In today’s ‘this is why we can’t have nice things’ news: Orangina. 

You know Orangina. You’ll have seen bottles of it, chilled and gently glistening temptingly in a shop, where you might have thought how nice it would be to shake the bottle, wake the drink. Last week, I thought the same, but I was wrong, because it has sweeteners in it, and they make me pull a strange face. I’m aware this isn’t new news.

The recipe was changed last year to include sweeteners, in a move to circumnavigate a tax on very sugary food and drinks. I just hadn’t noticed until now. I don’t want to unfairly single out the orangey popster: Orangina isn’t alone, as fizzy pop fans will know. Laws being made, as they are, to protect the lowest common denominator, the sugar tax was introduced because too many people were consuming too much of the stuff, which gave drinks makers the choice of raising prices or reducing sugar levels. Many took the latter.

Which brings me to the North Coast 500, the 500-mile tourist loop taking in some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland. Intended by those who conceived it to be Britain’s answer to America’s Route 66 – to pull tourists and their money into one of the loveliest, quietest and least populated parts of this island – it’s a route that only uses roads that were there already. But as a marketing activity, it has worked superbly. It’s thought 30,000 people have driven, biked or cycled the route since it was conceived in 2015.