WINTER is almost here, and Britain is rapidly turning into Brrrr-itain, a benighted isle of shivering, sniffling and sneezing citizens.

It’s so chilly that the teenage daughter of reader Marvin Keane had the audacity to request the heating be turned on at home.

“No problem,” said dad, “that’s your Christmas present sorted, then.”

Off colour celebrations

TO escape the woes of those wicked wintry winds mentioned above, we wend our way to Qatar, though, alas, we find little comfort there. For the sporting revelries, fuelled by tepid sips of tap water, are less than raucous, leading Sid Leslie, from Kirkintilloch, to say: “Fifa's rules and local laws mean that after each match, the supporters of winning teams are celebrating by going out and painting the town beige.”

Knackered nag

A DIARY yarn about a chap’s confusion over the acronym TBA (To Be Announced) reminds Brian Logan, from Langside, Glasgow, of the occasion his parents first got a TV, 60 years ago.

“Each Saturday we watched Grandstand all afternoon,” says Brian, “including the horse racing. Before every race a list of the latest odds would appear with the final entry being ‘20/1 Bar’, or something similar. I remember saying to my dad that the horse called Bar must be exhausted as it was running in every race.”

Secret Santa(‘s helper)

THE name-dropping Diary recently mentioned celebrity reindeer, Rudolph. Yuletide scholar Bill Cassidy gets in touch to inform us that, contrary to popular opinion, Santa has in total 10 reindeers.

“I can exclusively reveal that the name of number 10 is Olive,” says Bill, “for as the song states: Olive the other reindeer…”

Focus on humour

BARGING past all the annoying Christmas shoppers in Glasgow city centre, reader Norman Palin accompanied his wife to the optician, where the eye-doctor on duty explained she would need lenses, and it would be cheaper to purchase them on a direct debit subscription.

“Does that make them Contract Lenses?” enquired Norman.

Neither his wife nor the optician cracked a smile.

Dead entertaining

THEATRE fan Jennifer Collins once went to see a performance of Hamlet with her boyfriend, who had never seen a Shakespeare play.

Afterwards, she asked which character he liked best.

“The skull, Yorick,” he said, “at least I understood every word it said.”

“It didn’t say anything,” pointed out Jennifer.

“Exactly,” said her boyfriend.

Face: the facts

NOSTALGIC reader Karen Glyn gets in touch to say: “Remember when plastic surgery was a taboo subject? Now you mention Botox, and nobody raises an eyebrow.”