4 AUGUST 1961, Page 30

Postscript . .

Even under so different an economic system as ours it isn't difficult, given the will, to provide free education and a free health service (which the Soviet Union hasn't yet got, by the way)— here the 'free' service is partly, at any rate, paid for out of taxation, and thus indirectly out of the profits of capitalism; there the cost comes out of the profits of State capitalism.

There is a lot to,be said for making as many services as free, in this sense, as possible: for one thing it reduces some distributive costs and could also, I suppose, reduce the number of civil servants. But I see possible snags, too. When bread is free, how wastefully will it be used? And I used to think that the reason why a free local- call telephone system worked in Moscow tea years ago was because there were relatively few private telephones, used for gossip and chat. I know one woman in this country who could wreck the system for good.

The next best thing to being an accomplished writer of light verse oneself (and I would rather have been Praed than the Prince Regent) is to be the occasion of accomplished light verse in others. A few weeks ago I suggested that when ballerinas were presented with bouquets, after their performances, there ought to be cigars or champagne for their partners—and that many an actress, for that matter, might herself prefer a bottle to a bouquet Upon which the pseudonymous `Koh-l-Noor,' of the West Sussex Gazette, observed, in words that 1 am permitted—and very pleased—to reprint : Oh, not with flowers! Say it not, dear, with such Outmoded flummery of faded graces.

Send me not blossoms which I may not touch, And Cellophane in monstrous mode encases.

Let me not guess the message of a rose Or why you send me marjoram or dahlia To signify the way your ardour grows

Or save me from the spectre grim of failure.

But choose me rather something in a flask Some bottled sunshine, tribute to the beauty Of my performance: that is all I ask— A glass of something special, free of duty

Let Pontet Canet bring the happy flush

To cheeks you've oft compared to summer roses; Though port—one must confess it, with a blush— May have its reddening effect on noses.

Perhaps then one should settle on a spot Of hock, moselle, Pol Roger, or whatever Else you can possibly afford; but not The modern-style bouquet hygienic—Never!

A glossy photograph reached the Editor of the Spectator the other day of Mr. Basil de Ferranti, Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lonsdale, with his wife Sara holding their one-day-old son in her arms. An attached cyclostyled hand- out gave details of Mr. de Ferranti's business and political career, and stated that it came from his

'Heavens! girl, cover your head.'

Chelsea address, giving his telephone number. On ringing this number we were referred to the Fleet Street firm of John Hallock, Public Relations Consultants, who were, it seemed, responsible for sending out the photograph and the circular, though their name did not appear on either. I should have thought that an efficient public relations consultant would not have spent his client's money on sending photographs of his baby to weekly papers that don't print photo- graphs, even of politicians' babies. But then I think all sorts of things about young men who acquiesce in having their new-born babies' photo- graphs sent out broadcast to a bunch of strangers. Only one firm I know of specialises in the 'little' wines of France—Asher, Storey & Co. They are shippers and do not deal direct with the public, but a postcard to them at 127 Lower Thames Street, EC3, would put you on to a likely retailer, and bring you a copy of their list of 'Rare and Lesser Known Wines of France,' which describes at length, and very gracefully, some three dozen pretty unusual wines, among them eight or nine from the Jura; one from the French shores of Lake Geneva; a number from Savoy; and the great (and expensive) Chateau Grillet, from south of Lyons, most of the small production of which goes to those great restaurants, the Pyramide at Vienne and the Beau Rivage at Condrieu. Shippers don't always know what retailers will ask for their wines, so Asher, Storey's list gives a symbol to each, show- ing approximately within what price range it should fall. I picked from the wines at between 12s. 6d. and 20s. a very fine, dry, fragrant 1959 Sancerre from the upper reaches of the Loire, but there are plenty in this unusual and interest7 ing list at under. 9s. 6d. This is a chance for some returned holidaymakers to track down that 'charming little wine' that they were afraid 'wouldn't travel.'

Which reminds me to. say that although sonic wines Won't travel, this wine-writer will. 1 am off