Never Hit a Jellyfish With a Spade is a collection of short weekly articles that Guy Browning wrote for the Guardian several years ago. As is always the case with this type of compendium, you have hits and misses but there are much more of the former than the latter, making it a worthy read.
This book provides ideal relief for those morning and evenings when the hay fever blocks the nose and dulls the senses, making it difficult to read improving books and a criminal offence to read Wodehouse, since to do so would be like going to a top-notch restaurant when you've lost your sense of smell, i.e. an exercise in self-defeat.
*** 1/2 (tip: it's a book to dip in and out of, enjoying a few articles at a time)
A few choice quotes:
On how to ... make toast
Cold toast is a very sad affair and gives a small insight into death - something you've known and loved, that was warm and comforting, but is now cold and stiff and destined for the bin.
On how to... make tea
Two sugars is the norm for working people. Tea without sugar is an admission that what you do in life doesn't require that much effort. If someone else is making tea for you, it's best to ask for three sugars because people who don't take sugar can't stir tea properly (generally because they haven't got enough energy)
On how to... have a cold
Of all the nasty things you can pick up these days, a cold is relatively minor. However, the amateur dramatics it gives rise to are spectacular. Horrific wasting diseases that confine you to a bed mean that people have to actively seek you out in order to sympathize. A cold, on the other hand, is a portable complaint.
... Just about the only consolation for having a cold is the lovely deep husky voice that goes with it ....Interestingly, the voice is at its most husky on the telephone, especially when explaining your absence to colleagues at work.
On how to... do extreme sports
Extreme sports boil down to thinking up great new ways of killing yourself and then extracting the death part at the last moment. ...It's vital if you're going to do any kind of extreme sport to dress like you're a surf dude and to shout 'Whoaaaaa!!!!' when you're doing it. Turning up in a comfortable tweed jacket and doing something extreme while whistling nonchalantly just makes everyone else feel as though they're wasting their time.