared and asked him if he’d like to change his order to prawns Marie Celeste as the kitchen had run out of prawns.


GEOGRAPHY for beginners: A Glasgow student at Cambridge once got chatting to an American traveller in a local pub.

At one point the bold explorer from abroad said: “So the Boat Race is between Oxford and Cambridge? I’ve had a look at the map – seems an awful long way.”

In limbo with lingo

A COURSE in foreign languages: Two Glasgow chaps in their local pub spotted a fellow they had never seen before. One went up to ask where he was from. “Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,” the visitor replied.

The Glasgow chap returned to his pal and said: “Couldn’t get anything out of him. He doesn’t speak English.”

Moan Ranger

SPORTS education: We recall when Sir Alex Ferguson was a feisty Rangers player unhappy at being dropped. He stormed into the manager’s office at Ibrox and asked Scot Symon why he had been in the second team for three weeks.

“Because we don’t have a third team,” replied Symon.

Bog awful spelling

BASIC spelling: A manager in Falkirk received a sick note from an employee off work for two days with an upset stomach.

After four abortive attempts to spell diarrhoea, all of which were scored out, he had resorted with a flourish to the word ‘skitters’.

Gone to putt

A PhD in life’s bitter disappointments: An elderly chap at an Ayrshire golf club once said: “At last, everything’s started to click.” He then added: “My knees, my elbows, my neck...”