Daily Express - - FREDERICK FORSYTH -

SPEAK­ING at the Hay Fes­ti­val the lovely Jilly Cooper at 81 laments that men are not what they used to be. Many of them have beards, she claims, which is a ges­ture of mas­culin­ity some­what un­done by the fact that they are cry­ing all the time. In vic­tory, in de­feat, you name it. Blub, blub, blub, she says.

And women so ter­rify us that we are all start­ing gay af­fairs and fi­nally dare not flirt any more.

Two com­ments from this old codger. First, at our age it’s pretty much Mem­ory Lane any­way; sec­ond, stop fre­quent­ing luvvies and their arty hang­outs. Just pop down to the Jolly Crick­eters and I’ll stand you a pint. If some­one pats your back­side he’ll be clean-shaven, dry-eyed and prob­a­bly on a Zim­mer frame.

To my re­call we had our time, back in the day. It in­volved fly­ing fight­ers, driv­ing sports cars, div­ing co­ral reefs and snog­ging girls – and it was great.

But it’s over, Jilly.

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