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The Independent Culture
REAL Tintin and Snowy swanks read Herge's stories in French. Archive editions, including replicas of the original black and white pictures from the first book from 1929 - Tintin au Pays des Soviets - are on sale at the new Tintin at Belgian Trading store in London. Committed fans can buy anything from Tintin pyjamas (pounds 89.95) to a Tintin carpet (pounds 138.95 for the one showing the Black Island). No marketing opportunity is missed, from a pounds 46.95 teapot showing scenes from The Blue Lotus, to luggage, jigsaws, shirts and a pounds 585 model of the lunar rocket from Destination Moon. Promised in the New Year, Tintin wallpaper and borders, 97 Fulham Rood, London SW3 6RH. For mail order, ring 071- 581 2002.

HOW do you complete a jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the box? Ask Inspector Morse. The clues are provided in a booklet which comes with the Morse mystery puzzle, Murder Afoot. It's pounds 7.99 from a new mail order catalogue called The Collection, which sells only TV-related products. They include hand-painted ceramic cottages copied from those in Emmerdale Farm, a children's Captain Scarlet outfit and a gold-plated policeman's whistle, as seen on The Bill. Ring 0252 861 771 for a catalogue.

HAMSTER get the nativity set? It's the tasty straw roof, you see. Irresistible. Fool the little beggars by replacing it with a Celtic Nativity Set made of reconstituted stone. Being sold by Past Times, the group is modelled on carvings from religious panels in abbeys and monasteries in Ireland, Scotland and Northumberland in the 9th and 10th centuries. pounds 65 from stores (ring 0993 779339 for one nearest you) or by mail order 0993 779444.

SUPERMARKET chain Asda is muscling in on off-licence territory by offering a free glassware loan service, which is open to shoppers who spend more than pounds 20 on alcohol, with a refundable deposit of pounds 10. The glasses must be returned within 10 days of hire, breakages charged at 50p a glass and any which need washing will be charged at pounds 1 a dozen. Asda will also arrange sale or return on drinks if your bill is more than pounds 50.

FEELING flush? You'd have to be to pay pounds 550 for a box of six Christmas crackers - the Imperial - despite the exquisite bunch of glass grapes decorating each. Inside is a selection of silver and lizard skin gifts like pill box, fountain pen, cufflinks and perfume spray. Oh, and let's not forget the balloons, mottoes and paper hats. Cheapskates can choose the Sumptuous range, pounds 169 for six. From Smythson of 44 New Bond Street, London W1, 138 Lexington Avenue, New York or Harvey Nichols, in Knightsbridge.

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