It is not unprecedented for guidebooks to be used by the military - for example Bomber Command in World War Two used Baedeker guides to try to avoid destroying too much of Germany's cultural wealth (although this failed tragically in the case of Dresden). Should you find yourself in Lebanon, don't be surprised if a soldier asks to borrow your guidebook. Vacation Work Publications of Oxford has just received a fax from Captain Gunnar Grut at the headquarters of UNIFIL, the United Nations force in Lebanon.

"I am in need of a good map describing the rest of Lebanon. Our soldiers have started travelling more extensively inside free Lebanon. Our unit- maps are limited to the area of operation, which of course is in the south.

"So I am appealing to you: would you permit me to use the map on page 15 in Travellers Survival Kit: Lebanon by Carole Cadwalladr and Anna Sutton?"

Captain Grut pointed out that there was something in it for the publisher: "I would of course compliment and refer to your publication, and this will be read by more than 600 Norwegian soldiers serving in Lebanon - and their friends and relatives."

The publisher said yes. The prospects of armed forces around the world relying on guidebooks raises some intriguing possibilities. A copy of said Lebanon guide is on offer to the reader who suggests the least suitable book for an army to depend upon.

The British Tourist Authority is to be commended for promoting cycling in its new campaign to attract visitors to the UK, which was announced at the World Travel Market this week. However, some of the cogs in Britain's tourism infrastructure are not helping a smooth introduction of the initiative. For example, a protest meeting has been held in Henley-on-Thames about the prospect of the town being "swamped" with cyclists once the National Cycle Network, intended to pass through the town, is established. Anyone who has ever tried to drive a car through Henley might suggest that bicycles are not actually the problem here.

Further north, ScotRail is continuing its vendetta against cyclists. There has been pressure in these pages and elsewhere to ease the policy that allows just one bicycle to travel on some trains in Scotland. So after the BTA's announcement at the World Travel Market, I went along to the ScotRail stand to ask what improvements have been made following so many adverse comments about the company's policy.

"Nothing has changed," I was informed. "This is one of those awkward situations where we haven't really got the capacity". Other train operators are busily making improvements in a bid to entice more cyclists on to trains, however ScotRail remains defiant.

The first day of closure of the southern section of London's Bakerloo line, mentioned last week, was not a huge success. Passengers who found their trips curtailed at Piccadilly Circus tried to follow a smattering of signs to the Bakerloo bus that is supposed to replace the Tube.

They all ended up at the Emaginator exhibit in the Trocadero Centre, a virtual reality attraction. The puzzled staff could offer them all manner of rides, but none of these could enable them to the Elephant & Castle.

Plenty of countries have consulates in London and Liverpool, but the Dominican Republic stands out on the diplomatic list for having a mission in Grimsby. Previously I had thought that the honorary Belgian consul in Penicuik, in the Scottish Borders, had the strangest diplomatic posting. But is there an even less plausible one?