The big question

A DIARY tale about Glasgow University’s school of philosophy reminds Bill Ford of the days when he was an undergraduate in the department, and there were rumours of a final exam paper that notoriously had only one word printed at the top, which was: Why?

Says Bill: “It was alleged that one bright student wrote in response, ‘Why not?’ and received full marks for his splendid effort.”

Brought to book

THE notoriously nosey Diary has been trying to understand the majestic mind of our glorious leader by taking a sneaky peak at the weighty tomes stacked on Nicola Sturgeon’s night stand. One of the books she read this year was The Trick is to Keep Breathing, which turns out to be a novel by respected Scottish author Janice Galloway.

Philistines that we are, the Diary initially assumed it was an instruction manual dealing with the difficulties of wearing a claggy cotton face mask on a crowded train.

Joke hits target

BRAVING the streets of Edinburgh to do some Christmas shopping, Mary Dawson found herself standing behind a chap in a toy shop queue.

As he placed an archery kit on the counter the sales girl said to him: “If you want, you can have it gift-wrapped.”

The chap immediately replied: “It’s an archery kit. I assumed it already came with a bow.”

The shipping news

OBSERVANT Iain Mills from Largs notes that the new head of the Port Glasgow shipyard, Ferguson Marine, is the appropriately monikered David Tydeman.

Going global

ENJOYING the Christmas festivities in a bustling hostelry in Glasgow’s East End, reader Rab Cameron heard a chap at the bar say to the exceedingly grumpy girl he was standing next to: “C’moan, doll. You know I’d go tae the end o’ the Earth fir ye.”

To which the lady in question sweetly responded: “Great idea. An’ once ye get there, wid ye mind stayin’ put?”

Underpass underworld

THE wonderful thing about social media is that it inspires so many profound and penetrating conversations. For example, the Diary stumbled upon a discussion about the splendours of town planning in Scotland, with one chap saying: “God, I love a good underpass. Grew up with them as a kid and still use them over crossing the road. The smell, the fear, the graffiti and the endorphin rush of coming out the other side unscathed.”

Getting his cards

“TODAY is my last day after 30 years' service working at the Christmas card decoration factory,” sighs reader Matt Turner. “The end of a glittering career.”

Read more: The philosopher's tone