YOU'LL be glad to hear that Sindy, our British-born namesake, is alive and well and stealing market share from her American rival, Barbie. Even though the horrid Barbie tried to cut her price specially for Christmas.

The war between the blondes is no laughing matter. Every female child in the United States (a horrid country where Sindy would never dream of going) has an average of six, repeat six, Barbies in her nursery, whereas her British equivalent has only one such doll.

Both girls were born around 30 years ago, and experts claim to be able to distinguish between the two: a full-sized Barbie would have an improbable 43in bust whereas the more realistic, more active Sindy weighs in at a mere 37in.

Between them they have seen off the imitators spawned by retailers anxious to cash in on the market. Although Sindy was bred by Pedigree Toys she now has loving American foster parents in the form of Hasbro, a company that also has a monopoly of Monopoly(if you get my meaning). And this year - music to the ears of politically correct mums - Hasbro is introducing a black Sindy, complete with afro hair-styles