John Gibson: Off again on the road to Morocco

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Call it one of the perks of the job. Interestingly, a belly dancer. Then again, Hilary Thacker and I are chummy friends. Nobody in this town in this trade knows her belly better.

She was just back in here Royal Mile shop, Hilary’s Bazaar, from a month’s working holiday in Morocco. Where you’d expect to find any self-respecting belly dancer. “It’s a long way to go for just one gig, albeit on Hogmanay.” she told me, “but well worth it. I was generously paid and the select VIP customers included Bill Gates and his daughter. They were paying £1,000 a night and arrived by helicopter.

“It was a place called M’hamaid, at the end of a road that leads direct into the desert, a wilderness, next stop Timbuctoo.”

Hilary, the sand still between her toes, plans to return as early as March. “I’d want to dance again for the locals hopeful in the desert by a roaring fire, as well as stock up for my shop.”

I’d had a bellyful of Hilary by the time she opened the Bazaar in a snow flurry. “I love the Mile, love the location, but we desperately need more of a footfall.”

Fluttering by

Some of life’s supreme pleasure can pass you by if you’re not careful. Maybe you missed it on BBC1 on Wednesday. Butterflies performed a mating dance in South Africa.

David Attenborough was the shameless voyeur, the raunchy rascal.