Monday 11 October 2010


Hattie is a black Labrador dog.

She has beautiful brown eyes.

She is a little rotund, just a little.

I love her.

She lives with Richard and Sarah, and from time to time, as I have told you before, I get to visit Hattie, and when I do Richard and Sarah give me old – very old – copies of The Week, a news magazine.

They see it as an opportunity to get rid of some of the clutter of their lives.

I accept this as an opportunity to add to mine, and the price I have to pay for getting to tickle Hattie’s tum.

But I read them as well.

Now, they are somewhat out of date, often over 12 months, so some of the facts I get you may already know about – however, they are extraordinary enough to merit repetition.

In the latest batch I read that 15% of Americans think that President Obama is the antichrist.


I think Margaret Thatcher was an evil twisted woman, but the antichrist?

But notice, the report doesn’t say “believe” – so maybe there’s hope for that 15% of people and maybe their opinion is little more than me saying I think Margaret Thatcher was an evil twisted woman.

It makes you think though doesn’t it? What did the survey ask exactly?

“Excuse me, could you answer a few questions?”


“ How would you describe your satisfaction with the new administration; Extremely Happy, Very Happy, Happy, Bof, Unhappy, Very Unhappy or Extremely Unhappy?”

“Er, Bof.”

“Do you consider the new President to be – “Christ, Mother Teressa, Sting, himself, Dr Crippin, Chris’s sister-in-law or the Antichrist?”

I got asked to take part in a survey once – I was walking through the centre of Toulouse when an enthusiastic young man and clipboard appeared in front of me and asked if I would take part in a consumer survey.


He led me into an empty room at the base of a Tower Block, shutting the door. There was no window and only artificial light, a desk and two chairs. For a moment those warnings my mum gave me about not speaking to strangers started to ring true.

We sat down and he started asking me if I drank bottled water, I said I did, he told me they were evaluating the impact of a new bottle design and asked me to try drinking from the bottle – then he produced from his bag a selection of prototypes; narrow mouth, normal, wide mouth, extra wide mouth, sucky baby dummy (pacifier) thing.

He made me try everything, the sunlight was fading, I needed a huge pee and then I had to start evaluating each design from 1 to 10.

God I needed a pee.

“Look, I said, I’m sorry, I like you – though not as much as Hattie –I even respect your earnestness and your clipboard is a very nice touch, but if I don’t leave now I will wet the floor. Frankly I’m really happy with the bottle you have your product in already and I wouldn’t buy any of these out of principle. And if I’m not happy with your product I will write and let you know. Please show me the way out.”

And I left.

Ok, I confess; I was hoping that this stream of thought would lead somewhere and maybe link back to the antichrist but it clearly doesn’t …… so, back to The Week.

Because in another copy Satan rears his (ugly?) head again.

Apparently, a few years back, some people accused Proctor and Gamble, the company that makes soap powder, of being run on behalf of Satan.

The company denied this, as I guess they would if they were or weren’t – though having said that if I was Satan and someone accused me of it I wouldn’t bother denying it I would just zap them – and it ended up in court.

Judgement was finally delivered recently (though remember recently is Hattie dog time) and the “four men” were ordered to pay the company ten million pounds in damages.

Ten million!!

If anyone out there wants to name me as the antichrist step right up – I could do with ten million pounds now that my son is 19.

Anyway, it’s time to go – I was still hoping we might get back to the beginning, Hattie but I seem to have failed.

I had thought I might be able to link Satan in with God somehow, and then Hattie - as God is dog backwards but I’m afraid not even that was possible.

Instead I’ll save for tomorrow the story of the day I met Satan.

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