How much weight did you put on?

AN e-mail brings forth the startling suggestion that people in the East of England are starting the year 22 million pounds heavier, thanks to festive indulgence and lack of exercise . And just so we know how they worked it out, it seems you can assume an

AN e-mail brings forth the startling suggestion that people in the East of England are starting the year 22 million pounds heavier, thanks to "festive indulgence and lack of exercise".

And just so we know how they worked it out, it seems you can assume an average weight gain of 5lbs multiplied by an adult population of 3,423,000 which gives us the total of 22,330,000 million lbs weight.

Or, to put it yet another way, the equivalent of 277 jumbo jets, 8,284 double decker buses, 19,635 elephants or 762,483 Sumo wrestlers.

Comforting comparisons, indeed, for the New Year.

READING the message board on the BBC local radio website, I came across this delightful note from a young lady who calls herself Blondie 14.

"Doddington in Cambridgeshire is a little village and its lovely i used 2 live there and really want to get in touch with some old friends????? oooo if u did live there i am da lil girl who used to own costcutter/londis...." which is exactly as her message appeared.

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Sadly only one response, and that from MJB, who pointed out: "I live very near to Doddington, and I don't like it one little bit."

"Cambridge is in the Fens, not the Cairngorms, as a map with 'Global warming threatens Scotland's last wilderness' suggested last week. We meant Carrbridge."

A brief note from the Observer which hardly needs further enlightenment.

PREPARATIONS are well advanced for what those living in South Holland confidently expect to be the stormiest council meeting in memory.

The council is set to debate next Thursday the site selection process for identifying traveller and gypsy sites within the district.

With the council chamber in Spalding only able to accommodate 100, the council has decided to broadcast the whole proceedings over the internet.

"People will be seated on a first-come-first-served basis and unfortunately there are not the facilities to accommodate any additional numbers," says Sharon Dabell, the council's PR guru who is busy masterminding the technical details.

MUST be a generational thing, since I've yet to work out the detail of a special attraction at a March tanning studio.

Spend £60 on tanning, a notice in their window proclaims, and you will get a £38 bottle of Passion plus a sachet of Kisses.

NICE line in understatement from Steve Robshaw, planning enforcement officer for Fenland Council.

On Wednesday he asked councillors to approve enforcement against the owner of 38 West End, Whittlesey, for ref-using to put in a planning application to erect wire mesh fencing.

"Having spoken to the alleged owner/occupier of the site, it appears that any form of voluntary remedy will not be achieved," Mr Robshaw reported.

His colleague Alan Millard offered a similar forthright assessment on another enforcement application, this time against the owner of a bungalow in Church Lane, Tydd St Giles, who had overlooked providing a footpath

Mr Millard noted that "the council received correspondence from the owner/occupier stating that on discussion with their agent they were advised 'not to worry, as this kind of thing never gets enforced and would be overlooked'".

To which Brakespeare can only add oops!

ACCORDING to Fenland Council's website, chief executive Tim Pilsbury "has presented 57 council staff with their GNVQ level 2 certificates for either street cleansing or refuse collection in the council chamber."

Must be the cleanest council chamber in the land.

REFRESHED after a holiday in the States, Fenland Councillor Kit Owen was in ebullient mood on his return to the Fens, save for one discomforting moment at the airport.

For it seems the roar of jumbo jets taking off from Heathrow had set off his car alarm, which presumably then sounded for much of the time he was away, leaving his battery flat on his return.

Not a problem Brakespeare's Morris Minor has ever experienced, but a real nightmare it seems not only for Cllr Owen but for many others jetting off to foreign parts.

HOPE you all got through Monday okay. Fiona Bethel from Cambridge law firm Kester Cunningham John pointed out that it was, traditionally, the start of the busiest time of the year for divorce lawyers.