Happy Monday. Yes, I know, but let's look on the bright side. The Downing Street Christmas tree has just been chosen by the British Christmas Tree Growers' Association, and, this year, the Chuckle Brothers are in Cinderella in Hull. As it happens, Paul Chuckle is 64 tomorrow, and I'm sure you will want wish him the best. Elsewhere in pantos, I can offer you Bobby Davro in Northampton, Bobby Crush in Lowestoft and Ann Widdecombe in Dartford. No news yet on Oliver Letwin and Liam Fox.
Our manners may have been praised by a leading think-tank, but I doubt they would match those at a meeting between Samuel Taylor Coleridge (born Friday, 1772) and William Wordsworth, as recorded by their fellow poet, Samuel Rogers: "[Coleridge] talked uninterruptedly for about two hours, during which Wordsworth listened with profound attention, every now and then nodding his head as if in assent. On quitting the lodging, I said to Wordsworth, 'Well, for my own part, I could not make head or tail of Coleridge's oration: pray, did you understand it?' 'Not one syllable of it' was Wordsworth's reply." Splendid.
Today is also the 528th anniversary of the appointment of Torquemada as head of the Spanish Inquisition, which, for some reason, prompts wistful thoughts re some current phenomena: 1. Drivers who don't indicate at roundabouts. 2. Historians who speak of the past in the present tense. 3. Waiters who address you as "Guys". 4. Sandwich makers who insist on cucumbers. 5. That Franco-Irish referee on Saturday. 6. BlackBerry wailers. 7. Wayne Rooney. 8. Big-hearted lottery winners. 9. People who misuse those fine old words, fulsome and disinterested. 10. Grumpy old pedants.
More consolations: at least, according to a survey, we change our socks more often than the French; and Jean-Claude van Damme, action man and Chechen tyrant supporter, has driven his car into a Belgian canal after putting it in first rather than reverse. Meanwhile, in mother news, a man robbing a restaurant in Virginia used his as a getaway driver, while one unloading the dishwasher in Florida has been shot in the hip by her son cleaning his Glock on the kitchen table. And, finally, this is from Arthur Miller (born today, 1915): "Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets." Happy Monday.Reuse content