Digested week: A sadly corrupted deer and the coming cyborg apocalypse


A Highlands red deer known as Callum the Stag has had to be put down. His teeth had rotted, leaving him unable to forage for his natural diet, and his overall health had deteriorated largely, it is posited – though the National Trust for Scotland did not make the connection directly – because tourists kept feeding him their snacks whenever he approached them as they took his picture.

I do like to start the week with a reminder of how unfathomably selfish, stupid and shortsighted we can be. It prevents further disappointment down the line.

On the other hand, a litter of wildcat kittens has been born in a wildlife park in Herne Bay, Kent, that conservationists say will play a valuable role in restoring the native species. There are only 300 wildcats left in – well, the wild – in Britain, which makes them rarer than pandas and the Bengal tiger (not in Britain, I mean in the world) and classed as functionally extinct. But now – baby wildcats! Maybe we can have nice things?

The remaining 300 wildcats are located in the Highlands, however. The race is on to breed more kittens before their taste for fizzy drinks kicks in.


My sister rings. “Mum’s ill,” she says. “I’m not to tell you.”

“OK,” I say. “I’m on my way.”

I let myself in to the family home. I find Mum pale, sweating and up a ladder.

“I hear you’re ill,” I say.

“I’m fine. It’s just a temperature, dizziness and coughing blood.”

“I see. Would you mind coming down off that ladder?”

“I’ve just got to mend this bit of the garage roof.”

“We will pay someone money to do that.”

I know she’s ill because she doesn’t throw her hammer at me and she comes down off the ladder.

“Will you go to bed if I tell you to?”


“Will you lie on the sofa?”

“I’ll sit on the sofa. And you can bring me a glass of water and two paracetamol.”

“OK. As long as you officially acknowledge that that does not count as a meal.”

“God almighty. Alright.”

She will be fine. Unless the resting kills her. It is very hard to know how best to repair a human dynamo.


Glastonbury begins! Excepting only the Edinburgh festival, this is absolutely my favourite time of the year. I start looking forward to it round about January and it never disappoints. Up it starts and off I don’t go. I stay at home and marvel at all the basic comforts that are available to me in life. Chairs! Tables! Four walls round me and a solid roof over my head! Warmth! Dryness! A kitchen and, oh my God, a toilet! That gets flushed after every use!

It’s a really special time of year. I don’t have to listen to bands, get sunburnt, talk to people, stay up late or get up early. I don’t have to lose stuff, take drugs or be disturbed by people pissing against my tent when I’m trying to sleep. I can’t wait to re-appreciate it all again next year. Until then, there’s not going to the Edinburgh festival and not being exposed to art and culture in August to look forward to. It’s going to be a great summer.


No sooner, however, am I not frolicking in Glastonbury than the news breaks that scientists have succeeded in developing lab-grown living skin that has brought the day of humanoid cyborgs who can touch, feel and heal a step closer.

May I say on behalf of all of those who are not directly involved in the cultivation of living skin in order to bring about the day of humanoid cyborgs a resounding ABSOLUTELY NOT to this.

We have literally seen this movie. Sorry to be all Sarah Connor about this but covering a cyborg in living tissue never ends well. If you are going to make cyborgs then the very, very least you can do (that’s in terms of protecting humanity and not being totally yucky in the meantime) is NOT SHROUD THEM IN FLESH. It’s horrible and only provides more proof that those who are in charge of our futures are not right in the head and therefore are the very people who should not be in charge of our futures at all.


The last round of edits that I have to do on my new book (a sequel to Bookworm, a memoir of childhood reading) arrived on Monday, along with a charming covering letter from my editor telling me that I am a dismal failure for not writing the book perfectly in the first place and should throw myself into the sea. It didn’t say that explicitly, of course. I just read between the lines and know that’s what she meant.

Still, I have got a lot done since then. I have changed the beds and reorganised the bathroom cabinet, cleaned the kitchen cupboards, applied for a CitizenCard so I can, though passportless and driving licenceless vote in this appalling joke of an election next week, tidied the child’s bedroom, sorted through the family’s clothes and taken half of them down to the charity shop, streamlined my accounts and direct debits, got that sticky stuff off the door at last and shampooed the carpet. The only thing I haven’t done, of course, is the editing. Let’s hope something worse than editing makes it on to my to-do list soon, otherwise it never will be.

Remember kids – procrastination is productive! We should all do more of it.

Digested photos: ‘The only throne I’ve ever wanted! JOKE!’ Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty
Digested photos: ‘OMG, is that the King! Why did no one tell me the actual king was going to be here?! You guys!’ Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty


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