PEMBROKE: Blowing bubbles along the M40

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The Independent Online
You never know when those little airline freebies may come in handy. When Dr Ian Shenkin's car broke down between London and Birmingham his mind naturally turned to the half-drunk bottle of champagne he had just lifted from his British Airways fl ight from Jersey. The plastic dome from the top of the bottle exactly fitted the hole left by his missing oil filter cap - the cause of the car's problem. This solution not only got him to Birmingham but lasted for two days thereafter.

However, Dr Shenkin's staggering ingenuity did not stop there. During the repair process he spilled the champagne. With devastating clear-sightedness, he told the entire story to BA, who were so delighted they instantly delivered an entire case of bubblyto his front door.

But the real interest is the champagne itself - Piper Heidsieck. According to BA's publicity machine, this little tipple has been specially blended for the airline in a corporate jet at 35,000ft to "reproduce the environment in which it is supposed to bedrunk". Sadly, we do not know how it tasted to Dr Shenkin at ground level.

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