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A Wallis Simpson latte, please, said Brassica.  What’ll you have?

Well, I was going to say ‘I’ll have what she’s having’, but what is it

you’ve ordered?

Oh, it’s just something very skinny, said Brassie, picking up the

table number impaled on a cork and heading for our table in

the corner.

Okay, one of those.

Anything to eat, ladies?

No! we chorused.  Get thee behind me, etcetera. It’s Lent.

He didn’t catch the cultural references.

For me, weight gain isn’t about fizzy drinks, in spite of the

government’s assessment.  It is about Kettle Chips, Sea

Salt and Balsamic Vinegar.  Half a packet can disappear during

Eggheads while I am waiting for The Husband to return from


With all those journalists on strike today, there have been

really interesting things on Radio 4, such as this morning’s

discussion- probably a repeat- from a pop-up undercover

economist, Tim Harford, who clarified the theory of Marginal


He explained that progress may result from short term strategies

which can appear to be giant leaps forward.  I suppose that is like

all the Slimfast Queens that shed kilos, but who pile it all back on

with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top of their original

lardy BMI.

Then there are the long term bods, such as Mario Capecchi, who

shared The Nobel Prize for the delayed gratification of discovering

a fundamental of all gene therapy.

(Bear with me, folks.)

Do you want to be a knockout female?  Then have one of your

genes knocked out: the one that tells you to keep snaffling Kettle


Capecchi’s discovery was a long time in the revelation, but,

according to Matt Parker, Head of Marginal Improvements, lots of

little steps add up to one massively successful leap forward.

You might look like a loser in the process, but you will come out

victorious in the end, big-time.

The FT analyst said that short term solutions look sexier, but we

should go with the long term plan of action.  Slowly, slowly

catchee monkey.

So, maybe if I stick to skinny lattes long term, I can continue to

scoff half a bag of crisps with Eggheads. Compromise.

Seventy year old plus, Good Egg, Daphne Fowler is a positive

advert for the long term. She has clearly been accreting facts for

decades. Judith is sexier.  I bet she doesn’t cram herself with

crisps-only non-calorific facts.  Though, after winning Who Wants

To be a Millionairess? she can stuff herself with anything she


39408075 judith203

She probably doesn’t have that self-destruct gene, the one that

makes you lick salt like an elephant in an African cave.  I bet her

famous ancestor, Alice, had similar DNA, which included

an inbuilt- Higher Evolutionary code- that knocked out any

inclination to stick her nose in a bag of Keppel crisps!

Anyway, Team GB’s cycling coach assured its members that small

1% improvements can add up to overall success, and with 7 gold

medals to the rest of the world’s 3, who can argue?

And Cappecchi now works for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 

Well, its namesake was a bit of an obsessive compulsive, but he is

doing good now from beyond.  So, maybe I will have that excessive

focussing gene knocked out of me thanks to his sponsorship and then

I won’t gravitate towards the big blue bag prior to every tea-time.

Meanwhile, as marginal gains can make all the difference:

Brassie, do you want to share this muffin with me?  I couldn’t eat a

whole one.  (Lie)

Oh, go on then.  There aren’t many calories in half. (Lie)  Actually,

they aren’t all that big.

We can start in earnest next week.

Effect on muffin tops: marginal!  Definitely less than 1%.