🏮 My latest article

In 1965, forty-seven-year-old lawyer Andre-Francois Raffray agreed to buy a beautiful apartment in Southern France from its 90-year-old owner Jeanne Calment, in a ‘for life’ deal of monthly payments. Raffray stood to inherit the apartment at a bargain price once 90-year-old Jeanne passed away - all he had to do was sit and wait. Things didn’t quite go to plan, however… 👇🏼


🏮 We can look back on this in 12 months' time and see how many I got right… ⬇️

Like Chris Rock at an Oscars ceremony, this year has felt like a proper slap around the face. In fact, I’ve decided to name it Brad because, frankly, it’s been the Pitts.

Here’s my review of 2022… www.argh.com/articles/…

Base Rate Fallacy

👁️‍🗨️ Today I thought it might be helpful to discuss base rate fallacy. This is something I’ve touched on several times in my Covid updates. It’s formed part of the statistical misrepresentation that’s become commonplace on Covid-conspiracy social media since the start of the pandemic.

It’s more than likely that you’ll have witnessed someone say something along the lines of: “Covid-19 vaccines don’t work. The majority of hospitalisations/fatalities are occurring in the fully vaccinated!” Whilst the latter part of the statement is true, the first part is not. Let’s look at why…

What is base rate fallacy and how does it apply here?

Base rate fallacy refers to times where we ignore statistical information (base rates) in favour of specific information related to it.

🚗 Let’s use the analogy of seatbelts. In 2019, the European Transport Safety Council reported that 27% of car occupants killed on UK roads were not wearing a seatbelt. This means 73% of those killed on the UK roads were wearing seatbelts. Adopting base rate fallacy mindset, we might falsely assume that the 73% figure means you’re more likely to die in a road accident if you’re wearing a seatbelt.

Of course, to adopt that conclusion would be false because it would be ignoring the base rates - the fact that 98.6% of car occupants wear seatbelts. The conclusion would also fail to incorporate a key missing piece of data - the number of people whose lives have been saved by wearing seatbelts (so, did not die, but would have done so without the seatbelt).

Bringing this back to Covid-19, then, and social media posts mentioning that the majority of hospitalisations/fatalities are occurring in the fully vaccinated and linking it to the idea that vaccines don’t work (or, worse, making the false suggestion that you’re more likely to go to hospital if you’re vaccinated). Yes, there are more hospitalisations and fatalities now occurring in the vaccinated than the unvaccinated. But, this is not a cause for concern. Allow me to explain why…

According to the last UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance report, around 82% of adults (over 18s) in hospital with Covid-19 had received at least two doses of a vaccine.

📊 Much like the seatbelt analogy, we need to consider the base rate. There are FAR MORE vaccinated people in England than unvaccinated. So, the number of hospitalisations/fatalities is a small percentage of a far higher base, and the figure doesn’t include an unknown statistic - how many people have NOT been hospitalised or died because they’ve been protected by their vaccine shot(s).

Age ranges also need to be factored into the equation. In older age groups, a larger percentage of the population has been vaccinated. But, these people are also amongst the most vulnerable in our society because of their age and underlying conditions. Vaccines increase protection, but these people remain more vulnerable than most.


Let’s look at the data mathematically. Around 90% of people in England aged 18+ have received two doses of a vaccine. That’s 40 million (source: NHS England) out of a population of 44.5 million (ONS estimate). Conversely, 4.5m have not received two doses of a vaccine.

If 1,500 people are entering hospital each day with Covid-19, and 82% of those have been fully vaccinated (at least two doses), that would mean 1,230 fully vaccinated and 270 non-vaccinated. This may seem bad at first, but when you refer back to the original base, the picture is different…

1,230 out of 40 million is 0.003%. However, 270 out of 4.5 million is 0.006%. So, as a percentage of the base, the rate of hospitalisations amongst the unvaccinated is higher - twice that of vaccinated individuals, in this case.

This figure, of course, gives an overall view of all age groups aggregated together. To get a more accurate picture of the impact of vaccines, you need to look at age-standardised statistics, because older age groups are both more likely to be vaccinated and more likely to be hospitalised. But, you get the point.

And so you now see why base rate fallacy can result in data being misrepresented to form an agenda that simply isn’t there. The next time you see posts suggesting that Covid-19 vaccines aren’t working, consider whether there is base rate fallacy involved.

For more reading, I recommend this excellent article on FullFact: fullfact.org/online/94…

Thanks to David Paton, Professor of Industrial Economics at Nottingham University Business School. Graphic from Marc Rummy. Seatbelt stats: bit.ly/3J5rhw2 . UKHSA surveillance report July 2022: bit.ly/3PuG6uB .

📺 It’s April Fools Day tomorrow (you have been warned). True story: On April 1st 1957, the BBC broadcast a special Panorama current affairs programme about a Swiss family who had harvested a record crop of spaghetti from a ‘spaghetti tree’. 🌳

🍝 As spaghetti wasn’t widely eaten in the UK at the time, the programme got quite a reaction. Hundreds of viewers phoned in to the BBC to ask questions about it, with some even asking how to grow their own spaghetti trees.

Decades after it had first been broadcast, CNN called it “the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”

🎧 There’s no doubting the big tech story of the day - Dyson’s new ‘Air-Purifying’ Headphones. Answers to your questions: 👇

1️⃣ No, it isn’t [April 1st]

2️⃣ Yes, they are [real]

3️⃣ Yes, I guess you could say that! [“Its like a breath of fresh air”]. Great pun!

4️⃣ No, I won’t be [buying a pair]. And, neither will anyone else, unless they’re GI Joe…


At times of high anxiety, little moments of humour can be a perfect antidote…

🥞 Something a little more upbeat for your Shrove Tuesday…

❤️ A wonderful description of love from a 6-year-old. ⬇️

(thanks to Giles Paley-Phillips on Twitter)

Statistics 101. 📈

☄️ A giant asteroid measuring more than one kilometre wide will pass Earth this evening. Nothing to worry about, though. As NASA points out, Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1), which measures twice the size of the Empire State Building, is “very well known and has been studied for decades.” It will pass by around 1.2 million miles from us at a speed of 43,000 mph. Here’s an idea of just how big Asteroid 7482 is… (image from Sky News)

I’m all for future planning. However, my wife received this offer addressed to her in the post today and was VERY unimpressed. She’s 32! 😁

Couldn’t resist…

Looking back at 2021

🎉 As the curtain falls on 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣1️⃣, let’s take a look at some of the highlights…

💉 2021 was a year for vaccines, with Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out at speed and a ground-breaking vaccine for malaria. It was also a year that brought greater focus on the ticking clock of climate change with COP26. 🌎

🚀 Innovation took billionaires Musk, Bezos and Branson into space (with a sizeable carbon footprint) and saw Nasa’s Perseverance rover land on Mars to collect rock samples. In the natural world, China declared that Pandas are no longer endangered. 🐼

🎾 In sport, we witnessed the incredible rise of Emma Raducanu to become US Open champion, saw Team GB once again deliver in the delayed Olympics and Paralympics, and watched England come agonisingly close to winning their first international football trophy for over 50 years at the Euro 2020 tournament, as penalties were once again our undoing. ⚽

💃 In entertainment, we watched Rose Ayling-Ellis make history on Strictly Come Dancing as the first-ever deaf winner of the show. And we saw Netflix series Squid Game take television to strange new levels (no, I haven’t, and probably won’t). James Bond fans saw Daniel Craig bow out in style with the much-delayed release of his final film - No Time To Die. And, theatres all around the country re-opened their doors, as musicians, dancers and entertainers re-took to the stage to the sound of rapturous applause.

😔 We sadly said goodbye to a lot of famous names in 2021. Amongst those to have passed away were entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair, actor Christopher Plummer, film director Richard Donner, comedians Tom O’Connor and Sean Lock, entertainer Lionel Blair, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, war veteran and charity fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, footballers Frank Worthington and Jimmy Greaves and Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker.

❤️‍🩹 Mentally, it’s been a difficult year for many of us with the ongoing Covid pandemic - an anxiety rollercoaster. And it’s worth remembering that although we may all be in the same storm, we’re not all in the same boat. There have, however, been some highlights to cheer about, which we can perhaps allow ourselves to reflect on a little.

I think we can look forward to 2022 with more optimism about our situation (let’s just get January over with first). Whatever this new year brings for you, I hope you get what you wish for and I wish you happiness and good health.

See you in 2022 with more optimistic realism… 👋


Prince George To Release His First Autobiography

In a surprising development, Prince George, the four-year-old son of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has today announced the release of his first autobiography. ‘Prince George: My First 4 Years’ will focus on his struggles to be understood in modern society and reveal how the terrible twos were a crushing disappointment. It also promises to shed light on his ongoing battle with Calpol addiction.

Child writing on paper

In a press release issued today, the young Prince describes his book as ‘controversial’, ‘fascinating’, ‘absorbing’ and other over-dramatic, long, descriptive words too complicated for a 4-year-old to spell himself.

Speaking via his publicist, Prince George said, “I feel the time is right, with Christmas approaching, to jump on the autobiography bandwagon. Katie Price releases at least two autobiographies every Christmas, and I’m a bloody Royal, for Christ’s sake!”

Although many people think of Prince George as being well-mannered and quiet, he isn’t afraid to reveal parts of his dark side in his new book. Indeed, he recalls one particular conversation with a friend that made him spit his dummy out in disgust!

In an extract from his memoirs, Prince George reveals his distaste for stereotyping and poor humour. “I’m not particularly temperamental," he says, “but I have been known to throw my toys out the pram occasionally. I recall one particular incident that happened a few months after I was born - I was out with my parents; I’d only just started to crawl at the time. A member of the public brazenly walked up to me and quipped ‘I hear you’re third in line to the throne… typical British - always queueing!’ Well, I wasn’t going to stand for that!

Although Prince George’s autobiography contains lots of interesting revelations about his temperament, he also takes the opportunity to look forward to the future. He dreams of experiencing some very particular sporting events in his lifetime. “I’d love to see the day when the UK hosts an Olympic Games, or Manchester United wins a Premier League title,” he comments, ambitiously.

Although the title of his autobiography might seem an obvious choice, Prince George reveals it wasn’t such a simple decision after all. “I was going to call it ‘The Misunderstood Prince’, but saw that my Grandad Charlie had already nicked that title. By calling it ‘My First 4 Years’, it allows me to release a follow-up in a few years time. By the time I get to 40, I’ll be minted! Then, all I need to do is hide my money in the Cayman Islands…”

Always building for the future, the young Prince has an ambitious idea to attack the Christmas market again next year and is in talks to release a duet album with Gareth Gates. Plans are also in the pipeline to launch a 2018 Easter fitness video with an unknown celebrity wannabe from TOWIE and create a new fad diet involving Farley’s Rusks.

Asked to sum up his book, Prince George said, “Everybody thinks I’m a good little boy, but what I reveal in my book will truly shock you… is that enough bait to buy the book or should I go more extreme?"

Prince George: My First 4 Years will be published by Cobblers and Hogwash on 15 December 2017 in both hardback and eBook.

To celebrate the release of his book, Prince George will be doing a special book signing at Waterstones in Piccadilly on Thursday 7 December. He promises to let you choose the crayon colour…

Crayons in child's hand

New year, new calendar

A new year can mean only one thing… Easter eggs on sale in supermarkets? No, the other thing - it’s time to buy a new wall calendar.

It’s become something of a tradition for me to have a calendar on the wall in my office at home, serving as a handy reminder for upcoming birthdays and appointments. For me, the traditional format of the wall calendar has always been perfect - it doesn’t need to change and it certainly doesn’t need to offer me something new. So, please, if you would, explain this concept to me - the “16 month” calendar

Life is Sweet - 16 Month Calendar

Let’s look at the case for the prosecution. A year is 12 months - it has been for several thousand years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, even with Donald Trump in office. In addition, there is nothing wrong with the existing format of a wall calendar - it serves a great purpose, allowing me to quickly refer to upcoming events whilst displaying a nice picture for me to look at for a period of anything between 28 and 31 days.

So, why does it need to offer me something extra?

Rather madly, it’s followed the example of the toothbrush that cleans your tongue and the 48 hour deodorant (who needs a deodorant that lasts 48 hours?). The truth is this:

I don't want a 16 month calendar any more than I want a wristwatch with edible hands.

Is the fact that it has ‘16 months’ supposed to sway my opinion about buying it? Surely the content of the calendar is enough do that. I mean, calendar manufacturers seem to cater for all tastes now, so you’re surely going to be spoilt for choice? Calendars about cars, boats, cities of the world, hot guys, baby animals, hot guys with baby animals…

Guys with animals calendar

Clearly this particular calendar is designed to cater for the man or woman who likes hot guys and also likes baby animals. However, the manufacturer of this calendar hasn’t really gone with a comprehensive list of baby animals for their ‘13 month’ calendar. Let’s go through the list of “animals” on offer, month by month:  Guys with animals calendar - back

January: Dog February: Dog March: Cat (small - awww, how cute…) April: Dog May: Dog June: Dog July: Dog August: Dog September: Dog October: Dogs (x2) November: Dog December: Dog Extra month: Cat

A grand total, then, of 11 dogs and 2 cats. Consider that there are over a million species of animal in the world. Surely, then, the calendar should accurately be titled as “hot guys with some cats and dogs”. To be “hot guys with animals”, the photos should have been composed a little like this:

January: Hot guy with kangaroo February: Hot guy with sheep March: Hot guy with giraffe April: Hot guy with Tasseled Wobbegong (it’s a shark, apparently) etc, etc.

And that’s before we even get to the Cockchafer (beetle)…

I think you’ll agree this list would make for a far more impressive calendar, and with such an enormous list of animal species there’s potential for them to extend their calendar to 1 million months!

Where-ever you are and whatever your view, I think we can agree on one thing. Product marketers are looking for increasingly daft ways of trying to make you part with your cash for their product. And the calendar has become no exception.

May 2017 bring you 16 months of health, happiness and 2-for-1 offers on tongue-cleaning toothbrushes…

50 Shades Of Grey Can Flock Off...

There is much anticipation for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie and I don’t think we’ve seen so much controversy since Sharon Stone’s beaver made an appearance in Basic Instinct 23 years ago.

Sphynx cat

I was 13 years old when that movie hit the cinemas and I must admit to feeling confused at why a small furry creature was causing such a stir. Of course, I’ve since discovered the controversy was because it was less like a beaver and more like one of those hairless Sphynx cats.

It has to be said that Fifty Shades has had a lot of attention since it was first announced that a movie would be produced from the best selling books. I say “best selling” of course, so that I don’t have to comment on the quality. Not that I know myself. My Grandma has read the whole trilogy in hardback, paperback and pop-up versions, and told me they aren’t very well written (I don’t have a Grandma, I just made that up).

The media attention towards the movie has increased significantly in the build up to the official launch on Valentine’s Day. Two weeks ago the Internet went a little mad at the latest ‘scandalous’ news. I don’t know why everyone was so shocked by the revelation that there will be over 20 minutes of sex scenes in the movie. I’m just surprised there’s 80 minutes of plot!

Those ‘revealing’ stories have continued. Last week it was reported that some cinema chains were considering adding plastic covers to their cinema seats. I don’t know why they don’t go one step further and introduce Fifty Shades of Grey branded chastity belts. Many cinemas have also introduced bans on people bringing along props, although I can’t see them going through Granny’s handbag looking for a whip (something she’ll no doubt be counting on)…

Movie slate and film reel

So, how about me - will I be going to see it? Well, I admit that I go to the cinema quite a lot with my partner. We went only yesterday, in fact, and watched the Shaun the Sheep movie - or Fifty Shades of Grey for the Welsh. There were lots of ropes, chains, dominance and sheep-on-sheep action on show - I really don’t know how it achieved a (U) rating (perhaps it should have been a ‘ewe’ rating).

Enough of the bleating. Before I consider booking tickets for the proper Fifty Shades movie, I have some questions. Questions such as:

  1. Is it available in 3d?
  2. Are there captions for the hard of hearing? How about the 'bored of watching?'
  3. Can I get my money back afterwards (along with 2 hours of my life)?

Reports of early ticket sales have apparently revealed that groups of women are booking up to see the movie together on Valentine’s Day, leaving their guys behind at home. Now, we’re always being told to think of others, and that is especially important when it comes to the cinema. So, ladies, when you’re sitting in the cinema on Valentine’s Day enjoying the movie with your friends, spare a thought for the single guy sitting behind you (the one with the big box of Kleenex). Men can be such emotional creatures…

Naming the new 'planet earth'


So, today we awoke to news that scientists have discovered a new earth-like planet. That’s nice. It’s just a shame they couldn’t have been more creative in naming it. Kepler 438b - that’s not a name, it’s a car numberplate. Thank goodness Christopher Columbus wasn’t of the same mindset when he sailed thousands of miles to discover the land of… Alan 928c.

They should have followed the same rules as Hollywood or the Romans - great names like Pandora (from Avatar), Pluto (from Disney…) or Saturn (which, you must admit, has a ring to it… many, in fact).

Moon Seeks Independence

Following Scotland’s bid to split from the United Kingdom, the Moon has decided to follow in their footsteps and seek independence from the Earth after 4.5 billion years.

Speaking via Skype, the Man on the Moon (otherwise known as the First Minister) commented:

"Honestly, what do you expect? You Earth people haven't visited us for over 40 years - you haven't so much as sent flowers or Christmas gifts. Even an Amazon gift card would have meant something..."

He continued:

"The last time you came over, in your weird-looking suits, you barely said a word to us and just strolled around taking photographs, eating our cheese and planting down flags as if you owned the place. Well, enough! We've decided to move to Mars, where we feel we will be better appreciated. And you can manage your ocean tides yourselves, you bastards!"

Support is said to be high for the move, with 100% of the population of the Moon in favour when a recent straw poll was conducted. Notably, tennis player Andy Murray has come out in support of the move, although suggestions that he might go and live there have been quickly rebuffed…

Anyone For Soup?

Now, you’ll probably appreciate it when I tell you that I’m no expert on kitchen utensils. Until recently I believed that Pestle and Mortar was a U.S. crime drama tv series from the 1980s.

However, I think that if I use this Tesco ‘ladle’ to serve [cream of hedgehog] soup at my upcoming dinner party (which is entirely fabricated to make the joke, so please don’t expect an invite) you’ll all be going rather hungry…

The Ladle...

Still… “every little helps”…

I Am Stupid – Pointless Letter #6

Today I received an email reply from someone that I had previously had correspondance with (he sent an enquiry to me, I replied). However, this particular email from him was less than kind about me, so I felt obliged to respond in my own way. It’s number 6 in my collection of pointless letters

His Email

The email to me

My response


Thank you for your reply - your kind comments are more than I deserve. And thank you for your fabulous range of natty images - I found myself smiling and chuckling at them for seconds on end. Just to confirm - in the photo below your name, are you the human or the cat? I’ve never received an email from a cat before, so I’m understandably excited. :)

I have to completely agree with you - I am officially the most stupid person in the world and I have a certificate to prove it (I made it myself using the back of a cornflakes packet and some felt… the only problem was that I had an accident with the glue and now it’s stuck to the kitchen floor). With regards to my education, I like to think that I proved my teachers wrong when they said that my brain was smaller than the salad section in a Scottish supermarket. I left college with two GCSE certificates - in mouthwash gargling and plug-hole hair removal - before spending 15 years at university, eventually graduating with a degree in wok polishing.

For years I’ve yearned to be a Grounds Keeper, but sadly the only job they would give me was answering enquiries from cats such as yourself. This job and the part time job counting toe nail clippings for the local chiropodist (he likes to collect them for his world record attempt) earn me just enough to fund my heating bills, keep my cupboards stocked with spam and baked beans and feed the pet zebra that I keep in my bathroom (toilet trips are a safari all of their own).

Coming back to your enquiry, you gave me a simple question and I gave you three simple answers. Here is another one - we have a collection of 250,000 medical abbreviations and you can search either by individual abbreviation (EG: “BID” - Twice Daily) or by definition (“twice daily”, in this case). As you are aware, there is more than one abbreviation for frequency of medication and we do not have a page containing a set defined list. If we did, we would probably call it “Abbreviations For Medication Frequency” and include some animated images such as a cat wagging its tail and a weird blinking Star Trek Klingon with a hand that looks like a man’s bottom.

I hope this clears things up for you. I’m going to close this email now as it’s becoming longer than Rapunzel’s pubic hair.

Have a wonderful day - don’t get too high on catnip.

Robert P.S: If you would like to come around and look at my certificate at any point, you’d be most welcome. Also, if you have a wok that needs polishing, I’m your man…

E-Love - Pointless Letter #5

Pointless Letter

This morning I received an email from Sage that tugged at my heart strings and begged to be replied to. However, me being me meant that my reply had to be one of my, now infamous, pointless letters.

Here’s the conversation thread, with her email appearing first…

Her Email...

Subject: Hello, stallion! Stop killing your time surfing the Web and come to me!

My name is Sage. In three words about myself – pretty, mad and free. I get so lonely from time to time these days. Why a well-hung fellow like you shouldn’t call a lustful queen like me to spend the most splendid time together? Do you prefer to play hard or is it more enjoyable for you to make it slowly dwelling on each moment? I can realize every fantasy you have. Look at my profile right now and let us fly away together! (link)

My Response...

Subject: Your stallion is here, my love…

Dear Sage,

In three words about myself - old, bald and flatulent.

Thank you for your delightful email. I have to say that I feel flattered and as soon as I read your email I knew you were the one for me. It’s lovely of you to say that I’m well-hung - that’s the first time anyone has uttered those words to me. Normally, I receive comments expressing shock, disappointment and disbelief… the nickname ‘pee wee’ has been uttered on more than one occasion.

For several years I’ve yearned for a lustful queen to spend splendid time with. So your timing couldn’t be more opportune… if also several years late. I won’t hold that against you though. I mean, they say that you happen upon love just when you least expect it. Well, imagine my surprise for it to arrive via an email this very morning. Lucky for you, I have recently become single following a split with my girlfriend. She was a nice girl… someone once said that if she had two more legs she could have starred in a Western. I’m not quite sure what they meant by that…

I would love to have a look at your profile before I decide to fly away with you. It’s a sensible suggestion because I don’t know what you look like (not that that matters, as we are certain to spend splendid time together). I should, however, like to check whether you’re a 6ft tall blonde with the features of a supermodel or a bald, 4ft dwarf with a big nose. It makes sense, you see - if it’s the latter then I can book you a child seat on the plane…

How lovely of you to enquire about my preferences. I have to say that I like to play hard, particularly when challenging my cat Geoffrey to a game of tiddlywinks. He’s a bad ass, you see, and he takes no prisoners. I initially gave him a home after finding him on the street at night, bullying beggars out of their hard earned change. I’m hoping that with time he will recover from his addiction to prostitutes, gambling and glue sniffing.

I must admit that I really love the thought that you can realise every fantasy I have. Indeed, if you have the connections to order me a unicorn, and get it to stand in a bath of custard whilst I eat my dinner off its back then that would truly make my day. Oh, and Geoffrey has requested a blonde call-girl, carrying a vat of UHU (he’s cutting down to a less-addictive form of glue).

Love and hugs always.

Onion P.S: Let’s make stuffing together.

Robert Versus The Mosquito

Let me ask you a question: Why don’t they make alarm clocks with a mosquito sound? I can’t think of anything guaranteed to get you out of bed swifter than that irritating, high-pitched whine… with the possible exception of your cat peeing on your head. However, I would speculate that alarm clock sales might decline with a cat urine spray as the featured wake-up call. One can only speculate on the consequences of hitting ‘snooze’ - perhaps you might be awakened 10 minutes later with a vomit-soaked fur ball.

Following on from that bizarre introduction, let me tell you a story about how one clever little mosquito’s big appetite ended up costing him dearly. If I was a super-villain then this would be a most timely moment to include an evil laugh. Oh what the hell… MUHAHAHAAAAAA!!!

For the purposes of this tale I have taken the decision to name the mosquito Colin, if only to add personality and dramatic effect when I kill him off at the end. I agree that ‘Colin’ doesn’t seem like a very ferocious name for a supremely despised, blood-sucking creature. But then you haven’t met my bank manager.

Colin The Mosquito

On the right is a picture of Colin - to add additional persona to his character. Obviously the picture isn’t actually of Colin. I didn’t have time to ask him to pose for a series of candid portrait drawings before sending him on his way to mosquito heaven. With forethought I’d have perhaps considered taking ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs to publish on billboards as a warning to other mosquitos not to mess with me. Kind-of like the ‘Don’t Drink And Drive’ campaigns. A possible slogan off the top of my head: ‘Don’t Whine And Dine!’ I think it’s got legs… which is more than can be said for Colin - one of his legs is still dangling limply from my curtain. I’m leaving it there as a trophy.

Allow me to set the scene a little. It was a warm Wednesday night and I had just returned from a night of drinking, singing and merriment in a local Cancun bar… with the added entertainment of watching one particular young lady (Christine) chase cockroaches around the room with a mop, in a mild state of hysteria. Cockroaches are said to be the only creatures capable of surviving a nuclear holocaust - they’re “hard bastards” - so I can’t think that being chased by a stick with a wig (poor Christine needs to put on some weight) would have them particularly quaking in their little boots.

At the end of the evening, and having had rather enough of insects, I made my way home and into bed. All was peaceful. And then a few minutes later it happened… a whining sound coming from behind my ear. Being that I’m not married, I immediately twigged that I had a mosquito problem.

What happened next? Well I’m sure you’ve all been in this position yourselves, so I will quickly summarise the principles involved with solving a nighttime mosquito situation

  1. You react impulsively by swinging your arm. Lashing out blindly, and with the co-ordination of a stoned chimp, you slap yourself around the face, knocking out two teeth. If you weren't awake 5 seconds ago, you bloody well are now!

  2. You reach around for the light switch, only to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. A jet of cold cat piss shoots into your face. F*cking alarm clock!

  3. After wiping your eyes on your pillow case, you fumble around some more and finally locate the light switch. The room lights up, blinding you like a rabbit caught in headlights. With blurry eyes you glance around, as if expecting Dracula to be standing by your bed with a big smirk on his face and a small trickle of blood running down his chin. He's not there. Shit... this is going to be more difficult than you thought.

  4. You engage in a game of insect hide and seek. However, you're at a disadvantage because mosquitos are masters of disguise - they are the chameleon ninjas of the insect world. You try to hunt him out, but he's craftily transformed into a lamp, a sock or the March 2012 issue of Playboy. As a result you can't find him. Feeling wearier by the minute, you slump into a chair and wait for him to make the next move.

  5. An hour passes and he hasn't made an appearance. In a desperate attempt to resume your slumber, you stumble around the room randomly hitting and moving things, hoping for some movement. He, in the meantime, is having a good old giggle at your pathetic attempt to find him. It's a complete mismatch in size terms, but the little bastard is beating you.

  6. After a further hour of searching, and having enlisted the help of binoculars, you spot him clinging to a cupboard by the far wall. Grabbing something substantial (the February 2012 issue of Playboy), you tiptoe slowly towards him. As you reach striking range you take a big swing and... bang!!!! A colossal chunk of plaster falls to the floor. Sadly for you, the mosquito isn't under it - he flew off a millisecond before Miss February's ample cleavage had a chance to make contact with his tiny head. You're now faced with a new challenge - focussing your eyes on where he goes next. You go cross-eyed as he does three circuits of the lampshade before heading towards the dark bookcase and then... he's vanished again.

  7. You repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 endlessly until you collapse onto the floor with exhaustion. Beaten.

Back to my story now and, after waking to the sound of Colin’s dulcet tones, I discovered that he had cheekily tucked into an appetiser. He’d bitten me on my chin. Of all the delicious parts of me that he could have chosen to start with, he chose my chin. I deduced from this fact that he was either incredibly bright or incredibly stupid. Here’s the logic behind my thinking:

Incredibly bright - he lands on my chin, I go to hit him and knock myself out. He then continues to invite all his friends over for an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Incredibly stupid - of all the places to chow down into, the chin is surely the least appetising. It’s a bit like me killing a cow and then chomping on his buttocks. I’ve never eaten cow buttock, so I really don’t know how it tastes. However, I suspect that if it was truly delicious then cow buttock would feature prominently on steak restaurant menus. I feel I should point out that I’m not comparing my face to a cow’s arse and any resemblance is purely coincidental (and a little cruel if you ask me).

So what did I do next? Well I was tired, half-drunk and I couldn’t be bothered to start searching around for the little sod. Instead I sprayed myself with insect repellent and hid under the covers. I didn’t hear from Colin for the rest of the night. But, if I thought that that would be the last I heard of him then I was wrong…

Colin re-appeared the next evening. I can only think that he got a bad case of the munchies (having only sampled my chin the previous night) because he attacked me when the light was on. I saw his approach from a mile off, moving off the bed and goading him with a confident demeanour of someone who knew the game had changed in his favour. I waited for him to land on the curtain next to me and then, as he settled, I was all over him like a fat kid on a cupcake. Revenge was mine… MUHAHAHAAAAAA!!! (I’m beginning to enjoy these evil laughs!)

So it transpires that Colin wasn’t particularly bright after all. He certainly won’t be renewing his Mensa membership next year, let alone his Playboy subscription…