the brilliantly leaping gazelle

Thomas Dolby

This’ll make you laugh. This morning LMS and I had a conversation whilst I was making us porridge that simply reaffirmed both our beliefs not only in the correctness of our opinions, but concern that the other was being deliberately annoying.

I was watching the porridge, stirring it occasionally lest it stick and LMS was watching me watching it when out of the blue she asked,

“Do you know how much a nucleus weighs?”*

“No,” I replied distractedly, “do you?”

“Yes, it weighs as much as if you crushed all the cars in the world”

“Really?”

“There are eight billion cars in the world and if you crushed them really really small they’d weigh the same a nucleus.”

“One car weighs an awful lot so I can’t even imagine how many a billion weighs. How do you know this?”

A look of patient indulgence greeted this one.

“Because scientists proved it. They looked inside a nucleus-“

“No, what I mean is, how do you know this”

“Because scientists-“

“No, no, no, you misunderstand me, why do you believe it to be true? A nucleus is invisible to the naked eye. They could say whatever they liked actually. Who could prove them wrong?”

“Because scientists proved it”

“ Says who? Other than scientists?”

And here we have the great conundrum of science. Provability. The amount of times I’ve heard on the news that scientists have discovered this or found that and thought ‘That’s unverifiable, no-one with an active social life is going to check that.’

And I thought back to a few weeks ago, when Joe was patiently explaining how a light bulb works, for LMS’s homework about filaments and currents in great detail. And being the sort of adult who should never be responsible for teaching a child anything, I thought when her teacher asked how a light bulb worked, she could reply, “I don’t know. Do I need to know? I just flick a switch and it does.” Or “I think it’s all thanks to magic, actually. This whole electricity thing just nonsense.”

Back to this morning. Sensing that I didn’t believe her she fixed me with a look of sorrowful exasperation and said, “Well you can have your opinions, I’ll have the truth”

*It turns out if a nucleus was the same size as an orange, it would weigh the same as eight billion cars. According to Joe, who got it from scientists. So it must be true. Hang was it eight billion or eight million? And was it an orange? Maybe a large satsuma…..

“This never happened to the other fella”

Last night I had a ‘Billy Liar’ moment.

For those of you who haven’t seen the classic British film ‘Billy Liar’ – and you really need to take a long hard look at yourselves if you haven’t – Billy is a fantasist who yearns to escape the drab northern town where he lives with parents to seek fame and fortune in London.

Anyway, at one point in the film Billy is outlining his plans to his parents during breakfast, who in a 1950’s provincial way, pour scorn on his ambition. Billy retreats into his fantasy world, where imagines machine gunning them to death over their boiled eggs and toast. I know how he feels. In my mind, I’ve committed the most unspeakably heinous crimes countless times throughout my life. Last night being case a case in point, one where I imagined all manner of gruesome ways to put others out of my misery. That isn’t my line. That belongs to Hugo Drax in ‘Moonraker, one of Roger Moore’s woeful Bond films.

In fact all of Moore’s outings Bond were embarrassing. It was nearly as difficult to imagine him as a hard man who could handle himself, as it was to imagine as him as hard man that ladies would want to handle. What? If you think that was bad, I’ve got some pure filth cuming soon.

Although Moore didn’t have much to beat in Connery, to be fair. As someone who has read all the books, and once as a 14-year-old boy went to a Bond convention, I think I know what I’m talking about here. Actually, come to mention it, the Bond in the books is as different to the Bond in the Connery/Moore/Dalton/Brosnan films as to be an entirely different character. The Bond in the books is a bit of a sadist, a bit unsure of himself, there are hardly any gadgets – other than those you’d expect a spy to have – so no invisible cars and he is far from the walking S.T.D he is in the films. In the books, if memory serves, he only beds fourteen women and marries one, who is then murdered.

In fact, the book ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ was only published after Fleming’s death, written as it was, from the woman’s point of view. For some reason, the heroine finds herself in a motel and is being terrorised by some mafia types. Bond, by chance, is staying there, learns of this and does what Bond does. After all, what good is a licence to kill if you don’t kill anyone? Fleming was conflicted by this departure from the norm and fearful of the public’s reaction, stipulated publication posthumously.

Until Daniel Craig rescued the films from disappearing up their own Q branch, the best Bond film was by quite a wide margin the superb ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.’ Quite faithful to the book – by then the films were only using book title and characters names and making the plot up -, having an actor who looked the part, fantastic action sequences – a simply amazing ski chase – a fantastic Tracey, who Bond marries – and, lets face it who wouldn’t marry Diana Rigg? A heartbreak of an ending, and by far, the best score of any Bond film ever. Takes the one from the dismal ‘Spectre’ outside and pisses all over it.

My theory is that after a really good Craig Bond, there follows a really bad one. After ‘Casino Royale’ – again, faithful to the book – there followed the eminently forgettable ‘Quantum Of Solace. And after excellent ‘Skyfall’ the execrable ‘Spectre’

Sorry but I can never resist a stroll down Tangent Street. and besides. it bothers me, the people think the Bond in the books is the quip loving, bed hopping, stuffed shirt he was in most of the films. Always has.

Anyway.

Back to last night.

After various homicidal imaginings, I repaired to my room, where I decided that perhaps getting pissed up on beer wasn’t the most sensible thing to do, given the mood I was in. I then wisely fell asleep. Unwisely, I woke up at about 1am, and even more unwisely, decided to use my exercise bike. Not that using the bike is a bad thing, but more that exiting my room into the kitchen my eyes fell upon an open box with some of that evenings fish and chips on the cooker. Yes that would be the kitchen with the mice. Just inviting the mice to have their fill. Remember that filth I mentioned earlier. Here it cums. I looked at the open box and it put me in mind of a cottage – not one with a white picket fence – and someone waiting with their mouth open by a glory hole.

Obviously.

There’s a fourth wall break at the end of the ‘OHMSS’ pre-credit sequence which accurately sums up how I feel about myself some of the time. I think of me as two distinct personages; pre-brain injury me and post-brain injury me. The story I tell myself is that whilst I wasn’t happy all the tine, I certainly wasn’t as unhappy all the time.

It doesn’t add up.

This lockdown, this self-isolation or whatever one chooses to call it, reminds me of the ‘restore factory settings’ on my ‘phone, inasmuch as one is stripped of the usual daily social interactions that make up the day, and if one lives with someone, has to spend a large proportion of your waking hours with them. And that being the case, might people realise that time isn’t what it seems, it is, in fact less, much less time than it seems and rethink their relationship? To re-configure their work/life balance to achieve a more harmonious situation than the one this lockdown has forced them to accept the reality of.

Bear with me here.

Lets take an average couple. Lets call them Janet and John. Lets give them both jobs. Lets assume they live together. Now, lets have them sleeping for 8 hours a day – the lightweights -, working for 8 hours, travelling to and from work takes up 2 hours – longer if they commute into London or use public transport in London, 2 hours for cooking, that’s 20 hours out of a 24 hour day. Some people have less depending on how much of a workaholic they are, how much sleep they can get away with or how little they cook.

But let’s be kind and allow them six hours a day exclusively – meaning not doing anything else – in each others company. Into those six hours, they have to cram in socialising, hobbies, watching TV and having sex. Not all at the same time, but hang on; they might be sneaky, and combine watching TV with cooking, perhaps having sex is a hobby of theirs. Furthermore, lets assume they’ve lived together for 6 years. Well 6 years on paper. (So unlikely that having sex is a thing they do together anymore.) But if my calculations are correct and the average couple spends around 6 hours a day together, multiply that by 5 and then again by 52,  we get 1664.

I’ll give them back the 16 hours they would’ve spent working at the weekend because I’m not totally heartless, and I’ll assume that after a weeks work they’ll want to make the most of their precious freedom I’ll give them 2 hours back for lie-ins, and while I’m about it, another 4 hours back for whatever things Janet and John enjoy doing at the weekend. Keeping fit. DIYing. Gong to pubs and getting pissed, going to clubs and getting shit-faced, going to festivals and getting henna tatoos. Although not doing each other! After 6 years, it’s a birthday treat only.  Maybe.

So on an average weekend the average couple spend 34 hours together; that’s 1768 hours a year. If we add the 6 hours a day we’ve already established they have each weekday, which amounts to 1664 hours per year and if we add that all up, 1664 +1768 we have a grand total of 3432 hours a year. And if we divide that by 24, we get 143.

So six years on paper, whilst sounding great and everything, is only a year of 143 days and not of 365 when you think about it. OK. Yes I’ll grant you, sleep is a constant, so I could give them those 8 hours a day back, but as those hours represent time not actively doing things together, they can be ignored. So 858 days = 6 years for Janet and John, not 2190 days.

Of course I’m not counting holidays here, and holidays are exceptional, holidays away from home together I mean, exceptional because everything is unfamiliar and waiting to be discovered. Because holidays are a break from the routine and by dint of that fact, free from the tyranny of work – but safe in the knowledge its not going to be an ongoing state of affairs, but rather a very temporary circumstance – they can enjoy each others company.

This state of affairs, the one the lockdown presents us with I mean, is uncharted territory for all of us, with a high probability of accidents – or accidents that look like accidents but aren’t for some – given as how I think that how the average couple spends 143 days a year in each others company.

Because people are not used to spending so much time together, suddenly having to out of enforced necessity might cause them to reflect of exactly how much they like their partner. How possibly the pleasure of spending so much time with them, to just be and enjoy each others company might instead reveal a deeper truth, one that the mundane reality of day to day living has obscured? That far from being a pleasure, it’s a pain, and a pain moreover that’ll be dealt with as soon as the lockdown is over.

I, of course, am excluded from such calculations, being as how I am exceedingly good company, a source of joy to those fortunate enough to know me and utterly beyond reproach all times. Just thought I needed to add that.

Cynicism

 

Because maybe I’m wired up wrong but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact I’m brain damaged. I’ve always been a cynical bastard and besides, why stop now when there’s just so much to be cynical about.

Such as this, from the BBC today as part one of its ‘live coronavirus updates’,

The UN says the pandemic has caused widespread psychological distress worldwide

and I thought ‘You managed to work that all out on your own? Really? That enforced isolation, the sudden suspension of normal social inter-actions and the constant sense of anxiety that a cough or sneeze might be the harbinger of your death, you mean those have? What next? Eating nothing but chips, fried food, cream cakes and fizzy drinks might lead to obesity and a heart attack?’

It was followed up by this equally fatuous piece of nonsense,

It calls on all countries to make mental health support a key part of their virus response

Mmm. A call that will be lost among all the other calls to do this and that, given that tax revenues will have taken a massive hit and that mental health has always been seen as the ‘Cinderella’ service, certainly as far as NHS spending on it is concerned.

Oops, I wrote too soon, because what do we find as their next astounding revelation, this

The virus “may never go away”, even with a vaccine, the WHO has warned

you mean that despite the fact that there isn’t being even a cure for the common cold, despite the unlikeliness of a vaccine and the gradual adjustment in behaviours this will invariably necessitate and despite the global financial shitstorm?

No wonder these guys get the big bucks?

And just to make my day, but not a ‘Dirty Harry’ way,

Globally, the number of people confirmed to have died with Covid-19 is nearing 300,000

Anyone familiar with my blog will know how I’m going to respond to this. 300,000 deaths? Is that all? The global population is nearly 7 billion, so 300,000 isn’t even ½ of a 1% of that. A big number to be sure, but dwarfed by a much bigger one. Even 300 million is less than 45 of the global total.

For a global killer, it certainly isn’t doing that much killing. Early days though.

 

Scooby-Don’t?

Early last night, when the circus had departed and I finally had some peace, I became aware that what I needed most was to be anywhere but here. For various reasons, none of which I feel inclined to share, I needed a change of scenery. Not that I had any great expectation that my mood would lighten, but more that it might quieten the noise, so to speak. So I called my partner, explained things to her and she was only too willing to collect me on Friday and return me back here on Monday.

This, I must confess, was like pushing at an open door. Most weekends I spend at hers, and she has been mindful of my mental health during this lockdown, that it doesn’t go mental, being aware that she might have to dash across London to get me if it seems likely. It’s been a few weeks now and she’s quite impressed that I haven’t asked her to come and get me. I know she would do because she has done so, many times and at all hours.

Feeling immediately better, knowing that a safety valve had been hastily attached to the pipeline, the peace and quiet of the garden seemed more relaxing. The last of the early evening sun seemed warmer and the chill that had been in the air seemed to have been replaced by pleasant nothingness. I knew it couldn’t last and true enough, it didn’t.

Later that evening, having had time to soberly consider the matter, my partner called me with bad news. I had already guessed it was going to be bad news, as I had already provoked the God of Naws to make the call happen. Having tried twice to call her, I reasoned that if I started drinking the cup of tea Marge had just bought into my room, then the God of Naws would intervene, and naws me right up by having her call midway through.

Quite correctly, as it turned out.

Anyway, the upshot was that she thought me coming to hers was, on reflection, not the best idea, leastways not yet. She outlined them, but the main one, ensuring the health of her 89-year-old mother was irrefutable. Yes, I was disappointed, but this disappointment was compounded by the fact that I knew I couldn’t get angry, or rail against the injustice of it. Knew that I couldn’t feel wronged in any way or claim that a monstrous outrage had been unfairly visited upon me, for the annoying reason that she was right.

And what’s worse is, she knew I’d think it the right thing to do, because one of my favourite sayings is ‘Anyone can be wise after the event, the trick is to be wise before the event.’ I felt like the light-house keeper in ‘Scooby-Do , right after he’s revealed to be the evil mastermind trying to find the hidden treasure who says ‘If it wasn’t for those pesky meddling kids…’, except it’d be me saying ‘If it was for that blasted logic, that confounded sensibleness, if..’

Just because I’d be the one adversely impacted by this was neither here nor there. The right thing to do is still the right thing to do, and to try and argue otherwise would reduce me to the self-serving thinking of people whose hoop earrings have a larger radius than their I.Q.

She has promised to make it up to me with a visit on Friday, when she’ll hopefully be bearing an edible gift, a rich, thick, tomato, onion and garlic stew with chorizo. It seems I am one of the few people in this lockdown to have lost weight. I’ve already lost a stone and there wasn’t much of me to start with. What was the name of that award winning pie company who now deliver?

Higher State of Consciousness.

Last night proved my wisdom of avoiding the news, especially now, for the preservation of my mental health, given that it seems to be nothing but bad news at the moment. But I thought I’d watch a bit of Boris’s Johnsons Downing Street daily briefing at 7pm, because I thought he was going to clarify his advice regarding the easing of the lockdown restrictions and also I thought that having avoided news since the start of the year, I’d be fine. That I wouldn’t bellow a load of angry “Oh for fucks sake!” at my computer. How wrong I was.

I tuned in late, in itself a metaphor for Boris’s Johnson’s handling of the crisis, to see three men standing so far apart that I thought that the one the middle had really smelly and uncontrollable flatulence, only to realise the one in the middle was Boris’s Johnson, and that the flatulence was coming out of mouth. When I listened to him, he put me in mind of a schoolboy, who has been given a month to prepare for a book presentation, but has failed to do so and so skim-reads Brodies notes on it in the lunch-break and tries to blag it.

My first fuck, as it were, occurred when he claimed the British people had adhered to the restrictions of the lockdown in superb way. I can’t remember his exact phrasing, as I was attempting to swear and choke at the same time, but the gist of it was that we Brits, we happy few, our brethren, had been some of the best in the world at it. Was he having a bubble? The parks near me would indicate he was, so to would the anecdotal evidence of my partner.

My second fuck followed a few minutes later. He was repeating the advice to go back to work but avoid public transport if at all possible. That would be the public transport that has been decimated in rural communities thanks to government funding cuts to local authorities, and in metropolitan areas apart from London, is a victim of competition and cost-cutting? That public transport, the one its easier to avoid using if it doesn’t fucking exist in the first place!

My third fuck – if only my recovery time in real life were this good! – was when he was answering a question about poorly paid workers having no choice but to go back to work and thus proportionally having a higher death rate than the rich. He said it was a scandal and mentioned a piece of research that was being urgently undertaken to establish the reasons why this was the case. And I thought what bunch of muppets he must take us for. The research is the whole social history of disease, every single pandemic through the ages. Humans always react in the same way, irrespective of time, place, or ethnicity.

We know that the rich fuck off out of densely populated urban area’s at the first sign of trouble to the less crowded countryside, leaving the poorest with little choice but to hope the grim reaper doesn’t come knocking at their door. We know that the poor will have to weigh up the financial benefits of going to work against the health risks that poses. The rich don’t have to make that stark choice and because they’re rich, they’re more likely to have a better diet, have a healthier life-style, to be able to afford better healthcare, in short to have the advantages that wealth allows you to buy. If Boris’s Johnson actually knew poor people – proper poor, not families who can only afford to send their child to a minor public school but families for whom disadvantaged means much more than not having a nanny – he’d know this, he’d know that social inequality is only exacerbated in times of pandemic. He’s meant to be a clever chap, after all.

Mind you, there was one highlight. Chris Whitty, the something of something and who reminds me of the creepy lawyer that Milly had an affair with in ‘This Life’ said something that made me want to cheer. That the vast majority of people wouldn’t get the disease, and a majority of those that did would only have mild symptoms that wouldn’t require hospital treatment at all, mainly because they’re symptoms were so mild, they hadn’t noticed they’d had it in the first place. Of those that did need hospital treatment, most would need some form of respiratory treatment, nothing more, and only a very small minority of those would need intensive care and some of them might die.

And now for some really great news, well I thunk it great. Yesterday LMS decided to take a break from literacy lessons and to some exercise on my exercise bike. I lowered the seat, set the controls and when she was about to start, asked her if she wanted to listen to anything as she did it. She thought for a few seconds and then said, “The one you like with the funny woman on it”. I knew exactly what she meant, so cued it my computer, turned on the Bluetooth, turned on the hi-fi, turned up the volume, and we began.

Its both odd and gratifying to see a 9 year old child have exactly the same response at exactly the same time, as you remember seeing 4,000 other people having in a tent at Tribal Gathering in 1995.

Although I had to bite my tongue earlier, when LMS declared herself to be “soooooooo bored” with Marge repeatedly trying to teach her how to measure the area of a rectangle. And I thought, ‘ When in all my adult life has the ability to correctly measure the area of a rectangle ever come un handy’

Common sense?

The BBC, had on its website this morning, another laughably absurd headline,

Coronavirus: Use common sense to see loved ones outdoors – Dominic Raab

 Because as we all know, not only is common sense very common, it also characterises this governments entire handling of the situation. All of their public utterances and health advice have been outstanding examples of communicating complex ideas in a the most simple and understandable way possible. I’ll wager that in seventy years time, people will have cushions and towels with the stirring words of Boris’s Johnson emblazoned on them, like they do with ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. Magnificent is the word I’d use if I were called upon to choose one word to describe his leadership throughout this crisis. Responsive would a close second. Deft, sure-footed and steadfast would also be possible contenders. Not forgetting consistent.

The nation owes a huge debt of gratitude to those members of the Tory party who elected him as the Tory leader to succeed Teresa May, and thus our Prime Minister. One hesitates to use the words of Churchill, because they fail to convey the enormity of our thanks, that their actions delivered us such a colossus, such a truly inspiring figure to lead us through these dark times. ‘Never…has so much been owed to so many to so few.’

I know. Doesn’t even begin to encapsulate it.

Memory Lego

I’m not feeling in a great mood this morning, far from it, very far from it in fact, but one of the challenges, to put in kindly, of living in a shared house is how one deals with it. I should write I, because my life has been blighted by people who when they are in a bad mood are suddenly overcome with a compulsion to share it out, to let everyone have some. So, knowing how that made me feel, and not wanting others to feel that way, I remove myself from the company of others until it passes.

That’s how utterly fucked up I am, having an instinctive reflex to do that. Thanks for that Dad!

So I’m not in a good way, and as I was thinking of the things I was thinking of, I became aware of the fact that I was thinking of a way to best describe it here in this blog, rather than to think about the things itself.

Again, that’s how fucked up I am.

The best way I could think of was if you imagine a memory Lego set, made up of all the memories of your childhood. Rationally, I know that there must’ve been some good times, some really great times in my childhood, but emotionally nothing springs to mind. My experience of childhood was worse than others had, but thankfully better than others had. Anyway a memory Lego set, where all the pieces are various shapes of of my childhood unhappiness. Again, it can’t have been all bad, some of it was very bad. That was joke, by the way. Again, with the fucked up.

Assemble the pieces in the mind carefully, being aware that there are an infinite amount of pieces and that each piece triggers a memory of another piece that slots on that one and so forth. It never ends up with the same final model, mainly because it is never finished. It can just repeat itself or make new configurations that trigger unhelpful thoughts, on and on. And on.

So me thinking about how best to describe it helps. It is a distraction, nothing more and I know that.

Writing of distractions, music has always been one of mine, and I’ve started writing a post all about that, but for now here’s one that’s always put me a better mood. Especially at 5:12 when it changes gear and goes wonderfully fucking mental and most especially when it’s played very fucking loud.

 

 

Loophole words.

I was in the garden yesterday, relaxing on my giant bean-bag and allowing my mind to wander and I thought of ‘furlough’. Now maybe its just me but the word ‘furlough’ was one that had never crossed my path before. I had no idea what it meant and all of a sudden, its everywhere, but nobody has taken the time to explain exactly what it meant, it was just assumed everyone did.

I didn’t know. If someone had said that they were going to ‘furlough’ someone, I’d have thought of some sexual act, involving some ropes and pulleys, a a horse and possible serious injury.  ‘Furlough’, furlong, you can understand why I might think it. Think of Catherine the Great.

Sadly though, it isn’t. According to the government,

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

Your employer could pay 80% of your regular wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500

Essentially working tax credits for people who aren’t working. On super strength steroids. Not the people. The tax credits.

And did you spot the cunning use of the loophole word, ‘could’. I ‘could’ climb Mount Everest, I ‘could’ do all manner of things, some more likely than not, but all are theoretically possible. You can’t theoretically pay for things, you’d get short shrift at a checkout if you tried that stunt.

Then I thought of all the people who can’t be ‘furloughed’, and also that there isn’t any indication of how long this largesse might last. I then thought of how the government is ready to splash the cash when it benefits big business -– corporate welfare costs £92billion a year – but not the little people, those who are in the gig economy, people on zero-hours contracts and those in the creative industries. I know how precocious this world is, having briefly had my toe in the murky world of advertising a long time ago now. Thats a tale for another day.

I thought that someone well connected in the entertainment world could get all their showbiz pals and they could get all their showbiz pals, not to do a telethon or release another charity single, not to do sponsored something. But rather to just put their hands in their pockets and donate some cash. With enough schmoozing and publicity, they could get charitable status and with that not only could they say it was a charitable donation and write it off against tax, it would qualify for gift aid from the government.

That Ricky Gervais, him with a laugh like a hyena, I hear he’s a nice chap, I’m sure he’d do it.

Of mice and men. Again

Because it was Thursday night last night, the tedious inevitability the air was rent asunder by the sound of ‘The Happy Clappers’. As any reader that has being paying attention to my misanthropic ramblings I have no time whatsoever for this absurdity, finding it both self-serving and a bit creepy. ‘Sappy Clappers’ more like. And it struck me that if somehow you were manage to combine this, the panopticon,

From the tower, a guard can see every cell and inmate but the inmates can’t see into the tower. Prisoners will never know whether or not they are being watched.

This was introduced by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. It was a manifestation of his belief that power should be visible and unverifiable. Through this seemingly constant surveillance, Bentham believed all groups of society could be altered.

If you added to this a bit of the 1970’s talent show ‘Opportunity Knocks’, where the gimmick was the ‘Clapometer’, which supposedly measured the applause an act would generate from the audience. The winner was the one who garnered the most applause and got to appear on next weeks show.  So no possibility of a fix then. You thought talent show fixes were a modern thing? That the only scandal on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ was the scandal about text votes and not, as seems far more probable, having judges with no discernable talent whatsoever? Apart that is, for shameless self-promotion and pandering to the crowd?

And just for good measure, throw in a bit of ‘The People’s Postcode Lottery’ , which works, as the name implies, by choosing a random postcode and households that have singed up, win some cash. Combine that with the Clapometer and the panopticon and you’d have people clapping for hours to win some cash. They’d be too scared not too. Obviously for this to work there’d have to be some kind penalty, not to severe at first, so as to let them get used to the idea. But eventually one household in the least enthusiastic postcode would be chosen at random and be dragged off, never to be seen or heard from again. Isn’t my mind a joyful place!

But you don’t want to read about that! No, you want to know about the mousetraps, you want to know how we’re getting on with them, you want to know about this morning. Well, boys and girls, come close and I’ll tell you.

Marge declared herself not best pleased that the traps hadn’t been set, a pronouncement that wasn’t greeted with scorn that statement deserved. Don’t get me wrong, I think Marge is fantastic but sometimes – this being one of them – misguided. Joe was tasked with preparing the traps, something he had as much enthusiasm for as he had choice in the matter. He looked at the trap carefully, played with it, eventually declaring that the spring mechanism needed so much weight applied on it for it to activate the trap, so much so that it rendered it functionally funct.

Oblivious to this frankly unhelpful nit-picking, Marge then began discussing the merits of using peanut butter as bait, as if mice were gourmets with sensitive palettes’. Like they’d take one sniff and turn away in disgust thinking ‘It’s not organic, it’s not fair-trade, its…(sniff)…its….(sniff) SunPat!’ Apparently mice like peanut butter. Don’t ask me how or even why people know this but they do and Marge bought a jar of it specially.

Then where to set the traps was the next issue, because mice being known for their obliging nature, are bound to walk right up into the traps and allow themselves to be caught. I suggested to Joe that if the traps do catch any mice – a big if – then we should watch as it slowly uses up all the oxygen in the trap. Shouldn’t take long. We could have a competition. Obviously the medals would be awarded posthumously. But really is that worse death for a house mouse thanbeing released into the wild to be torn limb from limb and eaten?

Writing of the lottery reminds me that that today is a Bank Holiday, moved from Monday so as to allow us to celebrate something. However, the move hadn’t factored in the lockdown. That being the case, shouldn’t we have a Bank Holiday rollover, for later in the year?