8 FEBRUARY 2003, Page 55

Q. At Paddington the other day I noticed a middle-aged

female of my acquaintance pulling a suitcase with wheels on it. I have always been led to believe that wheels on a suitcase are irredeemably common. Is this no longer the case?

CB.. Broadtown, Wiltshire A. It was the case until about a year ago. Now practicality has abolished all social restraint. As the public transport system breaks down and gridlock clogs the roads, anyone whose impedimenta prevent them riding a bicycle or using roller blades is excused a suitcase on wheels. Meanwhile, style barometers Sarah Stacey and Eleanor Bron have both rejected handbags in favour of 1950s shopping trolleys on wheels.