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Paper Monitor

11:28 UK time, Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A service highlighting the richness of the daily press.

Paper Monitor has long enjoyed the letters pages of the newspapers for the slices of life they offer up. Today, in particular, an insight is given into the minor trials and tribulations encountered by some over the festive season.

The Letters to the Editor section of The Daily Telegraph features an uncle who taught his nephew a new use for party poppers at Christmas dinner, a father baffled by an "excess fee" on his daughter's Christmas card and a husband whose wife could only find sterling chocolate coins - rather than the euro confectionery of previous years.

The uncle, we learn, is "persona non grata" at his brother's house. His crime? Extracting the streamers from party poppers and replacing them with a grape, "thus making an admirable food cannon". Not so heinous, you might think... until nephew cottons on and fills the poppers with chocolate mousse. Perhaps uncle could offer to pay for the curtain cleaning bill?

Next, a father in Cardiff relates how he and his wife on Christmas Eve received a "dreaded '£1.12 Excess to pay' slip (12p underpaid and £1 administration fee). After hurrying to the depot, the card was presented. The father, scratching his head as to why an excess fee was necessary observes that the card did not appear oversized. When a check was made, it "easily dropped through the sizing slot". To conclude, he writes:

So the supervisor let me deliver the card to myself, with no offer of an "administration fee" for my mileage. I wonder how many have naively paid up.

Moving on to the chocolate coins, the man whose wife announced that there were no euro chocolate coins to be found in the shops, asks:

Do you think the chocolate manufacturers are ahead of the game?

Over in The Guardian, letter-writers have been commenting on the unseasonably mild weather. One writes:

Christmas day 2011: turkey roasting in the oven, cornflowers blooming in the garden.

In The Times, one reader questions journalist Sam Leith's advice not to microwave a mince pie. Speaking from experience, he explains that heating it for between 10 and 15 seconds and letting it stand for two minutes, "does the job well". It might seem "counterintuitive", he writes, but:

The microwaves heat the mincemeat very quickly, but the pastry case is hardly affected. Letting the pie stand allows heat from the filling to spread to the pastry.

Now that's a short-cut Paper Monitor likes.

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