Diary: As they would put it up in Shetland

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The Independent Online
A HEADY day for the Grimsby Evening Telegraph, the paper that broke the news of Norman Lamont's resignation, thanks to the ex-Chancellor's 82-year-old mother, Irene. The paper was forced to drop a front- page story on the opening of a theme park in Cleethorpes to make room for its scoop.

Mrs Lamont, whose accent owes more to the family's Shetland origins than its adopted home in Grimsby, revealed the news because she thought her son's friends in the town would be interested. But she did not want to talk to the Diary. 'I'm sick to death of the whole lot of ye and yer questions. Ye are all a ruddy nuisance to me.'

HER SON is not the only one looking for a job. John Onanugu, the Threshergate sales assistant who alleged that he sold Mr Lamont a pack of Raffles cigarettes and a bottle of champagne, is also on the look-out. As you will remember, his manager, David Newton, was sacked for backing the story, but Mr Onanugu was allowed to keep his job. Last month he left Threshers of his own accord: he wanted to spend more time with his daughter. Hmm. Sounds familiar.

5,000 pounds your Lordship

NEW COLLEGE, Oxford, is selling up to 36 of its 'Lordship of the Manor' titles to raise money. 'The fact is that they are a marketable asset and they are not producing any income at the moment,' said David Palfreyman, the college bursar.

Each title could fetch between pounds 5,000 and pounds 10,000, but the original certificates will be retained in the college archives: the buyer is entitled to a mere photograph of the deeds. 'We don't want to sell off the family silver,' said Mr Palfreyman. The titles will be on sale to the public in the autumn - with a discount to former students.

Slightly baffled by the interest, Mr Palfreyman said that, apart from using the titles to head personal notepaper, there was 'nothing tangible' about them. 'You don't get a lot for your money. You are entitled to call yourself Lord of the Manor of 'X', but whether anybody actually pays any attention is another question.' Caroline Dalton, the college archivist, suggests that New College should now change its motto from 'Manners maketh man' to 'Manors maketh man'.

CONGRATULATIONS to Lord Trevor who made his maiden speech in the House of Lords this week - 43 years after taking his seat. Lord Trevor, 64, explained that it wasn't nerves that had silenced him. 'I have not had sufficient knowledge to justify speaking on previous occasions.'

BETWEEN THE BYLINES

THE Rhyl Journal in north Wales has published a Parliamentary Notebook under the byline of Rod Richards, Conservative MP for Clwyd North West, that denounced the Government for attacking the most vulnerable in society - and came out strongly against fox hunting. Surprising views for a Tory in a rural seat? David Hanson, Labour MP for neighbouring Delyn, thought so. He writes the Parliamentary Notebook on alternate weeks and recognised the column as one of his own; an office error had led to the Richards byline. 'My biggest worry was that no one would notice the difference,' Mr Hanson said.

JUST one question about the Government's plans to charge motorway users: will they include landing fees for aircraft?

ALL IN THE FAMILY

LYNNE FORSYTH, Conservative councillor in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, has been threatened with bankruptcy proceedings, after a finance company claimed that she owed it more than pounds 20,000. Mrs Forsyth, who was Norman Lamont's agent at the 1987 election, denies that she owes the company any money.

This clash could prompt an embarrassing by-election in a borough where the Tories rely on the mayor's casting vote to keep them in power: their 25 councillors are matched by 18 Liberal Democrats and seven Labour members. But at least one Labour councillor is hoping that the matter will be settled before it reaches that stage. He is George Forsyth, Lynne's husband. 'I wouldn't like us to take control because of this,' he said.

A DAY LIKE THIS

28 May 1802 Dorothy Wordsworth writes in her journal: 'We sat in the orchard. The sky cloudy, the air sweet and cool. The young bullfinches, in their party-coloured raiment, bustle among the blossoms, and poise themselves like wire-dancers or tumblers, shaking the twigs and dashing off the blossoms. There is yet one primrose in the orchard. The stitchwort is fading. The wild columbines are coming into beauty, the vetches are in abundance, blossoming and seeding. In the garden we have lilies, and many other flowers. The scarlet beans are up in crowds. It is now between eight and nine o'clock. It has rained sweetly for two hours and a half; the air is very mild. The heckberry blossoms are dropping off fast, almost gone - barberries are in beauty - snowballs coming forward - May roses blossoming.'

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