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British birdsong and gastro pubsThere was a rush for the front door this morning. Not to read the newspapers but to find our free gifts. Danny was triumphant, waving the British Bird Song CD over his head.
“Just what I’ve always wanted. This is so useful.”
If only I’d known at Christmas.

My offers were not quite so appealing. A Shlipa Shetty Bollywood DVD (I have to send away for this) and eat out for ?10 at a gastro pub (if I collect the tokens).

Danny, his head tiny between bulky studio headphones, was in heaven as the CD twittered away in his ears. My squawk of disappointment was drowned by,
“This is great!” Just a little too loud, the fuzzy headphones affecting his extraneous hearing levels.

I’m not into Bollywood movies. The breaking news for the last few days has been that row in the Big Brother house. We share the cottage kitchen with three A list Min Pin celebs. Their lives are a roller coaster ride of tiffs, Borgia plots and tearful reunions. Compared to this the dramatic rows on Big Brother seem a bit tame.

I’m momentarily entertained by pictures of happy people eating fish and chips in a gastro pub. Those generous voucher offers in restaurants and pubs are tempting but usually I find that we are pushed to darkest table, handed a grubby mini menu and treated with disdain. I can never understand this as these promotions must draw in new customers who, given a good experience, might come back. The exception is London, where restaurants are competing madly for new clients. I’ve always been welcomed with open arms when I shuffle in with a friend and a pocketful of vouchers.

If newspapers published a guide as to how voucher gourmets are treated by each participating establishment, rude restaurant managers and poor service could be avoided in the future. Bad service can make great food totally unpaletable in an instant.

Meanwhile Danny brings me back to reality by carefully dusting off his Wellingtons. I rifle peevishly though the plastic envelope of TV guides and mini mags (thank goodness Big Brother is not watching me). I find a tempting offer from The Times – 20% off a choice off two “scrumptious organic boxes”. Bursting with organic vegetables and produce these can be delivered to the cottage door with the flick of a credit card. I am happy at last and settle to compare the long list of contents in each box as the Min Pins bicker below over the canine equivalent of an Oxo cube.

Danny is now standing in the garden in his dressing gown and Wellingtons, occasionally lifting an earpiece in an attempt to match the real with the recorded song. Perhaps our garden mainly attracts birds from the M-Z celebrity garden bird list. These are in Volume Two, available tomorrow from all good newsagents.

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