THREE cheers for Daphne Smallman who, alas, is no longer around to hear them.
Before she shuffled off, Ms Smallman complained that when Tesco said it was offering strawberries at half-price it was having a laugh.
Consequently, the store that likes to give us a teeny bit more has had to cough up big bucks for misleading punters.
Contrary to popular perception I have been known to forage in Tesco's aircraft hangers for sustenance. I would be lying if I said the experience was a joy.
Take quiche. Can I find it? Can I heck! I'm sure that it's moved around from week to week simply to bamboozle me. Ditto Greek beans, which they have in some stores and not in others.
Then there's pineapple. Why do I find that Lidl's pineapples taste deliscrumptious and Tesco's tasteless? Even worse, though, are its tomatoes, which have less flavour than the sleeve of my leather jacket.
It is an awful reflection on modern life when one must resort to eating one's togs.
AS an Olympic athlete I am dumfoonert by the revelation that weans have not embraced the sporting life following last year's shenanigans in London.
A survey, which was sponsored by chubby Boris and his old Etonian chums, has discovered that fewer than half of those between five and 10 could tell a javelin from a hammer. Consequently, we are becoming a nation of slobs.
Girls, it would appear, are as bad if not worse than boys.
One wee lass, who was asked what sport she played, mentioned nail-varnishing, while another said that her mother insisted that she combed her hair vigorously every night.
When told these are not sports as such, both chirruped: "Who says they urnae?"
SAD travellers are returning from their holidays, all with horror stories of airports and aeroplanes.
I note that Mick O'Leary, heidbummer of Ryanscare, says that we've got to stop thinking that flying in one of his steel tubes is a luxury and regard it more as we do bus journeys, ie hell on earth.
Perhaps he's never been on the 26! Or maybe he has and knows well of what he speaks.
Suffice it to say that this morning we were marooned in no-man's land - Portobello - while the driver explained patiently to a young woman of Middle European extraction the concept of fares and the need to pay them before boarding.
But I digress. I well recall the days when flying was fun. I went once to New York, courtesy of British Airways, which put me up for a night in Gleneagles before the trip across the Atlantic.
In the air, the hotel's chef cooked the same meal I had eaten the evening before in his Michelin-starred restaurant, which was incredibly extravagant.
If I recall aright it was egg and chips, which was the favourite fare of George Best, among other discerning diners.
A FEW days ago I had the pleasure of introducing my dear chums, Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti, novelists extraordinaire, whose books are not published in their native Italia because they suggested that Pope Innocent XI was in cahoots with William of Orange.
Monaldi and Sorti were less worried about censorship in Auld Reekie than the availability of fresh fruit and veg.
In a restaurant, which must remain nameless, the waitress asked if they would like to see the dessert menu. Signora Monaldi said she wouldn't mind an apple. None, other than the computer sort, was in stock.
"What other fruit might there be?" she inquired. None, she was informed, other than that which was already chopped up for garnishing purposes.
Ach weel. I fondly recall the occasion when a friend visited a local fish-and-chip emporium and enquired what, if any, unfried vegetables were on the menu. He was directed by the triumphalist shop assistant to demi-johns full of pickled onions.
WHIT in the name o' the wee fella's going on?
I refer, horrified, to the news that someone as yet unknown has murdered a swan near Windsor Castle and barbecued it.
Unsurprisingly, animal-lovers are fulminating. Wendy Hermon, who works for the charity Swan Lifeline, was called to the scene.
"It was just a carcass, it was all burnt," she sobbed.
As I do not need to inform readers of this throbbing organ, killing wild swans, which are the property of Queen Tupperware, is a crime punishable by drawing and quartering, or three weeks' community service. The law dates back to the 12th century when ordinary folk knew how to behave.
More recently, I recall the wonderful occasion when my old chum, Peter Maxwell Davies, found a dead swan in his back garden on Sanday.
Unfortunately for him PC Plod happened to be passing and suspected something fishy. It all looked rather bleak for Max but he was soon cleared of any wrong-doing and, being one of our greatest composers, turned the big bird into a ballet, called Swan's Fate.
I jest. He turned it into pate, and delicious it was too!
BY happy circumstance I met my dear friend Eddie Linden at the Book Festival.
Dressed impeccably in shirt, tie, summer jacket and straw boater, he looked like he should have been floating down the Cam in a punt rather than padding around Charlotte Square in search of a sonnet.
I am often asked "Who is Eddie Linden?", which is a question that has pursued him for many a long day.
Indeed, there was a book and a play called just that. The simple answer is that Eddie is Eddie. His special talent is for insinuating himself into places which he has no business being in.
At the Book Fest, for instance, he got into the authors' yurt and could not be prised out. Nor should he have been. In an ideal world he would be given his own room in it.
He is most famous, of course, for running the little magazine Aquarius, which he kept alive for 40 years. That takes tenacity.
Among Mr L's benefactors was Harold Pinter, who put him in one of his plays.
He told me what it's called but I've forgotten.
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