Happy Monday to you. Colin Firth – Mr Darcy, no less – has given it as his view that the English Gentleman no longer exists. Pshaw! He's still about, but, in his mannerly way, he has adapted. Allow me to present Ten Ways to Clock a Modern Gent: 1. He stands up while logging on to Facebook. 2. He only follows Tweeters to whom he has been introduced. 3. He gets out of the bath to exfoliate. 4. He never listens to his iPod with his mouth open. 5. He indicates at roundabouts. 6. He gives way with his shopping trolley. 7. He puts the seat back down ungrudgingly. 8. He drops his napkin to check his messages. 9. On the whole, he avoids emoticons. 10. His tattoos are in Latin.
SEASONAL UPDATE: And, in an attempt to dispel the melancholy following the demise of Bernard Matthews, I can tell you that Connie Hodges, of the Hole Plaice fish-and-chip shop, also in Norfolk, has "developed" a deep-fried Christmas Pudding. Next: at times like these, I always stoke my search engine thus: "footprints snow". Ah, yes, here we go: "A man has been arrested following a burglary at a house in North Shields after police officers followed footprints left in the snow." Never fails.
Next: sales of rosé are booming. You must command your own Christmas table, but I follow the great Arthur Lowe, aka Captain Mainwaring, dining in a restaurant with Jimmy Perry, the co-creator of Dad's Army: "Those people are drinking Matoos [sic] Rose, James. Are they insane?"
INTERESTING TIMES: Mr William Tunstall-Pedoe, a Cambridge scientist, has declared 11 April, 1954, the most boring day ever after feeding 300 million facts into a computer programme, which must have been exciting. But we're not going to let anything like that happen this week. No.
Besides the Tube strike, Fifa's decision on England hosting the World Cup, and Sir Elton John guest-editing The Independent on Wednesday, I can also enliven today for you by revealing that Mrs Doreen Priestley, 67, of Huddersfield, is replacing the cooker she has been using since 1953 because the door has fallen off.
And Wednesday also marks the 91st anniversary of Nancy Astor becoming the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons. One of Nancy's many claims to fame was that she once kept up morale in an air-raid shelter in Plymouth, her constituency, by turning a cartwheel. But that's probably enough excitement for now.