Those magazines you just love to hate

SHEA tomkins

THE OTHER EVENING as I watched 22 men chase a pumped up bag of leather around a field of grass for 90 minutes, the telephone rang.

The good woman put down the magazine she was reading and went off to answer it. The soccer on the box hadn't grabbed my complete attention, so without too much resistance my eye was seduced towards its glossy cover. With nobody watching, I decided to have a sneaky flick through its pages.

In those three and a half minutes, which I will never get back, I became enlightened on a whole world of useless information that my mind automatically tried to regurgitate. Though admittedly, some of the pictures were quite fetching.

I learned that the woman who played Sonia in Eastenders is delighted to be having a baby with a lad she doesn't know for that long. They tell us that they would like to make their own football team.

I saw that the blonde girl from the Sugarbabes is marrying some dark-haired chap that I vaguely recognise from some programme. Though it could be that we played each other in a game of pool sometime, somewhere. I'm not really sure.

I discovered that one of the Take That chaps has allegedly cheated on his wife a load of times and Baby Spice is never ever going to dye her hair black.

But the most shocking sight of all was that the grand-master of jump racing, Tony McCoy, was pictured on one of the pages with the wife. Though he was merely attending an event to pick up an award. Oh, and Dannii Minogue likes eating sticky toffee pudding.

So for the grand total of ¤3.95 you can get your hands on these, and other startling facts like them. Offering you a unique insight into the everyday lives of mostly minor celebrities. And a stark reminder why most of them get paid huge amounts of money to act, sing and generally not be themselves for a living.

If it was my own four euro however, I think I'd rather have done the Lotto. But then each to their own. Then it was back to those distinguished gentlemen chasing the football, and I saw the grossly overpaid Ashley Cole had the ball.

Now I wonder where I'd get the latest on him and Cheryl...

TURNING GREEN

LISTEN CLOSELY and the thud of subtle hints can be heard landing throughout the rooms of our home.

On the kitchen table sits an IKEA catalogue with its dog ears neatly folded.

In the hallway the good woman stands with a pensive expression, making rhetorical references to colour schemes and pointing out how the walls could do with a lift.

Plans for the spare room upstairs have popped up in conversation far more frequently than the Government's cabinet reshuffle, and the word lawnmower has also announced itself to 2010. It can all mean but one thing; I'm due two weeks' holidays. Yes it's that time of the year again when the wooden door of the garden shed is creaked open after a six month-closure. Usually I take a step back to allow any fourlegged squatter who may have moved in over the winter months time to escape. After hearing so much about the benefits of home produce, we are going to attempt to get our fingers green and grow our own vegetables this year.

Once the grass has had its first trim and the walls are delivered a fresh lick of paint, Operation Cultivation will begin in earnest.

Just to see for ourselves if going green is actually practical on a domestic level.

LOVING THE GRUFFALO

These days it can be difficult for any parent to get their children to pull themselves away from the lure of television. Therefore it is with warm appreciation that we welcome the advocation of any children's book, should it entice the boy to read.

We recently came across the marvel that is Julia Donaldson's 'The Gruffalo'. Featuring a mouse that makes his way through a wood and uses merely wise words to worm his way out of becoming dinner for several predators, it is a guaranteed five minutes' peace.

YOUR CHANCE TO FIX IT

At last, all of us that have been lambasting the Government and its wayward management methods have a chance to present our own schemes to mend this battered country. Thanks to the initiative of one Martin McAleese, two cash prizes of ¤100,000 will go to those who come up with ways of putting our land on the road to economic recovery. Sounds easy doesn't it? Let's just hope we don't get stage fright.

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