Saint Cadbury’s Day: My Atheist Easter Tale

As I’m atheist, I’ll need a different made up story to tell my kids when/if I have any. One that doesn’t involve religion, crosses, murder or resurrection, but one equally as unbelievable.

I think I’ll go with this…

Once upon a time, there was a little village in Switzerland, or Belgium, or somewhere else that makes good chocolate.

Up in the mountains was a dragons nest. For years and years the people lived in the village and the dragons lived in the mountains, and they didn’t disturb each other.

One day, a baby dragon got lost and ended up in the village. He came upon a chocolate shop. The smell of the chocolate made him all excited. He’d never smelt anything like it. He tasted a chocolate. It was delicious. He couldn’t stop himself. He ate another chocolate. Before he knew it he had scoffed all the chocolates. He was covered in sticky, sweet, melted chocolate. He was so full he couldn’t move.

In the meantime, the rest of the dragons had noticed he’d gone missing, and sent a flying search party to find him.

Eventually one of the dragons found the baby dragon, covered from head to toe in chocolate. The picked him up and flew him back to the nest in the mountains.

When they arrived, the other dragons gathered round to lick him clean. They couldn’t believe the flavour sensation they were experiencing. It made them happy and excited. The females liked it especially. Some even said it was better than sex (they were wrong). They were addicted. They needed more chocolate.

To begin with they managed to control their urges, but they couldn’t stop thinking about the chocolate.

Sometimes the lady dragons wanted it so much that they’d cry. The men dragons didn’t like their lady dragons being so upset. They decided to go back to the village under the cover of darkness, to get some chocolate and to satisfy their ladies and stop them being upset.

It was the beginning of the end. The more the dragons had, the more they wanted.

Before long the harmony between the dragons and the villagers was broken as the dragons went out night after night, tearing apart the chocolatiers for a fix of the sweet, delicious, cocoa goodness.

The villagers lived in fear of the choc-head dragons, who would turn up in gangs, wearing hoodies, and destroy the villager’s livelihoods.

This continued for many years.

As you know, ‘you are what you eat’.

Eventually the dragons evolved so they were made of pure chocolate. They’d eaten so much of it that they had literally turned into chocolate. Sometimes they would even eat each other.

They were so unhealthy, that most of the time, their eggs didn’t even have baby dragons in them. They were just hollow.

The villagers had lived in fear for decades, and they just didn’t know what to do. None of the villagers were courageous enough to try to fight the chocolate crazed dragons. Once a villager called Monsieur Nestle had tried to fight back, but he had just got torn apart with the dragon’s chocolate claws (they were made from Dime Bars).

One day a traveller came into the village. His name was Mr Cadbury. He was from England but his parents had given hom some money so he could go backpacking and ‘find himself’.

He had heard that the village made the best chocolate in the world and came from miles away, to get some for all his ‘girlfriends’ back in Surrey.

When he heard the villager’s plight, he vowed to find a solution to their problem. He didn’t really care, but thought it would get into the press, score him some kudos back home and steer people away from thinking he was a spoiled brat whose only interest was money and women.

Night after night, he and the villagers sat up planning their strategy to rid themselves of the choc-junkie dragons.

Eventually they had a plan.

Cadbury and a group of villagers had scoped out the dragon’s flight path, and set up a catapult in a cave beneath it. As darkness fell the first of the dragons ventured out on its nightly mission for chocolate.

The Cadbury Crew had balls of rags, soaked in petrol. They lit a fuse on one, and catapulted it at the airborne dragon (Cadbury’s country pursuits helped with this…but one of the crew had to shout ‘Pull’ whilst wearing a tweed jacket, to set the scene).

The fireball hit the flying dragon in his bell and melted him clean in half. The plan would work!

They took down four more dragons this way.

The rest of the dragons in the next hear the commotion and ventured to the mouth of their nest to see what was happening. They saw their comrades shot down, broken and melted, in the rocks below.

The were upset, agitated, angry, grief-stricken. They wanted to heap revenge upon the Cadbury Crew. They left the nest, flying furiously toward the group who had done this to their dragons.

Unfortunately they weren’t very clever. In their fury, they were breathing fire (they had long learned to control this, as they were made of chocolate).

The more furious they got, the higher the flames got…and their heads all melted off. Even dragons can’t stay alive with no head.

They all fell onto the rocks in a melting pool of chocolate.

The Cadbury Crew were jubilant.

They climbed up to the empty nest. There they found some of the dragon’s eggs. They opened one and realised it was empty. Just a hollow egg, with a chocolate shell. They wrapped them in tin foil and took them back to the village as trophies.

The villagers were eternally grateful to Mr Cadbury, and they all lived happily ever after.

This is how he became the Patron Saint of Chocolate, and we celebrate by eating hollow chocolate eggs on a Sunday in Spring.

Coincidentally, this is also the day some people celebrate the first recorded zombie uprising, but you’ll learn about that at school.

The End.

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Sex and the Soft Drinks Rating Scale

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In my early 20s, I lived with my friend Dr Brillo (not his real name, obviously).

We, and some other friends, were all dealing with our own brand of heartbreak, and like any self respecting hedonists, we managed this with lots of booze, drugs and quite a lot of sex (never with each other).

During our this time, we developed the Soft Drinks Rating Scale, so we could fill each other in, in public (or the smoking room at work) on the previous evening’s antics.

Watching the Jeff Leach Sex Addiction programme on BBC3 has just reminded me of it, and I thought I’d share.

10/10 = Red Bull: Keeps you up all night.

9/10 = Coke: Everyone’s favourite

8/10 Female = Cherry Coke: Nice and tight

8/10 Male = Irn Bru: Made from girders

7/10 = 7up: Self explanatory

6/10 = Lilt: Sweet and a bit fruity

5/10 = Bitter Lemon: Alright in a drought, but leaves an aftertaste

4/10 = Tonic Water: Bearable with loads of gin

3/10 = R Whites Lemonade: Something you want to keep a secret

2/10 = Panda Pop: There’s a reason Panda’s don’t like fucking

1/10 = Rola Cola: Worth about 10p.

Disclaimer: Unless I slept with you in 2000/2001 this rating scale won’t have been applied to you. It was in use for a very short amount of time.

Spunky Monkey

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In October 2010 my best friend and I went to Goa. It was an amazing holiday that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

We stayed in a 5* hotel in Anjuna.

We ate barbecued fish on the beach.

I adopted a billion beach dogs.

We tried not to make eye contact with teeny dancing contortionists on the beach.

We made friends with a 35 strong group of hilarious Canadians.

We drank all day every day.

We had a privately organised Goan Feast and a sing-song on the beach at night.

We had a spontaneous dance off, in a back street cafe, in the rain, to Graceland, with an ageing Italian artist, some ex pats and the local herb seller boys.

We got ripped off in the market by some women with black teeth.

I fell in love with 14 million road cows.

We had decided against going on any trips with the tour guides, and just made our way around on the little local busses.

One day we wanted to take a trip to Dudhsagar falls, the 2nd biggest waterfall in India, and visit a spice farm, so we booked a private taxi for the day for the 14 hour round trip.

He picked us up at 5am, and we drove for hours.

Eventually, at around midday, we reached the area of Jungle that we had to cross to get to the waterfall. We were given a bunch of bananas each, and piled into some 4x4s.

We drove through some jungle. It was amazing. Beautiful…massive spiders, though. We had to cross some bits of river in the car, and made our way to the trail to walk to the waterfall.

Here there were hundreds of Monkeys. They came running over to eat the bananas out of our hands. I almost died at their cuteness.

Banana Monkeys

Then we had to cross the rock ridden Mondovi river to get to the waterfall. It was a slippery, slidey nightmare, but when we reached the waterfall it was well worth it. Absolutely stunning.

Dudhsaga Falls

While we were at the waterfall, most of the monkeys had stayed in the leafy part, rather than come out to the falls, but there were a couple, running and jumping around and showing off for the punters.

This little pair of monkeys made their way to me. I gave them a banana. And then it happened.

The male monkey came over, took the banana from me. He turned it over in his hands, sniffed it, licked it…then in one swift move, grasped the banana between his teeth, grabbed the other monkey…and fucked it with all his might. Like a little furry jack-hammer, with a banana in its teeth.

He banged away, grinning and screeching, looking me in the eye the whole time. Obviously, I thought this was HILARIOUS.

I was still laughing like a maniac when the banging banana-monkey pulled out of his bangee, and ejaculated into his little hand (banana still in mouth). He played with it for a second or two. He looked me in the eye again…and then threw his spunk at my foot.

My hysterical laughter turned to retches. I was laughing and retching in equal measure (this has only happened to me once, when I said something so revolting about something I was eating, that I was nearly sick, and had to throw it away…it was funny though, and disgusting), a very odd sensation.

Everyone was laughing. My best friend was taking photos, the old Indian men were in hysterics, the stiletto wearing Russian girl almost wet herself.

The banana monkey calmly wiped the spunky residue onto a rock, then proceeded to unpeel and eat the banana…like a human with a post coital cigarette.

That is the thing that I remember most vividly about that holiday. I’d imagine as the memories fade with time, I’ll always remember, with a pure clarity, the day that a monkey repaid me for a banana by giving me a sex show and chucking his semen at me.

Rancid…but very, very funny.

I’m not stupid…just gullible

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I’d consider myself an intelligent woman. I’m well read and can make sense out of most things.

In my job I have to make intelligent, logical decisions and manage multi-million pound budgets based on these decisions. 90% of the time I make the correct decision, based upon logical estimations.

I do this for a living…so why am I so gullible?

If someone presents me with something I know nothing about, and I think it’s within the realm of possibility, I’m likely to believe it.

One person in particular has cottoned on to the fact that I’ll almost believe anything, and toys with me purposely. It doesn’t help that he knows loads of stuff about loads of things that I don’t bother with, making his task of making himself laugh, at my expense a lot easier than it should be.

I’m not a complete idiot. I knew he was winding me up when he told me:

  • J-Lo died in a car crash, but there’s a media blackout, that’s why no-one’s been talking about it.
  • Star Wars is based on a true story.
  • Beavers don’t just eat wood, they eat cars too.

I have, however, been duped into believing some pretty preposterous notions (these are in the last month… this has been going on for 10 years, the full list would be too long).

  • Michael Caine is originally Spanish (rationale: he could have come to south London very young).
  • Sir Frank Williams is in a wheelchair because a crocodile bit his legs off (rationale: It’s possible. We are scared of crocodiles BECAUSE they bite).
  • Guillermo and Beniccio Del Torro are brothers (makes sense, unless you know that they’re not).
  • All Guillermo Del Torro’s films are in Spanish, and set in orphanages (I’ve only seen The Orphanage and The Devil’s Backbone…both in Spanish and based in Orphanages…maybe that’s his ‘thing’).

The biggest of these was when we went on holiday in 2004. We were going to Tunisia. I’m scared of spiders. Two weeks before we left I asked him if the spiders in Tunisia were gigantic. His response:

“Ella, there are no spiders in Tunisia. You must know that. I thought that was why we were going there!”

Of course, I thought this was ridiculous. Spiders are everywhere. I told him I thought this was bullshit.

“No. It’s true. There are no spiders in Tunisia. Can’t remember exactly why it is, but it’s something to do with the heat from the Sahara. Google it if you don’t believe me.”

I believed him. I didn’t Google it.

Two weeks later we went to Tunisia. I didn’t think about spiders for the whole trip. On the last day, I saw a little dried up, spider skeleton on our balcony.

“Oi” I yelled “I’ve just found a dead spider. You told me there were no spiders in Tunisia!”

“Of course there are spiders in Tunisia, Ella. There are spiders everywhere. But have you worried about them at all for the last two weeks? No, you haven’t!”

So you’d think I’d be wise to these little games by now, but maybe I like believing that these odd little things are true sometimes…and all of them ARE possible.

My Five Dads

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I don’t really have five Dads. I have one Dad, but he has developed a number of alter egos since he turned 60.

He has a default setting, but quite regularly deviates from this into one of his alter egos.

Dad #1 (Default setting): My Dad is 63 but thinks he’s 80.

Default Dad slopes around in hideous clothes, a jacket (indoors) and a woolly hat. He loves nothing more than doing nothing. He’s always in a rush to get everything out of the way so he can concentrate on doing nothing. He lives on Tesco pies, cheese sandwiches and orange juice.

He listens to melancholy country music and strums three chords on his guitar.

He has 2 mobile phones but has only just worked out how to send texts.

He listens to cricket on the radio.

He has a side table covered in photos of all our dead relatives.

He has a morbid fascination with illness and death, and every time he calls, tells me of all the illnesses his friends have and of all the people who have died.

He has also become obsessed with taking photos of people, but doesn’t have a camera, as won’t work out how to use one, so the whole family have photos that he wanted, which we have to get printed and send to him.

He spends 80% of his time as Default Dad…old before his time. The other 20% of his time is spent as Alter Ego Dad…

Dad #2: My Dad thinks he’s Mr Miyagi

Since 1990, Dad has been going to Karate. It’s good for him, keeps him fit, and he’s become best friends with his instructor, Muslim Mike- the IT Guy.

Dad has never bothered to achieve any belts, but he’s not bothered about that.

Recently he has been introducing other people to the Karate Club, but doesn’t approve of their technique and has taken it upon himself to critique their performance as if he is a Karate Master.

He has even started writing lists of all the things he feels people are not doing correctly and then tells them about their deficiencies outside of the Karate Club arena.

Obviously, he’s so confident in his karate skills, that he doesn’t fear any physical reprise for his meddling. Why would he, he’s Mr Miyagi.

Dad #3: My Dad thinks he’s immune to the perils of nature.

We have a farm in Ireland, on the West Coast. It’s the farm that my great Grandfather had and my dad inherited it.

It’s right on the coast and we used to have a private beach until the family sold some land to a Golf Course.

The Atlantic on the West coast of Ireland is freezing. Even in the summer. Invincible Dad insists on going swimming in ‘his bit of sea’ whenever he’s there.

In August, he called me from Ireland to tell me he’d been for a freezing swim and had hurt his back, so had been for another freezing swim to try to fix the muscle pain (like that would help).

Whilst having his swim, impeded by the back pain, he saw a head appear from the water, about 10 feet away. He stopped swimming. The head submerged and reappeared, 6 feet away. Then another bigger head appeared behind it. A male and female seal were investigating.

Dad got a bit freaked and swam away a bit. The seals followed him. Dad got a bit scared. He chucked a rock, not at them, but in the other direction, to try to distract them. It didn’t work. Invincible Dad then resorted to his failsafe seal repellent method; Splashing about, waving his arms and shouting “Fuck off, seals. Fucking, fuck off! Go on. Fuck off. I HAVEN’T GOT ANY FISH!”

That seemed to work. The Killer seals retreated, and Invincible Dad swam to safety.

He called me on Christmas eve to say that he’d been for a swim in the sea, the previous day. Following the swim, he’d been on the roof, trying to nail tiles back on, in 140kph winds.

I told him he’d better be careful, as the cold could give him a heart attack and/or hypothermia. I’ve made it clear that if he does die during one of his Invincible moments, and get washed up in America, he can stay there, as I won’t be going to bring his corpse back. He has said he’ll stop. He won’t. Why should he? He’s immune to the perils of nature.

Dad #4: My Dad thinks he’s Bear Grylls.

We have another house in Lincolnshire. It’s the house that my parents bought in 1972, and it was my first home. When they split up he moved to Nottingham, and my Mum and I moved to London. The house has been Dad’s weekend hideaway since 1981.

As it isn’t lived in, it is in a bit of a state of disrepair. I haven’t been there for 17 years.

The heating was run from a Rayburn, which is now defunct, so the only heating is the open fires, which we have in 2 of the bedrooms, the living room, dining room and hallway.

My Dad loves it there, and goes there at least every couple of weeks.

While he’s there, he often sets himself challenges.

A few weeks ago, in late November, he decided to live for a week, with no electricity, just to see if he could.

He had no TV, radio or music. No cooker or lights or emersion heater.

He used candles for light, so read his gigantic book of The Complete Works Of Shakespeare. He used the fires to cook and heat water for tea, and washing.

He lasted a week, and reckons he doesn’t see what the problem would be with living like this all the time.

In the summer, he decided to only eat what he had grown. He lived for a week on potatoes, cabbage, rhubarb and mint. No salt. No Pepper. No butter. No sugar.

After this week, he had more or less decided he should go and live off the land in Ireland.

He also walks straight past the bathroom, to go out of the backdoor, so he can piss in the hedge.

I’ve told him that living with only flames for cooking and lighting is ridiculous, considering he doesn’t have a smoke alarm. I told him that although his veg is healthy, he can’t have a diet with no protein. I’ve told him to stop pissing in the hedge, or one day a fox might bite his cock off.

He said he wouldn’t do it again. He will, though. Why shouldn’t he? He’s Bear Grylls.

Dad #5: My Dad thinks he’s Graeme Swann.

My Dad loves cricket. My brother and I also love cricket. My Dad’s proudest achievement is that he has spawned two children that love the five-day game.

He’s forever telling people I could bowl with both arms by the time I was 2, and that my bro is a ‘tidy little leg spinner’.

Most people wind down their sporting feats as they get older…not Graeme Swann Dad.

He had stopped playing for years but, approaching his 60s, he decided it was time to start playing again. He joined a team. He’s about twice the average age. They call him The Old Codger.

He now captains this Sunday Cricket team. He’s been top of the bowling averages for the last three years, with his slow off spin.

It makes him forget that he’s in his 60s and makes him feel like a 30 year old.

This is great, except when he tries to perform physical activities that the average 30 year old would find difficult.

Last time I went to visit (to see England vs India at Trent Bridge) he picked me up from the station…barely able to move.

When I enquired what ailed him, he told me “old age”.

This wasn’t entirely true. He had torn a muscle in his back whilst performing a caught-bowled on a county cricket player. Not an easy task for anyone let alone a 63 year old man.

I have told him that he needs to be careful, and that he can’t go around throwing himself through the air, trying to catch a ball, milliseconds after he’d bowled it.

He says he’ll be more careful. He won’t. Why should he? He’s Graeme Swann.

I’d prefer the alter egos were present for more than 20% of the time, as he seems a lot happier when he’s performing those roles. He won’t change though. As much as I try, I’ll never be able to teach my old dad any new tricks.

Lawnmowers really get my goat

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I’ve long maintained that the sign of a ‘proper grown-up’, is lawnmower ownership. I can’t think of anything I’d least like to waste my hard-earned cash on.

lawnmowers are shit. They are big, ugly and need to be kept in a garage/shed. They use electricity, which not only costs a fortune these days, but is not environmentally friendly.

They get broken by stones. They shred cigarettes with remarkable ease (cigarettes=expensive). I have even had a pair of £105 flip flops reduced to some scattered beads and mangled leather by one of these beasts (and my father’s inability to make sure the lawn was clear before he fired up his big, ugly, unwieldy machine, and proceeded to hack up anything in its path).

No. The more I think about it, the stronger I become in my resolve never to own one of these abominations.

When I, eventually, grow out of living in upper level flats and have a garden, I’ll make a much more fun, environmentally friendly, and sensible (in my opinion) purchase.

I’ll buy a pair of goats.

Goats are brilliant. I can’t understand why more people don’t have them as lawn-trimming pets.

They’ll eat grass, weeds and shrubs. I would only use a garden for parties, barbeques and sunbathing, so this wouldn’t be an issue for me.

A common misconception is that they’ll eat anything. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. If it was I’m sure they’d have been utilised to deal with our landfill problems. They do, however, lick and nibble anything they think might be edible, so I’d need to use a high washing line.

You can milk goats. Can you milk a lawnmower? No you can’t. Free milk and cheese. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance of that?

They have horns. You could teach them to charge at wankers, and they could serve all your guard-dog needs.

Got a rockery? Goats are adept at climbing, and would weed it with no trouble.

If you got Angora goats you could shave them in the summer, and make cashmere scarves for christmas presents. Everyone loves cashmere. Your friends would love you.

Goat’s babies are called kids. If you don’t have any children, you could still use “I need to get back to the kids” as an excuse to leave boring social engagements. You wouldn’t even have to lie.

You might think that them shitting in the garden would be a problem. Just use it as fertiliser!

Apart from the practicalities, goats are funny.

They are intelligent and curious, and make good pets.

They are sweet. They have beards. They have funny ‘letterbox’ pupils, a bit like a devil.

They are good fun. How much fun do you get from a lawnmower? No fun at all, is the answer to that.

Goats can climb up trees. Can lawnmowers climb trees and play in the treehouse that you have built them? No they can’t.

Goats live 15-18 years. Do lawnmowers last that long? I doubt it.

Goats are cute and friendly. Lawnmowers are not.

When a lawnmower comes to the end of its life, can you make it into a delicious goat curry? Only if you like ‘metal & blade tikka masala’.

(I’m only kidding, you wouldn’t eat your dead pet. You could use its skin, though)

I’m definitely going with the goat!

I’m ‘avin’ a Giraffe!

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As you can probably tell, by the name of my blog, I like Giraffes.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that my greatest ambition in life, is to ride a Giraffe into the West End.

Now, I know most will think this is just some whimsical fantasy, but it really and truly is something I aspire to, and I’ve given it a great deal of thought over the last couple of decades.

Obviously, the easiest route to Giraffe ownership would be to move to Africa, but I’m not keen on moving that far. Also, a move to Africa would scupper the ‘riding into the West End’ part of my plan. That is a no go.

It strikes me that this leaves me with two options.

Option 1) Bribery of some African officials, and the UK Borders Agency.

Option 2) Marry a zookeeper.

As I’m always skint, and not a member of the criminal underworld, the bribery option wouldn’t be wise. I’d end up broke, giraffeless…and in prison. I will avoid that route.

I’m unsure of the feasibility of the zookeeper route, either.

I don’t know any zoo keepers, but I imagine they are quite ethical and their number one concern would be for the animals’ welfare. Even with the promise of a lifetime of delicious home cooked food, anal sex, soapy tit-wanks and blow-jobs, I think I’d struggle to sway them to my belief that the best place for a Giraffe is parked on a patch of lawn, outside my flat in Muswell Hill. The other issue is that I’m not keen on the whole marriage element of this idea.

So, the long and short of it, is that I’m stuck.

My mum tells me that ‘in the past’ (this could be anytime between the 1800s and 1970s) Harrods could get you ANYTHING your heart desired, and that the prestigious department store had a zoo on the roof.

As the laws changed in regard to animal welfare and health and safety, Harrods’ zoo department had to close.

This is probably pure fabrication, but as I’m prone to more than the occasional bout of gullability, I lapped it up.

I could probably find out the definitive answer by simply Googling it, but I really can’t be bothered. I quite like the eccentrically romantic thought of a zoo-full of wildlife stalking about, a few feet above the heads of the sophisticates trying on their minks.

If I could find a way to, legally, purchase and facilitate the delivery of a Giraffe to London-N10, I would put this purchase to good use.

The Giraffe would live outside my flat, on the lawn. It would have to contend with the rose bushes, but I think it could cope with that.

I live on the 5th floor. Giraffes are tall, but not that tall (I’m not sure how tall they are). I would be willing to sacrifice my amazing views and flat swap with the 3rd floor. This way I could talk to my Giraffe from my window. It could lick my face with its big blue-black tongue, and I could comb its ridiculously long eyelashes, all from the warmth of my flat.

(NB For anyone concerned about the Giraffe’s warmth levels, the Giraffe would not be cold. In the summer it’ll be okay. In the winter I would dress it in my specially designed and patented Giraffe coat, which would be fashioned from electric blankets. It would run from a lightweight generator, disguised as a baby giraffe.)

In the mornings, when it was time to go to work, I would climb out of my window, and slide down the Giraffe’s neck, as if it was a big, furry, patchy fireman’s pole. I’d settle myself on its back, and we’d gallop, happily, to the SouthBank. I would park the Giraffe on the gardens of the Tate Modern, which are a couple of minutes from my office. There he could earn his keep by having pictures taken with tourists, and gaze at the river.

It would be a perfect union.

Of course, I’d expect the Giraffe to live as long as I do.

I have visions of me, as an octogenarian, wearing a purple velvet suit, magenta lipstick, turquoise eyeshadow and a big straw hat, with real fruit on it, riding old Giraffey up Piccadilly to have afternoon tea at The Ritz.

I’m resolute in my conviction that this can happen, in spite of the prohibitive climate, dietary requirements, and legality of owning a Giraffe in London.

Someone once told me that it’s impossible to ride a Giraffe, as they don’t have enough back. I chose to ignore them, obviously.

Ambitions shouldn’t be too easy to achieve. They should be a challenge. I think I’ve set the bar just about right.