When we‘re talking. . . white beetle convertible. We’re talking. . . great bodywork!

THIRTEEN An ocean between us or just a stairway to heaven? I‘d love to get up country with you. Ten.

Loving a stranger! 16/1 Fire Island. waited for hours Wednesday unsuccessfully must see you again for personal Valentine wishes! Every Wednesday 8.15 same place. Alex.

Luv and kisses on Valentine’s Day to my darling pup‘ess. mole'ess. hippo‘ess, lima'ess. ferret‘ess from her pup. mole. hippo. lima. ferret XXX.

MfS— I love you more than words can ever say future Mrs S.

To the cutest ferret in the world I'll try if you try.

Hero OI Britain I know you’re really

I thought the other day of jacking all thisin. Why bother. I thought. I had just had one of those awful telephone conversations squatters in Grub Street have every day of their miserable lives. trying to interest an editor in an article which I could tell. by the sound of tea dribbling down his semmit. he wasn‘t too keen on. Outside it was slashing down; upstairs Sophie hit another bum note in ‘I'm never gonna fall in love again'. It used to be ‘Fiir Elise‘. Two pub teams were playing on the

Links. One guy tried an overhead kick, missed the ball. and then rolled in the mud like a chocolate egg. It took two of his mates to pull him up. There was a time when I would have tried that too. and sometimes - not often I managed to connect. For someone in a vacant and pensive mood, it provoked melancholy

thoughts. ofwhat I could once do .. and can’t now. I felt like taking the phone off the hook. unplugging this infernal machine and going out and showing him how it ought to be done.

But I didn’t. I sat staring out yonder wondering what I could do if I wasn’t doing this. I read


Yes. it‘s here again. The time of year when even hard-boiled old cynics come over all romantic and say things they will regret for the next twelve months. Here

are your Valentines.

Big N. in disguise. Please rescue damsel in distress. also budgies. All my love. Little Plum.

To the best social worker in the world from your secret admirer. be my Valentine XXXX.

To Catriona Miss Thomson. did I ever tell you that I love you? Stuart.

John I'm still here ifyou want me. love knows no distance! Please write soon I love you. The Real Gone Kid (L.S.) XX

Collywobbles: Aawuboo! But you‘ve got cold hands! Wainey.

HIYA BEING how about coming for a ride on my F105 Thunderchief? Incidentally I love you.


Julia. let‘s share a cream egg or two. Love S.

7 egg?

To. A Brilliant Individual. all my love from a Silly Tense Ever Volatile Eccentric.

Thanks for giving me a chance to prove that I am not as bad as you think I am. It‘s a meagre gag.

Shrews forever! We make an unbeatable team. O.H. Smith.

If you'll be my Eddie Clockerty. I’ll be yourJanice Toner. . . [want you till my coffee congeals.

SAL. within the comfort of love‘s glow. A fool as I has but one way to go. Deeper and deeper in. Love Kris X.

Shelly you‘re sympathetic. caring. charming. witty and wonderfully crazy. The man with the guitar may not notice. but ldo. Thanks for everything, love Jacob.

.J‘ h V. t . . rs re} “a . -. -. .. ~ ._ .6 ~


Alan Taylor considers 101 useful talents for a dead-pan writer.

somewhere that Truman Capote had asked himself the same question and had gone to the pain oflisting his talents. He could ice skate. ski. ride a skateboard. read upside down. hit a tossed can with a .38 revolver. drive a Maserati at dawn at 170 mph. make a fancy souffle. type sixty words a minute and tap-dance.

It‘s not much when you come to think of it but compared to me he was a Renaissance man. Apart from being able to read like Dame Edna and what good is that? - I can't match any ofthese. I‘ve even tried reading when the room‘s revolving. That‘s pretty tricky, but not worth putting on a c.v. I should be able to

drive though. if not a Maserati then four wheels that revolve from A to B. But I missed my chance to learn when I put my foot down during my first lesson in the rather confined space of a children‘s playground. Luckily no one got hurt but we belted round the swings twice before my instructor got to the brakes. He scrambled out. shaken and stirred, and was last seen clinging to a zimmer.

I could go on and on listing what I can‘t do. and mostly I don‘t mind being useless. There are so few things I would really like to be able to do. Play snooker would be one, I suppose. Sing like Pavarotti (but if

Shelly I agree with Jacob. May your halo never slip and your wings never be clipped. Shine on munchkin. Love ya. Jo.

Yvonne. London's big, but

Biggar‘s . . . miles away. Definitely a case of not-over-manning. Blood On The Tracks, side one, track five. Love, Etienne, XXX.

30880: I’m affected every time I

eat vegetables it makes me think of

you. Let’s dance. Weasel Face, for a real cool time! Love RAMONA.

DARLING VERONICA, we must stop meeting in railway stations to pledge our undying love p.s. How much longer must I hold onto these marmalade sandwiches? Your everloving (but sticky) Valentine.

Ann— I love the Hearts,

I love Auld Reekie,

But nothing compares With your cock-a-leekie.

Agapi mou, Kyrlcao. I love you. You are everything I want, coaki mou.

Alex (y.n.h.) Elie. London, Paris, New York . . . The World. Lady’s Tower will always be the place. Lots oflove. Swan, the Iceman.

C.P.B.M. Hint for Valentine’s Day. When the ‘chips’ gads around

It's no fun out oftown

But ifshe waits at the ‘Slopes‘ They‘ll be roses one hopes! 8.8M.

Caroline & George Michael. A Happy Valentine's Day. Love M. & D.

you’ve got to look like the way he does I‘m willing to pass on that), write like Dickens, run like Seb Coe, eat with chopsticks and understand British Fail timetables. are others. Modest ambitions. you‘ve got to admit.

So too are my accomplishments. I procrastinate effortlessly. Ican throw peanuts in the air and catch them in my mouth, two times out of three. I can smell a rat. I can talk on the subject ofoscillation for a minute without hesitation or repeating myself. In the dark I can tell the difference between Murphy’s and Guinness. I can sing without embarrassment and stone-cold sober, ‘The more it/SNOWS- tiddely-pomfl‘he more it/GOES- tidder-pom/The more it/GOES- tiddely-pom/On/Snowing.‘ from Winnie the Pooh. but not as well as Alan Bennett.

That’s about it. There must be more but they don’t jump readily to mind. What‘s worse is my lack of inclination to add to them. I’ve just asked Nigel what he would like to do that he can’t. ‘Play tennis or a musical instrument‘, he said. ‘Otherwise I can do everything.’ Then again, he is an editor.

“The List 5 18 February 1988