Diary: Customers cry over split milk

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The Independent Online
COUNTRY types near Whitchurch-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, are bemoaning the loss of their morning pinta following a decision by Sir Julian Rose - said to be Britain's only titled milkman - to end his daily round. Sir Julian began his organic milk round 11 years ago from a battered Renault van, rising at 5.30 to milk the cows and fill the bottles. Now, unable to compete with supermarkets' cut-rate pints, the actor- turned-farmer is reluctantly selling his 50-strong Guernsey herd.

The news that they will have to settle for pasteurised milk has raised hackles in Oxfordshire, and Sir Julian's farm shop - the Old Dairy - is now full of outraged housewives. 'There's about 350 regular customers and the loyal ones are really rather upset,' said Sir Julian. 'I think I'll have to keep a few heifers here to keep the shop supplied.'

The decision about which cows will stay, I hear, is likely to be made by Rose's children - Miriam, nine, and Lawrence, seven. They are plumping for 'Dorothy' and 'Amber',' wide-eyed young things and good milkers. But Sir Julian has other ideas. Shelving financial considerations, he wants to keep an elderly cow called 'Apple'.

WHEN the television presenter Selina Scott, not the most prima donna-ish of luvvie types, agreed to a recent breakfast meeting with Aztec, the training and enterprise council, she imposed one condition: that there was plenty of bottled mineral water - and that the water should first be boiled.

WILLY-NILLY

Another example of William Waldegrave's political naivety - or that of his advisers - was in evidence just before the last election, I'm told, when he was due to address a public meeting on the day after he let slip details of a case that infamously became known as 'Jennifer's Ear'. Knowing the meeting would take on a new significance with questions on the NHS, it was cancelled, with rather lame excuses - such as the minister having to deal with his red boxes (during an election?) - being trotted out. Having second thoughts about the repercussions - 'Minister Runs Away' headlines - the Waldegrave camp announced that the meeting was on again, but by then the hall's caretaker had gone home.

Having ordered officials to find him another venue, the press found Waldegrave addressing an audience of 40 violently nodding loyalists from the local Conservative associations. 'Bit of a flap,' said a chap in a sheepskin coat. 'We all got a phone call at home telling us to get over here as quickly as we could.'

THE ACTRESS Beryl Reid was in self-deprecatory mood yesterday when talking about early days at the National Theatre. Attempting to negotiate the maze backstage, she strolled into what she thought was the rehearsal room. 'To my horror, I realised everyone was in gold and I didn't recognise anyone,' she said. Having inadvertently wandered on to the stage, the challenge was to get off it again without appearing de trop. 'It was the only performance I've never been paid for,' she says.

CHEAP EATS

Fun and games in the temperamental world of restaurateurs as Anthony Worrall Thompson, owner of Soho's Dell'Ugo, opens its sister eaterie, the Cafe Dell'Ugo, on the South Bank today. In a reversal of last year's tactics (he upset certain customers by putting squirrel on the menu) Worrall Thompson says he is bringing his restaurants 'closer to the people', hence this week's offer of free food to diners at the new cafe 'in order to get feedback, since we're bound to get it wrong at first'. Something has gone wrong already, I fear. 'A bunch of Conran's management booked out the cafe all week,' says Worrall Thompson quite amiably. 'As soon as I discovered, I cancelled them - I do not imagine for a second it was Sir Terence himself.'

A DAY LIKE THIS

15 March 1713 Elizabeth Freke, aged 72, writes in her diary: 'Being Midlent sunday, Mr Smith of Winch preached at Billney, and afterwards gave the sacrament. I had not been in almost two years, nor my son with me above this seven years before, Great and Good God forgive him this & all his other mistakes to Elizabeth Freke. Twas with the greatest of difficulty & the help of four servants I compassed to the church, and in misery I sat there (not lessened to see my son sit frowning on me there for an hour for I know not what, except it were his fear of my coming alive home again). After dinner I asked him if he had not lately received mercies enough from God, First from his deliverance from the tempest last Michelmas and that his youngest son lay sick with smallpox here with me (and at my charge) almost a month. His answer to me was that I talked to him as if he were but 18 years old - when at this very time he owes me above 3,000 pounds in ready money]'

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