Pandora

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The Independent Online
Freak event OVER the next two weeks tireless Tony Blair is jetting to almost every European capital for face-to-face summit talks in advance of the EC Council meeting in Cardiff. Reading his schedule is like trying to follow a supersonic version of Homer's Odyssey. On Friday, for example, Downing Street's "Operational Note" has him scheduled for lunch in Rome with the Italian Prime Minister, tea in Vienna with the Austrian Chancellor and dinner with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands in the Hague. Pandora was intrigued to see that Blair's final meeting, according to the schedule, is set for Saturday, 13 June, and will be a "bilateral with Geek Prime Minister at No. 10". Tony will deserve a relaxing break at Chequers after meeting with the Geek.

Tea & sympathy

EVEN before the first ball is kicked in the World Cup, watching England has become a major strain on the nerves. Take Glenn Hoddle's pastoral care for his players. After the recent introduction of a faith healer to the squad, England's manager has promised to counsel personally all those players he leaves off the final team. Will this include the inconsolable Gascoigne, Pandora wonders? Over a late night kebab, with Five Bellies keeping the paparazzi at bay?

Isn't Glenn asking too much of himself? Particularly in view of his own recent separation from his wife and his citation in a divorce petition brought against him by the husband of his new girlfriend, Vanessa Shean. Having denied any connection with psychic Uri Geller, would Glenn please consider Pandora's standing offer to provide a natter, a shoulder to cry on and a hot beverage whenever needed? We all know, Glenn, the pressures you face while trying to complete a 12-step programme for winning the Cup.

Noble missive

HEREDITARY peer Lord Sempill, 48, wrote a chiding letter to last Saturday's Times Magazine after one of its columnists had the audacity to criticize the "out-of-touch" House of Lords. The noble Scottish lord, who attended St. Clare's Hall, Oxford and spent much of the Eighties working in the South African advertising industry, delivers a GCSE-level mini-essay on the Upper Chamber. "It sits for roughly 140 days a year, for nearly seven hours a day," he enlightens readers. Pandora notes, however, that Lord Sempill himself voted only twice out of 67 divisions during the last Lords session.

Boot-faced Nancy

IN AN ATTEMPT to forestall his own family from "going to the mattresses" in a vicious domestic war following his demise, Frank Sinatra placed a watchful clause in his will. It decreed that anyone who chose to challenge legally the will's terms would be disinherited. Unfortunately, the great singer overlooked one avenue of possible tribal conflict. Now it appears that his daughter, singer Nancy - whose most famous lyric remains "These boots are made for walking/and if you don't watch out/they'll walk all over you" - is penning her own family memoir. She is reported to be taking a special interest in Barbara, her step-mother and Frank's final wife. No doubt Nancy's book will be as polished and compassionate as her delightful music.

Crowing

PETER LILLEY'S departure yesterday as shadow chancellor and Anne Widdecombe's elevation to the front benches in the Boy Wonder's first reshuffle came as no surprise to Pandora's readers who could have read about these changes here on 14 May. Of course.

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