12 JANUARY 1991, Page 25

In Peril in Venice

Carried off like Leda on a British Airways swan and landed somewhere on the Lido feeling deathly as Donne in his hymn about shipwreck.

Madonnas, madonnas everywhere hold out their arms to Venetians and victims of the plague but stare indifferently at tourists such as me, and the only message in the heavens is the neon `Campari' on the closed casino. Dark nights are not a part of our itinerary — though an upset stomach is all right and disorientation's expected.

I suffer from neither.

It's not the lack of a map and the language that makes me blub - it's Mary's lost lap and St Christopher's shoulder.

Diana Hendry