A small collection of random trivial items of holiday-induced incompleteness to amuse, muse, bore or interest whosoever’s attention might be tweaked

Driving north (again) on New Year’s Eve, I was listening to a Radio 4 program called Irreplaceable, featuring five biologists light-heartedly pitching their case for a particular animal grouping in order to sway an audience vote on which was the most ecologically worthy: bats, bees, fungi, plankton, primates. This was wonderfully informative (such as the insect tonnage consumed by bats per night; the scale and importance of pollination by bees; the dependence of the pharmaceutical industry on fungi, and so on), and illuminated how everything is so ecologically interconnected, that the question is, really, impossible to answer. (Bees got the vote, by the way.) I wonder, however, that the question could be turned on its head: which, if we had to for the ecological good, would we choose to bump off?

And I was overtaken by a drainage company’s van, pronouncing, ’We’re No. 1 in the No. 2 business.’ Well, where there’s muck, there’s brass. And they couldn’t give ‘Lotto’ a rest on New Year’s Eve (such an over-fussed date). Oh no. Mightn’t it be because, this being a ‘hopeful’ time of year, more people are more likely to think their luck will come up? Talking of crap… and that pointless astrologer fella popping up again on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, on the night when old pennies had to be removed from Big Ben’s pendulum in order to account for the ‘leap second’. The earth is slowing down, you see. Which is nothing according to that weasel wordsmith, because “Saturn is stationary”. Eh?! Now that is scary! You’ll have to forgive my ignorance on astrology. On second thoughts, no don’t. I’m happy with my stance there, I think.

And I’ve been in Ireland for a lovely post-New Year weekend, but which, due to the tipping of the £ vs. € scales, was very pricey on the stout front, and culminated in the following E-mail (edited):

R & L,

Hi. I have to report that I owe you both an apology – or, more specifically, one bottle of good cachaça. You see, I’d already checked-in on-line, but had not checked in any baggage for the hold, carrying, as I was, everything I had in one item of cabin baggage… in which I’d previously sorted my assortment of gels, pastes, lotions and liquids, in the specified < 100 ml volumes, into the requisite transparent plastic bag for ready inspection whence traversing security. The penny dropped upon being asked, after my bag went through X-ray, whether I was carrying any liquids. Well, only a litre of highly flammable spirit! Eeesh! They must have thought I was taking the p—s! Might as well have wondered through nonchalantly swinging a can of petrol in full view.

The security lady informed me I’d have to check it in or it would be confiscated and, along with all such items, “donated to charity”. But with just twenty minutes before departure, I figure this wasn’t a viable option and so relinquished the incendiary. When she asked me what it was, I said, “Well, if you do take it home, mix with ice, lots of lime and sugar.”

I therefore promise to replace when I next get to Brazil. Which gives you even greater incentive to incentivise me into so doing.

Back to work – where I resolve, this year, to work less at weekends (don’t I say that every January?)… and to get back to Brazil.

Happy now, yer ’ear?

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