John Gibson: A touch of toiletries from Todd

I REMEMBER it well. David Todd's house-warming in the vast drawing room of his Royal Mile flat. I let the party down rather. Spilling wine on the carpet.

Which shouldn't deter buyers. He's put the pad on the market and it's bound to fetch the 370,000 and more he's asking.

"I'm down-sizing," he tells me. "I'm spending a lot of time as warden of the College of the Holy Spirit on the Isle of Cumbrae in the Clyde Estuary, a retreat home owned by the diocese of Argyll and the Isles.

"In effect, I'm manager of a guest house."

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Lanarkshire-born Todd managed the Festival Cavalcade here for seven years.

"While I was running the Cavalcade the flat on the Royal Mile was brilliant for me. So central.

"But I need something smaller now, probably staying in the Old Town.

"I remember you wrote about that house-warming. I cut it out, had it framed and it's been in my bathroom ever since.''

An engrossing read for Todd's guests, I'm sure.

That's rich, Al

Coining in it. Alistair Darling and yours truly, we don't meet all that often, even though the former Chancellor lives in an albeit toffee-nosed part of Edinburgh. Next time we do, though, I must tap him for a couple of quid.

Al's bound to be rattling some loose change in his pocket.

I'm told he was paid some 13,000 for his brief speech to the Centre of Political and Foreign Affairs in Paris, plus 3500 travel and accommodation costs for him and wife Maggie. Nice work and he can get it.

See the Light

I see the Edinburgh Light Orchestra's summer concert at the Queen's Hall on Saturday (tickets 668 2019) includes a flirty Leroy Anderson piece titled The Typewriter which has to be the highlight of the show.

I'm a typewriter man from a long way back and the hell with these computers. My clapped-out machine's begging for mercy. Can't get the ribbons nowadays, can you?