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Auntie’s guide to health and happiness


AS part of its Wellness Initiative for intrepid and dedicated staff who have stayed safely in their homes for the past year, the BBC has devised a series of webinars to help them to deal with their isolation. The Conservative Woman has already revealed the contents of those concerning Hydration and Stress and we can now divulge the contents of the third, concerned with Nutrition and Emotional Balance . . .

Course Aims

The BBC takes seriously its duty of care to all colleagues who have valiantly avoided contact with the outside world for the past year. This module addresses issues arising from their isolation in order to facilitate mental and physical wellbeing.

Course Contents

Hydration (Reminder)


Emotional Balance


A brief reminder of the first course in the Wellness programme in which the nature and value of water was explained. You will see once more the videos showing the ‘dos and don’ts’ when drinking.

Most staff are no doubt now proficient in this skill, and the tutor will ask for volunteers to display their prowess in the consumption of water. No negative feedback will be given if dribbling should occur.


The BBC book Lockdown Lunches, edited by Whitty and Vallance, has over one hundred exciting menus for all tastes, races and genders.

In this module we will examine ways to source the following sample menu, and in doing so will discuss what other tasty ingredients could make it even more delicious. Please take care to avoid cultural appropriation.


Hypocrite Salad (submitted by the Green Party)

Spanish tomato 

Kenyan chives

Moroccan leaves

Turkish onions

Egyptian new potatoes 

Peruvian peppers

Greek tzatziki


Wuhan Stew (submitted by the CCP)

In the stew the entrails throw

Leg of a cat and feet of crow

Fillet of a fenny snake, 

In the cauldron boil and bake 

Eye of newt, and toe of frog, 

Claw of bat, and tongue of dog, 

Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, 

Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing

For a charm of powerful trouble, 

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf

Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf 

Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark; 

Root of hemlock digg’d in the dark; 

Don’t forget the sea shark’s fin

And most of all a pangolin.

Health Warning:

Carefully stir this noxious brew

Else you’ll likely catch the flu

To serve: drizzle with bile from a Sturgeon.


Ursula von der Leyen’s Euro Mess (submitted by all EU heads of state)

A simple concoction of hubris, confusion, incompetence and stupidity topped off with a dash of Teutonic arrogance.

The book has already had many recommendations:

Even someone with a PPE degree could follow these menus – Boris Johnson

On balance, and taking all things into consideration, I tend to think that these lunches will be within the price range of the ordinary person in the street in the nicer parts of North London . . . possibly. Can I get back to you on this one? – Sir Keir Starmer

Keep handy for future lockdowns – Dr Susan Michie 

Emotional Balance

A key way to retain a positive attitude and emotional well-being during these dark times is to meditate.

In this module you are to darken your room (or more likely, make it even darker), close your eyes and choose the gender you wish to be.

Sit or lie comfortably and imagine a perfect day when the UK was a member of the EU and not the international pariah it has become.

In your mind you are to tour the continent with a witty companion. This could be Frankie Boyle, Jo Brand, or if you prefer, their love child, Eddie Izzard.

It is a sunny morning in Venice. You are seated in St Mark’s Square sipping Pinot Grigio and feasting on pistachio nuts. A violinist plays a romantic melody as he drifts around the tables. Frankie, Jo or Eddie amuses you with cutting comments about British tourists wandering by. The 300-euro bill is charged to your BBC expense account.

After a tasty lunch of paella in Barcelona, you stroll along a beautiful coastal path built with money kindly donated by the EU (aka the British and German taxpayers). The presence of Frankie, Jo or Eddie ensures that the Romanian pickpockets steer well clear.

In the afternoon you are transported to Argenteuil in the north-west of Paris. Here you have a glass of champagne accompanied by a delicately layered mille-feuille. You recall that the village was once the haunt of Claude Monet and a crucible of the Impressionist movement. You contemplate the remarkable art inspired by the light rising from the majestic Seine. You can ignore the nearby riot by unemployed and disillusioned youths of North African descent, knowing that a bon mot or the hint of a scowl from Frankie, Jo or Eddie will cause the malcontents to flee in terror.

It is evening and you are at a table in the renowned Berghain nightclub in Berlin. You are snacking on Brühwurst, Kochwurst and Grützwurst with lashings of Berliner Pilsner. On stage an Abba tribute band consisting of Angela Merkel, Michel Barnier, Guy Verhofstadt and Ursula von der Leyen are singing some of your favourite songs. The poignancy of Mamma Mia – My my, just how much I’ve missed you . . . Why, why did I let ever let you go? – is not lost on you, but you regain focus to ensure that Frankie, Jo or Eddie doesn’t eat all the sausages.

Your perfect day, entertained by the mordant wit of your companion, and immersed in the glory that is the EU, comes to a close as you retire to a luxurious bedroom in the only hotel remaining open in Santorini, with or without Frankie, Jo and Eddie.

When you open your eyes try to forget that because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, the best holiday you can hope for in the next few years will be a weekend in a damp caravan near Rhyl.

Recommended Future Actions

As lockdowns are here to stay, keep practising the ideas and advice in the Wellness Initiative.

Regular home-based exercise is desirable but our guidance is to double mask whilst so doing and remember to leave a window open at all times no matter what the weather.

Notes to Participants

Please do not distribute this course description outside the BBC ‘family’, as misinterpretation of the content may cause malicious journalists to describe the Wellness Initiative as a frivolous waste of our ever-diminishing licence fee income.

The government has instructed everyone to ‘act as if they have the virus’. This means that sexual intercourse is strictly forbidden, and all family members should be confined to separate rooms.

Further Reading

101 Ways With Pangolin – Xi Jinping (Wuhan Press)

When We Were Funny – Ian Hislop and Paul Merton (BBC Books)

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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