Diary

Will Carling's relations with the Princess of Wales are not nearly so intimate as various scummy tabloids have been suggesting. In fact, the two friends might have had cause to quarrel quite recently when one of the Princess's better secretaries left to work for Carling.

According to my spies, the young lady (whose identity I have promised not to reveal) was showing visible signs of ennui at her royal post - one imagines nail-filing, yawns, etcetera - details picked up by the eagle- eyed Carling. "He asked her, during a visit to the Princess one day, if she would like to work for him," explains my source, "and that, so to speak, was that." The young lady, I gather, is now wonderfully happy in Carling's employ. The Princess, on the other hand has been heard ruefully muttering something along the lines of "Why is it always the best ones who go?"

News from Knin, Croatia, where one of my oldest friends, Roland Dangerfield, a captain in the Royal Dragoon Guards, is the sole British Army officer in residence. He was taking a shower when the war started and had to retreat to his bunker clad in only a towel.

"It has been pretty terrifying," he told me on a crackly line yesterday. "Now there is only small-weapon fire throughout the day. We're not entirely sure what it is. It could be Croatian celebrations or it could be Serb retaliation. Whatever it is, I've got to stay here to act as liaison officer - just in case the Serbs counter-attack.

"It is very weird being in a town whose ownership has changed overnight. Windows are smashed. There are craters in the ground and, of course, refugees all over the place."

"Why, though," I had to ask him, "were you taking a shower minutes before 5am if you knew in advance that was the appointed hour for the war to start?" "I didn't expect them to start a few minutes early," he replied.

Back home, his father, Michael, a retired major, provided a further explanation. In the vein of Anthony Andrews playing Sir Percy Blakeney in the film of The Scarlet Pimpernel, he advised: "It's absolutely imperative, m'dear, to be tidy for a war."

I know I promised a month ago that you'd never have to hear about my wedding ever again, but judging from my postbag and phone calls beseeching me to give just a teeny post-mortem, I have decided to indulge all of us.

The day went off with only two minuscule hitches. First, my now step-uncle-in-law arrived late for the church and, oblivious to all signposts, parked in the space designated for my car. This meant I had to walk through a small wilderness to get to the church, catching my veil on all sorts of nasty bushes, which flattened my carefully coiffed hair. The real disaster, however, was my "hold-up" stockings (pounds 12 a pair from Harvey Nichols). No sooner had I arrived at the church porch, resplendent on the exterior, than beneath all the petticoats, the stockings fell down. Horreur! I couldn't get my father or the vicar to rectify the situation, nor could I traipse down the aisle with frilly lace stocking tops peeping out over my shoes. Fortunately, my wonderful dressmaker leapt to attention and with one deft movement - too quick, she assures me, for anyone to see a flash of thigh - she hitched them up again, shaking with silent laughter all the while.

Contrary to what you may have read in other newspapers, it is not the fact that the unorthodox composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle has been commissioned to write a piece for the last night of the Proms that has worried anyone. Rather, the problem is that it will be played in part two, not part one of proceedings. BBC2 (serious, musically intellectual) shows part one; BBC1 (newsy, musically populist) shows part two.

I'm told that when BBC1's controller, Alan Yentob, discovered that Sir Harrison would be shown on his channel, he went, to quote a colleague, bananas, calling emergency board meetings and conferences with Proms director Sir John Drummond.

Yentob, it is widely rumoured, even went so far as to suggest that if there could not be an interval, there could at least be "a technical fault" blocking transmission during the Birtwistle performance.

All to no avail. Sir John has remained firm, my sources tell me, wallowing, doubtless, in the delicious irony that the Birtwistle piece is entitled "Panic'.

BBC and Proms people deny this - so I'll be watching BBC1 with bated breath on the night.

You would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know that John Major is on holiday in the Dordogne. Not a day goes by without somebody writing a piece speculating about if and how he will accidentally bump into Tony Blair, en vacances in the same region.

But there is one, however, who has remained in blissful ignorance of the Prime Minister's whereabouts. Step forward, Terry Major-Ball, the PM's brother, who has himself enjoyed a one-day holiday with his wife, Shirley, in Eastbourne. "Oh, is he on holiday?" he asked me, rather surprised, last week. "In that case, I must remember not to call him up in London."

It has been an unfortunate week for nationwide book retailer Books Etc. Its nominated children's book of the month, The Garden, by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe, is advertised prominently in all branches with posters showing a small girl in a tent in a garden at night.

The wonder of it is that they say that no customers have complained, in the wake of the horrific murder of seven-year-old Sophie Hook more than a week ago.

"These things are very, very difficult," sighs chief executive Richard Joseph, who has small children himself. "Where do you draw the line? The posters were printed months ago. It would have been very difficult to find a substitute. None the less, we would have reacted if any of our customers had said anything. The last thing we want to do is to cause offence."

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Transition Manager - Stirling - Banking - £400

£400 - £420 per day: Orgtel: IT Transition Manager - Banking - Scotland - £400...

General Cover Teacher

£100 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Secondary Teachers of all sub...

Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busines...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Pay between ?110 - ?130 Day: Randstad Education Cardiff:...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game