Greetings from Bari, in southern Italy, where I’ve just had a run in rather pleasant sunshine with a lovely warm breeze blowing in from the sea. Sorry to those freezing at home, but someone has to do it.

I am here to speak at a conference on innovation, and emerging from the shower just now, I have thought of one … we need Single European standards on hotel showers and above all labelling of soaps, shampoos, body lotions, conditioners, blah blah blah beauty industry gone mad.

The shower is one place where you can be forgiven for forgetting to take your glasses. Mine are just bog-standard reading glasses, the current pair donated by a guy I met in Jordan last week, who gave me his spare pair after I had lost two in a single day.

But once you’ve got into the shower, used your PhD thesis on nuclear mechanics or whatever other mental and scientific skills you have to work out how the shower operates in a way that doesn’t either drench the floor or scald your head, then if you’re among the reading glass classes, you have the nightmare of working out what all those bloody bottles are, covered in tiny print and unfathomable openings.

At home, I don’t care if I use soap or shampoo for hair and/or body, and I know which is which, and Fiona keeps all her stuff in a separate thingy, safe from my mangling or moaning about what they’re all for. But I have a sneaking feeling I have just washed hair and body with conditioner, a substance that in my view should be banned along with the wheelie bags that were causing untold chaos at Rome airport last night as passengers rushed to make connections after a ninety minute delay.

And if that seems a bit extreme, then at a minimum could the famed Brussels bureaucrats get going on a new directive for Single European standards on shower mechanics and hair/body product labelling in hotels? Let’s be honest, they have come up with dafter directives in their time, and this one would mean so  much to the ocularly challenged. Nice big letters saying SHAMPOO, SOAP, SHOWER GEL, CONDITIONER for THOSE WHO FANCY THEMSELVES TOO MUCH … maybe they could insist on colour codes too, rather than have to put every language of the EU on there … red for shampoo, blue for conditioner … red good, blue bad … sorry to get political about hair products, but my legs have come out in a rash.

Too much information, as my daughter says … Goodbye, off to tell the Italians about innovation in media and politics. Vote for the anti-conditioner parties. I wonder what Berlusconi uses on his hair. More than most, I guess.