This year, you can blame it all on global warming, say experts

Tesco buying Essex, the world’s first successful baboon-to-human buttock transplant, and Serbia winning the World Cup – could it really happen in 2006?

For the benefit of readers who cannot bear the thought of another New Year and would rather skip straight to 2007, here is a short version of Old Murray’s Almanack for 2006, highlighting the key events you will be glad to have missed.

January: In the New Year Honours there are knighthoods for Simon Cowell and Ozzy Osbourne and damehoods for Charlotte Church and Sienna Miller. Commenting on this last award, a spokesman for Number 10 says, “It was the least we could do to compensate for her love-rat hell, poor cow.” The Met Office forecasts the worst January since records began, with temperatures set to fall below minus-30 degrees centigrade. “It’s all down to global warming,” explains an expert.

February: Carol Vorderman signs a new TV commercial contract said to be worth &£2m to promote a debt consolidation company. “She is trusted, knows how to add up, and has a terrific pair of legs considering her age,” said a spokesman. Shoppers strip supermarket shelves of Kiwi fruit following reports that it prevents heart disease, breast cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome and helps children with their homework.

March: A City bond trader is awarded &£1m compensation for sexual harassment. “I was repeatedly told I had a cute smile and a lovely dimple,” he sobs. In the BAFTA Awards the BBC wins the Strong Language Category. Director general Michael Grade says he is over the effing moon. Tesco announces plans to acquire Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex. “It’s what our customers want,” explains a spokesman.

April: The Church of England plans to remove the cross from church spires because they might cause offence to Muslims. Sir Richard Branson unveils a package tour to Saturn. On the 14-year round-trip passengers will enjoy free massage and pedicure. Hearing this, Jessica Crude, flame-haired editress of the Daily Chav, launches a campaign for all paedophiles to have forced pedicures. “Might straighten up the bastards,” she explains.

May: Carmarthenshire police conduct a raid on the home of Daffyd “Bare Knuckles” Jones after he was overheard muttering about the “Bloody English”. “Anglophobia is a priority crime,” explains a spokesperson for the Welsh constabulary. David Beckham signs a &£10m contract to promote silk ties. “This is going to be the year of the tie,” enthuses a Jermyn Street spokesman. “It’s worn underneath the shirt collar around the neck,” he adds.

June: World Cup fever strikes and cars up and down the country fly the flag of St George. “It’s great for road safety,” says an AA spokesman. “You can spot the half-witted drivers a mile off.” The Met Office forecasts the hottest summer since time began, with average daily temperatures set to soar well above a tar-melting 100 degrees. “It’s all down to global warming,” explains an expert.

July: Thomas “The Tank” Williams, a 20-stone five-year-old from Romford, Essex, sues the British Potato Council for making him fat and is awarded &£2.5m compensation. “This should serve as a salutary reminder to all thoughtless potato farmers,” says Thomas’s lawyer, Ros Sykes, of the legal firm Do-U-Want-to-Kleen-up and Partners. David Beckham signs a multi-million pound deal to promote open-necked shirts. Serbia and Montenegro beat Togo 5-0 to carry off the Jules Rimet trophy.

August: GCSE results are better than ever with every pupil across the country gaining A-stars in every subject. “It’s all down to a huge year-on-year improvement in what we done taught them,” says a spokesperson for the National Union of Teachers. The nation is caught in the grip of an unseasonal big freeze with temperatures plummeting and water mains bursting in record numbers. “It’s all down to global warming,” explains an expert.

September: Panic sweeps the nation following reports of an epidemic of worm-cast fever, brought into this country on the soles of an illegal immigrant. “Make no mistake this could kill millions,” says the Government’s Chief Health Officer, “and there is no known cure”. “There is absolutely no cause for alarm,” adds Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. “Our mortuaries are fully equipped to the highest EU standards, and we are confident that feedback from stricken relatives will be positive.”

October: Dame Stella McCartney’s knee-length seatless trousers sell out before a single pair is made. Jubilant surgeons at St Thomas’s Hospital announce the world’s first successful baboon-to-human buttock transplant. The patient says she is thrilled with the colours of her new bottom.

November: Seventy workers hired to help build the Olympic Park in London’s Stratford fail a drugs test.

December: Amid national rejoicing Christmas is called off on the ground that it is offensive. In a unique double, veteran botanist David Bellamy wins Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor. â¢

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