Friday, 11 December 2009


I am worried what I am going to find in my Christmas stocking
this year. I have discovered a gift catalogue the Head
Ferret has hidden in the polystyrene Iron Maiden she keeps to
enforce family discipline.

I was particularly unnerved by the Whirley Dickey Bird
Feeder, the perch of which whirls around when an unsuspecting
bird lands on it. I cannot see that getting the Good
Nest Builder seal of approval.

The dog Taz will, I know, oppose the introduction of a key
ring which responds when you whistle, on the grounds that
if key rings are going to behave like that, it won't be long
before similar responses are expected from long dogs.

I can also do without the "Snap On Vinyl Cover Up" which
catches falling hair; a bisque ceramic Wise Old Owl which
turns pink and hoots in fine weather. I am also a bit worried
what the Law will make of a device for syphoning
petrol, which I have no doubt is sold with a gift-wrapped stiff
sentence. It is said to be useful for bailing boats. I should
have thought bailing out anyone who possessed one would be more

I pass over Nudie Ice Cubes with a wellbred shudder,
offering the same response to Zany Nudey Party Glasses in the
shape of a human body and made - in the coy language of the
catalogue - "each with the details that make the
difference. Four and a half inches high."

It may be that I have misunderstood the copy writer.
But if, as I assume, the difference is only four
and a half inches high, I cannot for the life of me see what
they are making all the fuss about.

I quarrel with the claim that no breakfast table
can be complete without an Egg Topper. "22 fine blades sever
the top of a boiled egg, lifting it off neatly leaving no
shell chips."

My breakfast table is quite complete without an instrument
more appropriate to the Place Vendome during the French
Revolution. Given the the evil temper of most family members at
breakfast time, the introduction of 22 blades would be an
invitation for a replay of that event.

Talking of families, their festive presence means we have no
use for the bottle drainer about which the catalogue speaks
so enthusiastically. For the same reason, we won't need the
foldaway drink rack which prevents spills in the car. I have
relatives who are deeply opposed to drinking and driving in
case they spill anything when they change gear.


The Copenhagen Summit will cost £130 million. It will produce as much CO-2 (41,000 tons) as an African country. It will cost £6.375 million to fly 15,000 delegates to the conference and 140 aeroplanes will be used to fly world leaders. In salaries, the conference will cost £54.5 million. Nine hundred miles of computer cable will be laid - and taken up 12 days later. But look on the bright side. One thousand, four hundred prostitutes will get laid free of charge by anyone wearing a conference badge.

Fancy a drink? Take care! The police are aiming this year to beat last year's breathalyser total of 183,397. Why? Britain and Sweden have the lowest road casualty rate in the world. Dropped from 3,508 in 2003 to 2,538 last year. That is less than five per cent of the casualty rate that occurred when drivers were over the limit. The figures include not only drunken motorists, but drunken pedestrians too.

On a personal note, the breathalyser used in Britain was invented by a friend of mine. At a party his wife unwittingly let slip a way to beat it. Alas, I go so drunk I forgot what she told me.

THE NEW YORK TIMES reports: Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican, toured a prince’s vineyard and castle in Liechtenstein and spent an afternoon at a ski resort in the Alps — all at the expense of a group of European companies. Representative Danny K. Davis, an Illinois Democrat, got the dignitary treatment when a big donor flew him to Inner Mongolia to lobby for a new medical supplies factory in rural China.

And Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, on another privately sponsored trip, stayed at the historic King David Hotel in Jerusalem and attended a gala party near the Western Wall as part of a weeklong conference that lobbyists and executives paid as much as $18,500 to attend.
Despite changes intended to curb Congressional junkets, some lawmakers and even their families continue to take trips hosted by private groups and companies that revel in their access to Washington power brokers.
According to the Daily Mail,RYLANDS LIBRARY has “discovered” a lost 14th century cook-book, “The Forme of Cury”.
By coincidence, I have also lost my Penguin paperback of the book. However, I have replaced it on Amazon. I now learn you can read it free on where it is one of hundreds on offer. So, if you are looking for lost books in the future, I would advise trying them. You were apparently having trouble with the porpoise recipe. I see why. According to my copy: “Make as thou madest Noumbles of Flesh with oynouns.”