Brought to book

AWARD-WINNING Glasgow novelist Douglas Stuart received an email from an A-level student. Now the esteemed author has agreed to let the young scholar share his written reply with the rest of the English class – though Douglas is having a few regrets, admitting he’s terrified that his response is loaded with punctuation errors.

“The fear of the teacher's pen,” he whimpers piteously, before adding in a slightly more pugnacious manner: “I'm 45. I won the Booker.”

Strop shop

WE feel it necessary to file the following story under the category of Only in Glasgow.

The daughter of reader Donald Macdonald from Dumfries was shopping in the Dear Green Place when she overheard the following exchange.

Shop Assistant: That's £10.99 please. You get the banter for free.

Customer: Oh aye, and do I get money off for the cheek?

Bombs away

POLITICAL denials are an art form, as a certain Downing Street Christmas party has made clear.

Reader Stuart Swanston recalls the late 1980s, when he persuaded his local MP to ask the Secretary of State about a nuclear weapons convoy that Stuart claimed he had spotted in the morning rush hour traffic in Edinburgh, on the very day the local council declared itself a nuclear free zone.

The following response arrived from the Minister for Supply at the MoD: “In reply to your constituent’s recently expressed concerns, Her Majesty’s Government can neither confirm nor deny the existence of ‘nuclear weapons convoys’. But I can assure your constituent that if such convoys existed they would be safe.”

Go west

QUESTION of the day from reader Marvin Sutherland: “If you wear cowboy clothes, are you ranch dressing?”

Cruelty of coupling

WE’VE been discussing the ups and downs of marriage. So far our readers have provided us with a deluge of downs, yet somehow we’ve scarcely mentioned all the ups that surely must exist, too.

David Miller from Milngavie says the subject reminds him of a comment by the Diary’s favourite philosopher, Chic Murray, who once pointed out that if it weren't for marriage, we'd have to find strangers to argue with.

Homing in

WE recently mentioned that Jim Hamilton from Carmunnock has become cool, calm and contemplative by compiling a series of modern Zen teachings. One of his favourites is: “If you think nobody cares whether you're alive or dead, try missing a couple of mortgage payments.”

Circular argument

AN inspirational thought from reader Scott Benton, who says: “The only thing that flat-earthers have to fear... is sphere itself.”

Read more: Panto shouts that shamed grandparents