The Gerry Kelly Column

Article excerpt

This disorder of the Bath still puzzles me

DUBBED the Loins of Longleat by the popular Press, Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, paid a visit to the Kelly Show on Friday.

I didn't really know what to expect from this most eccentric member of the British aristocracy and to be honest I still wasn't sure AFTER the interview!

BBC television is presently dedicating more than 25 hours of air time to him and to Longleat House, the enormous stately home in Wiltshire which he inherited after the death of his father in 1992.

Called Lion Country, the half-hour shows run every day on BBC1.

Any mention of Lord Bath conjures up an immediate image of lions and mistresses, or wifelets as he prefers to call them.

Lord Bath married Anna Gael, a Hungarian refugee actress, in 1964 and, even though she's fully aware of his dalliances with more than 60 other women, she remains his loyal wife.

Now a 65-year-old pensioner, Lord Bath shows no sign of slowing down when it comes to the opposite sex.

Each one of his 66 wifelets is depicted in paintings in his private quarters at Longleat House and at his villa in St Tropez, in the South of France.

He even keeps some women in cottages on his 9,000-acre estate, with about five on the go at any one time!

A few years ago he advertised for new women through a dating agency.

But even though thousands replied to his lure: "Millionaire Lord with Stately Home seeks friendship", he decided none of the applicants were anywhere near as suitable as those women he already meets socially!

He doesn't blush when describing himself as a committed polygamist, nor does he feel guilty in his relationship with his wife, who lives in France and comes dutifully to visit her husband once a month at Longleat.

Both seem perfectly happy with this unusual arrangement - although what their two children, Lenka, 29, and Ceawlin, 24, think of it all is another matter.

As far as I am concerned the Marquess can live his life any way he wants. Who are we to judge?

But I do object to one thing.

As the owner of an hereditary title, he is allowed to sit and vote freely in the House of Lords.

Still, I'm sure he feels totally at home there.

Pouring spa

water on the

love drive

OVER the years, they say, more miracles are found at Lisdoonvarna in County Clare than at Lourdes.

How some boys ever find a woman there remains a mystery! Still, it's known as the place for pulling birds, especially during the annual festival, when romance is the name of the game.

But a recent report has shown there is more to Lisdoonvarna than the quest to find a mate.

Apparently, the town's natural water supply has all the ingredients required for those who seek the curative qualities of a genuine spa.

Yes, Lisdoonvarna could soon be up there alongside Baden Baden in Germany, where millions of pounds are spent by visitors sampling the wholesome benefits of its waters.

Already a proposed pounds 25 million project is to be launched in the North Clare town, which will include a 100-room hotel with a golf course and leisure complex. Healthy holidays are in and Lisdoonvarna wants to cash in.

So, after a day chatting up the talent, what better way to relax than with a long, cool pint - of Lisdoonvarna water!

Deirdre past

cell-by date

I WAS surprised to see Prime Minister Tony Blair putting his weight behind the Free the Weatherfield One campaign.

Mind you, we must not forget that Mr Blair has a vested interest in Coronation Street. Fans will know that his wife Cherie is the daughter of Tony Booth, who married Pat Phoenix, former Street sexpot Elsie Tanner.

What else would you expect of him?

So, am I the only one who thinks Deirdre is guilty? …