Greece sells the family silver

Other people's hardships are just a billionaire's buying opportunity.

"Slam! That's the sound of doors banging shut on my fantasies", says Cristina Odone in The Daily Telegraph. "I'd long dreamt of spending what I refer to euphemistically as the next phase of my life' in a sun-splashed Mediterranean villa, feasting on a diet of olive oil, pasta and Campari, sending postcards to envious oldies stuck here."

Now, however, what she calls "this Somerset-Maugham-meets-The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel scenario doesn't look quite so attractive. The derailing of the southern economies has cheated tens of thousands of Britons of their investments, and millions of their dreams."

Retirees who invested their life savings in a Spanish villa are facing bankruptcy. OAPs who thought Cyprus a pleasant place with low taxes are "seeing their bank account pillaged". The Med dream "is turning into a nightmare".

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Meanwhile, things are so bad in Greece, says Harriet Alexander in The Sunday Telegraph, that the Greek government is desperately trying to raise money by flogging off land and other assets. Some 70,000 lots are on offer, "ranging from pristine stretches of coast through to royal palaces, marinas, thermal baths, ski resorts and entire islands".

In Rhodes, where nearly a third of the land is owned by the government, huge chunks of real estate are up for grabs. The royal palace on Corfu, where Prince Philip was born, is up for sale. So is the Athens police headquarters. Even the Greek Embassy in Holland Park "could be yours for £22 million". "We are like a bankrupt housewife forced to sell the family silver," says one 80-year-old in Rhodes."

And there are plenty of people happy to snap up a Greek island or two. In March the Emir of Qatar bought six for £7m, while Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the daughter of a Russian oligarch, bought Skorpios earlier this month for a reported £65m.

Back in Britain Cristina Odone may now be studying prospectuses for houses in Oxfordshire rather than southern Europe. But if you're a billionaire, other people's hardship is often just another buying opportunity.

The merciless glare of TV fame

Simon Cowell is a man so fond of his own image, says Harry Wallop in The Daily Telegraph, that he sent out mirrored invitations' to his 50th birthday party. Now he's been caught fixing the lighting for Britain's Got Talent so that viewers don't get too unflattering a view of "his flabby, 53-year-old jowls".

Thanks to photographs taken by members of the studio audience, we know that extra studio lights have been secreted on the underside of his desk. "They have been installed, we are told, to shine a disinfecting glow towards the underside of his chins."

The secret lights haven't fooled everyone. One tweet said his face "was like a Thorntons' gift bag full of smashed liqueurs", while Lord Sugar posted: "My wife and her friend, Joy, want to know what you have done to your face." But I don't blame Cowell for trying. TV is a merciless medium; you have to look your best whatever tricks that may require.

Tabloid money: good riddance to hotels' refrigerated robbers

"The boss of Google, Eric Schmidt, has been predicting what life will be like for us all 20 years from now," says Rod Liddle in The Sun. "Incredibly, Eric expects us to be roused in the morning not by a silly old alarm clock, but by some fascinating sort of device which will make us a cup of tea or coffee having been programmed to do so the night before. He also says we will travel to work by driverless car'.

"Ah yes. The driverless car. I read about that in my TV21 comic in 1966 and was quite excited. Every few years since, I've read reports that the driverless car will be with us, ooh, a few years from now. Pish. Anyway, the most likely thing is, we will be awoken 20 years from now not by a Goblin Teasmade, but by the burglars leaving our property which they located via Google's latest intrusive facility."

"Minibars are being phased out by some big hotel chains," says Paul Routledge in the Daily Mirror. "I never had anything to do with these refrigerated robbers, which became de rigeur in the 1970s, supposedly as a sign of superior hospitality. But they're ludicrously overpriced, and never stock what you want to drink. It's always junk lager or industrial vodka with a fake Russian name.

"The only food' is gooey chocolate bars or nuts that you've just had on the plane anyway. Some are so sophisticated that if you just touch one of the little bottles, your bill is exorbitantly debited. Best not even to open the door, for fear of an electronic eye emptying your wallet."

Dropped off for Margaret Thatcher's funeral some walk from St Paul's, says The Sun, Ed Miliband "was caught short and, looking around for somewhere convenient, ended up popping into the plush, marbled reception of a nearby bank. Given Labour's bonus-bashing, the investment bankers were unlikely to have been ecstatic about his impromptu visit."

But "all credit to Ed for being one of the few people in the City to walk through Goldman Sachs' front door and leave having only spent a penny".