I'll start with a touch of envy this week. Our esteemed editor breezed back into the office after two days on the tropical paradise island of Mauritius. He insists he never sunbathed once or even mixed with Europe's holidaymaking filthy rich during his trip to view a state of the art tuna cannery. But that certainly wasn't rust on his forehead. Mind you, the oddest sight of his 6,000 mile trip came when he spied the gleaming cab of a Sainsbury truck in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis. First we've heard of the Stamford Street boys opening in the tropics. Another oddity this week was Sylvia Jay's poker faced reaction to the after dinner speaker booked by the Provision Trade Federation for its annual dinner. While everybody else at the Grosvenor, including those on the top table, howled with laughter at Ian Irving's gags, the head of the Food and Drink Federation managed to keep a straight face throughout. One diner thought she may have had trouble with the acoustics. But we doubt Irving will ever be booked to appear at the British Embassy in Paris, where Lady Jay's husband is based, and where acoustics are excellent. The other after dinner speaker, Lord Haskins, was a hit ­ at least with those diners who could be bothered to listen. Mind you, Lord Haskins' jibes about the CBI's Digby Jones and his crusade against over regulation seemed to get a bit personal, as did his comments about the civil service. He said: "The civil service is the last flourishing Victorian institution in this country ­ most of whose members' first objective is to protect themselves against all manner of threat, real or imagined" {{COUNTERPOINT }}