Diary: Hugh in denial over Vietnam

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The Independent Online

In keeping with the royal theme, today's picture story cunningly features an actor who actually looks a bit like Paul Burrell. (It's a small world!) Indeed, come the inevitable day when there's a big budget biopic on England's most celebrated royal butler, my money's on Hugh Bonneville stepping up to the plate.

Alas, while discretion and Burrell were not two words to ever appear in the same sentence until just now, Bonneville clearly isn't cut from the same cloth. Yesterday, High Street Ken swiftly sent one of his best men into town to quiz the actor about the next series of hit TV show Downtown Abbey. While our correspondent unconvincingly denies eye witness claims that he merely stood around "drinking and leering at fellow guests", he insists Bonneville remained tight-lipped when it came to future titbits about the drama, set in the early part of King George V's reign.

"It won't be set in Vietnam, but that's as much as I can tell you," was apparently his most revealing reply. More on this when we have it.

* While others were scurrying about hunting for increasingly tenuous tales relating to the happy royal couple yesterday, this ol' diary columnist was already looking at the bigger picture – or to be more specific, Wales. Stay with me. Following news that our future King and Queen will be resident in sun-soaked Anglesey, High Street Ken was on the blower to Welsh tourist bosses talking strategy. "OK, let's cut to the chase – what's the plan?" I chirpily enquired.

Matters briefly appeared to take an unhelpful turn when the nice lady from Visit Wales seemed to suspect I was little more than an annoying stalker. "The whole reason he's gone there is for privacy, we can't spoil that," she hastily explained. I would have assured her a recent regrettable misunderstanding had led to High Street Ken's travel expenses being temporarily frozen, but fortunately we were able to get back on track. "We're certainly looking at the benefits for tourism in Wales," she confirmed. "But we haven't got things ready quite yet.." Then, before I could get round to telling her about one fondly remembered lost weekend in Colwyn Bay, she was gone.

* Let me level with you, the High Street Ken inbox isn't always the veritable feast of satirical gems you might imagine. Sometimes, readers, he has to contend with people who, for the purposes of this family-friendly column, I will politely refer to as time-wasters. So thank the Lord for the British Beer and Pub Association, who shortly after news of the forthcoming royal wedding, went to surprisingly detailed lengths to explain to me why the said couple should shun "champagne or sparkling wines" on their big day and instead neck back pints of bitter. I thank them for their contribution, but now suggest we go our separate ways.

* What with High Street Ken's so-called accountant having only recently informed him he's living "ludicrously above his means", I suppose any advice on budgeting has to be at least nominally welcomed.

Lib Dem peer Lord Redesdale is now on hand to promote the culinary advantages of grey squirrel. "I flash fry them with butter, but they taste a bit like rubber chicken," he explains. "You're better off marinading them." Depending on whether or not the Inland Revenue has a sense of humour, those dastardly tree rats in my neck of the woods could shortly have a surprise coming to them.

* Still on a culinary note, my ongoing journey through The Celebrity Cookbook today leads me to a welcome encounter with childhood hero Sir David Jason.

While Boris Johnson's useless cheese on toast might have tasted better if I'd actually bothered to make it – in my defence, the late-night pizza delivered was still a cheese-based option – I immediately felt more reassured studying the pearls of wisdom offered by our very own Del Boy. "If I were to cook a meal for a present-day inspirational figure, I would like to cook for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales," he proudly declares, before assuring us his fish pie would be "lovely jubbly!"

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a true professional.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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