It has been suggested time and again in the inseparable pages of this bulging organ that food price inflation is not out of control, but I'm here to suggest the contrary. Only the other night at Claridges I noticed that the price of a simple supper à deux for me and my new PA, Ms Clarke, had for the first time reached four figures, and that was before the 'afters' in the Leighton Suite and chilled Bollinger in the bathroom.

I rather suspect things have also got a little worse at the tripe and onions end of the market, which would explain why the third estate are flocking in their droves to what are now euphemistically referred to as the "Continental Grocers" - deep discounters to you and me, who seem enamoured of the type of "you'll get what you get when we see fit" service that has given the land of their birth its colourful political history. Schrecklich!

To Tesco, this is tanks on the lawn time. Sources tell me the head honchos are on the road this week, hosting revivalist rallies of their own - in scenes reminiscent of Fritz Lang's Metropolis - for the ashen-grey store managers.

Quite what is being hatched at these unholy covens remains unclear, but given the current appearance of the Tesco temples - more "promotions" than a cabinet reshuffle - I think we can expect the fish farmers of Britain to take another pasting fairly soon. If they don't revolt, Taypack-like, that is. At least the May sunshine has put a smile on the faces of some grocers. And none more so than King Justin Time, as his matching neon orange empire finally showed signs of a pulse and the youthful one himself trousered a bulging £6.5 million.

He'll be able to buy a lot of bubblegum and comics on that kind of pocket money.