I've had an introduction to the undignified side of the sort of infirmities that may well await as I get old. The NHS has kindly been inviting people of my age to take part in a national bowel cancer screening programme.
This involves a piece of cardboard with flaps that lift up and close again, and some cardboard spatulas, for use (as used to be said in some old-style adverts) in the privacy of your own home, and to be returned, not (as those adverts used to say) in a plain brown envelope but a rather more secure plastic one.
Who'd have thought those instructive childhood hours spent cutting out cardboard models from cereal packets and tucking flaps into slots would be put to use, not for yet more wonky models of the Tower of London ("That's nice dear"), but for - well, not quite an advent calendar? And I don't think I'll be icing any cakes anytime soon.
I had much more Rabelaisian fun backing up my digital recorder's complete run of Phoenix Nights, which (for those who don't know) was a sitcom about the owner of a northern working men's club and the inevitable clash between his ambitions, his tightfistedness and the limitations of everyone around him (not to mention the bouncy castle for a family fun day that had to be turned into Sammy Snake - that one you can look up on Youtube for yourself). A regular joy of the series was the range of dud variety acts seen auditioning as the closing credits of every episode rolled:
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