SO, WE have a new Pope, and I’m not at all surprised that His Holiness has taken the name of every child’s favourite animal lover. No, not Dr Doolittle but Saint Francis, who must have learned from his affinity with birds and animals that they are much easier to deal with than humans.

Enforcing celibacy is certainly easier – you just lock them in.

If the Pope hadn’t accepted the offer, the cardinals might have considered my Auntie Jose for the job. She’s 96 and, although a bit forgetful and slightly eccentric, has all her marbles and has retained her sense of humour. What more do you need?

Well, I suppose it would help if she wasn’t staunch CofE. Or female.

Auntie Jose has known me all my life, and seen me grow from baby to child and then to a woman of differing shapes and sizes over many years.

Mr F was particularly amused when she looked me up and down recently and said: “Barbara, you haven’t grown!”

Another wonderful oldie we met recently was at Brunel University, where we joined a fascinating public debate about assisted dying.

Professor Heinz Wolff was as informative and thought-provoking as ever. You may remember him on The Great Egg Race, one of TV’s first fun science shows.

Talking to him afterwards it was clear he too, at 85, has kept a good sense of humour. Perhaps that’s the secret of a happy old age?

n FOLLOWING my column about getting children to play rather than being constantly plugged into their computers (Bm@il, February 6) I must remind you that Hillingdon Council’s play days are from Friday, April 5.

Details of the activities at children’s centres are on

For my playtime, I managed to get a ticket to see the Bowie exhibition at the V&A in May. It started last week and runs until August 11, but is selling out fast.

n FINALLY, thanks for sending me your television funny subtitles. If you haven’t done so already, do switch them on while watching TV.

My favourite so far are the weather forecast, which promised ‘clouds with fruit’, and Michael Gove deciding not to introduce the ‘Battlevomit’ (Baccalaureate) to schools. More please!