THERE was a time, apparently, when television and radio over the festive period offered something to animate the little gray cells.
No more. I switched on the radio and before I realised my mistake found myself listening to someone called MacAulay on Radio Teuchter. Heavens above! Bring back Neville Garden!
If I heard aright, Mr MacAulay was interrogating some poor sod on how best to change a nappy. Suffice it to say no excremental detail was spared, even though some of us were engaged in making pea and ham soup. When I had retrieved the will to live I turned off, which meant I was not privy to why it was felt necessary to broadcast such tosh. Could it perhaps have something to do with a wean in Nazareth? As far as I can recall no mention is made in the New Testament of nappies, be they of the disposable or other kind.
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CHRISTMAS Day. Peace and goodwill to all and sundry. For reasons that are not entirely clear, sour-faced Queen Tupperware feels it necessary to chunter to the nation, as if the nation gives a monkey's.
I am unreliably informed that in some households it is forbidden to serve the chipolatas until after she has spoken, which is beyond ridiculous. As every gourmand knows, chipolatas are best eaten before one o'clock, after which hour they turn to sawdust. Why the Gnats wants to hang on to the royals post-independence remains a mystery.
Queen Tupperware praises our heroic Olympians. Again! No more, please. That she intended to do this was released by the "Palace" to the media. Thus we know that her speech was recorded which, of course, means she does not deliver it live. Can she not work one day a year! Is it too much to ask?
WHEREVER one turns, the sickly spirit of Christmas flows like over-sweet custard. It is de rigueur, it seems, to have "a family Christmas", though as every reader of Tolstoy knows, all families are alike and every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
For yonks the airwaves have been busy with "experts" discoursing on how best to enjoy the holidays, the best advice being to disable all electrical equipment and move to St Kilda for the duration.
Everything, we're told, must be perfect, from the Brussels sprouts to the jokes in the crackers. Nothing dare be left to chance. Disaster, like rats, is never far away, usually resulting from gross stupidity.
One woman called Radio Five to relate how, eager to ensure her turkey was cooking at the right temperature, she popped a thermometer in with the bird, neither of which was the better for the experience.
In dire need of relief I turn to the diaries of Evelyn Waugh, who at Christmas could not bear to be in the presence of his children and who preferred the operating theatre to the whole palaver. One Christmas he managed almost entirely to avoid his family and spent it comparing a copy of The Diary Of A Nobody with its serialised version in Punch. One can see his point.
FOX-hunting is back on the agenda because a Government minister says he doesn't think it would be a good idea to try and repeal the ban because those in favour of doing so would surely lose. This is news?
As readers of this throbbing organ may be aware, I am in favour of hunting, though why foxes must be subjected to this cruel sport and not humans I cannot fathom.
A huntsman told the Beeb that in lieu of chasing foxes he and his colleagues soak a sock in fox urine, which is imported from the US because Basil Brush, leader of the BFU (British Foxes' Union), has instructed his members to boycott this noxious trade.
Keen to learn more about this fascinating subject I type the words "fox", "urine" and "sock", and Mr Google instantly directs me to a site selling "Buck Bomb Predator Bomb 100% Pup Fox Urine", which can be bought for $9.99 per aerosol can. A lot of people are interested in the Buck Bomb. "If I use this to keep groundhogs out of my yard will this attract coyate [sic]," asks one potential customer, while another would like to know: "Does this product repell [sic] rabbits?" Alas, no replies are forthcoming. Meanwhile refrain from spraying the stuff on your armpits.
DROPPING into my club for a pre-prandial refuelling a couple of weeks ago, I unwisely revealed the contents of a carrier bag to several fellow members who are not so much regulars as permanent fixtures.
Among the items therein were two tins of baked beans obtained from Harvey Nicks. Ever since, this innocent gobbet of information has been a source of endless amusement, not to mention mickey-taking, which shows no sign of abating. This is typical not only of my club, where barbecued crisps are regarded as a delicacy, but of baked beans, which topic should be banned from clubs and pubs, like football and religion.
Hoping to divert attention from myself I noted I had spied a neighbour, who is also a club member, out for a walk with his dog, Harvey Nicks bag at the ready to pick up you-know-what. "Ooooooooo," replied one of my tormentors, "It must have been a designer doggy bag."
MUCH to Embra's chagrin, Time Magazine has chosen Glasgu as the place to be this Hogmanay, even though its "fiscally squeezed authorities" have decreed-that the "time-honoured late night revelries" must stop at 10pm.
Time recommends various places where visitors can partake of said revelries, including Pollok Country Park ("home to 100 Highland cattle" – haud me back!) and the Pot Still in Hope Street, whose exterior may be "utterly nondescript" but where you can have a dram of Strathisla 1953 Speyside Single Malt for a piffling $86 (£53). It all sounds fab. But what else can the unsuspecting visitor experience in Glasgu? Quoth a long-time resident: "An extraordinarily relaxed attitude from the constabulary to public inebriation."
Her Majesty was eating chipolatas as we were subjected to her speech
Crowds gathered when they heard Harvey Nicks' beans were half price
Aw naw! Thousands of Americans want Piers Morgan, a tube, to be deported because he called a gun lobbyist "stupid". The Foreign Office must intervene immediately. There can be no negotiation. Either Piers stays Stateside or the "special relationship" is toast.