Come fly with me

Latest off-field problem for England’s team in the World Cup has been a plague of flies. Uncharitable souls might say it was a case of flies gathering around … well, you know the rest. But, in fact, the team still managed to play well in their victory over Tunisia on Tuesday. The problem is caused, as you might imagine, by breeding on the Volga. BBC Sports Natalie Pirks said: “You find dead ones you’ve splatted in the strangest of places.” Ooh-er, tell us more. Radio 5 Live commentator John Murray said there were “billions”, but tournament organisers said they were just midges that didn’t bite. Non-biting midges? We’ll take these in Scotland, thanks.

Sum referee

The American referee participating in the World Cup is Mark Geiger, whose everyday profession back home is teacher of mathematics. This nugget of information was raised at Diary reader Drew Fleming’s Widowers’ Group, prompting one wag to ask: “Does this make him a sort of Geiger-Counter?”

Donner und Blimey

A teacher friend of Diary reader Barrie Crawford set off with his pupils on a school trip to Berlin. Shortly after their arrival, one of the pupils asked him: “Sir, how come that guy spoke German to us when we speak English?” There is, of course, a simple explanation for this. But, sometimes, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Grate chess player

Interesting historical board game fact spotted by reader Mike Jarron in a certain Sunday paper’s magazine: “Cheese grandmaster Garry Kasparov was defeated by computer Deep Blue in 1997.” Surely, suggests Mike, that should be Danish blue?

Watch this space ad

Don’t know about you, dear readers, but the Diary was amazed to discover that adverts have been sent into ooter space. According to an article on Cracked website this week, in 2005 the Deep Space Communications Network beamed up Craigslist, a personal ads website offering cars, landscaping, and property rentals, but mostly, according to Cracked, “weird sex stuff”. However, worse was to come when Doritos sent up an ad. The company claimed: “[We] shouldn’t be too surprised if the first aliens start arriving on planet Earth immediately demanding a bag of Doritos”. Or put another way: “Take me to your tortilla chips.”

The Honourable Dick

Bizarrely, it’s reported that House of Commons waiters, too embarrassed to say “spotted dick”, are actually saying “spotted Richard” instead. Wonder how that will go down with members?

Smombie nation

Sad to read that they’ve had to brick up the distinctive Rill water feature near London’s Tower Bridge to stop smombies falling in. Smombies are smartphone zombies, those folk you see waddling along the pavements with their faces in their handhelds. Obviously, they are dead annoying. The solution? Surely, it must be stiff penalties.

Caught short

Reader Alistair Simpson, of Old Drumchapel, was discomfited to find a sign in loos at Ravenglass Railway in the Lake District that said: “These toilets are inspected regularly but, if you find a problem or shortage, please tell a member of staff.” Muses Alan: “What gent’s going to say he’s been to the loo and wants to report a shortage?” Yes, and what are you supposed to do? Give them a little tinkle?

Ken Smith is away.