THE Diary’s cruel and bullying detractors often accuse us of chewing up the English language, turning it into a mauled and masticated mulch of muddled metaphor and alliteration. (Actually, the previous sentence probably proves them right, though it’s still pretty mean and underhand of our crummy critics to fiendishly focus on our foibles – oops, there we go again.)

Anyway, we may chew upon words, but we draw the line at chomping on fellow homo sapiens. Though we aren’t averse to publishing anecdotes about such disreputable diners, and have been doing so of late.

Which inspires retired Labour MP Sir Brian Donohoe to recall the time he went, as a young man, to see Robinson Crusoe at the flicks in Kilwinning.

When a tribe of cannibals appeared on the screen, a wee girl shrieked in terror: “Oh look, daddy! The canon balls.”

On the never-never

AN elderly East Dunbartonshire resident tells us he was watching TV, and had just switched over to BBC1, where the movie The NeverEnding Story was showing.

At which point our correspondent’s granddaughter announced: "We studied that in school."

Then, without a trace of irony, she added: "But we didn't finish it."

Bad education

ON the subject of youngsters' quirky comments, we’ve been discussing schoolchildren and the baffling babble with which they bombard their poor tutors.

This reminds Brian Logan from Langside of the guidance teacher in a Glasgow school who brought up the understandably sensitive topic of suicide, only for a pupil to say that her aunt lived in the sooth side.

Air heads

THE steak pie has been purchased from the local butchers. (At an extortionate price. What’s the steak made from, we wonder? The golden calf from the Bible?)

The whisky in the cabinet has been replenished.

And now we’re truly prepared for Hogmanay, with its good cheer and optimism.

Though some of our correspondents are feeling a tad cynical.

Gordon McRae, for instance, recently spotted an overhead sign on the M8 motorway announcing "under-inflated tyres are dangerous".

“My immediate thought,” says Gordon, “was that so are over-inflated egos.”

Teen torpor

THE 17-year-old son of reader Julie Clarke leaves school in a few months, and isn’t thrilled about the prospect.

The other day he said: “Now unions are powerful again, couldn’t they strike to lower the retirement age to 18?”

Read more from the Diary: When Rufus Sewell acted the clown

Scot… or not?

SCOTTISH comedian Leo Kearse doubts the roots of tennis player Andy Murray. “He’s barely Scots,” argues Leo. “He plays sports. He’s got his own teeth.”