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Carrie bounced into Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe and

grabbed a tabloid from the rack.  I was on my tablet and so we sat

together, but apart, in a new social category, that isn’t really social.

It is incredibly irritating to have things read out to you when you are

immersed in some text of your own, as The Husband is wont to imply

when I enthusiastically regale him with some witty Proustian quote

when he is trying to read the FT in bed.  I really wish he wouldn’t read it

in the bedroom as newsprint and The White Stuff  linen don’t mix.  Mind

you, who am I criticising for not mixing?!

Ha!  This is all about a woman who got slothified, Carrie whooped.

Mmm, I feebly back-channelled, not encouraging her too much, but

being sucked into a conversational Charybdis.  Do you mean sloshed?

No, Carrie laughed.  A woman gave sanctuary, and still does,

presumably, to hundreds of sloths in Paramaribo, wherever that is.

Two or three-toed?  I asked, interest picking up.

Does it matter?  Both, I think.  She is overwhelmed and so tired that she

doesn’t want to get up in the morning.

Deadly sin, that. I observed.  Sloth.  Probably in that book I’ve just been


What’s that?

The Traveller’s Guide to Hell – Don’t Leave this World without it, by Dana

Facaros and Michael Pauls.  It seems to be a kind of Lonely Planet for

sinners. Or a dumbed down Inferno…

Lonely Planet Logo

Anyway, Carrie interrupted, I can relate to a house being filled with creatures

who sleep, on average 9.6 hours, or 16 in captivity and who hang around, or

hang out, in my kitchen.  I’d probably be sheltering 200 of them too if I went

out with Gyles and Tiger-Lily sneaked her friends round.  The females are


They call out for attention, even when they are not on heat.  They browse,

rather than eating regular meals, regurgitate their food and have an obsession

with apples.

I typed ‘Sloth‘ into Google Aquinas said sloth is an avoidance

of physical or spiritual work, so that ties in with what you’re


Then I looked at wildlife sites and came across David Attenborough

outlining how sloths are ‘mobile compost heaps‘ who grow organisms

and who defecate once a week.

That’s more like the boyfriends, Carrie quipped. Monique Pool- I’ve found the

name of the woman-says the toilet habits makes them ideal house guests,

Carrie added.  I know I hate tradesmen and strangers pooing in my house. 

Sloths could be preferable. But maybe they are the same genus.

Or anus, I giggled.  She ignored me.

I’ve noticed Tiger’s friends, though leaf-eaters, don’t eat enough fibre,

so at least constipation is a bit of a bonus.

Not for them, I disagreed, but too much information.

The woman goes on to say that what makes her furry guests so attractive is

the permanent smile on their faces, Carrie continued.  But most of my

week-enders have a sullen look about them and get their emotional claws out

at the slightest provocation.

Emotional apathy.  Carelessness in the performance of their obligations, I

underlined, reading more Aquinas, but still listening..

Actually, sloths are solitary if they have the choice, Carrie read on.  Tiger,

I’d say, is happier when she is just getting down to some revision on her own. 

She’s not really a team player and I haven’t seen a smile on her face for some


I’ve got a vintage Gordon the Gopher, I suddenly remembered.  I’ll bring it

round and give it to her as a mascot for her exams.  Don’t worry, I’ll have it

steam- cleaned first, in case of any organisms.  It might cheer her up.  Failing

that, I’ll get her The Traveller’s Guide to Hell.


I’m going to get that anyway, Carrie said.  Sounds like every mother can

relate to it, because, in spite of all our good intentions, we seem to be deemed

to have paved the way to our progeny’s final destinations.

Look at this. I showed her a cutesy photograph of a baby sloth.  And, sure

enough, it brought a smile to her face. Many of God’s creatures are angels

in disguise, or are Heavenly harbingers, poets, like Vergil, who lead us out

of the gloom.  Or gophers who motivate us or, in soft toy version, relieve

stress and  help us to love the other and to laugh at ourselves.