Where's your pistol Claudine?

Triple P had just written his rant against Andy Williams' Christmas song last night, whilst our companion did complex things to her hair, when we decided to go to the hotel bar in search of a drink or three. The main bar was closed for a private party (I hate it when hotels do that; stick them in a conference room!) but the number two bar here is also, unusually very nice (we like this hotel as it has no less than three bars). No sooner had we sat down then what should come lilting through the speakers like a nasty outflow from a sludge farm? Yes, It's the most wonderful time of the year by Andy fucking Williams. We were apoplectic and made comments to the barman and he did at least turn it down. Our companion was most amused (we are afraid she is having a negative effect on our language).

When we were little the Andy Williams show was a staple of our Saturday evenings. Apart from the oleaginous Andy it also introduced the world to the Osmonds, for which it can never be forgiven.

Also slinking around was Williams' French wife, Claudine Longet who was fifteen years younger than him. Longet was a Las Vegas "dancer" who Williams literally picked up at the side of the road when she was 18. They seperated in the mid seventies and she set herself up with a skier, Vladimir Sabich, who was later shot dead by Longet in what she claimed was a tragic accident while he was showing her how the gun worked. This despite the fact that the autopsy showed that he was shot in the back from over six feet away. Amazingly, Longet was only found guilty of criminal negligence and served only 30 days in prison on the grounds that she had to look after her three young children.. Williams supported her throughout financially and emotionally but after her short sentence she dumped the children and hopped off to the Caribbean with her defense attorney who she later married. What a bitch!

If only she had used her pistol on Andy instead...

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The Return of the Baggage

Calgary Airport. It's not exactly huge, for heaven's sake.

Agent Triple P has been whizzing about North America for two weeks now. Beverly Hills, Anaheim, Atlanta, Tallahassee, Miami Beach, Dallas, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto. We have been to a lot of airports. Given the length of this trip (we still have a week to go) we were anxious about our case arriving from airport to airport, particularly on the two multi-flight legs.

But no, it was the perfectly straightforward flight from Calgary to Toronto where Air Canada lost Triple P's case. Reporting it was perfectly straightforward but then following up on the phone was a nightmare as we tried to describe it to someone in India who had never heard of Ralph Lauren and couldn't spell anyway. The reaction from Canadians was: "Oh, Air Canada, of course they lose your bags. Happens all the time, eh?" Air Canada is one of Triple P's least favourite airlines on account of it being generally rubbish. In the days before it was taken over in 2001 we much preferred Canadian Airlines.

Anyway, we waited and waited anxiously for our missing suitcase. We have only had bags go missing twice before. Once when flying from London to Korea via Bangkok and Korean airlines got the missing bag to our hotel in less that six hours. The other time was when flying to Tripoli. We never did see it during the trip and even had to go and collect it ourselves from Heathrow. We don't think it ever actually left London.

Triple P's suitcase (the blue and yellow one not the other one which belongs to our companion)happily back in his hotel room.

We had been waiting four days for our suitcase on this trip and had given up on it. Today should have been devoted to buying some replacement clothes but, hooray, it turned up overnight. We are so relieved that we don't have to go through all the turmoil of claiming from insurance etc. Celebrations tonight!
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It's not the most wonderful time of the year, actually!

No more! Please, no more!

Triple P doesn't like Christmas, or at least all the increasingly elongated commercial nonsense that surrounds it. We had hoped that we would miss all the ghastly build up by travelling around the US and Canada for three weeks. We had mistakenly believed that our North American cousins put all their efforts into Thanksgiving and Christmas was a lesser affair. Oh dear, how terribly wrong we were. There is tinsel, lights and trees everywhere. Ghastly!

But worse, much, much worse, is the endless Christmas music. We have had breakfast lunch and dinner to cloyingly awful Christmas music for more than two weeks. We can't stand any more! The North American's appreciation for what makes good Christmas music seems to be forever stuck in the fifties and early sixties as well. No carols from Kings or even Slade; here it's all Perry Como and, worst of the lot, Andy Williams! We are hearing Andy Williams' It's the most wonderful time of the year at least half a dozen times a day. Hotels, shopping malls, government buildings, airports. It's everywhere, like a sort of aural Black Death. There is no escape.

Triple P does not usually swear but if we hear that fucking song one more time we are going to start pulling the wires out of loudspeakers.

Arghh!!!!! Time for a Martini in a, hopefully, Christmas free bar. We are hoping our friend C will know of one!
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Good Service, bad service

Quite often Agent TP pops into our local Pret-a-Manger for a sandwich. It is always a delightful experience due to the friendly trio of Eastern European girls working their (T, V and D) who are always smiling and acting convincingly pleased to see you.

What a contrast with the gloomy staff of Foyles the bookshop, around the corner. At least now Foyles have dispensed with the Victorian sytem whereby you had to get a receipt in one place and pay at a little cash booth somewhere else. They could have spent more time training their staff who always look at you as if you have deliberately come in to spoil their shelf stacking. Look, we know that you have to stack shelves but shouldn't the queue of customers standing at the till recive some attention too? And when you do deign to wander over to the till you scowl your way through the whole transaction. The only exception we have found was the delightful young lady in the second hand section once.
Cheer up the lot of you!
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Left hand down a bit

Oh dear. The Queen Elizabeth 2 ran aground coming into Southhampton this morning before her final voyage to Dubai. We know there was a strong wind (force 7) this morning but even so. How many times has the ship come into Southampton? We used to see it at least 2 or 3 times during our summer holidays in Cowes so it must be quite a bit.

It is the end of an era as liners today are built for taking as many old Americans as possible on cruises not passage making across the Atlantic. The QE2 was the last liner running the transatlantic route; soldiering on alone for over thirty years after the Holland America Line and Norddeutscher Lloyd Line withdrew from transatlantic voyages in September 1971, Canadian Pacific Line in November 1971, French Line withdrew the France from service in 1974, Swedish America Line withdrew in December 1975 and Italia Line stopped in June 1976.

The SS France, later the SS Norway and finally the SS Blue Lady in India for scrapping last year

We are lucky to have seen some of the great liners of the past sailing: the France (sadly, scrapped in the last year), the United States, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. We have even been on the QE2 as a boy.

So, unlike many, Agent Triple P is glad to see the Queen Elizabeth 2 sailing off to be docked as a floating hotel in Dubai rather than ending her days on an Indian scrapping beach. Frankly she was showing her age and could not have been renovated to modern standards easily. At least she will be preserved as a monument to a time before air travel conquered the globe. Only eighteen months ago we enjoyed lunch in the Winston Churchill restaurant on board the Queen Mary in Long Beach so must try and do the same on the QE2 next time we are in Dubai. Actually, we had the chance to go on board when she arrives in Dubai in a couple of weeks but have to go to California instead.

A final point. The Queen Elizabeth 2 is, of course not named after the Queen (if she had been she would be Queen Elizabeth II) but is just the second Cunard ship named Queen Elizabeth (hence the Arab numeral).
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Japanese Bikini Jeans

The Japanese have always had a talent for taking something invented by someone else and improving upon it.

Now, Agent Triple P much approved of the how low can you go fashion for women's trousers (even though many of them, sadly, should not have tried it).

Sandra Tanimura, a Japanese designer, said that many of their customers wanted their low rise trousers to get even lower without them falling down. So, with typical ingenuity, she came up with a system where the integral bikini strings keep them up. Give this woman an engineering award!

But please, only to be worn by the young and thin!

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US Election: Triple P's favourite

Goes like a bomb. And the bike.

So, its tonight. Frankly, even though Agent Triple P is interested in the result, as it effects his job, we are thoroughly sick to death of the amount of coverage in the UK Press. It is pathetic the way the UK media sends dozens, if not hundreds (we wonder how many the BBC have there?) of reporters to cover the elections of a foreign country.

Agent Triple P has nothing against Americans, we find them rather splendid people on the whole, and there are one or two we are very fond of indeed! However, we are sure they couldn't care less about our elections and we suspect many people in the UK couldn't care less about America's, but it is another example of the UK media (particularly the BBC) telling us what to think and what should be important to us just because they find it exciting (and it gives them the excuse for lots of trans-Atlantic trips). Frankly, there is far too much politics in the UK media as it is, as news editors seem to think that politics is synonymous with news, which it isn't. It's just much easier for journalists to keep track of a comparitively tiny world like politics than some of the bigger and more complex issues in the world.

The Governor of Alasksa demonstrates how to nicely fill a tee-shirt

Anyway, Agent Triple P's vote goes to Sarah Palin, not because we think she is a good politician but because we think she is very foxy. I don't know if it is the glasses (rumour has it that they aren't prescription lenses but are just there to make her look more intellectual) but she looks like she would go like a bomb.

Sarah with every American's favourite toy

We would very much like to give her a few Martinis on a bearskin rug and discuss the Alaskan crab fishing industry.

Watch out for an attack of the crabs!

She used to be a beauty queen. Still is!

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Don't bother woman!

Another post to annoy HMS who believes that I am a sexist, misogynist dinosaur whereas, in fact, only two of those are true.

We were on the Tube this morning and some woman was putting her makeup on from a huge case full of MAC cosmetics. She spent ages on her eyes then started on her face etc. The thing was her face was covered in nasty little warts. She was not bad looking but, really, what's the point? In fact it draws attention to them! It's like spray painting a rusty old Morris Marina. It's still a rusty old Morris Marina underneath and the paint doesn't cover the rusty holes anyway.
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Well Done Lewis!

Ha ha! That'll stop the Ferrari team in their tracks!

We are delighted that Lewis Hamilton won the Formula 1 World championships in Brazil yesterday although leaving it to the second to last corner was a slightly stressfull way to do it.

Hunt and his rather spiffy wife Suzi

Formula 1 rather runs in Agent Triple P's family but we admit that we have found it rather boring since, well, the days of James Hunt. We are rather surprised that no-one in the press has pointed out that Hunt won his championship in a similar way in 1976. He was also dogged by off the track decisons and penalties by officials during the season. Again, he won the championship in the last race when Lauda had to pull out allowing Hunt to scrape in and also take the championship by just one point (although Hunt wasn't leading the championship at the begionning of the race).

Some people have criticised Hamilton for not being that exciting a personality but most Formula 1 drivers seem cold, taciturn and rather introspective. We suspect emotion has no place in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car travelling at 200mph. Hunt had bucket loads of personality but was the exception rather than the rule.

Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like mine?

At least Hamilton has got himself an A-List, babe girlfriend with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. The rest of this rather dire "singing" group (Scherzinger seems to do all the vocals and the rest just writhe about) look like a bunch of ageing ratbags but we think Nicole is rather splendid (wearing a scarlet cocktail dress in the McLaren pits was a rather interesting wardrobe choice).

Nicole's idea of pole position is rather different from Lewis' we suspect

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Random thoughts on the way to work

Not on the train, slaphead!

So, Agent Triple P caught a train thirty minutes earlier than our usual one this morning and arrived at work exactly nine minutes earlier than usual. Not worth it! Caused by the train being a stopping one and by too many people trying to get out of the tube station than if we had travelled a bit later.

There was a ghastly bald man eating porridge out of a Tupperware box on the train. Disgusting! Get up earlier and eat at home. And you look like Gerry Anderson!

Also the ticket inspectors were out at Waterloo and this caused a huge tailback. As usual all the non-paying miscreants were young women.

We stood next to a very beautiful black girl on the tube and it was very apparent that she was wearing a wig. It hadn't really occured to Triple P before but probably many black women with long hair are actually wearing wigs on account of the nature of their real hair. Hers didn't fit well, so it was obvious. We were faintly weirded out by it, we don't know why, but it's maybe because it falls into the same category as women with padded bras. It's sort of dishonest.

Much cheered up by smiley Russian T at the sandwich shop this morning. "I give you a bag", says the little blonde poppet. I pointed out that I didn't need one. "I want to give you one!" she insisted. My thoughts entirely, young T.
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Indian Moon Rocket lifts off

Yesterday the Indians successfully launched their unmanned moon mission the Chandrayaan 1. The ship carries 11 different experiments and it is planned that it will enter lunar orbit by November 8th. The Indians plan to fire a small impact rocket onto the surface to prepare for an unmanned landing on a later mission using a Russian developed lunar rover. The ship should orbit the moon for about two years conducting mapping and other activities.

This was the 12th successful (they have had 2 failures) launching of the Indian built Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV -this was the first launching of the new XL (presumably Extra Large) version) which can launch a payload of 1,800kg. The rocket is 44m tall and 2.8m in diameter. The Satish Dhawan Space centre is on Sriharikota Island just north of Chennai.

Agent Triple P says jolly well done ISRO for developing such an effective home grown rocket; this mission will bring you right up there in the new Asian space race!

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Get a Blooming Move on! Six ways to get London moving!

Walk faster!

Since we moved offices to the glittering West End, from the civilised City, we have got more and more fed up with stupid people who hold everyone up as we fight our way across town.

Here are Agent Triple P’s six suggestions to improve things:

1. Ban people carrying take-away coffee cups. They walk too slowly and they’re dangerous.

2. Ban people from dialling on their mobile phones while walking along. They inevitably walk more slowly when they are doing so. Stand to one side out the way!

3. Ban people with drag-a-bag suitcases on the Underground. All that handle up and down nonsense at the top and bottom of escalators and stairs causes congestion. Anyway, drag a bags are for air hostesses and grannies.

4. Introduce a maximum diameter for umbrellas (2’6” is about right). Golf umbrellas are designed to keep men in check trousers and Pringle jumpers dry on artificially cleared tracts of the Scottish countryside, not for carrying down Oxford Street.

5. Put up signs reminding women to start rooting around in their handbags for their tickets before they get to the ticket barrier on the London Underground.

6. Introduce fast and slow lanes on the pavements in Oxford Street. Slow lanes are for tourists looking at shop windows, old people, women whose skirts are too tight to walk quickly, people with pushchairs, people talking on mobile phones and all the other idiots who think 1 mph is walking pace. The fast lane is for people who actually want to get somewhere. Police these lanes with people armed with cattle prods to keep the above idiots in line in the right lane.

Get a blooming move on!
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Keep London Moving: ban the coffee cups!

Another idiot culprit! Can we send Madonna back to America now please?

Well, in the last two days we have experienced another annoying habit which stops London moving. These are the idiots who walk around carrying those silly coffee cups with the baby drinking cup lids. They all hold them away from their body at about chest height as if they had a container of toxic waste (which they do, I suppose). Of course when everyone is bundling onto the tube they panic and hold back in case anyone touches their precious load. As a result, if you have one of these morons in front of you they hesitate at the doors allowing everyone else on either side to stream on and leaving Agent Triple P trapped on the platform. Let’s ban these silly coffee cups from public transport. Given that they are full of hot liquid they are dangerous for a start. Also, because these people move so slowly they hold up progress in underground stations; they are as bad on the streets too, come to that.

How pathetically addicted to coffee (a disgusting drink, anyway) do you have to be to not be able to wait until you get to work before you can have one? Get up earlier in the morning to drink one before you leave home! Just stop bringing the city to a halt with your silly cups.

Ban them, ban them all!
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More Eco Nonsense

Room for one more?

So, another ludicrous survey of a very small sample of people, which purports to be representative, claims that 47% of British people leave their TVs on standby overnight and that wastes £80,000 of electricity a year. This is equivalent to the electricity bills of 147 people. What? Is that all? That works out at about 1p of electricity wasted per year. Forget it! I'm not going rooting around at the back of my TV to switch the plug off for 1p a year. And it messes up all the settings, but then I suppose eco people still have old CRT TVs (probably black and white ones as well ,to go with their sandals, cord trousers, tank tops and Pentangle and Steeleye Span LPs)

We much preferred the suggestion that sharing a bath with a friend was another good way to save the planet. We have done our bit for that this year so we don't feel guilty about the TV!
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How to Murder Your Wife: Soundtrack

Well, we had a surprise this evening when we returned home to find a very fat box waiting for us. Opening it up we discovered a 12 cd box set called the MGM Soundtrack Treasury which is, we find after further research, a limited edition of 1200 containing 21 MGM film scores. One of which is Neil Hefti's complete score for How to Murder Your Wife, something which we didn't think actually existed.

It seems that the lovely B read my posting of yesterday, searched the internet found said set, put in an order (of several hundred Euros, we should point out) and it arrived this morning. Fantastic! We are hugely grateful. Maybe all that investment in Agent Provocateur has been appreciated! We are genuinely touched!

Now all we need is a large Martini and an Italian girl on a large bed. OK, a German girl would be a more than adequate substitute!

Danke meine leibe!
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The Ugly People of Claygate

The Island of Claygate-cut off from civilisation

We have noticed that more and more people are getting on the train at Claygate every morning. It used to be that only a few people used to board the train there but now they bundle on in their dozens. Worse still, as we noticed this morning, they are all disproportionately unattractive as well. Claygate, of course, is virtually cut off from the rest of Surrey as there are only about two roads into it. As a result, the inhabitants are all horribly inbred which explains their nightmarish Island of Dr Moreau appearance.
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Neil Hefti: 1922-2008

Agent Triple P notes that the TV and film composer Neil Hefti has just died at the age of 85. His career really divided into two distinct parts: the early years when we worked as arranger and composer for some of the best big bands such as Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Harry James and, especially, Count Basie and the later years, after 1960, when he worked on TV and film scores in Hollywood. He scored a number of films such as Harlow (1965), Barefoot in the Park (1967), Boeing-Boeing (1965) and our favourite How to Murder your Wife (1965).  He is, however, almost entirely known for composing the repetitive but catchy theme for the sixties TV series Batman.

Virna Lisi in How to Murder your Wife

It is, however, the music for How to Murder your Wife for which Agent Triple P appreciates him. His score contains seven themes all of which, like his Batman theme, are hopelessly catchy. A reviewer in the TV Times many years ago noted that his score for HTMYW was "the definitive sound of the sophisticated sixties soundtrack."  Well spotted, sir, and bravo Mr Hefti!
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Pomegranate terraces in Oman

Agent Triple P has recently returned from the delightful country of Oman. Whilst there we were served a bowl of fresh pomegranate at the home of a leading Omani government figure. The pomegranates of Oman are considered some of the very best in the world and are grown on precipitous terraces in the Al Jabal Al Akhdar (Green Mountains) situated inland from the capital, Muscat.

This is all very apposite given Lady Rosemary's item on them in her Time for Food blog.

The pomegranate I had was very different from the rather dried up specimens I have had in the UK, with large and juicy seeds. The trees there can grow up to 25 feet tall and in the mountains the temperature varies from as low as 6 degrees to 38 degrees Celsius, so they have to be hardy trees indeed. Pomegranate trees are some of the oldest cultivated trees on earth with eveidence that they have been specifically farmed for over 5,000 years.

Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

As Lady Rosemary's blog mentions pomegranates are inextricably linked with the Greek myth of Proserpine (Persephone). It was her eating six seeds of the pomegranate (the fruit of the dead) that destined her to live for six months of the year in the underworld. Lady R is a woman of Pre-Raphaelite demeanour herself and it is her fate as well to spend half of her time in her own subterranean underworld, no doubt because she ate her pomegranate seeds in the past.

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Watt's going on?

For the last month Agent Triple P has been looking for a 150 watt bulb for his kitchen. He has looked in all the normal supermarkets and some specialist electrical shops. He got so desperate that he looked online (although the idea of light bulbs and the Post Office aren't a very reassuring combination). There he stumbled into the answer. Yes, Mr Gordon (there will be no fun) Brown has banned them! They were officially phased out in January and it looks like 100 watt bulbs may have gone too. In fact all normal light bulbs will go by 2011 in order to be ready for an EU-wide ban.

A few thoughts occur as a result of this little publicised decision.

Firstly, why is it always the UK that instigates these bans before the EU requires it? Does the government think we score extra points for being good boys? We don't. It's the EU. They hate us. Do what the French and Italians will do. Claim that the introduction of these bulbs will cause hardship to people living in the mountains and ask for extra time to bring it in. Then ignore it for a couple of years and pay the derisory fine for not doing so. Easy!

Secondly, these low wattage power bulbs are rubbish; really dim and we have yet to see one that gives out the equivalent of 100 or 150 watts. 60 is as high as they go. We are all going to have to live in depressing, dimly lit houses. It will be like Victorian Britain. This is a dark country in the winter; we need light. We bet the suicide rate goes up as a result.

Thirdly, all of these bulbs are large and unwieldy. Are we all going to have to change our light fittings and lamp shades? We've not seen a low energy candle bulb; they are all the size oif Orangina bottles. Has anyone even thought about that?

Fourthly, why are we having to save energy from lightbulbs? We are a G8 country (for the moment anyway), we have the right to burn lots of lightbulbs on account have having invented the industrial revolution and changed the World! Is China going for low wattage lightbulbs? I'll bet they aren't! We just need to build a lot more nice nuclear power stations and then we can sit in our house and actually read under artificial light. No doubt Mr Gordon Brown would prefer us in the gloom learning the bagpipes, the only recreation that will be permitted if (horrors) he is elected (not re-elected of course as I don't remember being offered the chance to elect him in the first place).

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Rocket bonanza!


It's all go in the world of spaceflight at present.

Yesterday the Russians launched three satellites for their military global positioning system GLONASS (not be be confused with Glasnost which was far less sisnister). They used their venerable but still very cool looking Proton Launcher.

Strap-on heaven. The Proton.

Then the Chinese launched three astronauts, Jing Haipeng, Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming in their Shenzhou VII spaceship as well. Zhai is due to do a space walk on Saturday.

We come in peace!

Although the Chinese have launched a one man capsule before this is their first three man effort and takes them into the top rank of space powers, although they are getting a lot of technical support from the Russians.

I knit rubbery suit for you!

Interestingly, they are not using the same spacesuits on the mission. Some are using Russian made suits whilst one poor astronaut (what is the Chinese term for an astronaut? Probably something which translates as "High flying peoples unity pioneer of the cosmos" or some such) is using a "homemade" suit. Obviously not happy with being given a Russian made suit he volunteered his wife to knit one at home for him in some sort of Sino Noah and Nelly scenario.

"Where is uvver broke?"

Rift off!

This time the Chinese crew have a selection of 81 different space meals rather than the 50 they had before. We were wondering how they got barbecued spare ribs and spring rolls into those little squeezy tubes spacemen eat from but the Chinese have taken it seriously so their heroic travellers have "food that tastes just like a stir fry from home". Plucking food out of the air with chopsticks could be tricky though!

Next month the Indians launch their moon probe so the Asian space race is well on the way. Why don't we feel comfortable about this?

The Indian Moon probe. Looks like it is made from old cornflake boxes and tin foil

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Giant processor needed

For the second time in three days selfish people have thrown themselves onto the railway track on Agent Triple P's line. Perhaps they are bankers in which case we can do without them anyway.

Possibly Mayor Boris may wish to consider a giant rotating blade set into a large hole somewhere conveniently located near the railway. The old Eurostar site at Waterloo springs to mind. People can then just jump into that and save us all a lot of delay and stress.

We saw a picture of a similar device which the Chinese (naturally) use to drop live ducklings into which are surplus to requirements at a factory farm. Sort of a combination of food processor and waste disposal unit. Whizz Whizz chop chop chop!

Ideal. Just need a big enough blade. Possibly something like this:

The Large Hadron Chopper ready for installation at Platform 20

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End of the World slightly delayed...

A really much better looking scientist than usual checks for leaks in the very long pipe thingy.

I see the new Large Hadron Collider (what is a large Hadron, anyway?) has conked out after springing a leak and will take months to repair. This means the end of the world/creation of a giant blackhole/opening of a Stargate/time portal generation will be put on hold.

At least we will get to see the final of Strictly Come Dancing now, after all.
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Time for Food

Lady Rosemary rubs some onion into the bottom of very large paella pan

I feel I must put in a link to Lady Rosemary's delightfully retro gastro-erotica (it's far too refined to be called a gastro-porn) site, Time for Food.

If your taste in food tends to the slower end of the range and you appreciate a good eighteenth century country house hits rural Italian melange then you will be in heaven.

Lady R's own photography makes you put on weight just by looking at it, as well!

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A new blog for Agent Triple P: Venus Observations

The title of this new venture in the blogosphere is down to HMS, with whom we had an enjoyable few days in Aquae Sulis recently. The lovely J having set upon creating a food blog, HMS felt that he might be persuded to contribute "vinous observations" (he has long talked like a nineteenth century scientist from an Arthur Conan Doyle novel).

Needless to say, Agent Triple P's mind instantly transliterated this phrase to Venus Observations and an image of a nicely curvy torso sprung into his mind (or perhaps that was something to do with the presence of the lovely J).

So on this new site we will place some of our favourite images of women in art, photography and sculpture. Some of them may even have clothes on, but we wouldn't count on it.
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Season of mists and mellow fruitfullness?

Autumn is Agent Triple P's favourite season by a long way.

Dreary winter, with its light-free mornings and evenings, is largely unbearable in England; not for us the proper winter of Eastern Canada or Scandinavia just endless grey days of lashing rain and artifical light.

Spring should be a time of promise and anticipation but often the weather disappoints and we find the undeniable rising in our sap tends to lead to ill-considered dalliances: driven by hormonal responses not sense.

Summer offers the greatest potential for disappointing weather and, in reality, hot weather when commuting to London is not pleasant.

So it is Autumn which we enjoy the most. It is not the sultry Indian Summer Autumn of Keats which engages us, however. We have always thought that his Ode to Autumn is really an ode to harvest time, that slightly blousy, drowsy overblown period that can sometimes arise in mid-September. His poem is full of heady, over-ripe imagery and does not, in fact, in it's late summer way, catch the essence of Autumn.

For me the first whiff of Autumns was in the air today when Triple P left his office at lunchtime for an enjoyable lunch in Westminster with a government contact. Although the sun was out, on the shady side of the street the air had an undeniable chill for the first time.

The most perfect Autumn days are those when it is cold and crispy but the sun is shining. A good day for a walk with a nice young lady and cold enough that you both need to retire to a warm fire in the late afternoon with a bottle of a Southern Rhone...

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Latium Restaurant, Berners Street London

Since Triple P has moved jobs he has been looking for a new favourite lunch-time restaurant and now he has found it.

Latium was suggested by someone who had been there for dinner and the implication seemed to be that it was a typical old style trattoria. When we took our splendid new PA along for lunch we was surprised by its modern interior (no straw covered chianti bottles here) and even more by the food.

Owner chef Maurizio Morelli is from Lazio and imports many of his ingredients direct from Rome. He specialises in ravioli which are as to the tinned stuff we had to endure when we were small as a Saturn V is to a November 5th rocket.

On our last visit we had the taleggio and walnut ravioli which was perilously close to the best tasting thing we have ever eaten. We followed this with delicious filetto di manzo and a cannelini bean sauce. Utterly gorgeous. And all for £24.50 for a set menu! The wine list is excellent, although there were a few problems with wines that had run out. But we settled for a Vernaccia di Oristano from Sardinia which was delicious. How come a restaurant such as this can serve a stunning wine like this for £20 a bottle when for a lot more money you get paint stripper at Pizza Express? People who really know what they are doing, is the answer!

We could find only one fault with the place (they even have a completely gorgeous Italian waitress some days) and that is that they indulge in that irritating habit of keeping your wine and water somewhere else so you can't see how much you have drunk. Put it on our table! We sometimes need to make a tactical decision as to when to order another bottle!

During one of our visits two men from one of the London restaurant review organisations were ther talking to the chef. We overheard them saying that they would give them 5/5 for the food and that they should have a crack at a Michelin star. We couldn't agree more.

Needless to say we will be returning on a regular basis!
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Miss September: Sophie Howard

Nice skirt!

Former Catholic schoolgirl (they're the worst, in my not inconsiderable experience) Sophie was a member of the Salvation Army from the age of 10 until 16. She then left the SA and became a stripper. As you do.

Dirty girls need to spend a lot of time in the bath

She was at University studying English when her mother (?) sent a picture of her in a pvc catsuit to Loaded magazine and she has not stopped working since.

My favourite shot!

Now 25, the girl from Southport (where?) models regularly for the more downmarket end of the Lads Mag market.

Soapy again

She seems to pose regularly with other busty beauties in those rather coy little shoots the weeklies turn out.

Sophie and Saki obviously both need a wash

She always looks very wholesome and strangely unsexy, which seems to be a characteristic of The Sun/Daily Star (in her case) school of photography.

A few years ago she was diagnosed with Lupus Erythematosus and now does a lot of charity work for the Lupus society. Everyone seems to agree that she is a lovely girl.

She was voted No 1 in Loaded's Most Beautiful Breast poll. Fair enough!

She is not really my type but I am sure Agent DVD will enjoy her!

Clean at last!

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