Hard to swally

THE Arab news agency Al Jazeera has written about an excellent language course for migrants in Glasgow which teaches them local colloquialisms as well as the Queen's English. It quotes an Iraqi doctor, Laeth al Sadi, who says: "I faced some difficulties in trying to understand the Glaswegian accent. Words like 'I didnae ken' and 'swally', but with listening and speaking to people you get used to them and people are very helpful."

We like the fact that Al Jazeera then adds that the phrases mean "didn't know" and "an alcoholic drink" for those from further afield.

Stop the bus

WHAT are the most exotic destinations you see on buses around Glasgow? Auchenshuggle and Bonkle are my favourites. Been to both, by the way. Anyway the story of the Bonkle baby bus will be celebrated at a stunning hi-tech son et lumiere show on Saturday at the Vintage Vehicle Trust's Bridgeton Garage when the tales will include the expectant mum in 1960s Lanarkshire who couldn't afford a taxi to Bellshill Maternity and instead caught the Bonkle bus where she was caught short and gave birth behind the driver's cab.

The clippie doubled as a midwife and she banished all the menfolk to the Woodbine-fugged upper saloon. The show runs from 4-8pm.

Remembering Christine

THE death of former model Christine Keeler, who was caught up in the Profumo affair, reminds us of when The Herald's redoubtable Jack Webster interviewed Christine over dinner at the Russell Hotel in London. She drank three large whiskies then followed Jack to his hotel bedroom, still raging about people who had deceived her. As a worried Jack later revealed: "Here I was, alone in a bedroom with the notorious Christine Keeler! I also got the feeling she rather liked me."

Fear not gentle reader. Jack diplomatically persuaded her to leave the room and escorted her back to the lounge bar.

Irish puzzle

AS we all try to make sense of the DUP's intervention in the Brexit debacle, John Henderson explains: "The irony of the DUP is that they are nothing more than a bunch of dinosaurs who don't believe at all in the existence of dinosaurs."

Copped it

OUR story about Edinburgh being a possibility for Prince Harry's stag night reminds Russell Smith in Kilbirnie: "A friend was tied to a lamppost in Paisley's High Street many years ago after a stag night and he called out to a passing policeman for help. 'Don't worry son, the worst is still to come,' was the reassuring reply when he explained he was about to get married."

Secret Santa

A GLASGOW lawyer tells us: "At the risk of revealing my Secret Santa mission to my colleagues, I thought the new Herald Diary book would be an ideal gift. I went into Waterstone's in Argyle Street, and as I entered, a very nice lady assistant engaged me in a welcoming smile, so I just asked, 'Herald Diary?' at which she grinned broadly, leaned forward and in her best pantomime voice said, 'It's behind you!' which it was."

Have we mentioned that there is a new Diary compilation out just now? Under a tenner too.

Monday night fever

WE feel we should pass on the observation on social media by singer Tim Burgess, best known for being the frontman for The Charlatans -late on Tuesday morning he posted: "Monday nights in Glasgow are like Saturday nights in most other places." He then added one of those winking smiley faces, but I'm keeping the Diary column unbesmirched by emojis.