the forum

16 May, 2008

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:


Q If a friend of mine goes ahead with his plan to call his shop Oliver Reed's, is he breaching any sort of law?

A I think he's safe, bearing in mind that Oliver Reed is sadly no longer with us, and also because the name is so famous

it's already effectively public property. I remember a few years back when Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to stop his name being used on posters

a court ruled that, because he was so famous, he was not entitled to claim sole use of the name for his own commercial gain. Personally I wouldn't call a shop Oliver Reed's, because of the responsible drinking associations, or Alex Ferguson. But then I suppose I am a City fan.

Giovanni, Manchester

Q I have a south-facing window. Will a grape vine grow there or just look pathetic and sad (like its owner)?

A You'll need a reasonably substantial pot to allow the roots to establish themselves, and you'll need to ensure there is plenty of ventilation - the vine would presumably be near a door so that might solve part of the problem, but ideally you'd need part of the window to open.

Mary, Bucks

A If there is a lot of light flooding in, you might find that the vine bushes out quite a lot and can quickly get untidy. Install some sort of framework for it to climb before it gets too established, otherwise you could end up with a rather unkempt plant that just makes it look as if your store is

being consumed from the inside by weeds .

George, Surrey

Q Is a sign saying "sorry, closed while I have a toilet break" really less professional than "back in five minutes"? I only ask as I've been told to remove mine .

GH, North Yorks

Q I've been roped into giving a tutored tasting for the local Rotary Club and they want me to give a talk about wine. I'm terrified of public speaking. How can I get through this without looking like an idiot or having a panic attack?

Deputy manager, Northants

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