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  • I have a fat uncle. Fathers have to be Father Figures but uncles can be jocund, outrageous, perverse, eccentric, bearded and entertaining. My uncle was a historical consultant. At one time he worked for a mock-English castle and decided to enliven the place – who really likes mediaeval breadmaking? – with a touch of jousting and a few hangings. During a visit with my school I was given the honour of yanking the chain and sending a Poor Wretch to his fake demise at the gallows. This probably saved me from bullying for at least two years. My uncle was also banned from several casinos due to plundering them with his computer-programmer daughter who could memorise cards like lines of code. I had hoped he would induct me into the Ancient And Honourable Art Of Town-Crying but during the critical years he was sidetracked by his quest to win the World's Loudest Man competition. He came second :-(

    But everybody should have a fat uncle.

    December 9, 2007