For more than a decade, I have been used to a desk diary — a quiet sort of object which came as a seasonal gift from my erstwhile agents’ (the current agents don’t do corporate gifts). I find it handy for work, and scribble in details of students, essays, minor complications, read something by Wednesday, etc. Thus I found myself in the position of wanting to buy a desk diary. I consulted Amazon and the first name which came up was C-ll-ns (who I remember as General Diary Suppliers of yore). I ordered a week to a page diary, and a few days later, it turned up. To my utter horror, it had unadvertised and ghoulish added value. For example, today. ‘Owls with an attitude problem don’t give two hoots’. Tomorrow, ‘Too much jogging is sole destroying’. I thought about going through the year while discovering an irritatingly lame pun added to each and every working day — crowned with thorns as these so often are — and thought, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO.’ (to quote a dear and valued friend). Either I will end up in Colney Hatch or my dentist will make a fortune. So I have ordered a NEW desk diary from a rival firm. But dearies. If you value your sanity, do not buy a C-ll-ns Desk Diary.