Charles Nevin: It's not all doom and gloom. Not quite, anyway

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The Independent Online

Happy Monday. But it's getting tough, isn't it? Fifa and ice, more economic gloom, industrial action, tram crash carnage looming on Coronation Street, Jordan banned from driving: a grim list.

The point when I realised I would have to help was the report that the recession has so affected the demand for Dartmoor ponies that they're being culled and fed to the shivering lions and tigers in our zoos. Here, then, is some better news:

1. The monkeys at Colchester Zoo are being given warm steamed vegetables;

2. A Sussex wildlife worker is constantly by the side of 53 hedgehogs rescued from the snow;

3. A runaway pig has been rescued in Weymouth;

4. Sir Fred Goodwin is bearing up;

5. The world's hottest chilli has been developed in Lancashire;

6. David Beckham doesn't, according to Victoria, have any annoying bathroom habits;

7. You haven't been mentioned in Wikileaks, yet;

8. Gordon Brown will be discussing education with a panel of experts in London on Wednesday night;

9. Vince Cable will be discussing education with himself;

10. The royal wedding will be marked by a souvenir London Underground Travelcard. There.

* It would, however, be irresponsible not to provide a little balance: here is some worse news:

1. Half our cats will be too fat to fit through a standard cat flap within 10 years;

2. It's looking like a sprout shortage for the big day;

3. A Dorset woman's novelty Xmas hat has been eaten by a horse which took a fancy to the holly. Not long till a nationwide ban on Xmas hats, then. Oh, dear;

4. There's bound to be an innings collapse soon; 5.You've missed Gordon Brown switching on the lights in Kelty.

* Did you see Esther Rantzen's claim that, in Luton, where she stood unsuccessfully in the election, pampas grass in the front garden indicates the home of "swingers"? This is one of those slurs on innocent outdoor accoutrements that gain mysterious, undeniable credibility. Let us enliven Monday by starting a few more. Pyracantha: "S&M party here, every Wednesday, half past six (sharp!)". Herbaceous border: "three in a bed". Gnomes: "elderly gentlemen a speciality". Hanging basket: "We swing both ways". Crazy paving: "We love doorstep conversations, particularly about minor religions". A 4x4 in the drive: "24-hour free rescue service". Leylandii: "Picnickers welcome".

This, meanwhile, just in: cauliflower supplies a bit dodgy, too.