Monthly Archives: September 2009

Six Degrees

My thumb is one degree of separation from Jeremy Paxman.
This is because flexor tenosynovitis, which my thumb has, was a question on tonight’s University Challenge.
‘What is its more popular name?’ asked the Paxman. The answer was ‘trigger thumb’ or ‘trigger finger’, because your thumb clicks like a trigger when you have it.
I have worked in the same office as Jeremy, but my thumb’s namedrop is more impressive I feel. Thumbs don’t get many chances to namedrop, so I feel it deserves its 15 minutes of indirect fame.

Fat Cat

Bolly’s responding well to her new diet of a thimble of food per meal. But there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from 3 till 5 pm today, so she had dinner at 5.30 instead of 6. She’s already looking slightly slimmer.

Pin-Up of the Week

This week’s pin-up (back by popular demand) is the lovely Dexter from Waltham Abbey. He’s a cat but likes people to think he’s an undiscovered type of cuscus. Dexter’s hobbies include purring, shouting and eating processed ham.

Fat Cat

Socrates from Newcastle – 10kg – much fatter than the Boll
Bolly now weighs 6.4 kg – that’s one stone. So – with help from the wondrous Chestnut Vets in Hertford – she’s just gone on a new, stricter diet. Her target is to get down to 4 kg (9 pounds) asap. Her diet consists of 50 g of Feline RD diet food a day. And she’ll be weighed once a fortnight.
So far, it’s gone pretty well. I bought a digital weighing scale yesterday and worked out that 25 g (one meal) exactly fills one of my little cocktail glasses, so that’s become our measure.
She now has to go from Hattie Jacques to Charles Hawtrey. I’ll keep you posted.
I recall seeing a leaflet advertising cat diet food a few years ago which boasted astonishing results. Willow the cat, it claimed, had gone down from 7 kg to 5 g (5 grams) in just a month. They’d clearly left the ‘k’ out by mistake. Boll and I found this most amusing.

Flexor Tenosynovitis Chic

I’ve sprained my left thumb (flexor tenosynovitis no less) and have to rest it and rub gel on it for six weeks. Easier said than done. I had no idea how much I used it till this week. Everything I do seems to involve it, even though I’m right-handed.
I am allowed to go the the gym (which is where I sprained it in the first place) but I have to avoid lifting weights directly with my hands and – um – I’ve been forced to wear a gym glove.
As you may know, gym gloves are normally only worn by hardcore laddish types who grunt a lot and do free weights. So I feel like a complete prat, prancing around wearing it in the cardio area where the feeble people go.
But I must admit it does look quite cool on a good day.

me, lifting a large dog while wearing my gym glove

Pin-Up of the Week

This week’s pin-up is a Bosavi Silky Cuscus – a new species. Cuscuses are shy and sweet marsupials that live high in the trees. They look a bit like teddy bears, but they’re actually part monkey, part sloth.
I want one.

Bolly’s a Cuscus

Bolly has asked me to point out that she shares most of her characteristics with a sloth, is frequently a cheeky monkey, and looks very much like a teddy bear.
She therefore believes that she is herself a new, undiscovered species – the Hertfordshire Pink-Nosed Cuscus.
I’ve just sent for a zoologist.

Lost Land of the Volcano

Gordon the cameraman discovers a giant woolly rat
I thoroughly enjoyed BBC1’s Lost Land of the Volcano but have no idea why it was on after 9pm when it was so suitable for children. Anyway – the good news is that it’s on iPlayer and will no doubt come out on DVD.
Basically – it was about an expedition to a forested volcano crater, Mount Bosavi, in Papua New-Guinea. The rainforest there was full of new species which no human had ever set eyes on.
And so, as you’d expect, the animals themselves had never seen a human. That’s why they were so astonishingly friendly, having no idea how cruel we can be.
My favourite creatures were the Bosavi Silky Cuscus (see this week’s pin-up) and a giant woolly rat, which was the size of a cat … and very cute.

Grand Tour

I went on a Grand Tour at the weekend, with friends James (London James that is) and Cosimo (I only know one Cosimo). We went through ten counties in two days, focusing on Wiltshire, Dorset and then Suffolk – returning to Hertford at night.


Stonehenge was our first destination. When we arrived, it was pretty sunny. But then, a murder of crows descended on the stones, the sky clouded over and the whole place turned distinctly spooky. In English folklore, crows are the spirits of the dead.