Being something of a news junkie, I read nearly all the British and French papers and quite a few of the news magazines too.
Often I have only enough time to read the first few paragraphs of any article, but for some reason I stuck with the tribute to heroic Battle of Britain veteran Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp, "Spitfire pilot, PoW and bon vivant who tried the patience of his superiors", in yesterday's Daily Telegraph. Thankfully. I say that because had I not read his obituary in full I would have missed the following paragraph. Tucked away about three quarters of the way down, it described Wing Co Barthropp's successful seduction technique after he was liberated from the Gestapo at the end of the Second World War.
"On January 28 1945 the prisoners were herded from their camp and marched westwards during the intensely cold winter. They eventually reached Lubeck, where they were liberated in May. Barthropp managed to acquire a Mercedes fire engine and he and a friend drove it to Brussels via Hamburg, where they met two ladies who were happy to spend the night with them in return for a tin of corned beef."
A tin of corned beef? Happy? I humbly suggest there are two words missing from the account of this laddish jape. Those words are: "he claimed". Am I the only one curious to know the ladies' side of this story?