WHEN reader Margaret Forbes attended Cumbernauld College in the late 1980s, a female lecturer told her this tale, which she swore genuinely happened. A group of boys at the college were taken on a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. On the way back, there was so much hilarity the teacher was forced to stop the bus and investigate. It transpired that the lads, wanting to extend the pleasures of their jaunt, had smuggled a penguin onto the bus. The bird was clearly not keen on forging closer links with its new chums by matriculating at college. So it was taken back to the zoo with all due haste.

Amy not to blame-y

ACTOR and singer Tom Urie should be cock-a-hoop right now, as he’ll be appearing in BBC drama, Guilt, later this month. However, the diary finds the troubadour in tantrum mode on social media. “Just woke up from a dream,” he says. “I was busking, singing Mr. Rock and Roll, and Amy Macdonald walked by, stopped, and took my guitar off me and smashed it against the wall.” Tom adds, more in sorrow than anger: “I hope you can live with yourself, Amy. I loved that guitar.” Amy, clearly hoping to avoid a Tom tiff of titanic proportions, replies: “Real life Amy is much nicer than dream Amy… I hope.”

Footy fire and brimstone

THE diary has been pondering what a specifically Scottish hell would be like. Peter Armstrong from Stirling informs us it wouldn’t have fiery lakes or pitchfork-prodding demons. “Hell would look like Hampden,” he explains. “And the demons, who’d be dressed like SFA officials, would force tormented souls to watch a satanic Scottish team play a sulphuric San Marino.” Peter adds grumpily: “Worse still, those diabolical devils would charge £30 a seat. I doubt anyone could come up with a hell worse than that.”

Sound advice

WHEN he visited the hospital last week, reader Brian Aitken from Galston was given two new hearing aids. “Before fitting them I was told all the operating instructions,” he tells us. “But it was no use. They just went in one ear and out the other.”

Messy maple munchethon

COMEDIAN Susan Calman knows how to get the day off to a scrummy start, revealing that she likes nothing better than to attack a stack of pancakes for breakfast. “Maple syrup on my glasses in the aftermath,” she adds. “Which is the sign of a good plate of pancakes.”

Brutal education

AN East Dunbartonshire reader of a philosophical bent has been pondering Scottish education of late. “Teachers in Scotland were once addressed as dominies,” he points out. “Should female teachers have been known as dominatrices?”

Pillow palaver

WE end with some useful advice from reader Chris Halliday. “Never challenge death to a pillow fight,” he advises. “Unless you’re ready to face the reaper cushions.”