Monthly Archives: November 2007


Thank you to Hazel for pointing me in the direction of Prof Richard Wiseman’s Quirkology site, where you can take part in some interesting surveys. I recently filled in a short questionnaire about my friendship with Bolly.
Professor Wiseman – based at the University of Hertfordshire – is fascinated by the odder nooks and crannies of psychological research and his site and his books are very entertaining.


Do not approach this bear in any circumstances. He is dangerous. Police in Sudan say he is an infidel and is known to advocate blasphemy and idolatry.
The suspect is 10 inches tall and fluffy, with a large head and cute paws.

Andre’s Doodles

I’ve long been a huge fan of Andre Jordan’s internet doodles. And now you can have your very own book full of them.


Ship of Fools has just announced this year’s kitschiest Christmas presents for Christians. Here are some of my favourites…

St Sebastian Pin Cushion

Virgin Mary Memory Stick

Holy Toast

I Left My Tart in Ecclefechan

I blame M&S. They started it with ‘This is not just a carrot. It’s an M&S Distressed Albanian Carrot from Tirana, smothered in richest Tashkent Gravy’.
Now Waitrose and Sainsbury’s are at it. Even Asda, where the poor people shop. The latest outrage is the Sainsbury’s Christmas Tart, hand-crafted by Scottish peasants in Ecclefechan. Ecclefechan? Ecclefechan?
Ecclefechan has haunted me for days, so I decided to research it this morning.
According to my Scotland guidebook – ‘Ecclefechan has a slight feel of somewhere rather left behind by history, bypassed by both the A74 and the M74. Local people call it ‘Fechan’.’
Robert Burns visited Ecclefechan once. ‘I came yesternight to this unfortunate, wicked little village. In fact, I have been in a dilemma, either to get drunk, to forget the miseries, or to hang myself.’
But Burns was inspired to write ‘The Lass O Ecclefechan’ –
Gat ye me, O, gat ye me,
Gat ye me wi’ naething?
Rock an’ reel, an’ spinning wheel,
A mickle quarter basin:
Bye attour, my gutcher has
A heich house and a laich ane,
A’ forbye my bonie sel,
The toss o’ Ecclefechan!
It doesn’t even make sense when you translate it into English.
Got you me! O, got you me!
Got you me with nothing?
Bobbin and reel! And spinning wheel!
A big quarter basin!
Moreover, my grandfather has
A high house and a low one.
All besides my lovely self,
The toast of Ecclefechan!
Other literary trivia? The writer Thomas Carlyle was born in Ecclefechan but sensibly left when he was 13.
Just when I was losing the will to live, I stumbled on a relevant fact. According to my guidebook – Ecclefechan is famous for an ‘old Scottish tart, earning well in the market place.’ I wish her well.
In fact it really is a tart. A bit like a cross between a mince pie and pecan pie. And apparently utterly delicious. I’m off to Sainsbury’s to buy one and will review it at some point soon.

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Pin-Up of the Week

This week’s pin-up is a baby tapir. Tapirs are shy and solitary creatures. They like wallowing in mud and have very flexible snouts which can move in all directions. In the mythology of Japanese Anime and Manga cartoons, they can eat dreams.

Boll’s New Chair

I left a Nike shoebox in the lounge last week and Bolly’s decided it’s a cat sofa. Despite all the nice soft carpeting which surrounds it, she now sits, sleeps and generally hangs out on the shoebox for a large part of the day. I’ve asked her to explain why, but she remains enigmatic.

Boll’s Duvet Day

Bollinger having a lie-in this morning
Bolly and I are feeling both snug and smug this morning. Having deliberately left the heating on last night, it’s warm as toast in the house despite the frost. Boll briefly surfaced for breakfast but has now gone back to bed to have a sleep on my jumper.