Brush with the law

READER Stewart MacPherson, needing to pick up toothpaste while shopping in his local discount supermarket, found that the shelf stock of the much-advertised ‘Hyper White Perfect’ brand - Oral-B 3D White - contained nothing apart from empty cartons - a sign, he says, that light-fingered people had been stealing the product. But if the toothpaste is as good as the adverts say it is, Stewart adds, the police should have no problem in identifying the thieves.

Bound to react badly

EVEN now, it seems, some people think it amusing to walk into a second-hand bookshop and ask if they have a copy of Fly Fishing, by J.R. Hartley. Hence the crisply unambiguous message posted on Facebook by Wigton’s The Bookshop - all in terse capital letters, we might add: “No, we do not have a copy of Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley, and the next person who asks for it will be shot on sight”.

Many a slip

THAT same second-hand bookstore, incidentally, details an encounter with a customer who tendered a £20 note for £14 worth of books. “Giving him the £6 change”, the owner writes, “some some reason it came out as ‘sex change’”.

One customer can top that, though. “Not as bad as me the other day”, she posts, “asking the man in B&Q for green Durex paint”.

Missing you already

J.R. Hartley, of course, was the elderly fictional author in a fondly-remembered TV advert for the Yellow Pages, which has just announced that it is to cease publication after 51 years. Judging from online reactions, many people are surprised that the publication has lasted so long in the digital age. Others, however, are going to miss it in all sorts of unexpected ways, from the man who wrote “What will I rip in half now to impress ladies?” to the young woman who lamented “What am I gonna read at my nana Jean’s when I’m trying to avoid conversation?”

Bridge too far

LAST Thursday’s Diary ran an item about a glass trophy awarded to the ‘first eejit who brings traffic to a halt’ on the new Queensferry Crossing. Andrew Foster gets in touch. “As a former commuter over the old Forth road bridge,” he says, “a small bet say that the eejit will be a tour bus driver.”

Floods of tears

JAMES Scott says he contacted a friend in Houston to see how he was holding up in light of the floods. “He told me he was suffering, but not through Hurricane Harvey. His in-laws had been visiting ... and couldn’t leave for a week as the roads were now closed.”

Going Dutch

LAST week’s item about the Dutch footballer whose name was jokingly translated as “I love you” reminds Bob Byiers of his holiday in the Netherlands last year, in a campervan made by Fife’s East Neuk Campervans. “We were approached by a beaming Dutchman who was interested in the word ‘neuk’ on the van. We assumed he wanted an explanation of this Scots word,” says Bob. “Not a bit of it: he was keen to inform us that it’s Dutch for sex.

“We’re not sure if we’ll tour the Netherlands again,” he adds.