Down here in west Cornwall, the days are long and summer is on the wing. Like the Tories in Scotland, the tiny population of Cornish choughs continue to defy extinction, clinging on like crazy with their little red feet, simply refusing to die out. Six nests with chicks have been monitored this year, while the birds themselves enjoy a higher level of security and protection than a Russian mafioso. I am dying to see one, forever scanning the cliffs with my binoculars, trying and failing not to be a holiday cliché. Middle-aged woman in Breton top, bakes her own bread and stares at the sea for hours on end. Chough spotting! Wildflower pressing! What is happening to me? I have become the person I used to hate; someone who takes photograph of sunsets and obsesses about birds.
The EU Red List of Birds, published last week, detailed its concerns about several species in the south-west of England. The yellowhammer, the linnet and the skylark are all declining, but the cuckoo is the biggest loser of all down here. As indeed it is across the whole of the UK except in Scotland, where numbers are oddly flourishing. ‘If you are a cuckoo right now, you really want to be in Scotland,’ Paul Stancliffe of the British Trust for Ornithology told the Western Morning News. Well that’s one explanation for recent voting patterns.
What fresh hell is this? The editor of a glossy magazine gets in touch to ask if I can get hold of the new female Viagra. No, she’s not asking for a friend, not like that time she wanted to know which London hotel Bradley Cooper was staying in. She wants a journalist to take some and write about it — but why me? I can think of at least half a dozen media saucebuckets and she-freaks who’d be better suited to the task and I don’t just mean you, L… well, never mind.
Yet dutiful as ever, I set to work. ‘Where can I find female Viagra?’ I tap into the Google search box, thus ruining my computer history forever. Although rejected twice by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America, the female Viagra drug Flibanserin has now been approved for sale by an advisory panel. It will be marketed under the brand names of Addyi (isn’t that what you shout out during sex if you pull a muscle in your calf?) and Girosa (please roll over if you’re finished). The drug still needs final FDA approval and despite hundreds of dubious internet adverts promising the contrary, it won’t be on sale for some time. But what happens then? For a start, Flibanserin does not function like Viagra. It works on the central nervous system and not, of course, on penile blood flow. Instead of taking one little blue pill and then wayhey! like the chaps, women have to take it for four weeks straight. That’s for even a chance of having what the manufacturers coyly refer to as a ‘significant event’. And here’s the killer. You can’t drink alcohol on this medication. Big Pharma, may I say something? Sex drugs are not my area of expertise, but if it wasn’t for white wine, most women over the age of 40 wouldn’t be having any sex at all. Take away our chardonnay and you take away our liberty. Anyway, what a relief. Thank heavens for the stringency of the FDA. I report back to my editrix that female Viagra is completely, utterly, unavailable. A bullet dodged, in more ways than one.
In London last week, I went to the new Ivy. The owner Richard Caring shut the place down last year and ordered a complete overhaul. All the restaurant’s art and accoutrements were auctioned off: a fresh start was on the menu. Tarnished by familiarity and falling standards, frequented by the Z list and Cilla, the dear old Ivy had become a parody and a shadow of its former self. I never stopped loving it, but it became toxic, a place where even Kate Moss wouldn’t go, even if she was desperate for her favourite microwaved mozzarella and pepperoni panini, washed down with duty-free vodka. To be honest, the new Ivy is not that different from the old Ivy, it’s just that people now think about it in a different way. It’s something, I feel, that the Labour party could learn a lot from, although we all know they never will.
Cornwall is still bracing itself for the Poldark Effect. The Royal Cornwall Museum is holding a Poldark exhibition this summer, complete with original Winston Graham manuscripts and a Poldark family tree. Estate agents, teashop owners, pasty bashers and all concerned talk fondly of Poldarkmania aroused by the hit television series. The café at Porthgwarra Cove – where Ross swims naked while watched from the cliff tops by Demelza – had more than double the amount of visitors this Easter. The National Trust’s Levant Mine, standing in for the fictional Tressiders Mill, had visitor numbers up by over 90 per cent. It must all be true. Yet until I see a sign saying topless scything this way, I won’t quite believe in Poldarkmania at all.
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