TELEVISION journalists sometimes have to bear witness to truly heartrending events. Case in point: STV reporter Ryan Maher was in a bookstore recently when he spotted a copy of the autobiography of his colleague, the news anchor-man, John MacKay.

Which doesn’t sound particularly tragic. But here comes the sad bit (Hankies at the ready, folks). The book had a half-price sticker on it. Those cruel book peddlers were tossing away John MacKay’s magnum opus with scant regard for its literary merit and historical value.

John was quickly informed of the situation, and being a true professional, didn’t panic or dissolve into tears of grief.

“I trust you did the right thing,” he said to Ryan. “Peeled off the half-price sticker and put it up on a shelf displayed prominently.”

No chortles over chin

ANOTHER Scottish star who has been forced to come to terms with upsetting news is David Paisley, of River City fame. “Thought I was getting some extra grey hairs in my beard,” he reports. “Then I realised it was just mayonnaise.”

Overcome by ripples of remorse at this sad state of affairs, he adds: “Can’t think why I’m single.”

The Diary feels duty bound to conclude this downbeat tale of mayonnaise malaise on a positive note by advising David to keep his chin up. Though he should give that chin a good spring-cleaning first, of course.

Conceited crossing

WE’RE still attempting to come up with a suitable name for the proposed bridge linking Scotland to Northern Ireland. David Will, from Milngavie, claims the obvious name for such a construction is surely Bridgette.

An excellent suggestion. Though we are reliably informed that Bridgette translates from Gaelic into English as "exalted one". If this is to be the bridge’s name, it will surely become a very imperious and bumptious bridge. Leading to a strange scenario. A bridge that is regularly told to get over itself.

No laughing matter

A RECENT Diary tale involving an Inverurie lad reminds reader Robin Gilmour of a classic Harry Lauder yarn. The legendary music hall turn was trudging off stage in Inverurie, wondering why his act that night hadn't gone down well. His mood improved considerably after he overheard a departing wifie say to her pal: "Fit a gran' comic. It took me aw ma time no tae laugh."

More loopy lingo

Fumbled phrases continued. A colleague of reader Margaret Thomson mentioned she was about to have her lounge repainted. The woman added she wasn't sure which colour to choose, so would pop into B&Q later and pick up the perfect thing to provide ultimate satisfaction… a Durex colour chart.

Numbers racket

WE end with a nifty numbers-based gag. Reader Denis Moers is curious to know if we’ve heard about the mathematician who was afraid of negative numbers. He would stop at nothing to avoid them.