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Diary

Much innocent merriment has been caused by books at Chateau Carborundum this week. Among our favourites - which is likely, we suspect, to become a major hit with GCSE students - is a French phrase-book called C'est Pour Mon Crapaud, by one Jean-Loup Chiflet (Michael O'Mara Books, Pounds 3.99). Alert readers might suspect the tome is less than conventional after a swift translation of the title to It's For My Toad, and indeed the work is filled with useful phrases in less-than-useful situations.

For instance, At The Vet's. "Mon heron a des varices et mon perroquet begaie . . . vous pouvez faire quelque chose?" In plain English: "My heron has varicose veins and my parrot stutters. Is there anything you can do?" At the National Socialists. "Oh! Votre chemise est bien plus noire que la mienne!" ("Oh look! Your shirt is so much blacker than mine!") Or with a politician: "O`u puis-je, je vous prie, faire blanchir mon argent?" ("Excuse me, but do you know where I can have my money laundered?")

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