How to shut up a friend who's training for the London marathon

IT’S less than a week away, and your mate who’s running it believes you need a full rundown of their marathon training schedule. Here’s how to shut that down:  

Don’t hide your boredom

Rather than bite down on yawns and make generic encouraging noises, show off how uninterested you are. While they drone on about hydration belts, start making a risotto, mop the floor, pop in some earbuds and call your mother. Whatever it takes to make them f**k the f**k off.

Go one up 

Unleash your most boring self. They show the lube they use to prevent chafing, you discuss Doctor Who chronology. They bang on about compression socks, you work through your favourite Fast Show sketches joke-by-joke. Conversation will soon judder to a halt, replaced by blissfully awkward silence.

Throw them off the scent

Close down shin-splints chat fast with a distraction; the more theatrical the better. Stage a catastrophe that means you have to vacate the room immediately: an earthquake, a cardiac arrest, the Queen’s ghost rampaging through the streets tearing apart children with her bare teeth. Or simply announce you shagged their partner in 2021.

F**k with their head

Counter their boasting by planting doubt. ‘What if you push yourself too hard?’ ‘What if you don’t push yourself enough?’ ‘What if you’re so focused on your time you get lost and end up in Acton?’ Invent tales of runners who trained for years and ended up lame for life because they wore the wrong shoes. Then kick back and enjoy the horrorstruck hush.

Physically attack them

If they continue monologuing about sweat-proof headphones, you’re within your rights to do whatever it takes to make it stop: a wireless keyboard to the face, hot tea to the groin, murder. If the police become involved, explaining what a dull insole-obsessed bore-bag you were faced with will ensure no jury can convict.

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Britain must learn maths so we never again have another Truss

THE government has outlined plans to teach every teenager maths so we never again have anyone as innumerate as Liz Truss in our country. 

The prime minister will today announce that all pupils will learn maths up to 18 to ensure that even the lowliest arts worker is not so blind to numbers they crash the economy in 38 days in office.

Sunak said: “We have allowed Britain to become a nation of mathematical illiterates. And we have all suffered the disastrous consequences.

“Any ten-year-old should have known that cutting taxes and increasing borrowing in an inflation crisis would spark an economic death spiral. But because there’s no shame at being ‘bad at maths’ in this country, a 47-year-old professional woman had no idea.

“Our nation was run by people who, quite simply, could not add up. It cost the nation £35 billion, which, though you may be too ill-educated to realise it, is quite a lot of money.

“So from now on everyone must learn maths. Everyone will be tutored in the basics of calculation and taught that numbers do not behave just as you want them to, even if you are impeccably right-wing and high on your own bullshit.”

Susan Traherne of Hereford said: “If you’re so good at maths, how come you’re planning for years ahead when you’re 16 points behind in the polls?”