11 MARCH 1995, Page 27

Dear Duchess . . .

Sir: Delightful Deborah Devonshire makes several plaintive pleas under the catch-all, `Can we do away with . . . ' (Diary, 18 February) Oh, Debs, I do know how you feel! Can we also do away with journos and hackettes who refer to every ball-point pen as a Biro (such as your own description of your handbag and its 'Biros without tops'). Ball-point pens they may be, but I'll lay odds against them being Biros. Such refer- ences appear throughout the media. For example, one broadsheet newspaper, com- paring a Ford Escort with a Chieftain tank, quoted the armament of both: the tank fires 120mm shells, the Ford fires Biros and wine-gums. Ha-ha. And in the juicier bits of a rape accusation: 'A Biro tube was found.'

Oh, yes, and while I'm in full spate, please could we hang that idiot who always calls me from some regional daily at about 10 p.m. to ask a question about Biro sales and, having briefly apologised for the late hour, then sets the seal on my annoyance by chuckling, 'All publicity is still good pub- licity, eh?'

Stan Nelson

Biro Bic Limited, Whitby Avenue, Park Royal, London NW10