Although I’m glad that you’re tolerant on these rare occasions when I fall silent for a day, I do expect a little more from you when I don’t make my usual Monday morning appearance and still haven’t been seen forty eight hours later.
Not a single email message asking me if I’m fine. Not one of you checking with UK embassies to make sure that we haven’t been kidnapped by ex-pat Brits from Tunisia. Sometimes I just don’t understand you people. Here are two of the nation’s best loved people – or at least one of them as I can’t speak for Judy – who could have been snatched by a gang of heavily-tanned retired pub landlords and whisked to Tunis for God only knows what kind of sick and depraved camel-based action they do over there. I wouldn’t mind but when Fry goes off on one of his American odysseys, he’s got all different kinds of desperate people asking if he’s well. They send him cheesecake, write him poems, and all this for a blog as moribund as a copy of Ezra Pound’s poems wedged between Jordan’s breasts. He’s already got thirty seven comments for one measly article he wrote for The Guardian, yet my encounter with that psychic wonder known as Judith Chalmers still only has four!
So, for those of you who have been wondering where I am, I can now reveal to you that I’ve been ill. Pretty damn rotten actually. I’ve been suffering from a debilitating case of sinusitis that hit me late on Sunday evening and by Monday morning had me slowly melting in the sauna in a desperate attempt to reopen nostrils more blocked than the North West Passage. Apparently, I’d caught something from the snails.
Do I hear you ask about snails? Well it’s about time somebody did. I’ve been working with damn things for the last two weeks and not one of you noticed or asked me how it’s going. Do you really think I’ll carry on blogging if you continue to ignore me like this?
To be fair, it has been a hush-hush project. I’ve been secretly filming a new game show called ‘Snail’s Pace With Richard Madeley’, which is due to go out on ITV in the new year. The producers had been fearing that Noel Edmonds would steal the idea before we got the first series in the can. The premise of the show is simple. So simple that even Edmonds could copy it. Contestants have to answer a series of questions before they get to compete on a one-to-one basis against snails in some fiendish competitions in which snails naturally excel. It’s a bit like Edmonds’ current show, ‘So You Think You’re Harder Than An Toddler’, but with more slime, a better class of presenter, and far fewer infants running around hitting each other with hammers.
I can already tell you that it’s making for great TV and that the first show will be an instant classic. You won’t ever have laughed so hard as when you watch a 64 year old pipe fitter from Norfolk trying to beat a snail to fill a bucket with mucus. It really is hilarious and not half as grotesque as it sounds. We’ve also got tests of strength that involve dropping bricks onto contestants and snails, agility contests when we see who can bend the most, and then the highlight of every episode when we pit the remaining contestant against a bag of snails in a trivia contest. You think we humans would come out on top every time but you’d be surprised.
It’s a great show and I think it will help revive my career, if only I can avoid catching any more colds from the snails. At first the doctor told me he thought it was a reaction to the medication I’d been taking to reduce the swelling in my earlobes. Only when the tests came back did we realise that I had caught a cold from the show’s top snail, Slick Sherry.
Sherry is a special North American snail who had been winning the races on the show all week. Now it turns out that Sherry has only been winning because of the copious amounts of slime she’s been producing. Apparently snails can catch the same colds as we humans. Biologically speaking, I’ve not been producing catarrh all week but slime. I don’t want to go into the grim details but when I woke up this morning, I’d actually slipped out of bed and down the stairs. To tell you the truth, Judy found me in the vegetable garden lying on the underside of a cabbage leaf.
The antibiotics are finally beginning to kick in and I’m feeling a little better. I hope to resume my blogging duties in the next few days but, in the meantime, I want to leave you with some of the snail facts that I’ve discovered making the show. Did you know that snails are all allergic to toothpaste? They also have two rectums, a characteristic they oddly share with a BBC newsreader that modesty forbids me from naming. Snails can live over forty years and can produce enough slime in a year to fill a bathtub. Some American clinics offer rich celebrities a chance to sit in a bathtub of snail slime, which has proven ability to get rid of wrinkles. The only downside to the treatment is that exposure to salt will make you wrinkle twice as bad as before and you might regurgitate your intestines. And on that pleasant note, I’m off to write a synopsis for my next show, ‘The Man With Two Rectums: The Huw Edwards Story’.