THE Diary was sad to hear of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death. He was an often irascible, yet eminently relatable chap. Reader Stuart Swanston recalls that when Prince Philip was Chancellor of Edinburgh University in the 1970s he opened a new building in the Zoology Department.

After unveiling a plaque he was shown round the labs, where he noticed a molecular biologist who, being an ardent republican, had boycotted the opening ceremony. This fellow was bent over a microscope, tweezers in hand.

Prince Philip strode over and asked what he was doing.

“I was counting the bristles on the legs of drosophila – that’s fruit flies to you – and you’ve just made me lose count,” snapped the scientist.

Prince Philip retorted: “And I’m just doing my bloody job, too.”

Visionary youth

ONE of our correspondents took her teenage daughter for an optical test. Every aspect of the youngster’s sight, including her ability to see out of the corner of her eye, was examined.

Which led the youth to proudly boast afterwards: “The optician says my profiterole vision’s fine.”

Slippery slope

GLASGOW novelist Douglas Stuart woke early to do a radio interview, but became distracted as he had only one shoe on because he could not find its partner.

This wasn’t his first footy faux pas: “I’ve gone to the pub in my slippers before,” he sighs.

Courtly love

THE age of chivalry still flourishes in our genteel nation. The wife of a friend once told Malcolm Boyd, from Milngavie, that the previous night her husband told her to put her coat on.

“Are we going out?” she enquired hopefully.

Her knight in shining armour responded: “I’m going out, but I’m putting the central heating off.”

Head case

THE joys of educating boys, continued. Languages teacher Moira Campbell was once doing a vocab test and asked the class to write down the French word for tap.

One little fellow thrust his hand in the air and enquired: “The wan the watter comes out of, or the tap o’ yer heid?”

Odd job, indeed

A DIARY tale about linguistic confusion reminds Bob Byiers of the odd-job man knocking on house doors, looking for work. At one house he’s ordered to paint the porch out the back. Some time later he returns to the front door and announces the job is completed. "By the way," he adds. "It's not a Porsche, it's a Mercedes."

Computer says… maybe

THOUGHT for the day from reader Chris Dalton: “Should we update tollbooths and call them bill gates?”