Dog watches dog 06.11.03

30,000 reasons for Garside’s delight Former Times, Sunday Express and European executive Charles Garside and his partner, Gail Graham, kept a firm grip on their ornate gold leaf and porcelain table after the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow expert Christopher Payne gave them the knock-out news in Sunday’s show that it was worth a cool £30,000.

Garside, now owner of the famous lake district Miller Howe hotel, bought the table along with everything else in the hotel six years ago. He uses it to hold a book for guests to sign, protecting the hand-painted centrepiece service bowl with a glass plate.

He has no intention of selling the table. It will remain in the downstairs hall with security tightened and the insurance upped.

“It’s a table without a use, really,” says Garside. “But I absolutely love it. It’s stunningly beautiful.”

Garside knew only that the original hotel owner, chef John Tovey, had bought the table from a private chapel in Italy. Now he knows it is French, from the time of Louis XVI, and likely to have held calling cards in some grand Paris mansion. There are around 20 miniatures hand painted around the table, many of court ladies of the time, but Louis was a celibate sort of monarch so “no redtop scandals there”, chuckles Garside.

In future, he says, such celebs as recent signees Derek Hatton, Lord Archer and Esther Rantzen will be encouraged not to press too hard with their pens.

Poor press practice

Freelance Cathy Cooper has just finished a survey of employers as part of a feature for an HR magazine about legislation banning religious discrimination in the workplace.

In every case, except one, she was put through to the HR department, or a director, who discussed the issue with her. The exception was publisher and parent of the acclaimed Yorkshire Post, Johnston Press, which would not even let her get past the switchboard.

She was told the directors did not take “these kind of calls”. So she was given a general “inquiry” e-mail address, rather than that of a named person, to send her questions to.

“Obviously every journalist faces this kind of rebuff now and then,” says Cooper. “But from a publisher whose business would fall apart if its journalists were treated this way by all organisations? What hypocrisy!”

 

Professional as always, PG commercial manager James Parsons followed up an advert in sister title Media Week’s supplement about Manchester last week.

But on dialling the number in the ad for Jazz FM’s national radio sales, he was confounded to hear a saucy voice, purring: “Don’t fantasise alone. Why not share with us? We’ve got the sexiest, most exciting girls in the UK waiting on the line to talk one to one with you.”

Then, after a short pause, he was put through to a young lady who clearly had things other than radio sales on her mind. In the best traditions of investigative journalism, Parsons made his excuses and hung up.

 

Warden’s worry

First impressions can be misleading as freelance photographer Mark Lees discovered when he almost found himself arrested as a suspected Lock, Stock etc style bank robber.

Lees was on assignment with Anglia Press Agency and had been tailing someone all day when a nosy traffic warden decided to get involved.

The pushy warden even tried to stop him taking photos of someone leaving a bank in the market square in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, from his car -which was perfectly parked.

An intervention by Anglia reporter Richard Goss led to the police being called – and an officer observing that 6ft 3ins tall Lees’ shaven-head menacing look was likely to arouse suspicion.

The cop told him: “Looking at you – your size and haircut — taking photos of a bank it may well be that the warden thought you were acting suspiciously.”

Goss said: “I think Mark should be flattered – it’s probably the most complimentary thing anyone has said about his looks for years.”

Whodunit?

Who the devil could have killed off Mike Lowe, the mild mannered (are you sure this is right? – Ed) editor of the Bristol Evening Post? As this picture shows, Lowe was found face down on his desk surrounded by those two editors’ clichés – a half-drunk bottle of Scotch and an over-flowing ashtray.

The truth is Lowe was posing for a thriller-style competition in his newspaper in which readers have to guess who killed the editor. They are being asked to choose from four possible suspects, a chief reporter, photographer, deputy editor or secretary.

Dog reckons the culprit is more likely to be a Manchester City fan.

 

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