ERIC RICHARDS of Whitley Bay says he is preparing for his annual trip to France. (It has to be said that he wrote before that country's motorways were transformed by protesting lorry drivers into a modern version of the battlefields of the Somme - I am not sure what his plans are now.)

'For years I have been religiously buying the other 'amber nectar', the lacquer for my headlamps, from the local AA shop - together with the cut- out plastic lens covers.'

Mr Richards says that friends have told him they do not bother with the lacquer and, instead of buying proper cut-outs, they use black adhesive tape for the headlight-beam deflectors.

I must admit that I have never bought the 'amber nectar' either, and I've always used insulating tape for the deflectors. (And while we are on the subject, why do so many British people fail to remove the lacquer from their headlights when they return from holiday - are these the same people who still haven't taken their Comic Relief red noses off their radiator grilles?)

I believe that, in the interests of Euro-harmony, the French are being told to do away with their orange headlights - but no doubt when this comes to be enforced, assorted French lorry and taxi drivers will block the nearest highway in protest.