Norman is an island and no wonder. It’s a wise choice when you consider that all those bells are apparently tolling for him and not for you. Bells did not bode well for Charles Laughton or for St.Clement and for the rest of us they normally signify invasion or interment. Becoming an island is a sound solution when too much celebration is foisted upon us, too much demand to have a jolly good time, when the veneer of sincerity is curling up at the corner and the dullness of that which lies beneath is becoming more evident. I can understand choosing a bit of lonely cloud wandering when the option is a surfeit of bunting, banter and barbecues. Norman and I have the same insular reaction to after dinner phrases such as “Let’s play a game!” and “Oh come on, it’d be fun”. It won’t be fun, it will be bloody awful because when “fun” is organised it loses the one property that puts the fun in fun, and that property is spontaneity. The enduring image of the Queen wearing earplugs during the concert in her honour is a good illustration of “fun”. Which insane organiser of “fun” guessed that she would love to spend an evening with Cheryl Cole & Co? Oddly enough there is a spark of fun in that conception, but it’s the sort of “fun” that Torquemada might have dreamt up. The term “bilious” is defined as testy, chippy, grouchy and splenetic which would be an ideal name for a tribute band, particularly if I was a member. I mention this as it seems that I must be suffering from that superannuated complaint, a bilious attack, brought on by fear of jubilation. The pretty flowers at the top of this post are by way of a tranquilliser.