Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Table talk

01 January 2000 by
Table talk

Is that win, lose or placemat?

Ex-Bookie Tony Bricknell-Webb is betting that one of his Percy's Restaurants (in North Harrow, London, and Coombeshead, Devon) will win the £3,500 prize in the £5 category of the Financial Times' annual meal promotion.

He is so confident that he has put down £100 at Ladbrokes, at 6:1. The winnings are already earmarked for the Save the Children Fund. With his background, he insists: "I don't back losers."

Table Talk wishes him a more positive outcome than on his last bet, that he would win a Michelin star. He didn't, although he could console himself with a Bib Gourmand.

No, it's not a diy handbag kit

Hotel staff are used to dealing with snappy guests and unusual items left behind in bedrooms, but nothing could have prepared a French chambermaid for the abandoned baby she found in the Allard hotel in south Paris.

She got a nasty shock when she looked in the bath, for the baby in question was a two-foot-long, six-month-old Nile crocodile called Charles. Unlike the maid, managers were aware of its presence, saying that the owner had paid a supplement for the reptile and ordered chicken and steak for its meals.

However, the owner now appears to have checked out without his pet. Perhaps the fact that Charles, currently living in a Paris zoo, was destined to grow to a whopping 17ft long had something to do with his absent-mindedness.

What a load of silly burgers

Is IT all a storm in a hamburger bun?

Burger King's latest advertising slogan, "‘king tasty", has upset some who claim that a company which sells to children should not play on swear words. Swear words? "It could be an abbreviation for blinking," said one helpful peacemaker at BK.

No question of a vested interest, then

The idea that tea could be good for your teeth takes a lot of swallowing, but that's exactly what researchers at Birmingham Dental School are suggesting. They argue that tea (that's right, the brown stuff that leaves your pearly whites a nice tan colour) contains lots of decay-defeating fluoride.

Tea drinking should never replace teeth brushing, say the researchers, "but it may be a useful addition." Hmm.

God knows where the sporran was

This month's newsletter from Small Luxury Hotels of the World features tales of amusing cock-ups made by guests.

The Park Hotel in Kenmare, Ireland, tells of a woman who took the wrong room key and proceeded to have a bath. Her mistake was only realised when she phoned down to say her bags had not been delivered, just as guests were arriving for that room.

And at Balbirnie House in Scotland, one Dutch gentleman almost made it in to dinner with his kilt on back-to-front. Only eagle-eyed reception staff averted a disaster.

It's the ghost of hit songs past

TRISH Twigger, owner of the Hunter's Inn on Exmoor, is writing a book about her 11-bedroom hotel and is on the lookout for anecdotes from its past. The property dates back to the 17th century and guests have included Charles Dickens, Bertrand Russell and the Beatles.

One mystery that Trish would like to clear up is the sound of rattling keys, which she and other staff members sometimes hear when they are alone in the building.

Table Talk thinks it could be the ghosts of some well-heeled former residents obeying the late John Lennon's call to "rattle their jewellery".

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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