'When I was seven years old I locked myself into the lavatory at the Negresco Hotel in Nice . . . When I was extricated, the Hotel Manager, in perfect English, said he had a piece of advice for me which I should take extremely seriously. "Let this be a lesson to you, my boy", he said. "Never lock a lavatory door for the rest of your life!" I never have.'
Emboldened by the success of this freely given advice, the country's best-known 79-year-old sceptic has distilled a lifetime's acquired wisdom and written his own irresistible, irreverent and dubiously effective guide to living.