THE Diary is admired for many reasons. Our hard-hitting investigative journalism. Our serious and sober tone. And, most importantly, our topical stories. With that in mind, here’s a heart-warming Yuletide tale from a teacher who recalls a colleague putting up a Christmas tree in a Primary 1 class. She then asked her pupils to bring in festive decorations to hang on the tree.

The following Monday the youngsters arrived with glittering trinkets carefully wrapped in tissue paper. Except for one bold child, who stoutly declared: “Ma faither said you should buy yer ain baubles.”

Classical canine

OUR correspondents have been recalling their favourite eccentric university tutors. When David Donaldson was a student there was a lecturer whose special interest was Greek mythology. He owned two dogs, one named Psyche (after a hound that featured in A Life Of Bliss’, a popular radio programme) and the other was Achilles.

When ever he took the second of these mutts for a walk, he could often be heard shouting: “Achilles... heel!”

Rope: a dope

WE continue with our seafaring tales. George Smith, from Clydebank, tells us a chief engineer he sailed with once gave him the helpful advice: "Never argue with a woman or a wire rope, both can prove fatal."

Was the chief engineer being chauvinistic, rope-inistic… or both? We’re certainly all at sea when it comes to interpreting this ropey, dopey statement.

Uklear option

JUSTIN Currie, the lead singer of Glasgow band Del Amitri, is a serious rocker chap, though he is open minded enough in his artistic predilections to admit he enjoys the Eurovision Song Contest. Or, at least, he enjoys mocking the show whilst watching it on TV. During Saturday night’s broadcast he spotted a certain musical instrument being strummed, and was not impressed.

“The ukulele is the coronavirus of music,” growled Justin. “Utterly poisonous but persistently successful at reproducing.”

Canny cannibalism

A CHUBBY chum of reader Sarah Sutherland was complaining she was frustrated because she couldn’t fit into a favourite dress.

Attempting to encourage her chum to diet, Sarah said: “Remember, you are what you eat.”

“Oh goody,” said her chum, “in that case I’m going to eat a thin person.”

Impulsive impasse

AMBITIOUS reader Mark Wilson says: “I’ve set myself a five-year plan to be more spontaneous.”

Glass(es) half full

THOUGHT for the day from reader Claire Lane, who says: “When I put on my spectacles, my nose and ears do all the heavy lifting, while my eyes get the benefit. It hardly seems fair, somehow.”