Charles Nevin: A legend in my own lunchtime

Start the week... Skipping lunch, I note from research, can lead to "slow-down mode" and "exhaustion" by Thursday

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Happy Monday. I know you're keen to hit the steep upward slope that is the coming week with all feet pumping, but could I advise pacing yourself just a little? Skipping lunch, I note from research, can lead to "slow-down mode" and "exhaustion" by Thursday. This is why I force myself to three courses supplemented by hourly snacks. I'm careful with my speed around the work place, too: deliberate slow-motion "long-haul mode" to begin with, accelerating smoothly to a final sprint for the door on Friday. Not at all.

Another excellent tip comes from the late Amy Vanderbilt, born 103 years ago this week, who sagely counselled in her Complete Book of Etiquette: "If you have something important or special to say to a friend, don't leave it on an answering machine."

I thought elephants were supposed to be clever. So how come two runaways from a circus near Hanover were found waiting at a nearby bus stop? We all know how long that can take; and, besides, it was a bus stop that wasn't operating because of the school holidays. I suggest protective legislation.

Work with baboons has convinced Princeton boffins that it's really stressful, being an alpha male. I quite agree: some of my (so-called) peers might benefit from my relief techniques (if they're man enough): 1. Every other mirror. 2. Lettuce. 3. Some days, I don't slap a single back. 4. The Sound of Music. 5. I go out on my moped.

Ah, yes: Friday is the 20th anniversary of the Citizen's Charter, John Major's attempt to make public services more accountable, which, because of his gift for spreading bathos, came to be associated only with the Cones Hotline, a number you could ring to report empty coned-off bits of road. So I'm delighted to report you can still contact the Highways Agency on 0300 1235000 about cones and they'll "happily look into it". But, please, no repetition of the old habit of asking for a Cornetto.

Finally, the great Dr Spooner, master of the Spoonerism (Kinquering Kongs, etc), was born 167 years ago on Friday. Most of them, of course, are apocryphal, never more sadly than with, "Who has not nursed in his bosom a half-warmed fish?" Happy Monday.

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