The Calendar is an annual problem, to which various solutions of taste proposed by the Tasteful, alas, do not quite answer the household’s inner needs. Two years ago, I found the Professor a Labrador Calendar, which delighted him so much that he insisted on another for 2007 — I successfully managed to find him in Ealing when I was doing some strenuous pre-Christmas research on Book of Ed last year. This year, there seemed to be none to be had, at least, not anywhere where we were, but I am delighted to report that he successfully ran one down on Ebay, which is now with us. This year’s is a black labrador calendar, somewhat to my relief. Not only does this confirm Miss Best Friend’s basic sense that black is the only proper colour for a labrador, but it spares me occasional months of a brown one, or ones. Brown labradors are a nice colour, but unlike their yellow and black cousins, the gums/buccal lining (rather obvious on a dog) and the rims of the eyes are pink, as opposed to black. The combination of bright pink facial rims with chocolate fur is distressingly reminiscent of the cheapest and nastiest varieties of ice cream, and moreover, tends to give the animals an expression which is deranged even beyond the common nature of Labradoricity, especially in photographs. While he was busy getting carried away, the Northern Professor also indulged in a second calendar, which is going to the office: this is the handsome priests calendar, which is published, apparently for real & in sober earnest, by the Osservatorio Romano or some such. It is apparently aimed at nice old ladies of a ‘black cardigan and being holy for two’ persuasion, though the only place we’ve ever seen it actually on sale is the gay bookshop on the Via Giulia. It has to be said, though, that we perhaps don’t frequent the kinds of places its principal target audience is likely to be found, so conclusions need not be drawn. Anyway, the result is deeply dodgy, a collection of doe-eyed lads in Roman collars which is virtually guaranteed to give those protestants who wander into the Professor’s office the barking hab-dabs. We look forward with renewed interest to the challenges of the approaching term. By the way — since the topics of Dogs and Catholic Kitsch have come up in the same blog-entry, we hear that there is a bumper sticker to be had, with a picture of Papa Razzi simpering, and the legend, ‘I [heart] my German Shepherd’. I ask you. We’ll stick with the Black Labradors, I think.