The uncharitable might suggest I am turning into one (the very uncharitable might suggest this has already occurred), but enough of this self-deprecation.
As I was cycling into Cambridge this e’en (on my way to a date with the Britten Sinfonia) I swallowed a fly. For the avoidance of doubt, I do know why – of which more later. I did consider going on to ingest a spider as a potential palliative or cure, however, I felt that this was an approach that could easily escalate. There are few peer-reviewed double-blind trials of arachnid consumption as a cure for the swallowing of a fly. There is anecdotal evidence, but the most heavily publicised case history suggests that the approach does not yield a positive outcome for the patient (or several animals of monotonically increasing size).
The fly was swallowed as I tend to cycle with my mouth open – this is not because I am talking, but because I need the use of my mouth to provide my lungs with sufficient oxygen to indulge in even moderate exercise. Those who have seen me (an option open to you all by accessing an earlier post) will have assumed that my nose would be capacious enough to cover not only my own oxygen requirements but those of a couple of friends as well. Loath as I am to disabuse you of this notion, I must admit that my nose is a triumph of style over function and should, mostly, be considered a decorative feature – despite the amount of facial real estate it consumes. Of course, this may merely be a case of a bad workman blaming his tools: there may be nothing wrong with my nose, I am just unable to use it properly. Sadly, I was offered little training in the art of breathing when younger: I think you were expected to pick it up as you went along back in the more laissez-faire days of the 1960s.