It was revealed last week that printer ink is now more expensive than champagne.

But let me ask you this, ladies and gentlemen… is ANYTHING dearer than fuel from a motorway service station?

Tell you what, if Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos had been forced to fill their rockets on the M6, I don’t think the billionaire duo could have afforded to venture into space.

En route to Blackpool last week, I made the stupid mistake of filling up our motorhome at the Tebay Services (a much smarter move, apparently, is driving to the Tesco garage in Carlisle). And when I clocked the prices, it was ME who was filling up.

I mean, come on, 155.9p for a litre of diesel?!?

This was Day Two of the English not having to wear facemasks, but the folk in charge of the petrol pumps were clearly sporting the Dick Turpin variety.

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Check out the price!

When I flagged up this daylight robbery on social media, quite a few of my followers responded in a similar manner: “Aye, Tam, but the homemade pies, sausage rolls and Scotch eggs at Tebay are out of this world.”

Alas, I didn’t have anything to eat as I only had 140 quid on me…

Nah, I preferred the feedback from another guy who said: “Remember, motorway service stations are in difficult-to-reach locations with poor road links. It’s difficult for the tankers to get to them.”

Is he a master of sarcasm or what? (Hats off to you, mate!)

After arriving at our campsite in Blackpool, I burned off our tank of overpriced fuel by leaving the engine running so we could enjoy a blast of air-conditioning in the van.

Yep, I know the AA (and maybe even the cops) wouldn’t approve of keeping a stationary vehicle ticking over - and I’m DEFINITELY off Greta Thunberg’s Christmas card list - but who cares?

It was nudging 30C for heaven’s sake.

After a sweltering, sleepless night, we only had two things on our itinerary the following day - a trip to the top of the Blackpool Tower and a shot of the big wheel on Central Pier… ANYWHERE high in the sky with the chance of some cool air.

How hot was it in the Vegas of the north? Kid you not, folks, I saw a dog being chased down Blackpool prom by a lamp-post…

(Still, at least the legendary Lancashire seaside resort was free of midges - I thought the wee buggers might have gone down for the Glasgow Fair.)

Similar temperatures up here in Scotland, of course, with a heatwave that lasted the best part of, what, three or four weeks?

What a time for health experts to warn that using an electric fan right through the night could inflict lasting damage to your skin by drying it out, eh?

I can assure you I ignored that advice. Sorry, but waking up looking like Lizzie Birdsworth from Cell Block H is a small price to pay for a decent night’s kip.

Mind you, it was almost impossible to get your hands on one - within two days of the scorching heat, all the big stores had fewer fans than Hamilton Accies.

As the mercury rose, my pal tried a different approach. But even after watching the DVD box set of Downton Abbey, he STILL couldn’t sleep.

Incredible, eh?

Anyway, with apologies to those of you heading off on a Scottish staycation this weekend, my reaction to the prospect of cooler temperatures and LOTS of rain is simple… YA BEAUTY!

Sorry, folks, but a right good downpour tonight and I’ll be soaking it up like Andy Dufresne when he escaped from Shawshank…

PS Highlight of the Blackpool break? Overhearing a fellow Scot in the caravan next to us suddenly yelling to his wife: “The wean’s got sh**e all up her back! We’ll need to get her into the bath when we’re hame…”

Brilliant.

Pinball Wizard Rog's message is loud and clear

Roger Daltrey of The Who on stage at SECC Glasgow Scotland November 2000

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has warned kids to turn down music to protect their hearing in later life as both he and fellow band member Pete Townshend are partially deaf.

On the plus side, though, they’re now one-third better at pinball.

Meanwhile, Mel C has hinted that Victoria Beckham could be reunited with the Spice Girls at Glastonbury.

Just put a wig on a mic stand and SAY it’s her.

Listen, that debate has been rumbling on for years – will she or won’t she? – so here’s a fresher talking point for all you music fans.

On the radio last weekend, we whittled it down to four contenders: Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen or Shane McGowan. Tell me, folks, which of the great singer-songwriters is the WORST singer?

Any other names fit the bill…?

PS Gloria Gaynor’s disco classic I Will Survive has been voted the No1 break-up song.

My wife reckons ours would be the Take That hit It Only Takes A Minute.

Blantyre or bust

Well done to the talented team of conservators in Sussex who spent an incredible 15 months restoring a bust of David Livingstone after it was smashed into HUNDREDS of pieces.

They got it completed just in time for yesterday’s re-opening of the David Livingstone Birthplace Museum in Blantyre.

Ah, good auld Blantyre. As a wise man once observed: “If you’ve ever been to Blantyre, you’ll appreciate why Livingstone went to Africa.”

Jab at Celts' star

Twitter exchange of the week?

On the back of Celtic FC flagging up a mobile vaccination unit at the stadium, @Woodybhoy67 replied: “Don’t bother jabbing Barkas – he’ll never catch it.”

Lovely stuff.

Staying with football (a sport I nearly turned my back on after at least 15 Scots in Blackpool went out of their way to tell me Motherwell had lost 2-0 to League One part-timers Airdrie), a parrot has been winding-up its Rangers-daft owner by shouting “Mon the Hoops!” at her.

Next time the bird’s within earshot, she should say: “Alexa… what’s the number for KFC?” Problem solved. By the way, even though Real Madrid didn’t play their strongest line-up at Ibrox on Sunday, I don’t think Steven Gerrard’s men got enough credit for beating them 2-1.

Rangers could actually have scored four or five but the Madrid tea-lady played a blinder
in goals.

Spud you like?

Scientists have revealed eating potatoes could increase the risk of three serious health issues: obesity, diabetes and heart disease. From now on, I’m sticking to chips. Seriously, though, are potatoes still available – or is the spud another casualty of Brexit and the “pingdemic”?

Supermarkets have been running low on all sorts of stuff–I popped into Aldi yesterday and they were down to their last four trombones – and I just hope we don’t see a repeat of last year’s empty shelves. I remember walking up the soup aisle in my local Morrisons and all they had left was Baxter’s Royal Game.

I take it NOBODY likes that?

Darts isn't Mission Impossible for Tom but it's a 180-turn

Tom Cruise and David Beckham celebrate England's first goal with a fist pump

He was cheering for England at the Euro 2020 Final against Italy.

He attended Centre Court at Wimbledon to watch the tennis.

And he’s currently holidaying on a yacht in Cornwall.

But it’s now been reported that Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise is another step closer to becoming an honorary Brit – by taking up darts!

Just one question: who gets the arrows out of the board after the wee man’s had his throw?

Tom’s fellow movie star Idris Elba says he gets mocked by his mates over rumours he’ll replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.

Just take it on the chin, big fella, it happens to me all the time.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth – but staying with the movies – the Carry On films are being labelled for the woke generation on Britbox, for containing mild sexual references and innuendo.

Asked if they’ll EVER be able to screen an unedited Carry On classic, a spokesman for the streaming service said: “It’s getting harder and harder but I think I can pull it off.”

My fave funny photos of the week

Can’t believe Liverpool has been stripped of its World Heritage Status.

Water sight!

Yes, folks, that really is a naan bed!

Bedtime curries

Wow... check the legs on that baby!

A tall baby

Private parking for The Thompson Twins?

The 1983 single reached No3

Good to see Jack & Victor on the scoresheet for Larne.

Still game

There’s a right way and a wrong way to carry your beige- coloured neck pillow through the airport.

Tam Cowan column pics

Text jokes of the week

● Another roasting day so I stripped off, opened all the windows and felt so much better. The other people on the bus don’t seem so happy.

● It was so hot today that the ice-cream vans in Airdrie were selling ice-cream.

● The local farmer suggested putting horse manure on my strawberries. Never again. I’m going back to whipped cream.

● My brother creosoted my porch against my wishes, so I’ve told him to never darken my door again.

● NASA have identified a crucial systems failure resulting from Richard Branson’s trip into space. He came back.

● Just saw a guy stealing something from the Apple Store. Does that mean I’m an iWitness?

● Fun Fact. Australia’s biggest export is boomerangs. It’s also their biggest import.

Stocking situation

M&S is set to become the first nationwide clothing chain to offer same-day deliveries, so customers will be able to get clothes in a hurry “from lingerie to school uniforms”.

I can understand the urgency for the latter – every kid in the country is an expert at ruining their school uniform – but who exactly is ever in a rush for lingerie?

A bank robber who left home without a stocking for his head?

No to Xmas first Dibs

Richard Curtis has floated the idea of a Vicar Of Dibley Christmas special.

Surely it’d make Christmas even MORe special if he didn’t?

● A vintage bicycle buff from Wales was in the papers this week showing off his collection of 40 original Raleigh Chopper bikes.

Wow. Forty choppers?

That’s more than the front row at a Daniel O’Donnell gig.

And finally

My immediate reaction to the photos of Wayne Rooney with three semi-naked 21-year-old girls?

Well, if he couldn’t get a 63-year-old…