Happy Friday dear readers. We have once again reached that most important time of the week, where we look back at the charity week that was through the quasi-satirical lens of the fiercely anonymous Society Diarist.
This week in charity sector satire: PDSA’s pet fit club is back for another year and Westminster pollies and their press pack adversaries are put through their paces ahead of the upcoming charity pancake race. What an unwieldy and monstrous sentence that is.
The first rule of Pet Fit Club
Some of you probably wonder at certain times of the week, no doubt right after reading this column on a Friday, how it is that the Society Diarist goes about compiling a list of subjects worthy enough to be turned alchemically into weighty, droll content.
Without lifting the curtain too much, it can be a real struggle. This column, metaphorical pickaxe in hand, trudging ceaselessly into the deepest, darkest content mines to once more bend its back quarrying out little word-nuggets of gold. However, on some rare occasions, the fickle muses deign to throw this column a bone. This week has been just such a week.
Yes, it’s Society Diary's favourite time of the year: It’s PDSA Pet Fit Club time. Where the charity throws open its search to find the UK’s fattest pets, in order to pit them, in a kind of Biggest Loser but for animals spin-off, against one another in a contest to see which doughy dog, rotund rabbit or fat cat can shed the most stones. Or pounds. Or kilos. Or whatever your personal favourite way of measuring weight is.
Now into its 13th year, PDSA Pet Fit Club has now helped “124 overweight and obese pets” - 79 dogs, 37 cats and 8 rabbits - “lose an incredible 450kg” or 71 stone, if you prefer archaic measurements. As PDSA helpfully points out that is the equivalent to: “A grand piano or 160,000 doughnuts!”
Last year’s winner was Alfie, a truly big ol’ beagle from Middlesbrough, who managed to shed “34 per cent of his bodyweight”.
Early favourites for this year’s event include Elvis, the chunky cat from Scotland, who weighs in at a staggering 10kgs, or more than one and a half stone, and porcine pooch Alfie – no relation to last year’s winner – who is reportedly “more than double his ideal weight” having been indulged on “steak sandwiches and pub snacks” by his owners.
It would seem that naming your dog Alife is a pretty good way to ensure that it will go on to be chronically obese. There’s also a joke in there about the name Elvis and fluctuating waistbands. Just, whatever you do PDSA, don’t let this particularly cat go to the loo with a sandwich.
Anyway, the first rule of Pet Fit Club is that you don't talk about Pet Fit Club. Which is fine, actually, since the participants can't actually talk.
The second rule of Pet Fit Club is that you don't feed you dog chicken tikka korma.
Just a bit of batter
The annual Parliamentary Pancake Race in aid of disability charity Rehab is set to be run again this year on Shrove Tuesday, 13 February. While this column will no doubt pick up the results of the eagerly anticipated contest next week, it’s worth bringing to your attention a certain press release issued a couple of weeks ago for the event.
Yes, on 30 January 2018, Pancake Race participants from both the parliamentary and media teams apparently “faced off” for what was labelled as a “pancake-tossing bootcamp” ahead of the race.
The austere members of the Westminster press-pack are looking to avoid a third-straight defeat at the hands of the members, and are apparently considering underhanded tactics to claw back an advantage. ITV’s Alastair Stewart, this year’s official race starter, has reportedly been forced into instructing members of both teams not to use their pans to “make unseemly gestures” and has forbade the use of pancakes as “projectiles”.
Unseemly gestures with a pan and a piece of flat cakey bread; whatever could those be, Diary wonders?
The rules of the race are at once both incredibly simple and also impossibly difficult to understand. The race is a relay, and each participant must continuously flip a pancake in a pan while on their lap “to a minimum height of three feet”. Who exactly is measuring how high the pancake goes from the pan?
Anyway, with the bootcamp confined to the sticky, gooey pages of history, the only question left to answer is will the MPs complete their hat trick and see off the press pack, or will the journos win gold(en syrup) and break the hoodoo? Who, in effect, will have the ‘eggs-factor?' Also, what does that sentence even mean?