John Gibson: Rickety, but Jilly is all smiles

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Ever the ready smile. A milestone birthday next month – none of us is getting any younger, true – Jilly Cooper was still smiling when we met in the Caley, gabbing about her then latest book.

“Some reviewers slapped a ‘bed and booze’ tag on it but, in fact, the bed is minimal. Television has always been an incredibly sexual playground,” she reckoned.

“The only qualification you need for a job in television is a broken marriage. The men feel they need a new, wonderful young wife to keep up with her image.’’

Jovial Jilly and husband-forever Leo have no such problems, despite Leo’s Parkinson-d health and the minor stroke she suffered late 2010.

At home in Gloucestershire they’ve welcomed another incomer, a greyhound, and, as her 75th looms next month, her Yuletide admission: “I used to sit on the floor and hand out the presents to everyone but I’m so rickety now that once I get down I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get up again.

“And the days have long gone when I would scramble on all fours to turn off the lights before heading to bed.’’

Just keep the novels coming, Jilly. And keep ‘em raunchy.

Quiet man Dan

Bumped into Daniel Wencker, who last year sold Daniels, his bustling bistro in Leith, and slipped quietly into retirement in his mid-60s.

We were in Jeffrey Street, he was on his way into Old St Paul’s, the Scottish Episcopal Church.

A bit late for the last supper, Daniel, but you don’t have all that many churches in France with so much history. St Paul’s was a refuge for the Jacobites, in the old, old days.