Rather sad news reaches us from Bristol Zoo, where the monkeys are having bananas phased out of their diets.
The same thing is happening at Paignton Zoo, too. Recent research has shown that bananas grown for human consumption are too sugary for simians, and as a result the macaques, marmosets and cherry-crowned mangabeys are becoming over-aggressive and prone to tooth decay and diabetes.
Instead, they’re being switched to a diet of fresh green vegetables and brown rice, as a result of which, according to the head keeper of mammals at Paignton, their coats are getting shinier and their outlook on life sunnier.
Now, skirting around the gloomy prospect for any living creature of a diet that could well include both broccoli and brussels sprouts, the main thing about all this no-bananas shenanigans is that it brings into sharp focus one of the biggest bugbears of modern life in January: the Enforced New Year’s Resolution.
Nobody asked the monkeys if they wanted to give up bananas. (Come to that, nobody asked them if they wanted to live in a zoo.)
And in the same way, no one asked if you wanted to give all the things that are bad for you and do a bit of exercise, on the flimsy pretext that it’s no longer 2013.
And you certainly didn’t ask a certain national newspaper to force-feed you a new supplement called Do Something. Because frankly there’s more than enough to do already, from cleaning the gunge off the bathroom tiles to rebuilding Mrs D’s raised beds, which have gone soggy in the rain.
Mind you, if you do fancy a new hobby, you could always start collecting partworks.
Back in the day these informative publications, which by some bizarre coincidence always seem to launch in early January, would help you learn carpentry, car maintenance, cross-stitch, egg-painting and any number of other useful household crafts, all for £1.99 for the first issue along with a free – yes FREE! – binder, then £4.99 each for the remaining 127 instalments as long as you place an advance order with your newsagent because it won’t be on the shelves come April.
Nowadays, as well as sharply priced instruction manuals, you can collect all the requisite bits for a Marvel Comics superhero-themed chess set (FREE board!), a Lancaster bomber (FREE Guy Gibson!) or even a Disney Pirates of the Caribbean Black Pearl Galleon™®© (FREE Johnny Depp!)
Although it’s hard to see the attraction of building up a model plane or sailing boat, rib by laborious rib, over the next two years of your already glamorous life. Or indeed of spending a sum not unadjacent to £250 on a chess set (£7.99 a pop), when you’ve got a perfectly good one already. Even if the Marvel variety is crafted from lead-free metallic resin, and yours is only made of plywood.
No, this year let’s stick to simple resolutions, like writing sentences with a proper verb. And not starting them with “And”.
Damn. That’s two broken already. Pass the bananas...