BEDROOM SECRETS FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE: Something I really enjoy doing is reading aloud to Isabel – it’s good practise for probably the only aspect of childrearing I’ll be any good at, and it’s fun introducing her to favourites from my bookworm boyhood. Top of the pile right now is the stupendous Uncle by JP Martin, a book about a very fat and hugely wealthy elephant and his battles with a variety of hataz. It’s a book that my memories betrayed a little – I remembered how stinking rich Uncle was constantly battling with workshy povvos dressed in potato sacks and blanched rather. Reading it now it’s obvious that Uncle is as ludicrous a figure as any of his foes. It’s also clear that the book is very, very funny: an absurd rush of nonsense punctuated with marvellous details (Uncle’s enemies pause after each fresh attack to scribble furiously on their “hating tablets”) and a lip-smacking relish for language (foes called Filljug Hateman and J. Hawkins Flabskin).

You can only easily get the first of six Uncle books (Uncle), and perhaps the second (Uncle Cleans Up). The others remain un-reissued, apparently because the publisher is worried about the classist overtones. You can see them for silly money on Amazon sometimes – if anyone does find any going cheap I do recommend that you snap them up. (And read them aloud to your partner!)