Peter held the keys to Sophia Loren's bedroom

WHAT I didn't know about happy hotelier Peter Tyrie, owner of the Glasshouse in Edinburgh's Greenside and former owner of the Balmoral and Caley, is that he used to be on nodding terms with Sophia Loren and husband Carlo Ponti and another Italian screen goddess Gina Lollobrigida.

It was his turn to host the Savoy Gatronomes' 36th annual reunion dinner at his place on Saturday. To qualify, everybody needed to have kick-started their career in the industry working in reception for at least a year in London's universally acclaimed Savoy.

Says Mr Tyrie: "Working in reception there served as my introduction to the business - it still looks good on the CV - and during my stint on the desk I checked in and out big name movie stars. La Loren and La Lollobrigida have always stood out in my memory."

Tell us why, Mr T.

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This was the first time the Gastronomes, who flew from St Petersburg, Geneva, Venice and New York, had gathered in Scotland.

For many, an initial taste of the haggis and assault by bagpipes.

They won't forget in a hurry their Glasshouse experience in the shadow of Calton Hill. The haggis cooled as, Lanson-champagned, they left their tables en masse to gawp through the windows at the eclipse of the moon. One giant rush by mankind as they surged back to finish their far-from-steaming starter.

No call for phone legend

Shouldn't it have rung an instant bell? Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, was born right here in Edinburgh in 1847, 160 years ago past Saturday.

You'd think BT would mark such an occasion with, say, a parade along Princes Street. Then again, you wouldn't think that of BT.

Or the city itself would have organised a traffic-stopping tribute at the West End. You really wouldn't expect that either.

People today are too busy prattling on their mobiles to give a damn.

Anyway, I, at least, rang Alexander on the day with my fondest wishes (I keep his telephone number in my contact book).

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He was out when I called. But he asked me to leave a message on his voicemail.

"Alex," I said, "you're still not getting your native city's respect. You're as well out of it. Happy birthday regardless."

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