Malawi comes up trumps

I reckon there’s a good chance Malawi must be the best country in the world to live in at the moment because while the UK’s government is busy bickering over how best to keep the peasants in their place, it would appear Malawi’s officials have nothing more important to do than debate a bill which may see public farting turned into a criminal offence.

When I was told this I thought I was having my teets pulled but apparently not, according to the BBC website.

I can’t wait to see how this story develops. Will there be a mass demonstration from crowds of people downing copious quantities of peas and ice cream and trumping pro-parping slogans in unison? I really hope so.

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Are you feeling less than excellent?

If January has left you feeling dismal and you’ve resorted to buying daffs and eating hot cross buns in an effort to hurry Spring up a bit, maybe a class at the London College of Excellence will sort you out a bit.

Yes, it really exists. I discovered the London College of Excellence on a bus map out at White City today and it gave me my first belly laugh of the year.

It made me wonder what went on there – and what other daft colleges there are: the College of Niceness maybe, or the College of Mediocrity (credited to my friend Anna) – so of course I had to get online and check it out to see what’s so excellent about it.

Having now done so, I wish I hadn’t bothered. Their website is about as dull and uninformative as it’s possible for a college website to be. Click on the page titled ‘Courses’ and you get no information whatsoever about courses. Definitely not excellent. Perhaps it should be renamed the College of Can’t-be-arsed. Much more appropriate for this time of year.

January

January seems to start the day after Boxing Day, in everything but name, and go on for a near-eternity, sucking the life out of me as it passes and filling me with Grey Despair (about the only shade of grey I don’t like).

In the past couple of years, nature has given us snow in January as some sort of compensation but this winter December got all the goodies. Now this endless January gloom is really getting to me and I can’t help wishing that nature would chuck some more of the white stuff down to brighten the place up a bit.

I even bought a bunch of daffodils to try to inject some colour into my world but they’re refusing to open properly – their trumpets are out but the petals are clutching tightly around them like they’re trying to keep warm and they’re not even using up any water from the vase. I guess they’re suffering from the January’s too and would rather be back in the bulb.

Still, there’s only six days until February now – although in January time, it’ll probably feel more like six weeks.

Inappropriate footwear

Despite the fact that it’s January and cold and wet, there’s an astounding number of people wandering around town in the poorest choice of footwear.

Last week I saw a man in flip-flops and yesterday, when there was almost a river (well, a small stream maybe) running down Regent’s Street, I saw numerous girls wearing flimsy little ballet pumps.

It got me thinking about all the things I hate most about feet and the ridiculous things people put on them.

The worst crime is probably the most common – people who insist on wearing shoes at least one size too small.

Why would anyone do that to their feet? It’s just mean and is also thoroughly unpleasant for those of us who might unwittingly catch sight of their foot-pudge squelching out over the top.

This lack of size-sense shows up most in summer when all the badly-fitting sandals come out.

If you’re one of these people – please stop it!

I don’t want to see your toes hanging over the edge of your sandals so they touch the pavement. I don’t want to see your toes if you are not wearing sandals. And if you have manky toes, please keep them covered and don’t inflict them on the rest of us.

Oh, and when it snows – don’t slither around in stilettos like a numpty. Get yourself some appropriate footwear.

VAT

Until today, I never really thought much about this extra 2.5%. It’s just £2.50 in £100 which doesn’t look that much on paper. But now I am thinking about it, maybe I should really love the VAT rise because it’s opened my eyes to something I’d previously not noticed – that Pret (and presumably other sandwich bars) add on 20% to the price of sandwiches if you eat them in. Before today, I’d naively just thought it was cake-type foods that were VAT’d.

This is all a bit crap really. I don’t mind paying extra to sit in if I get service but when you have to queue up to buy your food and are expected to clean your table afterwards, an extra 50p on top of the price of a sandwich just isn’t worth it. It’s worth even less if you know it’s going to the government.

Guess I’ll be joining all the people who lunch in the park from now on. Although don’t tell the authorities or they might start charging us.

Logue’s office

Barely a week into January and, thanks to The King’s Speech (which is excellent), I’m in love.

No, not with Colin Firth – he did it for me as Mr Darcy but that was 15 years ago – this time it’s with the office of his speech therapist, Lionel Logue.

I’m sure it’s not everybody’s cup of tea but it’s definitely mine and it reminds me of this Anselm Kiefer painting which I fell in love with many years ago when I saw it at the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam…

Carrot-danglers

Now Christmas is all about the leftovers – or if you’re missing the five-month build-up to Christmas – you’ll be pleased to hear that the shops are already preparing for Easter and have already started stocking up with Creme Eggs and hot cross buns.

With Easter falling on April 24th this year, that means a whole four months of targeted chocolate and cake bombardment.

Is it any wonder we’re a nation of fatties?