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Sleep on the job and keep in peak shape

Patsy was squirming in her seat as if she had a rash where she shouldn't have. Every so often she'd twang her bra straps as if they were too tight - which they were.

She always squeezes herself in a cup-size smaller than necessary as she feels this enhances the overall appearance of her ample bosoms. As a result, said bosoms are inclined to spill over like cheese souffles, threatening to swamp everything in their path.

We often wonder what she does with them at night. Does she sleep on her side and cuddle them as if then were teddy bears or does she sleep on her back and snuggle them under armpits like puppies?

Well, neither as it turns out.

"I read this week that if you want to keep them pert you should wear a bra in bed," she said solemnly.

Pert! The last time those babies were pert was in 1981 when we gave her the bumps for her 21st birthday. It took 14 of us to lift her and her breasts were the last things to come down.

"That blondie English one, what's her name eh . . . Majella Frostbite . . . wears one every night and look at her. She's 48 but has the body of a 20 year old," she added.

"It's Frostrup," said Josie.

"What is?" asked Patsy.

"Her name. It's Mariella Frostrup, not . . . oh never mind."

"Whatever. Anyway, I've decided that, since I'm getting on a bit and while I've still got my figure, I may as well do my best to preserve it."

Josie caught my eye and raised her eyebrows. Patsy's figure is preserved only in the sense that it's pickled. She can drink the equivalent of Lake Titicaca in red wine and still come back for more.

"Do you not find wearing a boned, push-up, under-wired boulder-holder a little tight in bed?" asked Maggie, eyeing the inch-deep strap marks on Patsy's shoulder.

"I do," admitted Patsy. "And what's worse, when I lie down at night my boobs are so high, I can't see over them."

That little problem may soon be resolved.

This October, the creator of Ultimo bras, Michelle Mone, will be launching a lightweight bra that is designed to be worn 24 hours a day. It will be made of a soft material that will let the skin breathe and allow the bosoms to be supported without being restricted.

"On the other hand," I said. "There is plenty of evidence to suggest that by not wearing a bra at all -- ever -- you will strengthen the ligaments in your mammaries."

Patsy looked down at her chest.

"Could you imagine this pair in freefall?" she asked. We tried not to.