When Cliff Richard's publicist offered us a telephone interview with the international pop idol, my first question of the reporters was: "What, THE Cliff Richard?"
Yes indeed, it turned out, THE Sir Cliff.
Now this is a nice place and all, a place we all hold dear, but it's a surprise Sir Cliff would think we were worth a special call, especially as he's on holiday in Barbados.
Not according to his publicist apparently, who reckons Cliff has plenty of fans here, fans who would no doubt like to see the singer in concert in Christchurch in January.
To which I can't help thinking, a little unkindly: Ticket sales must be slow.
So we say yes, we'd love to interview Sir Cliff, and overnight take the opportunity to ask readers (fans) if they have any questions they'd like us to put to the special man. We put the request out in the newspaper, on our news website and on our Facebook page.
And fans we attract, from South Canterbury, elsewhere in New Zealand, a couple from Australia and one each from Britain and Canada.
Such is the modern world.
If you want a definition of fan, the Canadian is it. She sent us hundreds of words on her idol, and pictures of gifts she sent Cliff on various birthdays, including a waistcoat and various quilts she's made.
She tells us she went to a concert of Cliff's in the UK, and sent one of her quilts backstage. Most impressed he was, and invited her to meet him. Sounds like a charming bloke.
And so he was yesterday on the phone.
And then our 15 minutes was over.
At about which time we were making another call, to the organisers of a function in Timaru at which Rachael Hunter was a guest, she of modelling, Rod Stewart and most recently New Zealand's Got Talent fame.
The organisers were sorry but we couldn't talk to her, because of Ms Hunter's contractual arrangements.
Ah well, such as it is when dealing with celebrities in little old Timaru.
You just never know what you are going to get.
- The Timaru Herald