The first concerns a woman on a Delta Airlines flight from New York to Georgia who apparently bizarrely attempted to breastfeed her reluctant pet cat | Reuters

Sometimes you read the news, blink, read it again and then attempt to digest the contents in disbelief. So this week, I gulped down two rather indigestible stories that left me bemused (actually, belly laughing) and also incredulous.

The first concerns a woman on a Delta Airlines flight from New York to Georgia who apparently bizarrely attempted to breastfeed her reluctant pet cat.

Despite being upbraided by the shocked flight attendant, the passenger continued to abuse her poor moggie, forcing the staff member to alert the captain who consequently requested backup on arrival at Atlanta airport. No doubt, flight attendants have a secret code with those in the cockpit.

Perhaps in the United States it is simply ‘wacko alert’ so the captain reads: ‘WA WA WA!’ and subsequently presses the internal emergency button. The poor pet cat was, by all accounts, swaddled like a baby and crying pitifully as it wrestled with its deranged owner – and who could blame it? Condemnation of abuse of minors is rife in the press currently (and rightly so) but what about poor defenceless animals who have complete nutters for owners?

My other favourite story was that of the 50-year-old man in Biella, near Turin, who invested in an expensive prosthetic silicone arm to try and fox doctors at an Italian vaccination centre. The fool turned up for his Covid-19 injection, seemingly not considering that the synthetic arm, though life like, was a different colour to his own skin and also appeared to have no veins. When the doctor was about to inject him, she grew suspicious and lifted his shirt, only to find a different skin colour. Not surprisingly, in these pressed times, the black humour of the situation failed to impress, and the police was called and the man arrested for fraud.

A little bit of powder

In my teens I was pretty fanatical about getting the autographs of the famous. I chased after the likes of Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Nastase at Wimbledon and was forever hanging outside West End theatres after plays, politely cajoling well-known actors into scribbling a few words and signature into my little autograph book.

One of the women I met commented in the book that I should always stay true to myself and never succumb to artifice, make-up and fripperies in the pursuit of success. She wrote: A little bit of powder, a little bit of paint, makes a little lady look what she ain’t. I remembered those words when I saw a brief online video of ubiquitous singer, Adele, once fulsome and voluptuous, now the size of a twizzle stick, having make-up applied by a famous Dutch artisan.

Having been bombarded with publicity shots of the star on every conceivable online platform recently, dressed to the nines like a dazzling grasshopper with skinny legs, coiffed locks and toned torso, I was amazed and stunned to see her make-up free. She could have been any ordinary woman that I might encounter at the bus stop or in the market. She has a nice face but it’s not wildly different or beautiful, just pleasant and well proportioned.

However, when lathered with cosmetics, the diva is unrecognisable. She becomes huge, seductive, entrancing and a bit terrifying like a bad witch from a fairy-tale. So many stars I’ve worked with in the past have surprised me in the same way. They look breathtakingly glamorous and fabulous but without the war paint are as mundane and human as the rest of us. Some say powder empowers. I’m not so sure. As my elderly neighbour , Toni, said the other day, in perfunctory manner: “I like you because you’re straightforward and don’t have stuff all over your face. I know who you are.” At first I frowned but when I thought about it I decided to take it as a compliment.

Restaurant blame game

I was puzzled by the emotional outpouring of 40-year-old BBC news presenter, Tina Daheley, who recently penned an open letter via Twitter to an unnamed London restaurant telling it to act on racism. She had apparently dined at the venue with a fellow friend of colour and been offended by some ‘white middle-class male diners’ sitting nearby who used the offensive ‘P-word’ when discussing racism in English cricket.

She claimed that the incident had taken place a month earlier and that she had been tearful and upset by it. Understandably, no one wants to hear idiots being racist or using ugly racist terms but a month on she suddenly decides to pen an open letter to the restaurant urging it to involve the police? Er, how is the restaurant responsible for the language used by its clients? On the night of the alleged offence she neither reported the incident to the management nor did she address the guests at the other table. Yet a month later, Daheley expects the restaurant to take action about guests who probably never reserved or left their names.

Much as I sympathise, how can anyone hold a restaurant to blame for such an event without alerting its staff at the time? If she had discreetly spoken with the manager, the matter could have been dealt with immediately but a month later she demands that the restaurant involves the police and pursues the guests? How could the restaurant possibly identify them? Frankly, she doesn’t do herself any favours and comes across as needy and attention-seeking.

There are loads of nasty, abusive and xenophobic people in this world but we can’t arbitrarily blame others in their stead. The hospitality industry is suffering enough. It really doesn’t need this new and onerous guest responsibility.

Anna Nicholas’s seventh Mallorca travel title, Peacocks in Paradise, is now available to purchase at all good UK bookshops & via amazon. In Majorca it’s available at Universal Bookshop, Alameda shop in Soller and the Atelier in Fornalutx and in Palma bookshops.