Digested week: #binspace is the kind of Britain I want to live in

Monday

Thanks to the continued commitment of 2021 seemingly to give me simultaneous infarctions in every organ, the week opened with the news that Ian “Beefy” Botham is to become the new trade envoy for Australia and John Cleese is to host a new series looking at “wokeness” and “cancel culture”.Now look. Both of these things could be fine. Trade envoying is essentially gladhanding and Botham’s cricketing career should make him a popular enough figure out there to schmooze successfully. Or at least successfully enough for a country that now counts its triumphs in terms of how long it can let its foreign secretary stay on his £40,000 holiday in the event of an international crisis. And Cleese might produce a genuinely insightful interrogation of the two contemporary phenomena with whose investigation he is charged.

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And yet. And yet. Somehow, as one looks at the empty supermarket shelves as food rots in our fields, the growing shortage of medical equipment, the increasing entrenchment of mask and vaccine refuseniks, news of Christmas supplies being threatened by the 90,000 lorry driver vacancies, McDonald’s running out of milkshake, companies asking to use prisoners to make up for the lack of labour , it becomes harder and harder to keep the faith about anything at all.

Tuesday

Vets are apparently seeing a rise in depression among cats during the pandemic because their owners have been at home with them so much.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Do you have a dog that experiences separation anxiety? Try leaving some clothing with him that you’ve worn. It’s been proven that the scent you leave behind on your clothes can help ease your dog’s separation anxiety.

If ever there was any doubt that I am a cat rather than dog person, there is none now. I had two until recently – now down to one since 16-year-old Henry shuffled, still with all his glorious contempt for us and the world intact, off this mortal coil last year – and they were always the delight of my life because they had no need or use for me at all beyond being a pair of opposable thumbs that could open pouches of overpriced stinking fish bits in jelly twice a day.

It is so soothing. I could not bear a dog’s neediness, a dog’s untrammelled love and loyalty. What a weight of responsibility. Another being dependent on your mood and presence for its happiness, another soul looking to you for guidance – the very idea makes me want to run away in seven directions at once. You have to be able to give your heart to a dog. You can’t give your heart to a cat. They’d eat it. Which, ironically, is what makes me love them.

Create Your Own Doggie First Aid Kit. You never know when an accident might happen so it’s recommended to have a first aid kit on hand just in case. Here’s a great list of basic items a pet first aid kit should have.

Wednesday

We spoke last week about the enjoyable furore that always, always accompanies any threat, be it actual, perceived or invented out of whole prepuce, to The Peen, did we not? Well, this week opened with a doozy. It was announced that OnlyFans – a subscription site mostly dedicated to the supplying of entertainment for gentlemen’s genitals – would no longer be supplying said entertainment.

There was an outcry. A fraction of it was about the site’s willingness to have used such content to build a valuable brand and then brought down the fiscal guillotine on the many people (mostly women, often glad in a world of limited options to have found a relatively safe and remunerative form of sex work) who depend upon it for their incomes. A lot of it was about the infinitesimal reduction of masturbatory material on the internet for the menz and how this could not be allowed to – ahem – stand.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: There are 49 domesticated rabbit breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

The good news is that today the danger passed. OnlyFans’ owners bowed to pressure and agreed to keep the naked ladies and others, be they ever so vulnerable in an essentially unregulated arena, doing naked things. This week’s peen panic was over. I’m sure we are all hugely relieved.

Thursday

While the young people set off for the Reading festival (may the JOMO – joy of missing out – I experience at this time every year never leave me) an older (and warmer, and drier, just saying) demographic gathered, late at night on something known as Twitter spaces (don’t worry about it), round the subject of bins. The journalist Kav Kaushik threw out a semi-joking tweet about setting up a talk about collection timetables in different local authorities and – well, my friends, it turns out that if you build it, more than a thousand people will come and trade stories all about it. It garnered its own hashtag (#binspace), a contributor from Defra and a great time was had by all.

Source: Psychology Today

This is the Britain – and the – I want to live in. United by petty grievances but secure in the knowledge of a solid infrastructure enabling us to indulge in precisely that. Think of the level of civilisation we have reached to have bins, bin collections, timetables, local authorities and the time and leisure to complain about their failings, and the energy and optimism to come together and urge the binpowers that be to do better. What a world. What a world.

Friday

Three women who discovered they were all being cheated on (with? by?) the same man dumped him and then set up an Instagram account documenting the trio’s roadtrip round America on an old bus – their ex’s lifelong dream.

Always keep an ID tag on your pet. Consider getting your pet microchipped as well to help identify him if he is lost or stolen.

What exactly do Ian Botham and John Cleese offer ‘global Britain’?

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Such a neat, elegant and – above all – fun revenge. It feeds the soul. I mean, who wouldn’t want to tour America in an old bus with a gang of friends? And if you could do so in a way that brought the moral scales back into balance and meant that you knew a treacherous entity was at home gaping in open-mouthed envy as you added another glorious mile to your once-in-a-lifetime experience? Your cup would surely runneth over.

I am adding it to my small folder of Disproportionately Restorative Real Life Stories, alongside the Belgian nuns who sold off their convent and relocated to a castle in southern France along with a Mercedes-Benz and a variety of racehorses, and the seven Chinese women who have bought a retirement mansion together and, having cultivated separate but complementary skills in the meantime so that all self-sustaining bases are covered, plan to live there until they die.

Learn how to make your own chicken jerky. Its a healthier alternative to the store-bought kind. Get the directions here.

You gotta have something, you know? You gotta have something.

Boris Johnson with V Adm Ben Key as he looks at a map of Afghanistan during a visit to Northwood headquartersPic of the week: ‘What’s the PM doing, sir?’ ‘We’ve put him under a sign saying “Strategic Command” while he pretends he can find Afghanistan on a map.’ Photograph: WPA/Getty Images