It is a well-known fact – and was put on the public record by my cardiologist in the spring of 1996 that I am “inordinately fond of cheese”. I thought it an elegant turn of phrase and have since been known to use it myself, but of course never failing to credit the assumed author.
But it would seem that Dr Ilsley could be a plagiarist.
There I was, innocently looking up how to catch a shrew alive – I’ve already got one, but hell, you can’t have too many – when I came upon, in the section on shrew-catching on page 18 of a book called Small Mammals, by Adrian Barnett and John Dutton - published in January 1995 (remember that, it’s significant) the following phrase: “contrary to popular opinion rodents are not inordinately fond of cheese".
Of course, it’s possible that the good doctor – which he is – could, exactly one year later, have coined the expression himself. But it’s much more romantic to think that he took the trouble to hone his micro-surgical skills on field-mice, and consequently was able to save my life.
If they sue, he can count on me as a character witness - if I'm still around.
Off to Milan tomorrow, ostensibly for some Gothic churches, parmigiano and Jack Daniel's, but it's really to escape real-estate salemen. See you next week.