What, you might ask, could be more tedious than traipsing round Asda or Morrisons in Gloucester? Simple. Wading round them. I had been planning a trip down to Philip Green's yacht in the Med, so sailing around Stratford-under-Avon didn't compare favourably. But my ashen-faced superior Hutton sent me packing with my 'Infrastructure' sou'wester to supervise the dishing-out of Kingsmill and Highland Spring. You can't beat a good disaster to get the supermarkets falling over themselves to help out, and especially to be seen to be helping out. In fact, the waterless, waterlogged citizens of Quedgeley were only the third-largest group in Tesco's submarine park after the dozens of spin doctors and thousands of gormless hacks, bringing a whole new meaning to "pond life". Sadly I managed to miss The Sun's tawdry mercy mission (aided and abetted by Asda and Booker), driving a bloody double-decker bus into the chaos, very literally fronted-up by page 3 girls. Now that's quality compassion. At least my inbred ancestors had the foresight not to build Pumsey Place on a flood plain, as I told Stuart Rose at the country seat this weekend. Rose was on good form after he'd sent the unlikely Qatari Emissaries Paul Taylor and David Mellor packing. It seems they'd been sent to see if M&S wanted to flog its dowdy clothing ranges next to JS frozen peas if Delta Two gets its wicked way with King Justin. But Rose rightly reasoned that if JS's tatty clothing wasn't deemed worthy of a future under the Sheiks you might as well chuck out the overpriced food too. Talking of prices, you can't help wondering whether the millions pumped into advertising Big Tel's Price Checker mightn't have been put to better use. Like cutting prices. These comparison sites are all very well but it's got to be cheaper to do like The Grocer 33 does and phone Aunt Flossie in Stroud.