Pembroke: Down to earth with insult and injury

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The Independent Online
THE ARCTIC-STYLE weather on the east coast of America took its toll on British travellers in more ways than they might have expected.

Passengers on a Virgin flight from Gatwick to Boston checked in and boarded their aircraft only to be told that Boston airport was closed due to the poor weather, so the flight was cancelled.

Worse followed. The captain's voice crackled over the intercom saying that passengers who had purchased items from the duty-free shop would have to sell them back. Cue for hoots of laughter.

The grounded troupe was shepherded back to the shop watched over by two policemen. 'The airline holds the duty-free in bond until the flight does take off,' a customs official explained.

COLDITZ CASTLE, Saxony, Germany, an investment and development opportunity. Long lease available.' So ran the advertisement last week.

This is presumably part of the plan, announced last year, to turn the former prisoner-of-war fortress into a hotel and leisure centre.

An ironic twist to make people pay to get into a place so many devoted so long to getting out of. Even its more recent history, as a home for the elderly and mentally ill, is scarcely more enticing.

Now the scheme, complete with disco and PoW museum, looks as if it has taken one step closer to fruition. Either that or the scheme proved too ambitious by half and won't go ahead at all.

MY COLLEAGUES at Euromonitor, the market research agency, have come over all romantic on Valentine's day with a little survey based on matters of the heart. Produced on blushing pink paper, it reports that the French are not as romantic as we might think.

The number of marriages in France has fallen from around seven per thousand inhabitants to just five, one of the lowest rates in the world.

On a bonnier note, sunshine weddings are on the increase, with more and more couples choosing to tie the knot on a Caribbean beach. Since the early 1980s marriage rates in Bermuda and Barbados have nearly doubled.

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ALSO JUMPING on the Valentine's day bandwagon is Capscan, which earns a crust as an 'address manipulation software expert'. Trawling through its database of weird and wonderful addresses, it has compiled a Valentine's day special of romantically named locations which includes Hearts Delight House, Hearts Delight (the street name), Sittingbourne, Kent; Lover, a village near Salisbury; and the splendidly- named organisation in Wales called Love, Peace and Swansea City.

ACCOUNTANTS will no doubt be looking forward to a night of unrivalled debauchery next week when they get together to celebrate the 500th anniversary of double- entry book-keeping.

Called 'Figures in Proportion', the evening heralds the opening of an exhibition that pays homage to Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan friar who penned a book called Summa de Arithmetica, a steamy bestseller that, unwittingly I'm sure, laid the foundation for modern-day accountancy.

The exhibition starts a series of special events to commemorate the publication.