Matthew Bell: The IoS diary

Share

Delicious as it may be, it's hard to justify the "gavage" of geese required to make a good foie gras. That's the view taken by Prince Charles who has banned its use by chefs at Highgrove and Clarence House after animal rights group Viva! kicked up a fuss. All good news for geese, but a major blow to the House of Cheese, a delicatessen in the Prince's local town of Tetbury, which stocks foie gras and benefits from a royal warrant, which may now be revoked. "Where will it end?" asks a staff member. "Cheese will be next, then meat."

Little is known about Diego Garcia, the tiny British territory used by the US for extraordinary rendition flights. So shrouded in mystery is the remote atoll that it is being suggested in Westminster that maybe the US thought it belonged to them anyway. When one US politician was asked about murky goings-on there during the Cold War, he said: "I just say he's my wife's hairdresser."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has poured cold water on Tony Blair's bid for the EU Presidency, and an online petition called Stop Blair has already accrued more than 20,000 names. But when I check the odds on Blair winning, he remains the 2/1 favourite with Paddy Power. A few phone calls later and Paddy Power tell me they've changed the odds, and dropped him to 7/2, promoting Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker to top spot. George Bush remains an outsider at 1000/1.

Exiled from Somalia and with a fatwa hanging over her head, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a diplomatic hot potato. Now the 38-year-old feminist and writer turned Dutch MP has turned up in France. This is a headache for President Sarkozy, who has just cranked up a programme to deport illegal immigrants back home. But during his presidential campaign, Sarko promised sanctuary for all physically threatened women. The Dutch government refuses to continue paying for her round-the-clock protection, as has the US, where Ayaan was recently working. Now Salman Rushdie is off the UK's books, shouldn't we welcome the sparky young academic here?

David Cameron has high hopes for the future, but his wife Samantha seems rather downbeat about it all. Asked by British Airways' 'High Life' magazine to envisage life 35 years hence, she says: "In 2043, the technological age will have advanced into all areas of life leaving our senses starved of stimulation." Oh. That sounds rather depressing. But not to worry – Sam Cam has a solution. She has designed The Smythson Galaxy Travel Wallet which will "awaken the senses" with pockets containing sachets of Marmite and a lining smelling of cut grass. Sam Cam's vision of the future is intriguing: "With the evolution of space travel, the dividers within the wallet will be programmed to feature a selection of titles via a touch LED screen. Titles would include 'space dollars', 'ID' and 'carbon points'." Carbon points? ID? Is this what to expect from a Tory government?

He saw off the print unions after months of strikes in 1982. But former newspaper magnate Eddy Shah has been defeated by the planners in his local town of Wootton Bassett, after his application to build 39 eco-homes was rejected by the council after a two-year battle. They say the lodges would have an "adverse impact on the appearance" of the area. Shah insists all he wants is to be a good neighbour. Shah-shame!

Bill Deedes would be proud. His grandson, the magician Drummond Money-Coutts, has entertained everyone from the Queen to Stephen Fry and has now raised enough money to build a new school in Kenya. Credit is also due to fellow magician Tom Lyon. According to their website, "Drummond Money-Coutts and Tom Lyon met at Eton, where they taught each other Sleight of Hand behind the bike shed".

It's a vital railway junction and was once home to Billie Piper, but Swindon can't claim to have done much for gastronomy. Until now. Gordon Ramsay has chosen the Wiltshire town in which to launch a foodie website – menusinswindon.com – which allows local restaurants and pubs to post their menus. Swindonians can tap in a dish they fancy, then find an establishment serving it in the area. When asked – why Swindon? – Ramsay explains: "We needed a town with a broad spectrum of restaurants and people who enjoy eating out. We also looked for cultural and demographic diversity – Swindon ticks the boxes". First, Swindon. Next, the world.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The rules were simple: before the results are announced, don’t mention the S-word

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Howard Jacobson has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for the second time  

In praise of Howard Jacobson

Simon Kelner
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week