I don’t want anybody falling into despair, okay?
Yes, there are things that could be better: like America. America could be better, what with President Trump entering the stratosphere of strangeness, accusing you and me of tapping his phone even though I’m sure we’ve both got better things to do.
And what with George Osborne creating mass unemployment, and I’m not even talking about his previous budgets.
It’s more direct than that. The man is hoovering up every job in the UK for himself. And every wage.
“No problem, I can do them all,” says his cheery expression, as he pockets our last vestiges of cash, the bits he didn’t take in his budgets.
Currently he’s a newspaper editor, a financial consultant, an MP , a ...oh, I forget, but he’s confident he’s going to be great at all of them.
But like I say. No cause for despair - because some people this week are very happy.
I’m talking about fat people. I say fat, but I’m going to change that because it sounds harsh. I mean bigger people, those carrying a bit of extra padding.
Anyway, turns out they have might have been telling the truth all along. You know, when they say they have only to inhale an atom of the air where a doughnut once was to put on half a stone.
Because, researchers are now saying, weight gain does not only depend on what we eat. It also depends on what is in our gut.
Guts are having a moment. There was a time when you wouldn’t really hear the word. Not in polite company. Someone might tell you their guts were bad, but that wouldn’t be in polite company. That would be in extremis, maybe as they lay groaning on the bathroom floor.
But not now. Now guts are the focus of everyone’s attention, they are positively fashionable. Bloggers and those thin, clean-eating people are discussing them openly.
It makes a change, doesn’t it? Usually, as the season turns, the media focus will be on very different parts of the anatomy. This spring’s shoulder, say, or perhaps the upcoming summer ankle.For a long time now, it’s actually been all about the eyebrow
But this year it’s all about guts. There has been much study. Crucially, identical twins have been fed the same foods and their subsequent differing weight gain analysed.
Greater minds than yours or mine have decided the difference is down to the amount and variation of bacteria in their gut.
You should think of your gut as a garden, said one article I read. You need to feed it properly, nurture it so that it can grow lots of different stuff in there. Actually, that thought made me feel a bit sick, so I don’t know why I’m inflicting it on you.
I can’t get any more technical than that because I don’t know much more - but that’s your basic gist.
The bit to take away is that if you’re a bit overweight you can now look the world in the eye and say: “I TOLD you I had the appetite of a baby bird.”
But only if you are a woman, because only women have been research subjects so far. You blokes have no excuses yet.
And only if you are a woman telling the truth and haven’t actually been mainlining pies. You’ve a lot of hurdles to jump before you can be smug.
The answer then, if you want to trough a lot and personally I do, is to grab yourself some of that there good bacteria. How?
Oh the usual stuff. Eat a lot of fibre, think brown for bread and rice, and chomp down a great deal of vegetable matter - especially broccoli.
That makes sense because, in life generally, whatever the question, the answer is always more vegetables.
Unless you’re dealing with American presidents or job-grabbing former chancellors, then it’s not. Then just follow your gut instinct.
I’M DEFYING THE AGE BAR
Right, how to proceed?
Let’s try this: I’ll outline the problem, you let me know if you have any useful ideas.
Here goes. I like Zara - I mean the shop, not the Queen’s granddaughter, though she might be perfectly nice too, it’s just that I don’t know her.
But I do know the store, and I enjoy a wander round. Sometimes I even buy the odd little thing: last year I dived right in and bought a skirt.
Turns out I shouldn’t have. This shop is not for the likes of me, in fact it’s barely for the likes of my daughter.
The peak age for shopping at Zara is the mid-twenties. If you are between 23 and 27, you’re on safe ground. Over 30 you’re pushing it, and by the age of 33, it’s all over. You shouldn’t be there.
A klaxon won’t sound as an over forty, fifty or sixty-year-old totters through the door, but it probably should.
It isn’t only this store. It’s just that someone has analysed this store’s shoppers - or data, as we need to learn to call people. Most of the high street fashion shops are only for the young.
We older buyers are breaking the age bar as we obediently obey the glossy magazines and act like age is just a number, and that we have never heard that objectionable phrase about mutton and lamb.
I’m going to carry on defying the data, and I’m open to your suggestions as to how to proceed. Meanwhile, anyone have a young shopper I can borrow?
SKILL OF THE INNOCENT INSULT
I agree, a thousand times over. We should have stopped talking about Princess Diana a long time ago.
But sometimes a story emerges about her that just has to be savoured.
This time, it’s her letters. Diana wrote many letters. They are part of what remind us she is so very far away now. The business of letter writing belongs to a different age. These days, she would be on Instagram.
But some of those letters, written to her secretary, are coming up for auction, and so samples have been released.
And it seems Diana began her work of making Charles look a right idiot early on. I’m sure she didn’t mean to, not in the early days, she just couldn’t help it.
So in one she wrote saying that her honeymoon had been “a perfect time to catch up on some much-needed sleep.” which made me laugh out loud when I read it. It could have been innocent, but it was certainly a put-down.
There’s a reason she eclipsed the rest of the royals.