Call it coincidence or call it destiny, but something romantic is in the air this week and Mills & Boon couldn't have asked for better publicity for their 100th anniversary. In a story that could have come straight out of their Superromance series, the world's most beloved girl-next-door-turned-beautiful-princess once again strolled arm-in-arm down the Seine with the "love of her life" at the weekend. The birds are singing, it's springtime in Paris and Kylie Minogue and Olivier Martinez are back together. Friends say the singer is "overwhelmed with happiness" to be back in his arms – his masterful, brooding, manly arms.
It seems incredible that even before Sex And The City, before Desperate Housewives, before every little girl grew up longing for her own Richard Curtis movie ending (she nearly misses the train, there's a stage, he loves her after all, it snows...), a blueprint for the perfect romantic finale was being imprinted on every impressionable mind.
Kylie and Olivier fit the mould exactly. He is the brooding Frenchman with devastating blue eyes and a pathological fear of commitment. She is the feisty Australian heroine who melted his cold, French heart. Their break-up lasted a year and a day and, when he had satisfied himself that he couldn't live without her, he drunk-dialled her number and decided to offer her everything. Her wishes for marriage, fidelity and cute French babies seem about to come true.
Unfortunately, outside the world of Mills & Boon and their wicked offspring, Richard Curtis happy endings are rarely so happy and hardly ever turn out to be endings at all. Minogue's family is said to be fuming that she is back in the arms of the cad Martinez, who broke her heart so publicly a year ago. Her friends think she is making a terrible mistake. If she were to write to Dear Deirdre, no doubt the agony aunt would say that getting back with an ex is always a bad idea. Mills & Boon are not known for tackling taboos, but the one inviolable rule they do break is in allowing for love the second time round. In romantic novels, people and situations can change. In the outside world, that is unthinkable.
We live in a get-over-it-and-move-on age, in which celebrity years are shorter than dog years and girl singers get married and divorced twice in the time it takes most people to sink ten large gin and tonics and turn his picture to face the wall. Couples divorce on the grounds that the passion is gone, their partner is flawed and they have discovered that they are better off as best friends.
But what could be better than being married to your best friend? And is it so bizarre to forgive someone's flaws and try again? Kylie says she has looked around and not found anyone she likes better than Olivier. Perhaps her mistake was looking around in London, not Paris, but give the girl a break.
Right now, Kylie's friends should watch what they say. You cannot hold someone else's grudges and she will not thank them for trying. One woman I knew wrote a letter to her newly-single friend, detailing the faults of the just-ex-boyfriend that she was clearly better off without. By the time it arrived, he had come back, they were engaged and the letter-writer was crossed off the wedding list.
It is a spark of hope in a cruel old world that someone out there still believes in romance, and if we all hold hands and wish very hard it just might succeed. Kylie deserves a Mills & Boon ending more than most: with a train, a stage, a public declaration of love – and very definitely snow.
Oh, Gordon, try turning on the charm
Hats off to the mess of contradictions that is Gordon Ramsay, who says he hates show-off "celebrity chefs" but seems to have it written into his contract that he must take his top off at least twice in every television programme and who, brilliantly, doesn't like being shouted at or talked down to in any way.
Now he has decided to further his domination of the world by cornering the market in affordable food, and has come up with a menu for a bargain £30 a head.
Once wine and service are added, this should be just about affordable by anyone who owns a string of restaurants worth £1.5m a year, which is marvellous news.
Oh, Gordon. As far as brains and charm are concerned, it's a good job you're good-looking.
* BBC4's Doctors To Be: 20 Years On is an illuminating follow-up to the 1980s television series. Two decades on, those junior doctors are older, wiser and mostly happier. But what happened to the altruism that got them through 18-hour shifts on ProPlus and dizzy optimism alone? And when did one of them make the move from "helping people" to "getting lots of time off to play golf"?
Judging by reactions to Alan Johnson's letter to GPs this week, altruism is in short supply in the NHS. The Health Secretary wants GPs to open surgeries longer so people can actually see them – and doctors don't like it. While he's at it, could he ask them not to roll their eyes at patients, not to have receptionists who act as Cerberus guarding the gates of Hell, and not to look up symptoms on netdoctor.co.uk in front of their patients? And how much extra pay do they want for being nice?Reuse content