YOU know that train ticket prices are reaching ridiculous proportions when even well-known authors complain about them.

Spy author Charles Cumming ventured north for Edinburgh Spy Week but was taken aback by how much his rail fare cost him.

As he tweeted: "My open return ticket to Edinburgh coolly priced by East Coast trains at £304." Unable to leave it there, Charles added: "I hope the CEO is building himself a nice swimming pool."

Not quite the 'good' china

Joe McAbery, in Condorrat, read somewhere that the excellent food provided on the A380, which called in at Glasgow Airport last week, is served on 'Royal Dalton' crockery. Royal Dalton, he asks? No doubt a bargain buy at the Barras.

PhD cabbies hit the road

THE Diary mentioned potholes the other day. Dave Biggart was in a taxi in St Lucia a few years ago and was surprised to learn that the cabbies had all qualified as PhDs. Pot-hole dodgers, that is. A skill we sadly all now need, as Dave observes.

Not such a 'Dam nuisance

ALAN Grant, in Blairgowrie, responding to the anecdote here about early-morning joggers in Amsterdam waking people up with their wooden training shoes, says: "Surely these are cloggers rather than joggers? Anyway," he adds, for good measure, "what's so unusual about being up late at night in Amsterdam?"

Late blooming talent

GILLIAN Forbes spots our colleague Catriona Stewart's line about procrastination being the thief of time and says it made her realise that procrastination is one of her few talents. More to the point, she adds: "it has taken me a long time to realise this".

What's on the other side?

WE got a good response to our item about Scottish TV programmes to balance the number of "Great British" programmes on BBC2.

David Donaldson suggests The Great Scottish Snip-Off, "celebrating the castration skills of our couthy shepherds and serving as a timely reminder of the irreversible nature of the SNP's aims".

And prime candidate to counter the partisan BBC, suggests Russell Smith, would be The Great Scottish Beechgrove Garden.

Python in the posh seats

MICHAEL Palin is bringing his new show, Travelling to Work, to Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness and Edinburgh on September 12-16. He'll be talking about his career as a globe-trotter and about his half-century in radio, TV and films. It's part of a big nationwide tour, which prompts someone we know to ask whether the venues he will be playing should be known as Palindomes.

Clean out of ideas...

A reader who signs himself (or herself) as "Confused, Glasgow" gets in touch.

"Before washing a jacket for the first time I read the instructions - 'Dry clean or machine wash inside out with like colours. Do not bleach, do not tumble dry, cool iron on reverse'."

Clear instructions undoubtedly, Confused notes - but "inside out" and "on reverse" are not that easy to implement on a reversible jacket.