The mystery deepens, the plot thickens, basically everything is getting thicker and deeper around here.

The planet in our lounge has grown lettering. This morning I came down to find the following message written on it in large letters: “I am too a planet”, and on the other side “Pluto rules OK.” The police suspect that this is the action of some extremist group, protesting the demotion of Pluto to ‘dwarf-planet’. But before you rush off and tell all your astrologer friends that their missing planet is in our living room, consider this:

My new hippie friend who haunts the attic in our house claims that this mysterious silver sphere is not a planet at all, but a Yoga Ball! If this is true, it would explain why we couldn’t find any zebras on it. After all, who ever heard of zebras living on a Yoga Ball?

But I’m still not sure. You’d think someone holding an important post like Santa Claus would be more responsible than to leave a big, round, extremely planet like, Yoga Ball in our lounge, without attaching a sign to it saying, “this is not a planet, it is a Yoga Ball. Do not launch into outer space.”

By the way, Santa is also the most likely source of the wolves in the basement. Next Christmas I’m going to erect a sign outside saying, ‘this is not a dumping ground for unwanted Christmas presents’.

I have to confess, when this first happened I didn’t even know what a Yoga Ball was. When I saw this big scary round thing with no zebras on it of course I assumed it was a planet – any normal person would have thought the same. Now it is very quiet. Perhaps it knows that we suspect it is not really a planet and that it’s cover is blown. So far all it has done is sit in the corner glaring at me in resentment, but I sense trouble brewing.

This is all new to me. When I started learning yoga, back in the Plastercene Era, there were no sissy Yoga Balls, or nice squishy yoga mats, or stretching straps. Why, after clambering up a dreadful mountain face of crumbling rock to get to our morning class, we were lucky to get a bit of jagged stone to balance on, leaning into the Himalayan blizzard dressed in a loin cloth. Anyone who complained was thrown off a cliff into a valley full of carnivorous wombats, to make sure they didn’t make the same mistake next lifetime. Yoga mats? Ha! We lived in dread of our yoga mats – they were lined with pointed spines and used to stalk us as we slept.

These days everyone rolls up early for their relaxation class in BMWs that run on wheat grass juice and while they’re waiting they work up a nice stress trying to decide where to take their next Yoga Holiday – a difficult choice between the “Cosmic Trance Paradise Resort” in the Bahamas or the “Grand Glitz Vista of Heaven Hotel” in Shangri La. Then they all launch into a special Wimp Yoga routine with artificial limb insurance and special Barbie doll yoga assistants who do do all the twisting and stretching on your behalf while you pat yourself on the back for being spiritual. And if you can’t reach far enough to pat, they help you.

The nearest thing we got to a Yoga Holiday in the 70’s was to cross the city carrying our broken down VW beetle on our backs, fighting our way through the drunks and hawkers in order to enjoy the privilege of meditating in our prime Yoga centre location near the airport where the jumbo jets fly between your ears. The Swami had imported a special breed of man-eating mosquito from Siberia to torment us, and then told us not to swat them as it was against the rule of non-violence. And if we moved during meditation we were bitten by highly trained vicious dogs. Meditation was not optional. If we didn’t meditate we didn’t eat. You might like to try imposing this rule on your children – I’m sure they’ll love it.

Now in New York (where else?) they even have Yoga for dogs. They call it ‘Doga’. This a fact by the way. Fact Fact Fact. When I was a kid I had this dog called Star who was a mite aggressive. If any one had tried to teach Yoga to Star, he would probably have bitten their arms off – that was his idea of relaxation therapy.

So just remember, if you come down one morning after Christmas expecting to be greeted by a colony of friendly yoga balls, and instead there’s a planet in your lounge, and there are wolves in your basement, you will know that Santa Claus has come at last, and that he is very real, but perhaps the planet isn’t. I just hope he doesn’t choose our house again next year. If he leaves another Yoga Ball here there’s bound to be trouble. The first one has already become quite territorial. If there were two of them they might fight.

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