Column Eight

Click to follow
O mio babbino caro]

Nicholas Coleridge's 'leave my dad alone' outbursts (pater is David Coleridge, the Old Etonian chairman of Lloyd's of London) have prompted snorts of retort from the backstage of grand opera.

Some impresarios are affronted by Coleridge minor's dismissal of the Pavarotti affair as relating to 'some absolutely tiny offshoot of Lloyd's'. It is not just Pavarotti, they point out. There is also Placido Domingo to consider.

Aficionados will recall that Domingo was due to shake the walls of the Kremlin to their very foundations on 31 December 1991. The Kremlin's walls were indeed shaken. Alas, not by the great tenor, but by the ill-timed fall from power of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Personal letters from the institutions that backed the Moscow Gala d'Europe have been arriving on Coleridge senior's desk. They want to know why the 14 underwriting syndicates have failed to reimburse them for the cancellation. Indeed, the matter is in the hands of m'learned friends.

Britain's most senior loss assessor on the matter of Hurricane Andrew has been giving interviews in his native North Humberside. A storm- tossed John Gale has told the Driffield Post that he is getting 'hourly reports from his man on the ground'. Under the headline 'Mr Gale probes Hurricane Andrew', Post readers learned that the damage is approaching pounds 10bn.

Senior Treasury officials are keen that it be known that they did not lose touch with the holidaying Chancellor during the early days of the sterling crisis. That buck has been passed decisively to the British embassy in Rome.

Notwithstanding his personal abhorrence of the contraptions (remember the Budget?), it seems Signor Lamonto was in need of two mobile telephones during his mercy dash home across two countries. Despite the wonders of new technology, Italian mobiles do not work in France and vice versa.

While the Treasury insists that it and the Chancellor were as one in the ether, Rome was unable to locate the whereabouts of Mr Lamont's Tuscan hideaway villa in order to deliver the two telephones. Presumably some bright spark phoned the Treasury.

Once again it falls to this column to put the record straight on a matter of detail. Contrary to popular opinion Kevin Maxwell does not live in a converted barn in the village of Ipsden, Oxfordshire. In fact it is a converted turkey house. Doubtless this exclusive snippet will be gobbled up.